76th Golden Globe and 91st Academy Awards

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock (9307697ch)
Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Zoe Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley – Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television – ‘Big Little Lies’
75th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Press Room, Los Angeles, USA – 07 Jan 2018

The 76th Golden Globe awards were presented on January 6, 2019. The list of nominees and winners in major categories are listed in the following. Unfortunately last year of 2018 as in recent years had not produced any great films, even worse than last year as it has at least one great film, “The Shape of Water”. Until the Oscar awards presentations on , since it is usually influenced by the winners of Golden Globe, two films here will be briefly discussed. One a good one, “Roma” a foreign film (Mexican) by that was the best film of last year and beat all Hollywood productions, but yet not great. The second film that will be reviewed briefly here as an example of bad film that Hollywood keeps producing, “First Man” perhaps to learn a lesson, stop such foolish productions.

 The following list of nominees by Golden Globe in major cinematic (not television) categories are marked as no star (Bad), one star (below average), two stars (average), three stars (good) three and a half stars (very good) and four stars (Great) (Last year only for Capernaum from Lebanon), out of five stars that only belong to the greatest films of all time.

Best Pictur-Drama:

Bohemian Rhapsody*
(Winner)

BlacKkKlansman*

If Beale Street Could Talk*

A Star Is Born*

Black Panther*

Best Pictur-Musical or Comedy:

Green Book**(Winner)

Crazy Rich Asians**

The Favourite*

Mary Poppins Returns*

Vice** 

Best Actor-Drama:

Rami Malek* for Bohemian Rhapsody (Winner)

Bradley Cooper* for A Star Is Born

Willem Dafoe** for At Eternity’s Gate

Lucas Hedges** for Boy Erased**

John David Washington* for BlacKkKlansman 

Best Actress-Drama:

Glen Close* for The Wife*(Winner)

Lady Gaga* for A Star Is Born

Nicole Kidman* for Destroyer*

Melissa McCarthy** for Can You Forgive Me**

Rosamund Pike*** for A Private War

Best Actor-Musical or Comedy:

Christian Bale** for Vice (Winner)

Lin-Manuel Miranda* for Mary Poppins Returns

Viggo Mortensen** for Green Book

Robert Redford* for The Old Man and the Gun*

Jack C. Reilly** for Stan & Ollie** 

Best Actress- Musical or Comedy:

Olivia Coleman* for The Favourite (Winner)

Emily Blunt* for Mary Poppins Returns

Charlize Theron* for Tully*

Constance Wu* for Crazy Rich Asians*

Best Director:

Alfonso Cuaron*** for Roma (Winner)

Bradley Cooper* for A Star Is Born

Peter Farrelly** for Green Book

Spike Lee* for BlacKkKlansman 


Adam McKay** for Vice

Best Screenplay:

Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly** for Green Book
(Winner)


Alfonso Cuaron*** for Roma


Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara* for The Favourite


Barry Jenkins* for If Beale Street Could Talk

Adam McKay** for Vice

Best Foreign Language Film:

Roma*** (Mexico, Alfonso Cuaron) (Winner)

Capernaum**** (Lebanon, Nadine Labaki)

Girl** (Belgium, Lukas Dhont)

Never Look Away***½ (Germany, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)


Shoplifters** (Japan, Hirokazu Koreeda)

 

The following list are the nominees for Oscar by the Academy Awards only in major categories, that will be presented on February 24, 2019. After the list that’s more or less the same as Golden Globe’s as usual with a few exceptions, a few suggestions of what and who deserves the awards and a few films of last year will be reviewed briefly.

 91st Academy Award Nominees:

Best Picture:

Bohemian Rhapsody*


BlacKkKlansman*

Roma***

A Star Is Born*

Black Panther*

The Favourite*

Green Book**

Vice**

Best Actor:

Rami Malek* for Bohemian Rhapsody

Bradley Cooper* for A Star Is Born

Willem Dafoe** for At Eternity’s Gate

Viggo Mortensen** for Green Book

Christian Bale** for Vice

Best Actress:

Glen Close* for The Wife*

Lady Gaga* for A Star Is Born

Nicole Kidman* for Destroyer*

Melissa McCarthy** for Can You Forgive Me**

Yalitza Aparicio** for Roma

Best Director:

Alfonso Cuaron*** for Roma

Spike Lee* for BlacKkKlansman

Yorgos Lanthimos* for the Favourite

Spike Lee* for BlacKkKlansman 


Adam McKay** for Vice

Best Screenplay:

Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly** for Green Book



Alfonso Cuaron*** for Roma


Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara* for The Favourite


Barry Jenkins* for If Beale Street Could Talk

Adam McKay** for Vice

Best Cinematography:

Cold War for Łukasz Żal***

Never Look Away for Caleb Deschanel***

Roma for Alfonso Cuaron**

A Star is Born for Maththew Libatique

Best Foreign Language Film:

Roma*** (Mexico, Alfonso Cuaron)

Capernaum**** (Lebanon, Nadine Labaki)

Cold War**1/2

Never Look Away***1/2 (Germany, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)


Shoplifters** (Japan, Hirokazu Koreeda)

The best picture, directing, cinematography, editing and male acting that on this site goes to “Capernaum” and its maker, Nadine Balaki and its actor Zain Al Rafeea have not been nominated by the Oscar, but only in the foreign film category that hope at least to win that one. The best female acting by Rosamund Pike for “A Private War” is neither nominated. In the following, first a bad example of a film of last year, “First Man”, then the major winner of Golden Globe, “Roma”, then a very good film of last year “Never Look Away” and finally the Great film of 2018, “Capernaum” will be reviewed briefly.

Roma:

“Roma” of Alfonso Curaon is a good and beautiful film, depicting the ordinary moments of life with its love, family, bonding values and above all a tale of interconnection and sacrifice, that is a recollection of the director’s own childhood. In black and white cinematography, the film due to its slowness (often like the opening scene) with no reason, and lingering for 135 minutes still cannot impress as a great film, specially when compared to another this year’s nominees “Never Look Away” by Florian Henckel von and Donnersmarck from Germany, and the great film of Nadine Labaki “Capernaum” from Lebanon that will both be reviewed briefly here. But before that, an example of bad films that Hollywood keeps producing, the “First Man” of Damien Chazelle will be briefly discussed.  

 

“Frist Man”: A Bad Example of Recent Hollywood Filmmaking

“First Man” by Damien Shazel is a bad film from the start to finish with mostly being filmed in studio. Such an important historical subject and mostly so for the Americans, the first launch and landing of man on the moon, that should have been filmed mostly outdoors, specially the space parts has been all done indoors and in the studios. This has been done either to lower the cost and still having a big profit, so cheating on the viewers, or the director has not been able to do more than that, which could be probably both.

The film from the start that shows Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) riding an airplane in 1960 is shot indoor with the shakes and rattles of the airplane and the pilot. Moreover in this scene and throughout the film t times, there are jump cuts and even jerking one shot to the other, even when there are no airplane or spaceship riding and launching at times. This has been either bad editing by or it has been the choice of the director. Neil Armstrong and his wife who had lost their first daughter at the young age of on this screen is totally emotionless depicted by both, which perhaps has been the director’s choice as this lack of emotions by both ran throughout the movie, for example when Neil is chosen to fly to the space and later on to the moon, and at the end when in quarantine after return from the moon, visited by his wife.

The film bad editing or jump cuts are not limited to shots, but to scenes such as a jump in the storyline from the flight of Gemini 8 stranded in the atmosphere unable to return to earth suddenly to a press conference on the subject questioning the pilots and NASA. When there are rarely good shots such as Neil and walking in the moonlight, that was quite picturesque, talking before his Appollo 1 launch, the faces are off focus. There are also defects in the storyline that could be from the novel, for example at the time of the test of Appollo 1 and its disaster of killing the three astronauts including, Neil’s friend, he is at a dinner in the White House. Again after hearing the sad news of his colleagues and friends deaths, no emotional reaction by Neil, only breaking a wine glass in his hands. When Neil fails and is injured with cut and blood on his face from failing the landing on the moon exercise on earth, his wound is not treated at NASA and he goes home to his wife with bloody face that seems to be unreal in real life.  

The fear of communism and their advance in every directions including the hegemony in space, that makes the US government and NASA in 1960s to race with them in space and landing on the moon is not well addressed in the film either. More so the public protest on the space race and the government’s overspending was marginally depicted in the film. An almost two and a half hours slow and boring film to show the events of the time, that is all focused on one man, Neil Armstron, close to the end perhaps realizing the length of film by the director, suddenly jumps from Appollo 1 to Appollo 11 and launch to the moon. Perhaps not seeing even any recent more beautiful similar space launch films such as Appollo 13 by, Intertsellar by and Martian by , Shazel avoids outdoor space shooting even on the center topic of the film, the launch and landing on the moon. When Neil finally steps on the moon, he walks easily with full gravity like on earth, that is a major flaw of the film then after a few minutes walks with bouncing up and down free of gravity on the moon.

Finally such a historical moment when the shuttle lands on the moon and even when the “first man” steps on the moon, that is the title of the film, there are no reaction or showing of such at the NASA, and in the public that have been huge in real life at the time.

