A personal journey, meeting someone who'd change my life forever, and falling in love with my craft, again.
The Lost Films were somewhat of a revelation to me. I think the idea started quite spontaneously as a matter of fact upon my new-found French friend Caitlin's inaugural visit to London. I had met her and her family during a visit with the family we were staying with and both their families are connected by my godfather in terms of relations - the way in which Caitlin and I met was such a random occasion. I wasn't going to kid myself, I was nervous to meet her, being slowly nudged to introduce myself in such a casual manner considering we were swimming in a lake in the south of France half way between our villa and their family home.
We met, and I told her all about myself, what it is I do - yadder yadder... all the details and I could see the increasing grin on her face and her eyes lit up with such enthusiasm and interest I was keen to talk even more and when she responded with the things she was doing I was in such awe and excitement. She was clearly very bright, and also very creative and was telling me about a short film she had created recently entitled 24 Hours In Paris. I was keen to this piece so upon going back to the villa we were staying at, where her and her family followed us in their car, she showed it to me on my laptop and I was blown away at the creativity that had just unfolded before me. I loved the combination of imagery with sound and how she has captured Paris from a totally different perspective. The film could have been rather touristy and quite bland in the feelings and substance it carries but it was anything but that. I was screaming internally that we ought to do a collaboration together and that it'd be amazing because of how passionate we both are about the same thing but then I'm sure I must have muttered something like a little word or part of a sentence because she glanced at me peculiarly for a second or two. Maybe I let my thoughts take a hold of my vocal cords. The creative vibes were strong.
Do you know when you meet someone and you have that brief 'lightning flash' moment of euphoria that you deep down know full well you're going to be friends with them for life? I had that. And I hadn't experienced that since the first week of my new college - where me and my best friend found each other. So I was alarmed, in a good way of course, that this was someone who I should definitely watch out for and see prosper as time goes by.
So, I should probably cut to the chase and I'm sure the above could have been summarised in fewer words. As you can probably tell I'm writing this in a passionate moment of nostalgia late one Sunday night. I've just released the second half of the Lost series earlier on in the day, Lost in Vidauban, but before we get to that, let's continue the story in chronological order.
It was August 2015 and it was apparent Caitlin was flying on her own to come to London, I had been communicating with her mum and discussing plans and things, as her original intention was to stay just out of London with her Aunt who'd look after her. But of course, she hasn't been to London in years in recent memory I remember her telling me so I was determined to make her trip to London the best experience it possibly could have so she stayed with me and my mum in London so she was able to do lots of cool outings with me and see her London friends she had arranged to meet, without having to travel in so far by train each day, arriving into Waterloo, half of her pocket money would have easily been depleted knowing how awfully expensive national rail fares can be.
At this point may I just remind you that there was no plan to make a film out of this whole adventure, this only came about on the very last day of her stay in London when we were browsing through all the photos and videos we had. Although I did text her before she flew saying that we should film our meeting up from a two-camera perspective from each protagonist - in a way like in Sofia Coppola's 2003 film Lost in Translation (a big inspiration, most certainly for the title to say the least). That comes across in the edit if you've seen the finished version of Lost In London most definitely.
So that's what we did, she was due to come in early in the morning on a Saturday I think it was (or possibly a weekday I can't remember precisely) but it was definitely a UK school holidays of some sort, hence why it was perfectly timed with her being able to stay over for a good amount of time, I picked her up around 8am from Waterloo Station, her train had pulled in and I was running to meet her, very keen - sunglasses on since it was at the height of summer, I wanted to look cool but then I realised if she doesn't see my whole face she wouldn't recognise me. But then again my height gives me away, I had filmed the meetup on continuous record from when I was walking across the river right till we met, none of it was scripted nor planned. Even when I filmed the opening scene where we met and hugged, it all happened in that very moment without any hesitation or realisation a camera was even there. I don't think i could have ever pictured it differently - it was a perfect moment.
I'll let the film do most of the talking in terms of what we got up to, but I'll talk a bit about the things which surrounded the film - the things that you won't know from watching the film of course. Production Context, if you will. In terms of how I felt at the time, i was definitely at a point in time where I was lost - emotionally. My last ex at the time had cheated on me and dumped me only recently, well towards the end of the academic year so May but that affected me right throughout summer. I don't often admit my insecurities but i was quite affected by it. The holiday in France, which actually led to this inevitable production happening - otherwise if we hadn't had met which if you ask Caitlin we so easily couldn't have - was definitely a major distraction for me and I forgot about the past albeit for brief pockets of time.
