Posts Tagged ‘Dunkirk’

With all the talk of the race for the best picture, the more interesting Best Director category has been slightly overshadowed.  One thing that is certain, whoever wins it will be there first Oscar.  Three of them have previous nominations, only one, Paul Thomas Anderson for directing. 

Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk.  He is also nominated for Best Picture for Dunkirk.  His previous nominations are; Best Original Screenplay for Memento (2000) and Best Picture for Inception (2010). Christopher Nolan

Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird – Nominated for her solo directorial début, Lady Bird (she co-directed Nights and Weekends (2008) with Joe Swanberg), Gerwig is also nominated for Best Original Screenplay but not for Best Picture (Lady Bird is nominated for Best Picture but Gerwig is not one of the named producers).Greta Gerwig

Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water – Amazingly, del Toro has never won an Oscar! His only previous nomination was for Original Screenplay for Pan’s Labyrinth (2006).  He is also nominated for The Shape of Water in the Best Picture and Original Screenplay categories.Guillermo del Toro

Jordan Peele – Get Out – Get out is Peele’s début as director, he is nominated for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.  They are his first nominations.Jordan Peele

Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread – The veteran of the group, he is nominated for Phantom Thread in the Best Picture category as well as for best director.  His previous nominations are: Best Adapted Screenplay for Inherent Vice (2014), Best Picture, Best Director and Adapted Screenplay for There Will Be Blood (2007), Best Original Screenplay for Magnolia (1999) and Boogie Nights (1997).Paul Thomas Anderson

Who will win?  My choice would be Guillermo del Toro but I would be happy to see any of them win, they deserve to for different reasons. 


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In my last article I commented, somewhat flippantly that many Oscar members vote for films they haven’t seen.  Is this true?  I suspect it is but cannot be sure.  Assuming I am correct, I wondered how people would vote for movies they hadn’t seen.  They could only choose by reputation, with this in mind I asked a few friends and colleagues.  I gave the name of a couple of nominated movies each, and asked what they know about them.    Here are a few real comments, one per movie:

I want to see that, it’s a sort of comedy horror but with black people. Get Out

Not another war movie. Dunkirk

The trailer looks a bit boring.  Is it supposed to be a horror? Phantom Thread

The one with the sweary woman and the raciest cop. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Is that the one about the woman and a fish man? Weird!The Shape of Water

Another comedy about a girl who doesn’t like her mom… and her teacher. Lady Bird

Never heard of it, oh, Is that the Churchill movie, why don’t they just call it Churchill. Darkest Hour

Is that the gay one? Call Me by Your Name

Oh, I like Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.  What’s it about. The Post

I think The Post will pick up the most votes from this type of voter! The voting system for the foreign language movie makes a lot more sense! 

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I have now seen Lady Bird so have included it in my ballot.  As the Oscars are happening in two days, I don’t think I will See Call Me by Your Name before the ceremony. 

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The nominees for the 90th Academy Awards were announced about a month ago, voting is about to start in preparation for the ceremony on Sunday, March 4, 2018.  The nominees for best picture are:

Call Me by Your Name – Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges, and Marco MorabitoCALL-ME-BY-YOUR-NAME

Darkest Hour – Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten, and Douglas UrbanskiDarkest Hour

Dunkirk – Emma Thomas and Christopher NolanDunkirk

Get Out – Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., and Jordan PeeleGet Out

Lady Bird – Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, and Evelyn O’Neilllady bird

Phantom Thread – JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison and Daniel Lupiphantom_thread

The Post – Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg, and Kristie Macosko KriegerThe Post - Copy

The Shape of Water – Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles DaleThe Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, and Martin McDonaghThree Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Since 2009, the Academy has allowed more than five films in the best picture category.  At the same time they changed the way this category is voted for.  Unlike the other categories that appear on  ballet as a simple tick box, the Best Picture category has a larger box with a space to rank films in order of preference.  The system known as instant-runoff voting, the idea being that the eventual winner is the film preferred by the widest consensus of voters.

When counted, if a film receives more than half the votes, it is declared the winner.  If there isn’t a winner, the film with the lowest number of first-choice votes is removed from the ballot.  All ballots that places this film at number one are redistributed using the second placed film on the ballot.  This process is continued until there is a clear winner.

I have not received my ballot paper, possibly something to do with not being an academy member.  Were I able to vote, this is my ranking for the best picture nominees:

  1. The Shape of Water
  2. Get Out 
  3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  4. Dunkirk
  5. Phantom Thread
  6. Lady Bird
  7. The Post
  8. Darkest Hour

Not Ranked*

  • Call Me by Your Name

*I haven’t ranked this film as I haven’t seen it.  Will the actual voters stick to films they have actually seen, or even better, watch all the nominated films.

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It’s that time of year again, my top ten favourite films of the year.  A really tough choice, my top five came easy, I then had a short list of twenty to choose from for the final five.  From a criteria point of view:  All films were released, and most importantly seen by me in the UK in 2017. 

