Tuesday, 31 January 2017


The brazen, boisterous impulsivity of youth comes crawling back to the screen, wearied by age if not maturity. What lust for life remains may only be a lust for a life long since lived, the heady intensity of its highs and lows now supplanted by poignancy and regret for them. T2 Trainspotting arrives bang on time, the distance between it and its predecessor sufficient to meaningfully distinguish between the two - this film and 1996's Trainspotting exist in genuinely different times, and have genuinely different comments to make. There's perverse joy to be wrought out of a nostalgia trip into past perverse joys, though as organic as these sensations might be, and as faithfully depicted, they're inescapably muted. The real, substantial joys of T2 are in the perpetuation of that same energy that engendered those of old, and it's thus that the eternal innovator, Danny Boyle, spins a success out of a conceptually suspect sequel. He seeks to engender new highs and lows from cloth sourced from past, present and the furthest, dankest corners of warped imagination. There are overt nods to that nostalgia, though T2 goes through nostalgia altogether and out the other end, but everything about this film is overt, including the sheer, simple entertainment value it near-constantly insists on supplying. Boyle has always been an audience-attentive filmmaker, and always at his best when he has put their interests first. As ever before, this ramshackle construction falls apart so swiftly when provoked by plot necessity, and director and writer John Hodge alike yet again prove themselves apparently incapable of resolving any particular plot with any particular skill. But they've done the right work in the right places otherwise, and T2 is thus an exemplary follow-up to a bona fide classic, against all the odds.

Monday, 30 January 2017


The pitfalls of propagandistic filmmaking loom large over Miss Sloane, bearing down upon it with a force that its makers must surely have hoped was directed elsewhere. Were it not for the procedural narrative's innate, engaging sense of drive, and a compelling lead turn, this entire enterprise would crumble. Writer Jonathan Perera's heart is in the right place, but his goal of fusing that heartfelt passion with the cool cerebrality of a political thriller is one of only suspect possibility, and neither he nor director John Madden have the skill to achieve it. Miss Sloane is blighted by baffling errors, each presumably made as a concession to the development of plot and the eventual arrival at a particular conclusion. Never mind the implausibility of such a neat outcome - this is propaganda, after all - it's the liberties taken en route that dilute the impact of Miss Sloane's message, and the character inconsistencies in the protagonist, perhaps devised to make this figure more palatable to a broader audience, that undermine the application of that message. Jessica Chastain perseveres through this silly stew of muddled intentions, wholly unable to invest any semblance of legitimate earnestness in either character or scenario, but dogged enough to hold our interest and perhaps elicit our concern. With her, we weather Miss Sloane's easy, familiar plotting and the basic satisfaction that it offers - a film always moving forward is a good thing in itself, regardless of its intended destination. Such films have this quality on which to fall back, though few should ever need to; this is one that, unfortunately, does need to, and it's a sorry fall to see.


You didn't see this coming, did you? With La La Land out of the way, the Ensemble award from the Screen Actors Guild was perceived by most to be a race between almost any of the nominees, though few predicted Hidden Figures, not least with its lack of wins in the individual categories. Alas, this likely only strengthens La La Land's Oscar potential, given that its closest rival, Moonlight, continues to lose the big guild awards. A largely predictable SAG ceremony was closed out by two big shockers, in the Ensemble Cast choice and in a surprise pick for Lead Actor  - Denzel Washington in Fences, winning alongside his costar Viola Davis. Check out SAG's film nominees here.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Emma Stone (La La Land)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Denzel Washington (Fences)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis (Fences)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast
Mahershala Ali, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Taraji P. Henson, Aldis Hodge, Janelle Monae, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)

