Cast/Recast: Blade Runner

In 1982, Ridley Scott presented us with a cinematic masterpiece view of the future. We’re now just four years away from catching up to the year in which it is set – 2019 – so I thought it might be ripe for a recast. Much as I would hate to see this classic remade or rebooted (some films should just be left alone!), if I were to make this movie today, here’s who I would choose for my cast…

Blade Runner (1982)

Character: Rick Deckard (human?)
Originally played by: Harrison Ford
Recast: Michael Fassbender

DECKARDSlightly rough around the edges, careworn, but with a gentleness to him, Deckard is a man of complicated character, and we’re never sure if he’s human or if he’s replicant too. Ford leaves big shoes to fill for this role, and Fassbender is one of only very few actors today who could fill them. I think he’d be perfect as our leading man in a remake.

Character: Roy Batty (replicant)
Originally played by: Rutger Hauer
Recast: Ryan Gosling

BATTYSwitching from violence to romantic poet in the blink of an eye, Hauer gave the leader of the escaped replicants a soul. His deadpan delivery of his final lines remain one of the most heartbreaking moments ever committed to film, and I think Gosling has exactly the right kind of look to be able to carry off the almost total lack of expression as he gives his heartrending monologue.

Character: Rachael (replicant)
Originally played by: Sean Young
Recast: Carey Mulligan

RACHAELWith her perfect, doll-like features and soulful eyes, Mulligan could portray the calm, yet confused Rachel with aplomb, infusing her with both softness and intelligence, making her a very tempting prospect for Deckard.

Character: Pris (replicant)
Originally played by: Daryl Hannah
Recast: Milla Jovovich

PRISEqual parts innocent and seductive, this acrobatic replicant needs to be able to kick ass, but also inspire sympathy. The role has echoes of Leeloo in The Fifth Element, and I can see Jovovich shining as this character.

Character: Zhora (replicant)
Originally played by: Joanna Cassidy
Recast: Christina Hendricks

ZORAHThis sexy-as-sin exotic dancer must have a body to die for, so who better than the modern day equivalent of Marilyn Monroe? Hendricks exudes confidence, and would be absolutely irresistible to pretty much anyone. Don’t you think she’d look awesome with a replicant snack draped around her shoulders?

Character: Leon (replicant)
Originally played by: Brion James
Recast: Jonah Hill

LEONThis may come as a surprise, but this was actually the first part I cast in my head. We had just sat down to watch Blade Runner for the first time in years, and from the first scene with Leon, I thought to myself, “Jonah Hill would be perfect in that role!”, and my recasting began! I wanted all my replicants to look soulful, to blur the lines between human and replicant, so that their fight for their right for continued existence would be all the more poignant. Just look at Hill’s face. Look at his eyes. Wouldn’t he be compelling? I’d love to see him in this kind of role.

Character: J F Sebastian (human)
Originally played by: William Sanderson
Recast: Peter Dinklage

JF SEBASTIANDinklage has gone supernova off the back of Game of Thrones, and his stellar talent would mean he could play the role of the shy, retiring genius with a condition which means he ages prematurely, without making him remotely creepy (which I think would be a pitfall some other actors might fail to avoid). Strange as the pairing may seem, I think the scenes between JF and Pris would work wonderfully between Dinklage and Jovovich.

Character: Dr Eldon Tyrell (human)
Originally played by: Joe Turkel
Recast: Colin Firth

tyrellTyrell, the genius who has built up the large Tyrell Corporation, is the man who built the four-year lifespan into the Nexus 6 models, but also the “guardian” of Rachael. I want him to be capable of being ruthless and business-like, yet sympathetic. He also needs to be someone credible as a distinguished man of means and high intelligence. I can think of no better candidate than Colin Firth – a man of many talents.

