Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

07 February 2016

Oscar Nominees 2016: Part 6 of 11

Straight outta Compton
1 Nomination
  • Original Screenplay: Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus
Director: F. Gary Gray
Cast: O'Shea Jackson Jr., Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, Paul Giamatti, Neil Brown Jr., Aldis Hodge, Marlon Yates Jr., R. Marcus Taylor, Carra Patterson, Alexandra Shipp, Keith Powers, Lisa Renee Pitts, Tate Ellington

I absolutely loved this movie. I don't know how it didn't get more awards buzz than it got. It is so excitingly fierce and fun, and then it very intelligently takes a turn toward the serious, and documents an important moment in USAmerican music history. Straight outta Compton also manages to be a movie about racism and police corruption in Los Angeles. It manages to do a lot of things, in fact. It's also gorgeously shot – the concert sequences are perfectly done – and cleverly scripted. The acting is superb as well, and F. Gary Gray, who directed, manages to strike the right tone throughout, surprising the audience at just the right times, carefully balancing the characters' bravado, sentiment, and danger. Somehow this only got an original screenplay nomination, and this film, directed by a black man, got nominations only for the four white screenwriters. It's an odd little joke, really. And a joke that isn't very funny. Still, I am glad it got this nomination. It is well deserved. The acting in this movie is great, too, by the way, Jackson, Mitchell, and Hawkins – the three men at the film's center – are excellent, and in a small role, Lisa Renee Pitts kills it.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: Original Screenplay
My Rating: #5 out of 65

1 Nomination
  • Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone (Rocky)
Director: Ryan Coogler
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashād, Tony Bellew, Ritchie Coster, Andre Ward, Jacob "Stitch" Duran, Malik Bazille, Graham McTavish, Wood Harris

Another of my favorite movies of the year. I've written about this movie already here, so I won't add a lot more, but I will complain (as I did for Straight outta Compton, above) that this movie got only this single nomination. I'm glad it got it, don't get me wrong – Stallone is great, and he deserves to win the Oscar that he'll win on Oscar night – but Coogler is one of the most exciting young directors working today, and Michael B. Jordan is superb in this film. The screenplay, too, is a kind of marvel; it reuses old tropes and makes them new again, breathing new life into a tired genre. Creed is a film about fatherhood, about making a name for one's own self, and about making a family out of the people who love you and the people you love. It's excellent.
Will Win: Supporting Actor
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #14 out of 65

1 Nomination
  • Costume Design: Sandy Powell (Carol, Hugo, The Tempest, The Young Victoria, Mrs Henderson Presents, The Aviator, Gangs of New York, Shakespeare in Love, Velvet Goldmine, The Wings of the Dove, Orlando)
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Sophie McShera, Helena Bonham Carter, Nonso Anozie, Derek Jacobi, Ben Chaplin, Hayley Atwell, Alex Macqueen, Rob Brydon, Tom Edden

This film, I am happy to report, is surprisingly charming. The young white girl at the center is a little bland, but Cinderella more than makes up for it with the fun it has retelling this animated Disney film. The prince and his own story is made a little heftier by the screen treatment, and the stepmother, played by Blanchett, takes a much larger role here. This is all to the good. The tale is a pleausure, and Helena Bonham Carter's little scene as the fairy godmother is itself worth the price of admission. I found the whole thing delightful, to be honest. And the costumes are breathtakingly exquisite. Sandy Powell must win another Oscar this year. She just must. She deserves to win for this, but if not this, she really needs to win for Carol. (Girlfriend already has three Oscars, but when you're at the top of your game?) Click on the image above if you don't believe me.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: Costume Design
My Rating: #34 out of 65

Hundraåringen Som Klev ut genom Fönstret och Försvann 
(The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window
and Disappeared)
1 Nomination
  • Makeup & Hairstyling
Director: Felix Herngren
Cast: Robert Gustafsson, Iwar Wiklander, David Wiberg, Mia Skäringer, Jens Hultén, Alan Ford, Georg Nikoloff, Bianca Cruzeiro, Sven Lönn

This was whimsical and very silly, and I have to say that it got a couple of good guffaws out of me. The 100-Year-Old Man is like an unpretentious version of The Butler or Forrest Gump, in which the main character (who is something of an explosives expert) meets Franco and Reagan and Stalin and Oppenheimer and a host of other important world leaders over the course of his century of life We are told this in flashback, of course. Meanwhile the real plot of the film – which is a sort of crime caper involving a great deal of money, a gang of skinheads, a rescued circus elephant, and more vodka than I could track – proceeds apace, filled with absurdity, cartoonish violence, and poetic justice. Robert Gustafsson, who plays the film's eponymous centenarian, is only half that old, and so this nomination is for his old-age makeup, which, I will admit, looks pretty great. Not as great as, say, Bad Grandpa from a couple of years ago, but pretty great. Usually this makeup category is filled with films that don't feature in the Best Picture category: movies like The Wolfman or The Iron Lady or, you know, Pirates of the Caribbean: at World's End, but invariably the one film that is the most respected of the bunch wins this Oscar. The 100-Year-Old Man, in other words, has no chance of winning, against its two rivals in this category: The Revenant, with its 12 nominations, and Mad Max: Fury Road, with its 10.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #49 out of 65