Outstanding Stunt Performance by an Ensemble
Hacksaw Ridge

Lifetime Achievement Award
Lily Tomlin

Sunday, 29 January 2017


The Autopsy of Jane Doe is the kind of nifty little genre nibble for which the more discerning horror fan may wait for months to find - it's unexpectedly excellent, which makes its otherwise-inevitable capitulation to the tropes those fans may wish it had avoided equally unexpected. For all its good surprises and for all its bad ones, this is overall just an average little genre nibble, never quite sufficiently satisfactory. Andre Ovredal might be the director attached to the screenplay, but it's the screenplay that ends up affecting his work, undermining the value he provides the project. A skeletal schlock scenario is given unusual cinematic eloquence by Ovredal, whose restrained eye for detail and commitment to the human relationship at its centre lay some meat on writers Ian B. Goldberg and Richard Naing's premisal bones. Aided by a capable crew, evidently enthused by the opportunity to work on a lean, style-focused genre piece as often they are, Ovredal makes The Autopsy of Jane Doe a much more memorable film than it alternatively might have been, and crafts a work of moderate artistic import that's supremely enjoyable. The enjoyment wears off rapidly, however, not least due to the kind of third-act decline in quality typical of horror movies. One is primed to suspend disbelief not only in reasonable anticipation of the content of a movie of this variety but by every early development in its plot, though still the stupidity seeps through, alive despite all efforts to the contrary. For what it is, and for what it intended to be, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is by no means the kind of little genre nibble you'll regret tasting, though it's really only good for a taste, not for a swallow.


...boring af.

The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures
La La Land (Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt)

Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
Zootopia (Clark Spencer)

Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures
O.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow)

Saturday, 28 January 2017


An easygoing Finnish drama, faithful to the simple integrity of its factual narrative content in Juho Kuosmanen's calmly exacting style. In masquerading as a tame, conservative chronicle of a less complicated era, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki absorbs into its overall scheme too much of that tameness, gradually watering down the impact of its dramaturgy. Kuosmanen himself has little need for complication, and centres his concerns upon extricating from his film the maximum impact with the minimum apparent effort. His is a concise mise-en-scene, expressive without the stylistic burden of overt expression, then offset by an affable strain of realism provided by screenplay and ensemble. Offset, or arguably neutered - Happiest Day emerges from this particular cinematic stew a strangely bland picture, indubitably the product of excellent work yet with very little to show for it. Mostly, it seems to serve little purpose, nor even know of one for itself, yet if the intention is then to relinquish all expectations of such interests and to relax into its progression of character-based scenes routinely driving forward a nonchalant plot, there's just not enough here into which to relax. Happiest Day is, as a boxing movie, refreshingly gentle and devoid of bombast, though Kuosmanen does display some directorial verve from time to time that shows greater promise than his otherwise bathetic approach; the film is either too much or too little of a good thing, depending on your perspective. With sporadic influxes of winningly droll Finnish humour, this is a charming, enjoyable picture indeed, yet it's pretty much that and that only, and that's simply not enough for me.


Cinema will never be the same, as we mourn the death of one of its defining figures. Beloved French poet and actor Emmanuelle Riva died yesterday, the 27th of January, aged 89. This exceptional talent had developed a deserved reputation as one of the world's most gifted and incisive actors over a career spanning 60 years on screen, and whose contribution to film will forever be remembered in her magnificent catalogue of performances. In only her first credited role on film, she delivered one of the finest cases of screen acting of all time in Alain Resnais' landmark Hiroshima, Mon Amour. It was the role that made Riva a star, though she persevered in her aim to establish herself as an actor of integrity and ability before all else in the oncoming years, accepting roles to best befit her skills, rather than opportunities to increase her fame. Riva devoted herself to her craft, refusing to learn nor to perform in English, and featuring in a vast array of titles whose names have long since faded from the broad cultural lexicon, even in France. And yet what a dazzling array it is, including such films as Kapo, Therese Desqueyroux, Three Colours: Blue and Amour, for which she was nominated for an Oscar. That roles also brought Riva a BAFTA, a Cesar, and awards from the London Critics' Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics; she also earned the Volpi Cup at the 1962 Venice Film Festival by unanimous decision for Therese Desqueyroux. What sad news to report this morning. Few actors could conceivably be as missed as Riva.