Character: Captain Harry Bryant (human)
Originally played by: M. Emmet Walsh
Recast: Giancarlo Esposito

BRYANTAs captain of the Rep-Detect department of the Los Angeles Police Department, Harry Bryant is charged with the recovery of the escaped Nexus 6 replicants. He always seemed a little weathered and jaded to me, and I can picture Esposito fitting the role perfectly.

Character: Gaff (human)
Originally played by: Edward James Olmos
Recast: Takeshi Kaneshiro

GAFFI toyed with the idea of several actors in the role of the mysterious origami-folding Gaff, including Benicio del Toro and Chen Chang. In the end, I went with Takeshi Kaneshiro, as I think he would bring a sleek, slick air to Gaff, and he would certainly stand out as being completely different to Deckard.

So, there we go – my own personal wish list for a reboot of this seminal sci-fi classic.

Do you agree with my choices? Either way, I’d love to know. And if you’d cast someone else, leave a comment below with your choice and reason for casting them.

Edited to add:
In a story published on Yahoo on 17th November 2015, Ryan Gosling confirmed he would be in Blade Runner 2. OK, so Batty died in the first film (or did he?) so he’ll not be playing that role (or will he?), but it’s interesting to read, three months after I published my post, that he’s a definite cast member in the sequel!

Cast/Recast: Highlander

There’s talk that Highlander (1986) is about to be rebooted. I know there was quite a popular TV series that was a spin-off from the original series of films, but I was never a fan, and I’ve only ever seen the first movie, so I thought it would be fun to recast the main characters of the original mid-eighties movie. Here’s what I came up with:

Highlander (1986)

Character: Connor ‘The Highlander’ MacLeod / Russell Edwin Nash
Originally played by: Christopher Lambert
Recast: Sam Heughan

Connor MacLeodThe original film cast a Frenchman in the role of a Highlander. I want to put a Scot in the role. A Scot who has recently become quite well known for playing a Highlander born some 200 years after Connor MacLeod, as he plays Jamie Fraser in the Starz series, Outlander (which is excellent, by the way). He’s tall, good looking, and looks fabulous in a kilt. He can also handle a sword, which is pretty important for this role. I’d love to see this up-and-coming actor play the lead here. He certainly has the talent and charisma for the role.

Character: Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez
Originally played by: Sean Connery
Recast: Rodrigo Santoro

Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos RamirezIn another strange bit of casting, the original film had a Scotsman playing an Egyptian. I want to cast a Brazillian in the role. Santaro has proven he can be an imposing presence (check out his performance as Xerxes in 300), and his exotic good looks would seem to fit the character well. And look at those soulful eyes – if anyone looks like he has a soul that has lasted thousands of years, it’s him. I could believe he’s been walking the earth since almost 900 years before the birth of Christ!

Character: Victor Kruger / The Kurgan
Originally played by: Clancy Brown
Recast: Zach McGowan

The KurganThe heavy leather boots left vacant by the formidable Clancy Brown are incredibly hard to fill. From the information I’ve managed to gather, the ex-wrestler-turned-actor, Dave Bautista, is stepping into them for the reboot, but I’m disappointed by this choice. I’d like to go a little more subtle. Another of the Starz alumni is my choice. McGowan can currently be seen playing the ruthlessly vicious Captain Charles Vain in Black Sails, and his gravelly tones would be perfectly suited to the evil Russian who is even older than the Egyptian. He’s not quite as tall as Brown, but at six feet tall, he can still be pretty imposing, and he can certainly project enough menace to terrify any immortal!

Character: Heather MacLeod
Originally played by: Beatie Edney
Recast: Lily James

Heather MacLeodAnother rising star at the moment is Lily James, known for playing Lady Rose MacClare in Downton Abbey, and now as playing Cinderella in the live action remake of the Disney classic animated film. Her fresh face and natural prettiness would suit the role of Heather MacLeod perfectly.

Character: Brenda J. Wyatt
Originally played by: Roxanne Hart
Recast: Katee Sackhoff

BrendaAs the police technician fascinated with the apparent murder case involving MacLeod/Nash, and his modern-day love interest, I see someone like Katee Sackhoff (who played the formidable Starbuck in the rebooted Battlestar Galactica). She’s a down-to-earth, independent, feisty kind of gal who would be a great foil for the leading Highlander.