There was something about Caitlin I couldn't (and still can't) quite put my finger on, I think the emotions kicked in when the film was complete and she had flown back to England. We are friends, relatives too actually but there was something purely platonic and fulfilling about being in her company and having fun around town together. It's like the way we feel about watching Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in Lost In Translation, especially towards the end - yet again I reference the film you must excuse me. She definitely made me feel special, we still talk lots, she's a big part of my life and I hope that she sees that, she has the brightest of futures ahead and comes from a lovely family.
We had spent a whole day looking through the all the 'dailies' of film rushes we've accumulated from our three devices, her iPhone, my iPhone and her SLR camera, of which on all three devices - so much footage was accumulated. It totted up to a ridiculous amount of gigabytes. So i knew we'd have some fun looking through what we got. We chatted and laughed in my room / editing station, and checked out the content, including photographs too. Caitlin is an aspiring photographer & filmmaker and generally quite the creative virtuoso at more than just a couple things - just recently she sent me a new music track she worked on and I was quite impressed.
It made sense to me for me to have her on screen penned as Director because although it was our film together, I had only kickstarted something that without her - none of this would have been possible and it was her guidance actually that meant we could make something quite magical. I'd be keen to ask if she remembers but she actually had many great ideas for the inevitable sequences that you, the audience, would then go on to see in the finished film - based on the footage we had of course. As the actual construction of the film didn't begin until we finished getting all the footage and then realised we had a film on our hands - not the other way around as it normally is.
She told me in a conversation a while ago, preceding all of this, that her favourite film of all time was Palo Alto by Gia Coppola. I hadn't even heard of it which was surprising because I'm quite adept with the independent film scene. She showed me the film and we sat in the living room late, after a nice meal out to Five Guys. Best burger joint in the culinary world, I'm telling you that. You can even see a small extract of the film where the film's star, Emma Roberts, is out next to the soccer field having a cheeky cigarette by the fence with the film's score playing. I also used this for our film too - Scoreception?. Having a couple additional tracks for pivotal part of the film where music worked well with the imagery from the likes of Caitlin's favourite band - The 1975 and a duo I had admired for some time, Daft Punk.
There were various edits made of Lost In London with both of us contributing segments to the film but then scrapping them because they weren't quite right or something was missing or just from a frustrating day at college or work coincidentally the mindset wasn't quite there. I finished an edit that i sent to Caitlin and she loved it, I loved it too but was nervous to send it - because well, it was integral she loved it and it reminded her of how she felt being here and I guess made her sad too. I was reminded again that she wasn't here, and I became a little sad too. Remember, none of the film was scripted nor planned, apart from our day's outings of course. So everything you see is entirely genuine. And that's why I feel so connected to this piece - it's one of my most personal pieces that I've worked on.
The film's ending is especially sad, it was quite stressful - I don't know how well that comes across, but I certainly found it stressful. The slow-motion sequences were handled particularly well I felt, if anything these were the only planned parts, not in terms of inevitable content but in terms of a willingness to wanting to shoot using a high frame rate. Caitlin looks to camera for one of the final times and frowns, maybe slightly exaggeratively but in a youthful way because she doesn't want to go. This was our final goodbye, in the place that we met on home soil. London Waterloo Station, a place that many people come and go, all day everyday. Many encounters happen, and the slow motion sequence there especially with the overlay dissolve of two overlapping images of people just goes to show the amount of people and the whirlwind of hustle and bustle one can be caught in - it's so easy to lose people and forget where you are, as you might easily become disorientated. I think both of us left the station, one on train outbound, the other bound on foot, feeling stronger, more determined people but reminiscent of each other's missing presence, if you catch my drift. Even somewhat loosely.
Jump to May 2016, for ages now as a thank you for looking after Caitlin, her mum has been nagging me to go to the South of France to stay with them. Now, I kept assuring her that It was my absolute pleasure. She was so lovely and insisting on me coming and I know I couldn't say no. But I did because I was too polite, even though I was the right level of politeness I think in that situation? I didn't want to impose on their family space, as tempting as the offer sounded and of course being in the same sunshine as Cannes, I was conflicted. Caitlin & her family earlier in March, I think it was, had flown to London to stay on a family holiday which was nice and I managed to see all of them, albeit in separate instances because of their plans. Caitlin went to see The 1975 play at Brixton's O2 Academy which must have been good. Can you imagine being 15 and seeing your favourite band of all time up front close and personal with fans who love the same thing as you do? I bet it was awesome. So jumping back to April I gave Caitlin's mum my next free holidays and flights were literally booked there and then - the quickest I've ever had flights sorted out for me, and I was super excited. Not only that, I was going right in the thick of the Cannes Film Festival and was so excited to go!