After a noble battle with pancreatic cancer, legendary British actor John Hurt has died. He passed on the 27th of January, five days after his 77th birthday. This most prolific and talented of British actors has enjoyed renown across the globe for decades as one of the finest performers of his generation, securing his reputation with frequent appearances on stage and screen alike, right up to his death. Hurt won a scholarship to prestigious acting school RADA in 1960, leading to an extraordinary career in the dramatic arts. From early roles in film and TV, his first major part was in the 1966 Best Picture Oscar winner A Man for All Seasons, though his stardom was sealed in the UK with a leading role in 1975's The Naked Civil Servant. With over 50 years in the profession, he starred in a great many of the defining films of the time, including 10 Rillington Place, Alien, Heaven's Gate, The Hit, 1984, The Field, Dead Man, Dogville, Only Lovers Left Alive and the recent Jackie. He is remembered also for appearing in the Harry Potter films as wand-maker Mr. Ollivander, and for Oscar-nominated turns in Midnight Express and The Elephant Man. Those films also earned Hurt Golden Globe nominations and BAFTA awards, in a career that also brought him an honorary award from the British Academy and a knighthood in 2015. We will mourn Hurt's passing for some time - he was a true great, and his final, as-yet unreleased performances, will be cherished indeed.


Catfight looks brilliant. That's all. Out in the US on the 3rd of March and in the UK on the 10th.


Much as La La Land's victory at the American Cinema Editors awards was wholly expected, it was another film's success that has perhaps cemented its position as the undisputed Oscar frontrunner of the season - a frontrunner of the kind of stature that we haven't known for many years. Arrival wins in the Drama category, beating La La Land's only viable Oscar competition, Moonlight. Check out all the winners below, and the ACE Eddie nominations here.

Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic)
Joe Walker (Arrival)

Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy)
Tom Cross (La La Land)

Best Edited Animated Feature Film
Jeremy Milton and Fabienne Rawley (Zootopia)

Best Edited Documentary (Feature)
Bret Granato, Maya Mumma and Ben Sozanski (O.J.: Made in America)

Friday, 27 January 2017


The Motion Picture Sound Editors regularly take their sweet time deciding upon their favourites in film for the previous year, and this year is no exception. That's cool, though - typing this list up amid the awards onslaught of the first half of the season would not have gone down too well with this particular writer. This year's Golden Reel awards will be handed out to the finest sound editors in the business on the 19th of February.

Best Sound Editing - English Language - Effects / Foley
David Acord, Jonathan Borland, Luke Dunn Gielmuda, Ryan Frias, Josh Gold, J. R. Grubbs, Ronni Pitman, Frank Rinella, Christopher Scarabosio and Matthew Wood (Rogue One)
Mimi Allard, Pierre-Jules Audet, Niels Barletta, Mathieu Beaudin, Nicolas Becker, Sylvain Bellemare, Olivier Calvert, Daniel Capeille, Michelle Child, Steven Ghouti, Simon Girard, Olivier Guillaume, Alan Murray, Luc Raymond, Patrick Rioux, Gregory Vincent and Dave Whitehead (Arrival)
Jeremy Bowker, Josh Gold, J. R. Grubbs, Nia Hansen, David C. Hughes, Daniel Laurie, Shannon Mills, Jacob Riehle, Shelley Roden, John Roesch and Dee Selby (Captain America: Civil War)
Christopher Boyes, David Chrastka, David E. Eulner, Andre Fenley, Ken Fischer, James Likowski, Dee Selby, Dennie Thorpe and Jana Vance (The Jungle Book)
Jim Brookshire, John T. Cucci, Warren Hendriks, Craig Henighan, Lee Ai Ling, Wayne Lemmer and Dan O'Connell (Deadpool)
Steve Burgess, Alex Francis, Robert MacKenzie, Liam Price, Mario Vaccaro and Tara Webb (Hacksaw Ridge)
Harry Cohen, Kris Fenske, Gary Hecker, Sylvain Lasseur, Dror Mohar, Rick Owens, Wylie Stateman and Renee Tondelli (Deepwater Horizon)
David Chrastka, Ryan Frias, Josh Gold, J. R. Grubbs, Nia Hansen, David C. Hughes, Daniel Laurie, Shannon Mills, Steve Orlando, Shelley Roden and John Roesch (Doctor Strange)

Best Sound Editing - English Language - Dialogue / ADR
Justine Angus, Jed Dodge, Kimberly Harris, Michele Perrone and Andy Wright (Hacksaw Ridge)
Bub Asman, Alan Robert Murray, Hugo Weng and Katy Wood (Sully)
Chris Battaglia, Frank Gaeta, Kathryn Madsen and Harrison Meyle (Hell or High Water)
Ben Beardwood, Jim Brookshire, Teri Dorman, Laura Graham, R.J. Kizer and Wayne Lemmer (Deadpool)
Sylvain Bellemare, Valery Dufort-Boucher, Claire Pochon and Stan Sakellaropoulos (Arrival)
Susan Dawes, R. J. Kizer, Wayne Lemmer, Helen Luttrell and Derek Vanderhorst (Hidden Figures)
Robert MacKenzie and Glenn Newnham (Lion)
Richard Quinn, Christopher Scarabosio, James Spencer, Trey Turner and Matthew Wood (Rogue One)