Character: Rachel Ellenstein
Originally played by: Sheila Gish
Recast: Raquel Welch

Rachel Ellenstein HighlanderCasting Rachel, the little girl adopted by MacLeod when he finds her all alone during World War II is a touch more difficult to cast, as we are now thirty years on from the original film. We need someone who was a small child, maybe five or six years old, by the tail end of the war, but someone who still looks pretty good. Of course, Hollywood is filled with screen sirens who are aging very gracefully, but the one I chose, who I think fits the bill perfectly, is Raquel Welsh, who was born in 1940 and still looks absolutely amazing at the age of 74! She would bring a real touch of class to my personal reboot.

So, there we go – my own personal wish list for a reboot of this magnificent movie. Obviously, I haven’t cast every role – there are many other roles I could cast, but I choose to focus on just the main parts as I see them.

Do you agree with my choices? Either way, I’d love to know. And if you’d cast someone else, leave a comment below with your choice and reason for casting them.

(2015) 52 things in 52 weeks update

52 things in 52 weeksI won’t promise to do a monthly update, as life often gets in the way of such things, but here we are at the end of January and I find myself with a few minutes to spare, so I’ll do a quick round-up of how my challenges are going so far.

Surprisingly, I have now completed TEN of the 52 challenges:

2. Watch 5 films nominated for awards in the 87th Academy Awards
I’ve actually now watched seven films this year that have been nominated for various Oscars, and several of the films I watched last year have also been nominated for Academy Awards. You can check out all the films I’ve seen HERE (and there are sometimes links to reviews I’ve written if you click on them!)

4. Post predictions of Oscar winners
Click the link above to be taken to my predictions post.

8. Apply to be a giver for World Book Night (fourth year running!)
I actually applied at the tail end of last year as I didn’t want to risk being late, so I started the year with one challenge completed. A teensy bit of a cheat, perhaps, but for a good reason. I really hope to get chosen again as I love taking part in this!

9. Drink no alcohol for 4 weeks (28 / 28)
Not one drop of alcohol has passed my lips during the whole month of January. It wasn’t particularly difficult, as I’m not really a big drinker, but I do tend to have a few drinks over the course of the festive period, and I have occasionally been tempted to crack open one of the bottles left over from the end of last year!

32. Make a summer holidays bucket list
You can see my list for this summer HERE. It’ll be a work in progress, as I’m sure I’ll hear of various events being held locally nearer to the summer holidays.

35. Make a family photo book/album of last year’s (2014) pictures
My photo book arrived a couple of weeks ago and I love it! It’s sitting with the previous two on the shelf in the living room. If you’d like to make one, I highly recommend Vistaprint – it’s a very easy to use system and a very professional finish.

39. Not shout at my kids for 4 weeks straight (28 / 28)
This was perhaps the most challenging of my challenges. I’m not a partiularly angry person, but I do have a six year old son who likes to push the boundaries! Nevertheless, I have managed not to shout at my kids all month, and I intend to continue as long as possible, I have raised my voice to call out to them from another room or over some distance, but I have not raised my voice in anger. I may have lowered my voice and spoken slightly forcibly through gritted teeth once or twice, but I have not shouted, and of that I am incredibly proud. I have once or twice gone into another room (or even a cupboard) and given out a short, sharp scream to vent some frustrations, but never in the same room as my children. And it hasn’t gone un-noticed. Tadpole has commented on it several times and seems quite pleased. We’re also trying to work on how he vents and expresses himself, so hopefully we will soon have a harmonious and peaceful home where nobody shouts. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?

