Afterthoughts on the 2015 Academy Awards


As the Oscars end every annual film award season with an absolute bang of glitz and glamour, it becomes the most talked about event of the year. Each year the American Golden Globes and the British BAFTAs come first, and so the winners of these anticipate which films will become the big winners at the Academy Awards. Last night admittedly had some surprises and some predictable winners too. The Grand Budapest Hotel, whilst brilliant, perhaps scooped up more awards than what it deserved.

gbhThere are three films that dominated the awards show last night – Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which scooped a whopping four awards, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman, also winning four awards, although in more prominent categories than The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash which followed with three awards in total. The only one of those I am yet to see is Whiplash, and whilst I have heard brilliant things about it, I feel from shallow observation that it stole awards from films like Interstellar (for Sound Mixing) and Boyhood where Ethan Hawke surely should have won for Best Supporting Actor.

Birdman for Best Picture? One of the most talked about films of the past few months, Birdman also scooped awards for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography. I saw Birdman back in November during a film preview day for cinemabm staff, and even though the film had not yet had a public release, I could not work out what all the fuss was about. It was truly impressive that the film was pretty much all one or two takes, and that is an achievement of its own, but I think the award for Cinematography should have gone to Interstellar, that proved its incredible cinematrography capabilities through its stunning panoramic shots of space and graceful sweeps of the camera as Matthew McConaughey bounces himself through a room as he looks through his entire life timelife. Similarly, Best Original Screenplay I believe should have gone to Boyhood, a film whose story suggests what it is to be human. Surprisingly, after winning Best Film at the BAFTAs, Boyhood only scooped one win at the Oscars for Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette. I am not surprised that Birdman won for Best Director Alejandro González Iñárritu; it must have taken a lot of work to rehearse and pre-plan that film and for him to ensure that everything went to plan; if they went wrong, then that was an hour or two wasted and they would have to start again. I am thoroughly surprised that two of 2014-15’s most glorious films The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game did not win more awards (they were award one Oscar each) after all of their critical acclaim (and they perhaps deserved more awards than Birdman).


Do the Oscar awards really mean anything? Well, not really. It is an exciting star-studded event that draws attention to those films which might otherwise not garner much of an audience (would we know about those short live action and animated films if the Oscars had not given them awards or nominations? Probably not). It is also important to see the Oscars as a celebration of the world of film. A celebration of the achievements of everyone involved within the film industry. Not just the directors, actors and sometimes screenwriters, but also the cinematographers, editors, sound mixers, animators, make-up and hair artists, composers, costume designers, set designers, production designers, prop-makers, SFX artists, and so many, many more people that go into making a film what it is.

A full list of the Oscar winners can be found HERE

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Pride (2014) opens the Portsmouth LGBT Film Festival


Last night, Tuesday 3rd February, Portsmouth Film Society opened its doors at the University of Portsmouth to launch Hampshire’s first ever LGBT Film Festival with a screening of 2014 hit Pride (Matthew Warchus). Joining the screening were Mike Jackson and David Lewis, original members of LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) along with the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Steven Wylie, and Senior Equality Champion at the University Pal Ahluwali.

Preceding the screening was a drinks reception where audience members were treated to free glasses of wine and sandwiches whilst they mingled with other film fans and browsed  the LGSM merchandise that David Lewis and Mike Jackson had brought along. Merchandise for LGSM included the Pits and Perverts t-shirt (pictured below) that features in the film, along with LGSM pin badges (also below) and Lesbians Benefit for the Miners bags with profits split between the Mark Ashton Red Ribbon Trust charity (in support of AIDs) and the Turkish SOMA Miners Relief Fund.

pap badge

As the audience settled down, excited about being the first people to experience the opening of Hampshire’s LGBT Film Festival, Mike Jackson gave a brief introduction to the film along with Steven Wylie and Portsmouth Film Society members. Pride was my favourite film of 2014, and so it was very exciting to see it again on the big screen before the DVD and Bluray release on 2nd March.

mjIt was evident from the audible laughs throughout the film that the audience enjoyed it. There were people of all ages there, demonstrating the wide and universal appeal that the film has. After the film was a Q+A with Mike Jackson. He spoke to the audience about his experiences in LGSM during the miner’s strike, and about how factually accurate Pride was to the events that really happened. It is easy to guess that the member of LGSM in Pride that did not really exist was Joe. Some elements of the film needed to be fictitious however as Pride is a film meant for entertainment. It isn’t a documentary about the miner’s strike as Still the Enemy Within was (another film I highly recommend you watch).

Stephen Beresford, who is nominated for a BAFTA for Outstanding Debut, did a truly brilliant job of conveying the story of LGSM and the miner’s strike without sugaring the pill too much to make it pure comedy. Instead, he created a story about real people and their “battle against an enemy so much bigger and stronger than [them]”, and it is a film which is entertaining to watch, but educational to those, as one member of the audience pointed out about a friend, have to ask what a miner was because before the film, they did not know.