Best Sound Editing - Animation
Bob Badami, Christopher Barnett, Jonathan Borland, Ken Fischer, Heikki Kossi, Tim Nielsen, Brad Semenoff, Catherine Wilson and Dug Winningham (The Little Prince)
Gregg Barbanell, Tim Chau, Travis Crotts, Catherine Harper, Thomas O'Neil Younkman and Clayton Weber (Kubo and the Two Strings)
Bill Bernstein, Jonathan Borland, Christopher Flick, Tim Nielsen, Jacob Riehle, Shelley Roden, John Roesch, Steve Slanec, James Spencer, Jack Whittaker and Michael Zainer (Finding Dory)
Steve Boedekker, Ronni Brown, Dustin Cawood, Luke Dunn Gielmuda, Richard Gould, Dennis Leonard, Zach Martin, Cheryl Nardi, Larry Oatfield, Shelley Roden, John Roesch, Mac Smith, Jana Vance and Andre Zweers (Sing)
Jeremy Bowker, Ronni Brown, Stephen M. Davis, Christopher Flick, Earl Ghaffari, Lee Gilmore, Dan Laurie, Willard Overstreet, Addison Teague, Daniel Waldman and Jack Whittaker (Zootopia)
Thom Brennan, Jonathan Borland, Pascal Garneau, Earl Ghaffari, Lee Gilmore, Matthew Harrison, Tim Nielsen, Dan Pinder, Shelley Roden and John Roesch (Moana)
Fabien Devillers, Florian Fabre, Sebastien Marquilly, Matthieu Michaux, Bruno Seznec and Sebastien Seznec (The Red Turtle)

Best Sound Editing - Documentary
Steven Avila, Terry Boyd, Trip Brock, Shasha Dong, Peter Lago, Raymond Park, Alexander Pugh, Matthew Salib and Ben Whitver (Passage to Mars)
Tim Boggs, Alex Lee, Jeffrey Perkins and Julie Pierce (13th)
Shaun Brennan, Lewis Goldstein, Tom Ryan, Alex Soto, Pierre Takal and Tseng Wen Hsuan (The Eagle Huntress)
Oscar Convers, Stephen C. Davies, Max Holland, Diego Jimenez, Jesse Peterson and Chris Stangroom (Amanda Knox)
Will Digby, Cameron Frankley, Dan Kenyon, Harrison Meyle, Jon Michaels and Melissa Muik (The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years)
Bernd Dormayer, Klaus Gartner, Thomas Kathriner, Michael Ploderl and Bernhard Zorzi (The Ivory Game)
Grant Elder, Larry Herman, Ren Klyce, Sylvia Menno, Dave Paterson and Allan Zaleski (Before the Flood)
Pete Horner, Al Nelson and Andre Zweers (The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble)

Best Sound Editing - Foreign Language - Effects / Foley / Dialogue / ADR
Adrian Baumeister, Martin Langenbach, Erik Mischijew, Jan Moser, Matz Muller, Gunther Rohn and Fabian Schmidt (Toni Erdmann)
Katia Boutin, Gwennole le Borgne, Alexis Place and Philippe van Leer (Elle)
Cho Min Kyung, Hong Yoon Sung, Kim Eun Jung, Kim Suk Won, Lee Jong Ho and Moon Chul Woo (The Handmaiden)
Tono Cubillo, Sebastian Esquivel, Miguel Hormazabal, Ivo Moraga and Herve Schneid (Neruda)
Fredrik Dalefjell, Erlend Hogstad, Jens Johansson, Ingela Jonsson, Lucas Nilsson, Espen Ronning and Christian Schaanning (The King's Choice)
Alex Joseph, Richard Kondal, Stelios Koupetoris, Alex Outhwaite and Gwilym Perry (Under the Shadow)