43. Continue breastfeeding Choochie to the age of 15 months (10 January)
We made it past this milestone and he’s still going strong. Honestly, Choochie is a total boob-monster! He no longer nurses at night, but wakes around 4.30am for a feed and a cuddle, then a couple of times through the day he climbs up on my knee for his Milkies, but mostly when he’s feeling tired and wants to nap. He does, however, usually stop before he falls asleep and will now go to bed while still awake and settle himself down. He’s also started sleeping a little bit longer (most of the time, anyway), which is making a huge difference to me and my quality of sleep!

48. Make / contribute three items for charity (3 / 3)
I’ve actually made about 40 items now! I’m taking part in the Be Aware, Make a Square charity drive to raise awareness and money for a meningitis charity. The squares will be made into various items which will be auctioned off.

52. Make a new list of 52 things in 52 weeks for 2016
I’ve already made my list! It won’t be posted until the end of the year, so I may well tweak it a little bit, but it’s got 52 challenges on it ready to go!

I also have quite a few challenges ongoing and partially completed:

1. Watch 52 films in 52 weeks (17 / 52)
5. Read 2 books each month (2 / 24)
18. Lose 14lbs (9 / 14)
27. Split all my coppers between Tadpole’s and Choochie’s piggy banks each month (1/12)
28. Save all £2 coins into the Xmas fund each month (1/12)
29. Save all silver up to the value of 20p into the Xmas fund each month (1/12)
30. Put aside £2 for each challenge completed into Xmas fund (£20/£104)
31. Save £10 per week (£50 / £520)
34. Visit family in Scotland
36. Take the kids to the library once a month (1 / 12)
41. Share a photo of my kids and me each month (1 / 12) (see the photos HERE)
44. Continue breastfeeding Choochie to the age of 18 months (10 April)
45. Write 12 letters (total, between them) to my various pen pals (3 / 12)
49. Make six gifts /Xmas decorations (3 / 6)
50. Release twelve new cross stitch charts (1 / 12)

And these ones will be started in February:

10. Eat no chocolate for 4 weeks (0 / 28)
11. Drink a green smoothie every day for 4 weeks (0 / 28)
16. Try out 6 recipes I’ve never tried before (0/6)
17. Try 6 foods I’ve never tried before (0 / 6)

So, quite a lot of progress made, and I’m well on my way towards fulfilling my list of challenges!

Film Review: Into the Woods (2014)

into_the_woods_ver12Film: Into the Woods
Released: 2014
Director: Rob Marshall
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski

Big screen version of the Stephen Sondheim musical of the same name. A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.

What I thought of it:
I remember once seeing a televised version of the musical where the witch was played by the phenomenal Bernadette Peters and being blown away. I’ve never yet seen the live stage version, but I was super excited when I heard of this production being green-lighted and waited with bated breath to see who would be cast.

I wasn’t disappointed.

The music and story remain the same, and the performances from the stellar cast are of the highest class. Honestly, you couldn’t ask for a better cast. In particular, stand out performances from Depp as the Big Bad Wolf (a brief, but important part), and Streep as the Wicked Witch, who isn’t perhaps as wicked as people might have originally thought (one can understand her 19th Oscar nomination for this film). A surprisingly strong vocal performance from Pine as one of the handsome princes was a pleasure to see and hear (who would have thought he had such a princely singing voice?) and a neat turn from Ullman as Jack’s mother were nice touches, but I was particularly pleased with the onscreen chemistry between Cordon and Blunt, as the baker and his wife, who carry the majority of the story and handled their parts with admirable aplomb.

And my eldest son, who is six years old, thought this film was fantastic, giving it full marks. It kept him entertained from start to finish. It’s definitely worth watching with the kids, as the unusual take on the traditional fairytales is sure to spark conversations and get their imaginations working.

Rating: Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Nominated for Oscars in three categories (Best Supporting Actress for Streep, Best Achievement in Production Design, and Best Costume Design), I feel this one might nab the costume statue, along with Steep possibly bagging another win. As the actress most often nominated for Oscars in performance categories, she may well convert this into another win, and I would be very happy for her to take this one home.