  1. Blade Runner 2049: I am getting predictable.  Two years ago Sicario missed out on my top movie of the year by the smallest margin to Mad Max.  Last year Arrival took the top spot. Back in 2013, Prisoners made my top ten.  It is therefore no surprise that a Denis Villeneuve tops the tree again.  What is a surprise, is that my favourite film of the year, is one I didn’t want to be made. As a lover of the original Blade Runner I just didn’t want them to mess it up.  Far from it, the film is both excellent in its own right, and takes the original movie and its concepts in an interesting direction. Blade+Runner+2049-1
  2. The Handmaiden: Chan-wook Park’s second appearance on the list after Stoker took top spot in 2013.  His adaptation of Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith sees the setting change from Victorian England to Japanese occupied Korea.  The film looks amazing and has a plot that twists and turns in a most satisfying way.The Handmaiden
  3. Baby Driver: Every generation has a new movie about a getaway driver, Baby Driver is up there with the best thanks to a fantastic concept.  The car chases are the best I have seen in years, the soundtrack is killer.  The thing that sets it apart is the way the action is cut perfectly in time with the music.  The music becomes a character in itself. A film that could have disappeared in its own style and sheen turns out to be nothing short of amazing.  Baby Driver
  4. Free Fire: Ben Wheatley’s costume drama goes back to a more innocent time, well not exactly; 1978!  It is essentially a single location shoot ’em up  B movie set during and after a failed arms deal.  The outcome is violent but also highly amusing.  Clocking in at a brisk 90 minutes, it’s a movie a many filmmakers could learn a lot from.Free Fire
  5. Dunkirk: Christopher Nolan is yet to make a bad film.  Dunkirk looked like it would be his most conventional story to date.  The structure of three stories told over three different periods of time makes it far from conventional. The tension never lets up and is only enhanced by the lack of CGI and the imposing score.  The structure enhances rather than confuses the film.  The photography is nothing short of stunning especially when seen on IMAX. Dunkirk
  6. Atomic Blonde: Imagine if John Wick looked like Charlize Theron and was a spy in the last days of the Cold War, that would give you an idea of Atomic Blonde.  The miracle is how you make a movie like that work.  David Leitch, stunt man/coordinator and half the team behind John Wick has done it. Based on the 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City, Theron finally gets her perfect and iconic character.  There is a little more plot than the movie needs but the action is great and it looks amazing.Atomic Blonde
  7. The Death of Stalin: Armando Iannucci made an interesting choice with his cast using a mix of British and American accents in this story of the power struggle in the days that followed the titular death of Starlin.  Farce and satire in equal parts, with a really dark undercurrent, the risk pays off, it is brilliant and hilarious.  The best comedy of the year. the death of stalin
  8. Logan: Finally a Wolverine movie worthy of the character from the comic books.  More violent than anything else we have seen from the franchise.  Within the confines of a comic book movie it is also far more realistic and grounded than usual.  Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are both fantastic in parts they have grown into in the seventeen years since the first X-Men movie.Logan
  9. Personal Shopper: After a fantastic supporting performance in director Olivier Assayas’ previous film Clouds of Sils Maria, Kristen Stewart returns to star.  A haunting film the seeps into your psyche.  Not as good as Clouds of Sils Maria but Stewart is sensational.Personal Shopper
  10. Get Out: A clever race satire dressed up as a horror/thriller.  Far more intelligent and subversive than many have give it credit for.  Best of all it is tremendous fun.Get Out



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Better late than never, I missed my usual first of the month slot, not through excessive cinema going; Today I saw Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, my first trip to the cinema for over a week, but you are going to have to wait until next month to see what I thought of it.  Today is all about July’s movie of the month, the contenders are:

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Do we need yet another Spider-Man re-boot? The simple answer is no, but if we are going to get a new version, this is the one we want.  I’m not sure if Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man we have seen to date, he is certainly the best Peter Parker.  It doesn’t do any harm that Michael Keaton is an excellent an more nuanced villain than we have come to expect. Spider-Man Homecoming

It comes at Night – Billed as a horror, actually more a character driven exercise in tension.  Joel Edgerton has again proved to be an actor willing to make interesting choices. It comes at Night

War for the Planet of the Apes – The weakest of the new generation of Planet of the Apes movies but still a step above the usual blockbuster.  Technically brilliant and supremely acted but a plot that lacks any surprises. War for the Planet of the Apes

The Beguiled – Sofia Coppola’s take on Thomas Cullinan’s novel lacks predatory seediness that made the Don Siegel/Clint Eastwood version so compelling.  Coppola’s version is however perfectly cast and stunning to look at.The Beguiled

Dunkirk – My first IMAX movie of the year, it was so worth it.  As you would expect from Christopher Nolan, this isn’t just a straight telling of the story, it is enhanced by a perfectly executed structure.  The tension never lets up and is only enhanced by the lack of CGI and the imposing score. Dunkirk

The Big Sick – Comedian Kumail Nanjiani plays himself in an autobiographical rom-com.  Both compelling and funny, it is so much more than I have come to expect from a Judd Apatow produced movie.  Nanjiani is good in the lead role, Zoe Kazan and Ray Romano are excellent in support, Holly Hunter steals the show as you would expect. The Big Sick

All the movies I saw in July were good, one stood out head an shoulders above the rest, Movie of the Month is:Dunkirk poster

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