I think I had maybe overthought filming of the next instalment, well I intended to make a film just as good as Lost In London and it's working title was already set to be Lost In Vidauban at the time, though that was a thing that was at times heavily discussed when wandering and meandering through the melting point that was Cannes with Caitlin during our celebrity scouting on the Croisette. I definitely concentrated on having more of a holiday and adventure than filming, I just wanted a simple getaway. To be with family and friends, in a hot country and new location - in other words, I don't think I gave the filming much attention so I ended up saying to myself most nights there that I needed to somehow accumulate more footage but ended up being distracted by whatever it is I was doing. Definitely a sense of underwhelming that I had hyped up a conjuring up of Lost In London when in reality it was going to end up completely different which it did. Among the release yesterday as a matter of fact of Lost In Vidauban, the same people who had watched Lost In London thought completely differently of this new instalment, with one calling it an 'melancholic but revitalising art piece'.
In all honesty, I loved both pieces, but I there were a few things I didn't like about Lost in Vidauban that caused me to become quite peeved about but I was determined not to scrap it, but to finish it and perhaps that why internally just by myself it was more of a struggle to squeeze the best from the limited footage there was available that was usable, a huge contrast from the overwhelming excess of footage accumulated during Caitlin's trip over here to London. So perhaps I don't feel the same way audiences do about Lost In Vidauban the entire way just because of the editing process. But my love for it is slowly growing back as I'm starting to see things which excite me more, when I re-watch it upon showing it to different groups of friends & family for the first times.
Lost In Vidauban was perhaps indeed a more melancholic art piece than an inadvertently emotional adventurous sprawl that it's London counterpart proved. Definitely it was part of my ritualistic welcome on the night I arrived, since in this film it starts at Night as that's when I arrived, that I was greeted with Caitlin's Palo Alto vinyl, yes the real deal - with the song 'Champagne Coast' playing by indie band, Blood Orange. I definitely think Caitlin is a connoisseur of indie bands and her music taste is cultured. Between September - October of the previous year we were half of a radio show collective called The Wake Up Crew where the Blood Orange track played would be the show's intro theme for. This was unintentional but it reminded me of that when it was played so thought I'd just slot that in there since that's a part of our developing friendship adventure. The radio show formed of myself, Caitlin and two others ran for 30 episodes and was predominantly recorded banter of us aired out live of a skype conversation about our daily musings and jokes.
I wanted to give this film particularly the film look so I added some significant in-edit camera grain on the regular shots, and even shot specific sequences of the film on Digital 8mm (with a special industry-grade film app) that helps to replicate the celluloid look without ever having to buy stock. Like in Lost In London, we were travelling quite a lot, constantly moving. Definitely much more in this film, it seems like a greater distance was travelled - most certainly, a lot of time was spent on the trains between the local station (I say Local but its actually a major station on the network which I was surprised at a little), and Cannes and Nice Ville stations. In one part, I chose to record using the selfie cam of us on the train, because I wanted to replicate what we did on the tube with our resting bitch faces. Caitlin remembered that because she actually says "...like in the tube". Palm Dreams, a collection of imagery from Lost in Vidauban edited against the backdrop of Arcade Fire's original score for Her, is the prologue for the main feature - also doubling as a reference point with an intent to bridge the gap between the two main Lost films. I think perhaps the short video piece, managed to get a bit lost too, but it all adds to the beauty.
I sometimes think, if we hadn't had met that summers day last year, none of this would happened, and I couldn't imagine what my life would turn out to be - because of this one person.
In my latest post, it's been more than a week since The Golden Globes ceremony took place and also over a week since Oscar Nominations were publicly announced. Now with only a couple of notable ceremonies to go till the big one - it's safe to say I've got this one in the bag on who will come out on top.
By this time last year we had been able to safely call the shots on who bagged what award, and this year, like the rest of them in recent times, is no exception. "Spotlight" currently seems like the frontrunner however don't let this cloud your judgement of the ever-increasing awards & industry momentum towards "The Revenant" and "The Big Short".
We are witnessing the same events as last year; Spotlight seems to be taking the same route as Boyhood, and Birdman has evolved into The Revenant - so it really is a case of Spotlight vs The Revenant, with an additional third contender to the ring - The Big Short. Like Richard Linklater's 12-year drama epic, Spotlight too has become a critically beloved indie that also happens to be relatively small scale in terms of production but broad in narrative scope.