Film Review: The Descendants (2011)

descendantsFilm: The Descendants
Released: 2011
Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller

A land baron tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident.

What I thought of it:
This is actually the second time I’ve watched this film and I loved it just as much as the first time.

Mixing drama, tragedy and comedy effectively is a difficult task to attempt, but The Descendants pulls it off with flair. This is largely down to the very fine performances, not just by established Hollywood hard-hitter Clooney, but also his young co-stars. Both Woodley and Miller show and emotional depth and ability that belies their age, and they easily match the standard of their BAFTA and Oscar nominated co-star.

It was also something of a joy to watch Krause as the somewhat bumbling Sid, who initially comes across as a brainless, tactless idiot, but is revealed to have surprising warmth, depth and understanding of the situation, as well as offering his unerring support to the family during their most trying and emotional time. He adds much of the lighter, comedy sides of things, but doesn’t skimp on the serious stuff either.

Clooney is, in my opinion, our generation’s Cary Grant. He oozes charm, and has the quick-fire wit, versatility and faultless timing of one of Hollywood’s best loved actors, and he truly deserves accolade for his performance in this heartwarming film.

Rating: Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
This won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, which was richly deserved, but failed to convert nominations to wins for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Film Editing (most of those were picked up by The Actor).

Film Review: Gone Girl (2014)

gone_girl_ver4Film: Gone Girl
Released: 2014
Director: David Fincher
Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris

With his wife’s disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected that he may not be innocent.

What I thought of it:
Initially, I wasn’t particularly bothered about seeing this film. Oh, how wrong could I have been? Gone Girl is an astute study of manipulation, both of the media, and by a couple trapped in a now loveless marriage, with superb performances from the leads. In particular, Pike turns in a chilling portrayal of a wronged wife, while Affleck stretches his acting chops as the slightly unlikable husband, and Harris is, as usual, legen… wait for it… dary  as the slightly creepy ex-boyfriend.

There’s not an awful lot one can say without dropping the most terrible spoilers, but this is a tense and intriguing thriller showcasing the talents of the stars, which displays tight writing and the most terse direction. It’s well worth watching, just so you can try to work out what’s going on and stay one step ahead. If you manage to anticipate all the moves, well, then I take my hat off to you!

Rating: Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Pike has been nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, and it is a nomination richly deserved, but I fear she’ll be pipped to the post by Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything, which looks set to sweep the boards this year. I am surprised, however, that it wasn’t nominated for Best Adaptation, as it might have been a shoe-in for that category.

Film Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

The-Hobbit-Battle-of-the-Five-Armies-poster-9-691x1024Film: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Released: 2014
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage

In the final installment of the trilogy, Bilbo and Company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the Lonely Mountain from falling into the hands of a rising darkness.

What I thought of it:
I have been totally and utterly underwhelmed by this trilogy, which is a great disappointment after loving The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The major difference being that with The Lord of the Rings, they made three substantial books and turned them into three substantial movies, crammed full of detail and action. With The Hobbit trilogy, they have taken a single book that is shorter than any of the three in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and stretched it into three movies, meaning they had to write additional material and invent extra characters to flesh it out a bit.

The Hobbit was never one of my favourite books – I was once forced to read it before playing a part in a stage version of it, and I found it incredibly difficult to plod through – it didn’t engage me at all. Having the source material stretched beyond its own limits to make money off three films has not made me like it any more.

There are fine performances from everyone involved, but I found myself bored to tears almost from the beginning, and this has been the case with all three installments, which is a shame. What could have been one really great film has become three very mediocre movies instead, and I do not see myself ever making a repeat viewing of them. (Unlike with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I have loved in its full, extended director’s cut version).

Rating: Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Nominated for the Oscar in the Best Sound Editing category. I suppose it’s conceivable that it could take home the statue, but it would be the poor second cousin to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which won eleven (count them, eleven!) Oscars, including Best Picture. In your face, Hobbit!

