Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Best of the Rest

In case the Best Picture Nominees don't quite fulfil your Oscar needs, here are all the other films nominated for more than one award tonight - and then some!

Carol (Nominated for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Music)

Carol portrays two women who fall in love in 1950s New York. Carol (Cate Blanchett) and Therese (Rooney Mara) come from conventional backgrounds and after an innocent meeting, a connection forms between the two which grows deeper and more passionate as society tries to stop it. Whilst the intensity and pace of the film can drop, it offers a stunningly shot and truly touching story. Held up by absolutely stellar performances by Blanchett and Mara, Carol is a beautiful and heart wrenching tale that takes the viewer on a roller coaster of emotions, good and bad. It is an engaging and powerful piece of cinema.

The Danish Girl (Nominated for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Production Design, and Best Costume Design)

Tom Hooper shot to stardom with the excellent drama The King's Speech, followed up by musical drama Les Miserables. Now he presents another emotional drama. It never quite reaches the likability of his dabble with royalty, nor quite deals with hardship as movingly as his musical outing, but there is still something compelling about The Danish Girl. The film is the story of Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) and his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander) as Einar struggles with his gender identity and life is pumped into the narrative by the sensational chemistry between Redmayne and Vikander. Individually they both put in incredible performances but Vikander particularly shines. A beautiful story told in a beautiful manner.

Ex Machina  (Nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Visual Effects)

Alex Garland's directorial debut is a bold adventure. Not only was he behind the camera for this gritty sci-fi thriller, but he also wrote it. It tells the story of Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) who is invited to work alongside tech billionaire Nathan (Oscar Issac) to test the AI he has created. The AI is Ava (Alicia Vikander), but can she convince Caleb that she has conciseness in the ultimate Turing Test?. Ex Machina is dark, claustrophobic, and utterly compelling film making. Every second keeps you on your toes right up until the nail biting conclusion. It adds to an already excellent year for all three leads, and promises great things for Garland's future as a director.

The Hateful Eight (Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Music)

There is always added pressure when a film's runtime exceeds three hours; the film has to justify its length . Fortunately, Tarantino is still on top form here. The Hateful Eight follows Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) as he hitches a ride with bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his prisoner Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to try and keep ahead of a blizzard. What the film does so masterfully is to keep the film constantly engaging for the entire runtime. Every time Tarantino is about to reach the climax of one narrative, he cuts away to build the suspense as long as possible. He creates an intimately intense piece of cinema with some typical Tarantinoisms. Fans of the director will not be disappointed, even if the ending leaves a little to be desired.

Joy  (Nominated for Best Actress)

Jennifer Lawrence continues her successful partnership with David O. Russell, though that relationship may not be mutual. Whilst Lawrence is in fine form as Joy Mangano, the inventor of the miracle mop, the rest of the film falls short. Whilst she shares the screen with Bradley Cooper as Neil Walker, master of the QVC shopping channel, the film is at its strongest. The pair bring a charisma to the film that O. Russell struggles to replicate at other points. The editing in the first quarter of the film is awkward and there are jarring dream and flashback sequences that simply do not fit.

Sicario (Nominated for Best Original Music, Best Cinematography, and Best Sound Editing)

Sicario picks up its nominations primarily in technical categories, but this is one of the most thrilling films of the year. Quite literally opening with a bang, Sicario throws the audience straight into Kate Macer's (Emily Blunt) world as she gets hired to help take down a cartel. From tense set piece to tense set piece, we are taken on an action packed and suspenseful journey into Mexico and back. An astonishing achievement in modern thrillers that is relentless in its shockingly realistic depiction of the violence involved in the drug trade.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (Nominated for Best Original Music, Best Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing)

When Star Wars first came out in 1977, the world went wild. Over the past forty years, Luke, Leia, Hans, Vader, and their universe have become cultural icons. The Force Awakens is a welcome return to form after the questionable prequels, with new icons being created in the form of Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and BB-8. The old faces of Fisher, Ford, and Hamill are all present also in what is just as much a throw back to A New Hope as it is a contemporary revisiting to a galaxy far far away. It is accessible to a whole new fan base whilst building on the already existing Star Wars universe. It is a fun filled ride with gloriously constructed action sequences, stunning special effects, and a John Williams score to die for. It all feels a bit familiar, but perhaps that just the feeling of returning home.

Steve Jobs (Nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress)

The late great Steve Jobs was undoubtedly one of the biggest influences in the world of technology of all time. It is not just his technology that catches eyes, but the man himself. Steve Jobs tells the story of that man through his product launches - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Be focusing in on the big stage moments of the career, Steve Jobs takes the image we know of Jobs (Michael Fassbender) and shows us the behind the scenes moments. Behind the black turtle neck and small circular spectacles is an emotional tale of an incredibly intelligent, passionate man who struggles to fit his personal world into his professional plans. With Fassbender putting in a brilliant turn as Jobs and a stunning performance from Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman, Steve Jobs is a brilliant, if not occasionally disjointed, film, brought to life by another fantastic screenplay by Aaron Sorkin.

Straight Outta Compton (Nominated for Best Original Screenplay)

Straight Outta Compton tells the story of notorious rap group N.W.A., detailing their rise, their fall, and every thing in between. A brilliant and compelling piece of story telling. The first half is a completely engaging, new-school musical, dropping some dope beats and underlined by the gritty life coming from the back allies of Compton.With stunning turns from O'Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube), Corey Hawkins (Dr Dre), and Jason Mitchell (Eazy-E), three unknown actors who come from obscurity to build one of the strongest ensembles of the year. Whilst the second act loses some pace, the performances remain strong and the narrative becomes more intense as well as more moving.


  1. kurt Russell will guest star on scorpion kurt Russell will be playing as Malcolm in scorpion

  2. kurt Russell will guest star on blue bloods kurt Russell will be playing as Malcolm in blue bloods

  3. kurt Russell will guest star on suits kurt Russell will be playing as Malcolm in suits