Leading the Director Race is 70-year old Veteran George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), whose nomination marks his first ever in the history of The Academy. Shockingly, Ridley Scott (The Martian) was left off this left - which has been one of the major blows to just about every single person's predictions on this major event on the annual film calendar. Lenny Abrahamson's nomination for Room has increased in volatility to make this category an intriguing race.
In terms of Best Actor, say no more - LEO for the trophy. LEO for the Trophy.
In terms of Best Actress, much of the early news surrounded Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander's placement in which category (Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress), the pair were both nominated for supporting actress at the SAGs and Critics Choice however both as leads at The Golden Globes - so understandably there has been some major Oscar analysis and discussion over this. The Best Actress race seems like a head-to-hate battle with two resonating performances from Brie Larson (Room) and Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), both of whom are rising stars in the film industry. Cate Blanchett (Carol) and Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) still have room to make an impact however the buzz surrounding them has died down as of recently.
Last year, you would have been damn crazy to find anyone in their right mind not not predicting that Patricia Arquette, JK Simmons and Julianne Moore would win by Christmas time. It's true that "Spotlight" has evolved into a fully-fledged frontrunner to take this year's prized award for Best Picture and that Leonardo DiCaprio might as well ready himself for accepting an award for Best Actor in his performance in Alejandro Gonzalez Iñnaritu's "The Revenant". As I expected, no film seems a certainty for a best picture nomination - let alone winning, whereas last year the race was pretty much Boyhood v Birdman - the latter of which, when it won, upset many seasoned filmgoers as the former of which was, at least in my opinion, the clear winner. As it's Awards Season and the year's biggest night in Film draws to closer - I thought i'd give you my updated verdict since early last month where I did an analysis on the build-up to the Academy Awards on my blog. My verdict on the Technical Noms hasn't changed much so I'll only be discussing new verdict updates of mine concerning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.
Best Picture - Spotlight is getting all the Spotlights.. but will this work against it's favour?
In a very crowded race, the only sure nomination is "Spotlight", a true story about The Boston Globe's investigation into allegations against John Geoghan, an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. Just to note, for those that don't know how the new Oscar voting system works, this will be the fourth year of the Preferential Voting system - where between five and ten films get in based on the amount of films that receive a certain percentage of high rankings on voter's ballots. Sounds confusing? It sure is! And some of the politics behind into how and who votes what is somewhat questionable, granted. The last minute surge of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" could be greater than currently anticipated which could mean firm Oscar favourites for this and some of the other categories, "The Martian" and "Mad Max" could suffer as a result, especially for Directing, VFX and Editing. But the chances of Star Wars winning Best Picture is very slim, at least we hope for now it is. Studios Disney and 20th Century Fox should do well to at least get one picture nominated, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" or "Bridge of Spies" for Disney and "The Martian" and "The Revenant" for 20th Century Fox. Although my predictions for nominations in all categories is ever changing, at this stage Spotlight is a sure thing, so are "The Big Short" and A24's "Room" and very possibly "Mad Max: Fury Road", "The Martian" and "Carol".
Best Director - A Sticky Situation
The Oscars, as we know, love to be able to tick boxes - and we sure hope they do this year; ticking boxes by awarding those who have been nominated so much and have never won before or whose continuing efforts have seem to have gone unnoticed - or pleasing certain groups of society - a politically motivated tactic at times to please the public and continually uphold the reputation of The Academy Awards and it's juries.
I say this because of one main thing, if "Mad Max" or "The Martian" somehow miss out on a best picture nomination, it seems pretty safe to say that their directors - George Miller and Ridley Scott - will definitely get in anyway. That's a perfect example of ticking boxes, Even if it's a slight nod or nomination towards.. Both are extremely well-respected veteran directors with no Oscars to their name, and for Miller - he's never even received a nomination. The two of them will most likely be joined by Spotlight Director Tom McCarthy however the other two slots are much bigger questions - I hope that the Golden Globe nomination results, and the awards ceremony just around the corner on Sunday January 10th, translate into Oscar nominating success for Todd Haynes "Carol" and last year's winner Alejandro González Iñárritu "The Revenant".
Best Actor - Leo for The Win, But Take With A Pinch of Salt
Now, Ladies & Gentleman, you can all start to get very excited - but take your excitement with a pinch of salt still. One of two major frontrunners this year is Best Actor, safe to say is Leonardo DiCaprio - for his performance in "The Revenant". Because there's so much excitement surrounding this possibility, the acting race is also proving rather boring. Michael Fassbender will be called for "Steve Jobs" most likely, Matt Damon for "The Martian" and Johnny Depp for "Black Mass". In terms of nominees, it will be shaky who comes out 4th or 5th however let's not forget the long shots; Jake Gyllenhaal in "Southpaw", Tom Hardy in "Legend", Abraham Attah in "Beasts of No Nation" and Michael B. Jordan in "Creed".