Film Review: Predestination (2014)

PredestinationFilm: Predestination
Released: 2014
Director: Michael Spierig (as The Spierig Brothers) , Peter Spierig (as The Spierig Brothers)
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor

The life of a time-traveling Temporal Agent. On his final assignment, he must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time.

What I thought of it:
In general, I have a problem with time travel, riddled with paradox as it inevitably is, and find most films with time travel as the main theme to be far below expectations. The exception to this rule is the Back to the Future trilogy, because, well, just because they’re awesome, OK? Another exception, now, is Predestination.

It’s difficult to say anything about this film without giving away major plot points which could/would spoil the viewing pleasure of others, so I will keep is simple and brief. Paradox plays a huge role in the plot, but it is handled in such an elegant manner that it doesn’t matter. The intelligent script never condescends to the viewer and the stars are incredibly engaging, making this an interesting exercise in intrigue that keeps you dangling on a very cleverly constructed hook.

To say I enjoyed this film is to do it a great injustice – I did more than enjoy it – I relished every second.

Rating: Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
It may well have you questioning the concept of time travel and exactly what it would allow, but you’ll enjoy the ride and it will certainly exercise your little grey cells!

My predictions for the 87th Academy Awards

oscars-1024x727The nominations are in for the 87th Academy Awards. Quite a few as expected, but with a few surprises, I think. Anyway here are my predictions for the winners – they’re the ones in red. I, for one, can hardly wait to see the results, and with it hosted by the legen… wait for it… dary Neil Patrick Harris, it’ll be a show and a half!

Best Picture:

  • America Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Pudapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

This will be the first of quite a few wins for this film, I reckon…

Best Director:

  • Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
  • Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  • Bennet Miller (Foxcatcher)
  • Morten Tyidum (The Imitation Game)

It’s surprising that James Marsh (The Theory of Everything) has seemingly been snubbed in this category, but I think his loss will be Tyidum’s gain here. I have the feeling that The Imitation Game will be losing out to The Theory of Everything in several categories, so I hope it wins here.

Best Actor:

  • Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher)
  • Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
  • Michael Keaton (Birdman)
  • Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

I think Redmayne has this one all sewn up. Although I’ve not seen it yet, and cannot personally comment on his performance, this one has multiple Oscar wins written all over it.

Best Actress:

  • Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)
  • Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
  • Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
  • Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
  • Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

Again, without yet witnessing her performance (which will soon be remedied), I reckon The Theory of Everything has this one in the bag.

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Robert Duvall (The Judge)
  • Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
  • Edward Norton (Birdman)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
  • J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Duvall his this one coming – a classic actor with a stellar career. It’s another film I haven’t yet seen, but one I’m dying to watch as soon as possible). It’s been 32 years since his last statuette (Tender Mercies in 1983), but I think this one will be winging it’s way to him.

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
  • Laura Dern (Wild)
  • Keira Knightly (The Imitation Game)
  • Emma Stone (Birdman)
  • Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

Streep is the single most Oscar nominated actress in the world, and I feel she may well be chalking up another win here. Let’s face it, any actress up against Streep should be quaking in her boots! Could this be another Oscar win for Streep? (Streep has now been nominated an amazing 19 times for her acting, and won three times, twice as Best Actress, and once as Best Supporting Actress!)

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr & Armando Bo)
  • Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
  • Foxcatcher (E. Max Frye & Dan Futterman)
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson & Hugo Guiness)
  • Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)

I think this is where Birdman will convert a nomination into a win. It’s had a lot of chatter around it, so this could be where it scoops a statue.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • American Sniper (Jason Hall)
  • The Imitation Game (Graham Moore)
  • Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)
  • The Theory of Everything (Anthony McCarten)
  • Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)

Much as I’d love it to be The Imitation Game, I get the feeling The Theory of Everything will be the board sweeper.