Never Look Away (Germany)(3 ½ *):

“Don’t look away Kurt. Everything true is beautiful” that’s what his aunt, Elisabeth (Saskia Rosendahl) when naked sitting on playing piano, told the five years old Kurt (Cai Cohrs) when he enters the room, and afterwards she starts hitting her head with a glass to the point of bleeding and will be taken away soon to a mental hospital during the Nazi’s era. Kurt as a young man (Tom Barnert) carries the advice in his mind throughout his life as an inspirational and fighting for freedom artist, trying to create beauty in his paintings. Obliged to paint at the service of the people and proletaria in the Post-war East Germany where he is living with his family. Later on in an art school in Dresden, East Germany, Kurt meets and dates Ellie (Paula Beer) who later seeing his painting talent, encourages him to escape together to the West Germany where he could find more freedom in his art creation.

The film directed by Florian Henckel von and Donnersmarck has a beautiful script written as well by both, carries on an eye catching cinematography by Caleb Deschanel with excellent editing of Patricia Rommel, is completed by an exceptional casting and an unforgettable and complementing music score of Max Richter. The film is great for its portray of love, searching for expression of freedom and beauty in an art format, in a background of inhumanity of war (WWII), crimes (of Nazis and Ellie’s father as a Nazi eugenics who also arranged to put away Kurt’s aunt as a psychotic to a mental asylum and order to kill later on), love, and humanity. All these are shown beautifully on the silver screen as it should be so to be hailed by Variety as “A epic, intergenerational tale of art, love, tragedy and politics” and by The Hollywood Reporter “A marvel luminous cinematography. The score is lusterous and warm”, and by Roger Friedman in showbiz “A stunning masterpiece. One of the best movies, I’ve ever seen in my life”.

Capernaum****: The Great Picture of the Year:

Finally a great movie in 2018, though not from Hollywood, but in the category of foreign film from Lebanon. Already the winner of the best picture in many film festivals around world such as the Calgary International, Cannes, FICFA, Film Fest Gent, Hamptons, International Antalya, Leeds International, London, Melbourne, Mill Valley, Miami International, Norwegian International, San Sebastian, Sao Paulo International, Sarajevo, St. Louis International, Stockholm International, Toronto, Zurich and more pending film festivals, in fact this film is testing the Academy Awards this year if it fails in recognition of a great film like her sister Golden Globe. The third feature film of Nadine Balaki, an actor-director with no training in filmmaking aboard, but all at home, is a modern “The Bicycle Thieves”. With no professional actors, the cast led by a young boy of 12 years old Syrian refugee who from the danger of loss of life, poverty and hunger gets to fame overnight by the film. Appreciating the art of filmmaking, still precious as an art format, not centering on the story plot, politics or trend of time, the film is a visual beauty and celebration of moving picture as it should be and came to existence.

 

So for the real lovers of the art film, “Prepare to be blown away” Emily Yashida of “Vulture” described it in surprise. The young boy Zain (Zain Al Rafeea), a product of poverty and war to this world, while gentle and compassionate to his own kind and age, rebels against those who brought him to world, including his parents. When asked his age in the court by a judge, he says “I don’t know, ask them!”, pointing to his parents, and when questioned “Why are you attacking your parents?”, he answers “For giving me life”! Representing the poor children of the war zones, the victims of our greed and conflicts, Zain is the voice of them all that are never heard, at least on this side of plentiful world. “A Stunning Piece of Cinema” as Pete Hammond of “Deadline” hailed it, the film while awakens us, mesmerizes the audience with its magic visionary.

 

While like “The Bicycle Thieves” is a modern neorealism, Balaki incorporates whatever the camera without any fake digital effect could do, a reminiscent of the Russian masters of cinema, long lost into oblivion. “A Filmmaking Miracle that Boggles the Mind” as described by Ben Croll of “The Wrap” is a good lesson of camera work, and cinematography, plus the intelligent application of score to complement our sensual pleasure and mental awakening. Exceptionally achieved in camera in different angles, set and location design, not just with the physical surroundings that is the best to see the war stricken Lebanon, but more with the human milieu. While a heartbreaking drama, the film has its heart lightening moments too such as when Zain, opens up the breasts part of the huge female statue while the cleaning black lady laughs. In fact “Nadine Balaki has made a Knockout” as Alex Billington of “First Showing” commented on.

 

Overwhelming emotional, the film reaches humans’ hearts and souls and interconnects them even in a war torn zone, so to be hailed as “The Film attains a Real Emotional Sweep” by Caspar Salmon of “Sight & Sound”. When asked by the judge “What do you want from your parents?”, Zain responds “I want them to stop having children”! This is the voice of many children in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other war devastated precious pieces of our earth that has to be recognized. Zain and the film may make put us in shame, guilt and sorrow, but it was not meant that way, but a call to awaken our souls, hearts and minds of thinking that at the moments of our comfort, happiness in the land of plenty, there are sad and inhumane life conditions elsewhere.      

 

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