Best Actress - Where will Oscar voters place Rooney Mara (Carol) and Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) on their ballots?
It's a difficult one to predict, because of the nature of the characters in their films - whatever decision is made, no doubt it will impact all top 6 Award categories to varying degrees - especially that of Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. The trouble here is that the pair were both nominated for Supporting Actress at the SAGs and Critics Choice, however both were nominated for Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes. I think Rooney Mara will end up in the Best Actress category for "Carol", sadly at the expense of her co-star Cate Blanchett, but she's both Oscar-winning and humble anyway so it shouldn't be a problem at all - secretly she might probably be even rooting for her to win, as a co-collaborator, friend, and advocate for female talent. One of them will be nominated, and one of them will probably win. Mara for Best Actress and Blanchett nominated in either or winning for Best Supporting Actress, as they may consider the fact that Mara has more screen time than Blanchett - which is true.
The same situation is also true with Alicia Vikander in "The Danish Girl", no doubt she'll get nominated but as to which category - the star of the plot is Eddie Redmayne, he is The Danish Girl, but in the film Vikander is alive much more so than Redmayne ever could be - it is her who is the unsung hero and main character of the film. In this category (and/or Best Supporting Actress) for sure Mara, Vikander and Blanchett's names will all be there, as for other nominations in this category - we can be expecting Brie Larson for "Room", Saoirse Ronan for "Brooklyn" and possibly either Jennifer Lawrence for "Joy", Charlotte Rampling for "45 Years" or Charlize Theron for "Mad Max: Fury Road".
Award Ceremonies & Key Events around the corner:
Golden Globe Awards - Sunday 10th January
Academy Award nominations - Thursday 14th January
SAG Awards - Saturday 30th January
BAFTA Awards - Sunday 14th February
88th Annual Academy Awards - Sunday 28th February (still a while off to go, most likely another blog post or two before then to give you updates, based on the results from the Golden Globe Awards, Academy Award noms, SAG/BAFTA Awards and final views prior to the big one).
LOST IN LONDON was originally intended as a mash-up of Caitlin's adventure in London with Louis. Both are filmmakers who live in different countries, Caitlin aspires to be a filmmaker and takes inspiration from Louis among many people. The two of them, unknowingly document their adventures, that when it got to the editing stage, became a real nice combination of imagery, sound and narrative. Louis is inspired by Caitlin's youthful ways and though only slightly older feels inspired and motivated to influence the younger Caitlin. They had a larger-than-life project that was unforseen... however it is no doubt their story.
Caitlin Leach is an aspiring British director from Southern France with influences such as Sofia & Gia Coppola prevalent throughout her work. She started out filmmaking recently and is known for her '36 Hours In Paris' which is a short documentary looking at Paris through a different perspective.
This article is from Filmmaker Magazine
Carol is getting raves not just for Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett’s subtle performances, but also for Ed Lachman’s cinematography, which was inspired by mid-century street photographers such as Ruth Orkin, Esther Bubley, Helen Levitt and Vivian Maier.In a first-person story for Indiewire, the veteran cinematographer, who has worked with Werner Herzog, Sofia Coppola, Todd Solondz, Robert Altman and Steven Soderbergh, writes about why he and director Todd Haynes chose to shoot the film in 16mm in order to achieve the look of 1952. “We wanted to reference the photographic representation of a different era,” Lachman said. “They can recreate grain digitally now, but it’s pixel-fixated. It doesn’t have this anthropomorphic quality in which the grain structure in each frame is changing.”
According to Lachman, “the actual physical grain of film adds another expressive layer that is impacting the surface of the characters’ emotional being. It has to do with how film captures movement and exposure in the frame — finer grain for highlights and larger grain for lower light areas — that gives a certain emotionality to the image that feels more human.”
He added, “I really believe with Carol that people would feel something different than if I had shot it digitally.”
Lachman earned an Academy Award-nomination for Far from Heaven, his first collaboration with Haynes, back in 2002. Since then, they’ve worked together on I’m Not There, Mildred Pierceand of course, Carol. All four films were shot on film.
The cinematographer, who was recently honored by the New York Film Critics Circle and the Boston Society of Film Critics for his work on Carol, talked further to Variety about his decision to shoot in 16mm rather than, say, 35mm.