Best Animated Feature:

  • Big Hero 6
  • The Boxtrolls
  • How To Train Your Dragon 2
  • Song of the Sea
  • The Tale of Princess Kaguya

I’m not actually sure about this one. If I were judging on animation alone, I’d go for Boxtrolls, but taken as a film as a whole, I’d rather see this go to Big Hero 6 as the story is so much better

Best Original Score:

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (Alexandre Desplat)
  • The Imitation Game (Alexandre Desplat)
  • Interstellar (Hans Zimmer)
  • Mr Turner (Gary Yershon)
  • The Theory of Everything (Jóhann Jóhannson)

This one might be where The Imitation Game picks up another Oscar.

Best Original Song:

  • Everything Is Awesome (The Lego Movie)
  • Glory (Selma)
  • Grateful (Beyond the Lights)
  • I’m Not Gonna Miss You (Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me)
  • Lost Stars (Begin Again)

Come on, the name of the song says it all, really. Much as I hate the song and disliked the film, I think they’re onto a winner in this category.

Best Cinematography:

  • Birdman
  • Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Ida
  • Mr Turner
  • Unbroken

Much has been made of the “continuous take” look of Birdman, and as it’s not nominated for the editing award, it may pick one up here instead.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

A tough one to call, but I think Foxcatcher will just pip Guardians of the Galaxy to the post. That said, sci-fi films have won this category before, so you never know!

Best Costume Design:

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Inherent Vice
  • Into the Woods
  • Maleficent
  • Mr Turner

Another tough call, but I think the multi-fairytale platform of Into the Woods has more scope for the costuming award than the other films nominated for this category.

Best Film Editing:

  • American Sniper
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Whiplash

Fourteen years in the making, this has the Best Film Editing award plastered all over it.

Best Visual Effects:

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Interstellar
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past

As Andy Serkis keeps getting overlooked for his acting prowess when doing motion capture, I sincerely hope Dawn of the Planet of the Apes at least picks up the prize for the best visual effects as some small compensation.

You will have noticed I haven’t included all the categories, but these are the ones that actually mean something to me. I don’t watch shorts and very rarely see a documentary or foreign film (although I do occasionally seek out films from foreign climes), so those awards hold far less interest to me, as with the sound editing category, as I have no frame of reference with which to judge prowess in that area.

So, those are my predictions for the big winners at the Oscars this year. Do you agree with my choices? I’d love to know, so leave a comment below.


Film Review: The Imitation Game (2014

benedict-cumberbenedict-the-imitation-game-movie-posterFilm: The Imitation Game
Released: 2014
Director: Morten Tyldum
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Charles Dance, Mark Strong

During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.

What I thought of it:
There seem to be an awful lot of films “based on a true story” being released nicely in time for inclusion in the nominations for the Academy Awards. This is one of them. This is also one of the excellent ones.

Alan Turing’s story is a sad one – a genius brain trapped in a person with absolutely no interpersonal skills, making him a fairly unlikable person from the point of view of most people; a lonely man who had nothing but his work and a secret that would bring about tragic consequences. But his contribution to the Allied forces winning WWII is undeniably one of the single greatest feats of any man of his time, and perhaps the greatest tragedy of all is that his work was kept quiet for so long, and the pardon for his “crime” came far too late.

Cumberbatch is one of the leading lights in British acting, turning his hand to so many different characters with an ease and elegance that is both admirable and enviable – his talent is undeniable and his performance as Turing is nothing short of wonderful. Even having the highly over-rated (in my opinion) Knightly opposite him couldn’t take the shine off – he makes her look pretty good, to be honest! Every other actor is also playing their A-game here, in what is an interesting, intriguing, and moving film that celebrates the accomplishment of Turing and his team – an accomplishment that would remain a secret for 50 years.

Rating: Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Another one that will most certainly have Oscar nominations up the wazoo, for performances, direction, writing, best film, and possibly costuming, make-up and hair. I fear it may lose out to another true-story film about another genius (I’ll watch The Theory of Everything very soon), which is a shame, because it is so thoroughly deserving of every accolade that could be heaped upon it.