Best Sound Editing - Musical
Becky Bentham (Sing Street)
Fernand Bos, Vicki Hiatt and Erich Stratmann (Trolls)
Earl Ghaffari and Daniel Pinder (Moana)
Gerard McCann, Stuart Morton and Neil Stemp (Florence Foster Jenkins)
Jason Ruder (La La Land)

Best Sound Editing - Music
Michael Bauer and Peter Myles (Warcraft)
Clint Bennett (Arrival)
Warren Brown, Stephen Davis and John Finklea (Rogue One)
Warren Brown, Stephen Davis, Steve Durkee, Anele Onyekwere and Nashia Wachsman (Doctor Strange)
Stephen Davis and Paul Rabjohns (Star Trek Beyond)
Matt Friedman (Hacksaw Ridge)
Alex Gibson, Lee Scott and Nate Underkuffler (13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi)
Maarten Hofmeijer (Don't Breathe)

Verna Fields Award for Student Filmmakers
Duan Pei Qi and Zhang Tian Fu (Shallow Grave)
Dustin Elm, Chris Morocco and Derek Sepe (Amelia's Closet)
Fan Wen Rui and Li Xiao Dan (Jerry)
Tom Jenkins (Those Who Are Lost)
Juhasz Zoltan (Fishwitch)
Li Xiang (It's Just a Gun)
Taylor Scherer (Eden)
Gerry Vasquez (Icarus)

MPSE Filmmaker Award
Guillermo del Toro

MPSE Career Achievement Award
Harry Cohen


In a turn of events that was as inevitable as it is inevitably pleasing, Moonlight has been named the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association's Film of the Year for 2016. The acclaimed drama continues to stake its claim as the critics' ordained choice in the awards race. Check out the Dorian award nominations at this link, and their winners in full below:

Film of the Year

Director of the Year
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Performance of the Year - Actress
Viola Davis (Fences)

Performance of the Year - Actor
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Screenplay of the Year
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Documentary of the Year
O.J.: Made in America

Foreign Language Film of the Year
The Handmaiden

LGBTQ Film of the Year

Campy Film of the Year
The Dressmaker

Unsung Film of the Year

Visually Striking Film of the Year
La La Land

We're Wilde About You! Rising Star of the Year
Trevante Rhodes

Wilde Artist of the Year (honouring a truly groundbreaking force in the fields of film, theatre and/or television)
Kate McKinnon
Lin-Manuel Miranda

Timeless Star (to an actor or performer whose exemplary career is marked by character, wisdom and wit)
John Waters

Thursday, 26 January 2017


It goes without saying, not least after last year's nominations, but the 42nd Cesar Awards' lineup is chock-full of diversity. Case in point: 16 of the nominated films, including four of the seven Best Film nominees, are directed by women, while it had been 16 years since the Oscar's 19 main categories failed to feature a single female-directed feature, until Tuesday's slate. As is often the case, the same few films dominate across the categories, with Paul Verhoeven's Elle leading with 11 mentions. The Cesar awards will be held on the 24th of February.

Best Film
From the Land of the Moon
The Innocents
Slack Bay

Best Director
Houda Benyamina (Divines)
Xavier Dolan (It's Only the End of the World)
Bruno Dumont (Slack Bay)
Anne Fontaine (The Innocents)
Nicole Garcia (From the Land of the Moon)
Francois Ozon (Frantz)
Paul Verhoeven (Elle)

Best Actress
Judith Chemla (A Woman's Life)
Marion Cotillard (From the Land of the Moon)
Virginie Efira (Victoria)
Marina Fois (Faultless)
Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
Sidse Babett Knudsen (150 Milligrams)
Stephanie Sokolinski (The Dancer)

Best Actor
Francois Cluzet (Irreplaceable)
Pierre Deladonchamps (The Son of John)
Nicolas Duvauchelle (A Decent Man)
Fabrice Luchini (Slack Bay)
Pierre Niney (Frantz)
Omar Sy (Chocolat)
Gaspard Ulliel (It's Only the End of the World)

Best Supporting Actress
Nathalie Baye (It's Only the End of the World)
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (Slack Bay)
Anne Consigny (Elle)
Deborah Lukumuena (Divines)
Melanie Thierry (The Dancer)

Best Supporting Actor
Gabriel Arcand (A Kid)
Vincent Cassel (It's Only the End of the World)
Vincent Lacoste (Victoria)
Laurent Lafitte (Elle)
Melvil Poupaud (Victoria)
James Thierree (Chocolat)