“Even 35mm negative is so grainless that it almost looks digital when you go through a DI. And the same can be said obviously for the digital world,” explained Lachman. “When you shoot digitally they can add grain to the film, but it doesn’t operate the same way.”
According to Lachman, grain has an anthropomorphic quality. “I like to feel, like, a pulsing of something living underneath the surface of the image,” he said. “So by referencing Super 16 I felt it could harken back or it could give a reference to the way you could look at a photograph from 50 or 60 years ago, that the grain structure was different back then. And Super 16, through a DI, through a digital intermediate, would feel like looking at a photograph from the past. So that was the real idea. Then this feeling of another layer of seeing their emotions through grain captured, I thought, another emotional quality of their performance.”
Earlier this year at The New York Film Festival, Lachman chatted with NYFF Selection Committee member Amy Taubin about his love of film grain and why 16mm worked so well for the romantic drama. He also discusses why he used modern stock to create a period look and why he sometimes shot through glass or Plexiglass. “I limited the color palette of the film. We shot with a lot of magenta and greens and yellows. I was trying to shift the color spectrum of the film,” he explained.
Below you can watch his interview with Taubin courtesy of the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
See Carol in cinemas now!
Produced by Louis Holder, Gaye Lockwood and John Holder for Illustration Web. Ltd and Louis Holder Films.
John Holder works in the classic tradition of humorous illustration dating back to Victorian times. Newspapers, magazines, ad agencies and big brands are all among his clients, and John was also responsible for the book GOD – Good Old Drawing, in 2012, which featured the work of 100 like-minded creatives.
John loves old stuff in general – guitars, watches, bikes, and more – and lives in a 17th century home which also houses his studio. He helped set up the Cambridge Folk Festival 50 years ago, and played in one of the UK’s first Bluegrass bands. Every year he makes regular visits to Nashville, the home of the music he loves.
Will 2016 finally be the year Leonardo DiCaprio finally bags an Oscar?
We're only a couple of months away and a bit until the 88th Academy Awards, and little over a month until the Official Nominations are announced but already the probable nominations list has taken form. We've been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of excellent films that have been released over the past year, so here's my verdict on what's hot and what's not so far, combining my own Awards Season analysis which I've been doing every year now for the past three years, my knowledge on the craft, the cast and filmmakers of each production and analysis from reputable sources. I've listed the Links to external sources i've referenced to influence my verdict at the bottom of this blog post. As all film fans know, the Academy never sleeps and buzz has already built around the possible contenders, now we must really look at what's on offer here
Latest News which will come into Nomination play
In the run-up to the big night, I'll be updating my predictions weekly having also considered the latest judgement and verdict online.
Best Picture - Spotlight, The Revenant, Tangerine, The Martian, Carol, Inside Out (a very close game, it could go to one of the films with more limited/niche distribution but have had critical acclaim such as Black Mass, Son of Saul..)
Best Director - Ridley Scott 'The Martian' (the favourite), Tom McCarthy 'Spotlight', Alejandro González Iñárritu 'The Revenant', George Miller 'Max Max: Fury Road' (all of whom are in close contention).
Best Actor - Leonardo DiCaprio 'The Revenant' (the favourite), Matt Damon 'The Martian' (closely fought), Michael Fassbender 'Steve Jobs', Johnny Depp 'Black Mass' (in close contention still), Eddie Redmayne (on paper, but less than likely), and not forgetting Tom Hardy 'Legend' and Jake Gyllenhaal 'Southpaw'.
Best Actress - Brie Larson 'Room' (the near-absolute lock), Saoirse Ronan 'Brooklyn' (dark horse #1), Cate Blanchett 'Carol' and Jennifer Lawrence 'Joy' (could still rally, if only they weren't nominated recently), if Rooney Mara 'Carol' is considered a lead she could rally for the Oscar title (dark horse #2).
Best Supporting Actor - Sylvester Stallone 'Creed' (the favourite), Michael Keaton / Mark Ruffalo 'Spotlight' (Not since 1991 — when Harvey Keitel and Ben Kingsley were both nominated for "Bugsy" — have two actors from the same film been nominated in this category - could this change that?). Also consider, Mark Rylance 'Bridge of Spies' and Tom Hardy 'The Revenant' (the dark horse of this category).
Best Supporting Actress - Alicia Vikander 'The Danish Girl' (the favourite), Rooney Mara 'Carol', Kate Winslet 'Steve Jobs', Jane Fonda 'Youth', Jennifer Jason Leigh 'The Hateful Eight'. Julie Walters 'Brooklyn' and Marion Cotillard (the dark horses).