Best Original Screenplay
Solveig Anspach and Jean-Luc Gaget (The Aquatic Effect)
Houda Benyamina, Romain Compingt and Malik Rumeau (Divines)
Pascal Bonitzer, Anne Fontaine, Sabrina Karine and Alice Vial (The Innocents)
Bruno Dumont (Slack Bay)
Justine Triet (Victoria)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Emmanuelle Bercot and Severine Bosschem (150 Milligrams)
David Birke (Elle)
Jacques Fieschi and Nicole Garcia (From the Land of the Moon)
Francois Ozon (Frantz)
Katell Quillevere and Gilles Taurand (Heal the Living)
Celine Sciamma (My Life as a Courgette)

Best Cinematography
Christophe Beaucarne (From the Land of the Moon)
Caroline Champetier (The Innocents)
Guillaume Deffontaines (Slack Bay)
Stephane Fontaine (Elle)
Pascal Marti (Frantz)

Best Editing
Xavier Dolan (It's Only the End of the World)
Laure Gardette (Frantz)
Simon Jacquet (From the Land of the Moon)
Loic Lallemand and Vincent Tricon (Divines)
Job ter Burg (Elle)

Best Production Design
Michel Barthelemy (Frantz)
Carlos Conti (The Dancer)
Riton Dupire-Clement (Slack Bay)
Jeremie D. Lignol (Chocolat)
Katia Wyszkop (Planetarium)

Best Costumes
Alexander Charles (Slack Bay)
Pascaline Chavanne (Frantz)
Madeline Fontaine (A Woman's Life)
Catherine Leterrier (From the Land of the Moon)
Anais Romand (The Dancer)

Best Sound
Martin Boissau, Benoit Gargonne and Jean-Paul Hurier (Frantz)
Fred Demolder, Marc Engles, Jean-Paul Hurier and Sylvain Rety (The Odyssey)
Jean-Pierre Duret, Jean-Pierre Laforce and Sylvain Malbrant (From the Land of the Moon)
Vincent Guillon, Brigitte Taillandier and Stephane Thiebaut (Chocolat)
Cyril Holtz, Damie Lazzerini, Jean-Paul Mugel and Alexis Place (Elle)

Best Original Score
Anne Dudley (Elle)
Sophie Hunger (My Life as a Courgette)
Ibrahim Maalouf (In the Forests of Siberia)
Philippe Romi (Frantz)
Gabriel Yared (Chocolat)

Best Animated Film
The Girl Without Hands (Sebastien Laudenbach and Jean-Christophe Soulageon)
My Life as a Courgette (Claude Barras, Marc Bonny, Armelle Glorennec and Eric Jacquot)
The Red Turtle (Pascal Caucheteux, Michael Dudok de Wit and Vincent Maraval)

Best Documentary Film
Dernieres Nouvelles du Cosmos (Julie Bertuccelli, Yael Fogiel and Laetitia Gonzalez)
Fire at Sea (Caille Laemle, Serge Lalou and Gianfranco Rosi)
Journey Through French Cinema (Frederic Bourboulon and Bertrand Tavernier)
Swagger (Olivier Babinet, Marine Dorfmann and Alexandre Perrier)
Thanks Boss! (Anne-Cecile Berthomeau, Edouard Mauriat, Francois Ruffin and Johanna Silva)

Best Foreign Film
Aquarius (Kleber Mendonca Filho)
Graduation (Cristian Mungiu)
I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach)
It's Only the End of the World (Xavier Dolan)
Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade)
The Unknown Girl (Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne)

Best First Film
The Dancer (Stephanie di Giusto)
Dark Inclusion (Arthur Harari)
Divines (Houda Benyamina)
The Fabulous Patars (Sophie Reine)
Rosalie Blum (Julien Rappeneau)

Best New Actress
Oulaya Amamra (Divines)
Paula Beer (Frantz)
Lily-Rose Depp (The Dancer)
Noemie Merlant (Heaven Will Wait)
Raph (Slack Bay)

Best New Actor
Jonas Bloquet (Elle)
Damien Bonnard (Staying Vertical)
Corentin Fila (Being 17)
Kacey Mottet Klein (Being 17)
Niels Schneider (Dark Inclusion)

Best Short Film
Apres Suzanne (Benjamin Elalouf, Felix Moati, Elsa Rodde and Leah Weil)
Au Bruit des Clochettes (Judith Lou Levy and Chabmane Zariab)
Chasse Royale (Lise Akoka, Marine Alaric and Romane Gueret)
Maman(s) (Sylvain de Zangroniz and Maimouna Doucoure)
Vers la Tendresse (Toufik Ayadi, Christophe Barral and Alice Diop)

Best Animated Short Film
Cafe Froid (Perrine Capron, Marc Jousset, Stephanie Lansaque and Francois Leroy)
Celui Qui a Deux Ames (Sophie Fallot and Fabrice Luang-Vija)
Journal Anime (Donato Sansone and Nicolas Schmerkin)
Peripheria (David Coquard-Dassault and Nicholas Schmerkin)


Stories of American heroism in wartime are a dime a dozen at the cinema, and always have been; many of them barely even worth that dime. Mel Gibson's outlook on these tedious tropes may lack for originality, but it compensates with bold, violent brio. Even as Hacksaw Ridge trudges through scene after scene of monotonous melodrama, its own sluggish prelude to war, there remains a constant promise of cathartic satisfaction in Gibson's broad, enthusiastic style. It's a promise fulfilled, though all of that is to state that Hacksaw Ridge is a thoroughly unremarkable, artless drill of war movie cliches up to a point. One remains convinced of that promise, perhaps only because one can't afford not to, but much as its fulfilment may forgive the film's prior sins, the fact is that those sins exist, and hinder it from achieving the iconic status to which it evidently aspires. Once Gibson unleashes the force of his brutish objective, Hacksaw Ridge becomes anything but unremarkable, and brands itself in brazen, blazing hot fashion as a war movie of iconic intent, at last. The effect may be expected, but its so startling as to be initially comical, the freakish release of all of the film's pent-up energy. These are magnificently choreographed action sequences, if at first perfunctory, and it's here and only here that Gibson's talents are displayed - he's an alarmingly strong director of carnage, and of little else. While a film meeting its markers may be the definition of success, these aren't exactly my kind of markers - the overt religious content leaves an especially sour impression in my memory.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017


The sensible few among us didn't show much sense after all - La La Land snags a bizarre and unwarranted Sound Editing nomination to bulldoze its way to a record-equalling 14 Oscar nominations. Its shock success isn't the only one among this year's Academy Awards slate, as Moonlight pretty much maxes out with eight mentions, while select figures such as Mel Gibson, Isabelle Huppert and Ruth Negga receive credit too. Alas, there are the usual losers, including a couple of significant snubs for Best Picture and Director nominee Arrival (including Amy Adams, sadly), and a near-total shut-out for Silence, unforgivably. The 89th annual Academy Awards take place just over a month from now, on the 26th of February.

Best Picture
Arrival (Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, David Linde and Aaron Ryder)
Fences (Todd Black, Scott Rudin and Denzel Washington)
Hacksaw Ridge (Bill Mechanic and David Permut)
Hell or High Water (Carla Hacken and Julie Yorn)
Hidden Figures (Peter Chernin, Donna Gigliotti, Theodore Melfi, Jenno Topping and Pharrell Williams)
La La Land (Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt)
Lion (Iain Canning, Angie Fielder and Emile Sherman)
Manchester by the Sea (Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Stewart and Kevin J. Walsh)
Moonlight (Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Adele Romanski)

Best Directing
Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
Ruth Negga (Loving)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Emma Stone (La La Land)
Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
Denzel Washington (Fences)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis (Fences)
Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)
Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)
Dev Patel (Lion)
Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Best Writing - Original Screenplay
Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster)
Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
Mike Mills (20th Century Women)
Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water)

Best Writing - Adapted Screenplay
Luke Davies (Lion)
Eric Heisserer (Arrival)
Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight)
Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder (Hidden Figures)
August Wilson (Fences)

Best Cinematography
Greig Fraser (Lion)
James Laxton (Moonlight)
Rodrigo Prieto (Silence)
Linus Sandgren (La La Land)
Bradford Young (Arrival)

Best Film Editing
Tom Cross (La La Land)
John Gilbert (Hacksaw Ridge)
Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders (Moonlight)
Jake Roberts (Hell or High Water)
Joe Walker (Arrival)