Best Original Screenplay - Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley 'Inside Out' (the favourite, absolute lock). Possible contenders in this category include Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer 'Spotlight'. An Alternative pick that could still rally, even though it is a long shot - Amy Schumer's 'Trainwreck' (though it's highly unlikely, it has helped contribute to the redefining of gender & genre stereotyping in film this year, through it's writing).
Best Adapted Screenplay - Aaron Sorkin 'Steve Jobs' (the favourite, though not so much the film), Nick Hornby 'Brooklyn', Emma Donoghue 'Room', Drew Goddard 'The Martian' and Phyllis Nagy 'Carol'.
Best Animated Feature - Inside Out (the favourite), The Good Dinosaur (another Pixar film which could work for or against Pixar's favour this season), The Peanuts Movie, Shaun The Sheep Movie.
Best Foreign Language Film - Son of Saul (Hungary, the favourite), Mustang (France), Labyrinth of Lies (Germany), The Club (Chile), The Second Mother (Brazil).
Best Documentary Feature - Amy (for the past three years, the Oscar in this category has gone to the film everybody thought it was going to, remember Searching for Sugar Man and Citizenfour?). Main competition comes from Joshua Oppenheimer's sequel to The Act of Killing - The Look of Silence. What won't be sneaking in these honourable mentions are a shortlist of snubs (annoyingly); The Wolfpack, Iris, Finders Keepers, (T)error...
Best Cinematography - Emmanuel Lubezki 'The Revenant' (the favourite, he's one two years in a row last year and the year before for Gravity and Birdman respectively) with main competition from Roger Deakins for Sicario. Also for consideration; Robert Richardson 'The Hateful Eight', John Seale 'Mad Max: Fury Road' and Edward Lachmann 'Carol'. Unfortunately we expect Macbeth (Adam Arkapaw) to be snubbed.
Best Film Editing - Margaret Sixel 'Mad Max: Fury Road' (the favourite), Pietro Scalia 'The Martian' and Michael Kahn 'Bridge of Spies' could also rally.
Best Production Design - Carol or Cinderella (both equal favourites, closely fought - though they couldn't be more different; a 1950s-set lesbian romance vs an adaptation of a Disney fairy tale). Mad Max: Fury Road and Crimson Peak and Macbeth as Dark Horses.
Best Costume Design - This year we can judge Best Production Design & Costume Design nominees in parallel since nom predictions are almost exactly the same, both work in harmony in the films mentioned above and there are others to notice to. Once again, Carol or Cinderella once again for the win.
Best Original Score - The usual composers are at it again, making original scores, themes and songs for the best sounding movies of the year. After a grand 12 nominations, can Thomas Newman finally win for Bridge of Spies? Other contenders are Jóhann Jóhannson (Sicario), Carter Burwell (Carol), Alexandre Desplat (The Danish Girl) and John Williams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).
Best Original Song - It seems within recent years, the Original Song category noms are becoming populated by well... popular artists. For instance, Adele's platinum-selling James Bond theme for 2012's 'Skyfall'. This year the favourites to win are; One Kind of Love (Love & Mercy), Til It Happens To You (The Hunting Ground), and Simple Song #3 (Youth), although nothing memorable sticks out last year like 2013's Frozen song 'Let It Go'.
Best Visual Effects - 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' (What will probably win), 'Mad Max: Fury Road' (the favourite to win, right now). Can Star Wars take down Mad Max and Jurassic World? Other contenders in the VFX arena are; Jurassic World, The Martian and though unlikely - The Walk, Everest and Tomorrowland.
Best Makeup & Hairstyling - Black Mass, The Danish Girl, Carol, Crimson Peak, Macbeth, Mr. Holmes
Best Sound Mixing - Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Best Sound Editing - (same as above for Sound Mixing).
From the main article,
Earlier this year, for one of their units; Unit 31 - Social Action and Community Media Production, City of Westminster College Level 3 Extended Diploma Creative Media students worked together in class on a professional brief; to shoot the Richmond Running Festival’s 21k Half Marathon - more specifically, us running in it and fundraising for the Place2Be Charity, an additional part of our unit criteria. Making a difference & documenting it.
Student Louis Holder was responsible for overseeing the execution of the entire project from inception to completion as the project's Production Coordinator, as well as running in the marathon himself on the day! He really stretched himself as he's an incredibly un-sporty person, for someone who's always using his legs too! Here's some photos from the project;
To say The 87th Academy Awards were a shock is a huge understatement, for the big awards - some of the winners were undeserving. Others simply shocked us that they beat the obvious frontrunners to claim the prized statuette.
As usual, it was the job of host with the most for this year; Neil Patrick Harris to be the biggest arsehole on the planet for a period of just under four hours. Just in case over 20 endorsements of ABC, the Academy broadcaster for the event, wasn't enough - he had to sing at the beginning, turning the show into the biggest musical embarrassment since... Ummm.
No no, I'm being too cynical, the show was lovely - it was its usual glitzy self and all the better because it was available live on Sky Movies Oscars - delightful! Though the Red Carpet proved disappointing, with a lack of A-List celebrities strutting their stuff, we saw some of our favourite faces in cinema over the past year. Meryl Streep was the only real A-lister there - i suppose in today's climate, what defines the term celebrity?
The Academy Awards this year were a shocker for two reasons;
On top of an already shocking nominations list prior to the ceremony taking place, with a lack of Teller, Revolori or Oyelowo or Coltrane being at all recognised for their electrifying performances in their respective films, we've got all this to take in now.
For me, the most deserving winners of the night (without question) were;
The above were, without question, the obvious winners in their categories and its great to see that they were recognised for it. J.K. Simmons was, at his age, talent and evocative work with Whiplash, the obvious contender for Best Supporting Actor. The same goes to Patricia for Boyhood who gives us her lifetime best performance as the mother of Mason Jr. in the real-time coming-of-age epic Boyhood.
I was also pleased to see Best Foreign Language Film go to Ida, in recent weeks, its had the edge against long-running contender - Leviathan and Achievement in Sound Mixing went to Whiplash - for the crispest jazz and for the general classiness. It's a great film.
The most shocking, and thus disappointing, winners on the night in my opinion were;
...and the reasons for them.
Perhaps for The Academy, it was too obvious for Boyhood to get Best Picture. I think in recent weeks Boyhood gained momentum to a point where it was clear to everyone just how much of a monumental production Boyhood really was. The film was actually my favourite to win, but I think the style of Birdman clouded the views of the jury. There is an element of confusion here - its a profound film which focusses on dsyfunctional American family, its a real American film - maybe it was too real? There was hardly any typical 'blockbuster' element about it and perhaps it was too clever for an American audience - this s quite a derogoratory stereotype to make but with every stereotype; there is an element of truth. Boyhood had more of an impact in European Cinema, but this year the Academy has gone too far and they've strayed from honoring the true winners; like The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, Selma and some would say (I know I would); Nightcrawler.
I'm not saying Birdman didn't deserve to win, it had a good chance of winning right from the start and considering the Academy jury was consisted of older people which would make us think Boyhood would resonate with them more, against the odds Birdman with its stylish cinematography and 'one-take' effect - broke a few technical norms.
Should have won: Boyhood
Best Director is another huge disappointment, and blow to Boyhood, I even think there could have been the small chance of a sympathy Oscar to Boyhood for either Best Picture or Best Director, I would have been okay with Best Picture going to Birdman (it's still annoying) and Best Director going to Inarritu but the fact that both awards went to the film, something's not quite right. Richard Linklater, director of Boyhood, was the obvious winner from the start, he had spent nearly a third of his life producing the film which required such dedication and integrity to the production that any other nomination is unparalleled. It would only make sense to commemorate arguably the most humanist director of all time with an Oscar, but sadly that was not the case.
Did Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Should have won: Richard Linklater
Original Screenplay should've gone to The Grand Budapest Hotel, the outcome of this award is yet another massive shocker. It was witty, funny and exceptionally well crafted as typical in a sarcastic black comedy from Wes Anderson. Birdman had no story, no aim and it might as well have been an observational documentary with some fancy camera work and lighting, with a unpredictable migraine-inducing drum beat. The Academy's reputation may have taken a turn for the worse, I sure think less of it anyway - but I was kind of expecting it too, the reputation part not the award winners!
I don't have much to say about the next award, other than the fact it should been How To Drain Your Dragon 2 (heartwarming, better than the original AND well animated - slightly better than Big Hero 6 in its realism).
Did Win: Big Hero 6
Should have won: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Achievement in Cinematography was a shocker too, though it wasn't as well. It was a shocker because last year Emmanuel Lubeszki won the same award for Gravity - so were were expecting the Oscars not to go all consecutive on this one but it seems that wasn't the case - it should have gone to a more deserving winner; notably Robert Yeoman, Wes' right hand man on every production since, on The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Oscars totally played against their usual tactic of 'getting rid of people without a statue yet' with the exception of Julianne Moore who won Best Actress for her portrayal.