Best Production Design
Stuart Craig and Anna Pinnock (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Guy Hendrix Dyas and Gene Serdena (Passengers)
Jess Gonchor and Nancy Haigh (Hail, Caesar!)
Paul Hotte and Patrice Vermette (Arrival)
Sandy Reynolds-Wasco and David Wasco (La La Land)

Best Costume Design
Colleen Atwood (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Consolata Boyle (Florence Foster Jenkins)
Madeline Fontaine (Jackie)
Joanna Johnston (Allied)
Mary Zophres (La La Land)

Best Sound Mixing
Bernard Gariepy Strobl and Claude la Haye (Arrival)
Peter Grace, Robert MacKenzie, Kevin O'Connell and Andy Wright (Hacksaw Ridge)
Jeffrey J. Haboush, Mac Ruth and Gary Summers (13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi)
Lee Ai Ling, Steven Morrow and Andy Nelson (La La Land)
David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson (Rogue One)

Best Sound Editing
Bub Asman and Alan Robert Murray (Sully)
Sylvain Bellemare (Arrival)
Mildred Iatrou and Lee Ai Ling (La La Land)
Robert MacKenzie and Andy Wright (Hacksaw Ridge)
Wylie Stateman and Renee Tondelli (Deepwater Horizon)

Best Visual Effects
Jason Billington, Burt Dalton, Craig Hammack and Jason Snell (Deepwater Horizon)
Richard Bluff, Stephane Ceretti, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould (Doctor Strange)
Neil Corbould, Hal T. Hickel, John Knoll and Mohen Leo (Rogue One)
Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff (Kubo and the Two Strings)
Andrew R. Jones, Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon and Adam Valdez (The Jungle Book)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Richard Alonzo and Joel Harlow (Star Trek Beyond)
Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson (Suicide Squad)
Love Larson and Eva von Bahr (A Man Called Ove)

Best Music (Original Score)
Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O'Halloran (Lion)
Nicholas Britell (Moonlight)
Justin Hurwitz (La La Land)
Mica Levi (Jackie)
Thomas Newman (Passengers)

Best Music (Original Song)
Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul - 'Audition (The Fools Who Dream)' (La La Land)
Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul - 'City Of Stars' (La La Land)
Max Martin, Karl Johan Schuster and Justin Timberlake - 'Can't Stop The Feeling' (Trolls)
Lin-Manuel Miranda - 'How Far I'll Go' (Moana)
J. Ralph and Gordon Sumner - 'The Empty Chair' (Jim: The James Foley Story)

Best Animated Feature Film
Kubo and the Two Strings (Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner)
Moana (Ron Clements, John Musker and Osnat Shurer)
My Life as a Courgette (Claude Barras and Max Karli)
The Red Turtle (Michael Dudok de Wit and Suzuki Toshio)
Zootopia (Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer)

Best Documentary Feature
13th (Spencer Averick, Howard Barish and Ava DuVernay)
Fire at Sea (Donatella Palermo and Gianfranco Rosi)
I Am Not Your Negro (Remi Grellety, Hebert Peck and Raoul Peck)
Life, Animated (Julie Goldman and Roger Ross Williams)
O.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow)

Best Foreign Language Film
Land of Mine (Martin Zandvliet) - Denmark
A Man Called Ove (Hannes Holm) - Sweden
The Salesman (Asghar Farhadi) - Iran
Tanna (Martin Butler and Bentley Dean) - Australia
Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade) - Germany

Best Short Film (Live Action)
Ennemis Interieurs (Selim Azzazi)
La Femme et le TGV (Giacun Caduff and Timo von Gunten)
Silent Nights (Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson)
Sing (Kristof Deak and Anna Udvardi)
Timecode (Juanjo Gimenez)

Best Short Film (Animated)
Blind Vaysha (Theodore Ushev)
Borrowed Time (Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj)
Pear Cider and Cigarettes (Cara Speller and Robert Valley)
Pearl (Patrick Osborne)
Piper (Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer)

Best Documentary Short
4.1 Miles (Daphne Matziaraki)
Extremis (Dan Krauss)
Joe's Violin (Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen)
Watani: My Homeland (Stephen Ellis and Marcel Mettelsiefen)
The White Helmets (Joanna Natasegara and Orlando von Einsiedel)