I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the event. Mike Jackson, along with other members of LGSM are the heroes of Pride that still continue to fight for socialism and worker’s rights.

I was fortunate enough to meet the brilliant Mike Jackson and David Lewis and chat to them about Pride and their role in LGSM, and here is a photo of me with Mike as we shouted “VICTORY TO THE MINERS!”


To find out more about LGSM, follow their Twitter HERE.

I gave a pre-screening talk on Pride at No.6 Cinema in October 2014. A post about it and video og my talk can be found HERE.

Pride was the first screening of Portsmouth’s first ever LGBT film festival, run by Portsmouth Film Society.

Other upcoming screenings include:

Strangers by the Lake – Thursday 5th February 7pm

Before Stonewall – Thursday 12th February 7pm

XXY – Tuesday 17th February 7pm

Tomboy – Thursday 19th February 7pm

The Way he Looks – Tuesday 24th February 7pm

SURPRISE FILM to close the LGBT Film Festival – Thursday 26th February 6:30pm


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The Oscar 2015 nominations have arrived!

Golden Globes logo

That time of year for the Oscars has come around again. There are a whopping total of nine nominees for Best Picture, with some fantastic choices amongst them. 2014 – 2015 has been another fantastic year for film, in particular British Cinema. Arguably the most notable British comedy drama of the year Pride however, received no nominations (an absolute Oscar snub whereas it was nominated for Outstanding British Film int he UK!). Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel both tie for most nominations with nine each. I am surprised Interstellar wasn’t nominated for more awards, in particular Best Picture, as I found it to be one of the most incredible films ever made, not just of the year.

Now that all of the nominees for the big name film award shows (the BAFTAs (follow link to see full list of BAFTA nominees) and the Oscars) have been announced, the world of social media will be abuzz with film fans throwing out their Oscar winner guesses. I have seen a fair amount of the films nominated (American Sniper, Selma and Whiplash are still to be released in the UK), but will make an effort to at least watch all of the Best Picture nominees before the awards ceremony (unlike last year where I hadn’t seen any!).

Best Picture
American Sniper (dir: Clint Eastwood)
Birdman (dir: Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Boyhood (dir: Richard Linklater)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (dir: Wes Anderson)
The Imitation Game (dir: Morten Tyldum)
Selma (dir: Ava DuVernay)
The Theory of Everything (dir: James Marsh)
Whiplash (dir: Damien Chazelle)

Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – Birdman
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game
Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Micheal Keaton – Birdman
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

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

Supporting actor
Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

Supporting actress
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Laura Dern – Wild
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods
Emma Stone – Birdman

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

Original screenplay
Birdman (Screenwriters: Alexander Dinelaris, Nicolás Giacobone, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Armando Bo)
Boyhood (Screenwriter: Richard Linklater)
Foxcatcher (Screenwriters: Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Screenwriter: Wes Anderson)
Nightcrawler (Screenwriter: Dan Gilroy)

Birdman (Cinematographer: Emmanuel Lubezki)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Cinematographer: Robert Yeoman)
Ida (Cinematographers: Lukasz Zal and Ryzsard Lenczewski)
Mr. Turner (Cinematographer: Dick Pope)
Unbroken (Cinematographer: Roger Deakins)

Best Original Song
Everything is Awesome – The LEGO Movie
Glory – Selma
Grateful – Behind the Lights
I’m Not Going to Miss You – Glen Campbell
Lost Stars – Begin Again

Original Score
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Composer: Alexandre Desplat)
The Imitation Game (Composer: Alexandre Desplat)
Interstellar (Composer: Hans Zimmer)
Mr. Turner (Composer: Gery Yershon)
The Theory of Everything (Composer: Jóhann Jóhannsson)

Makeup and Hairstyling
Foxcatcher (Make-up and hair: Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Make-up and hair: Frances Hannon)
Guardians of the Galaxy (Make-up and hair: Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White)

Costume Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Costume design: Milena Canonero)
Inherent Vice (Costume design: Mark Bridges)
Into the Woods (Costume design: Colleen Atwood)
Maleficent (Costume design: Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive)
Mr. Turner (Costume design: Jacqueline Durran)

Foreign Language Film
Ida (dir: Pawel Pawlikowski)
Leviathan (dir: Andrey Zvyagintsev)
Tangerines (dir: Zaza Urushadze)
Timbuktu (dir: Abderrahmane Sissako)
Wild Tales (dir: Damián Szifron)

Best Animated Feature Film
Big Hero 6 (dir: Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli)
The Boxtrolls (dir: Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight)
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (dir: Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold)
Song of the Sea (dir: Tomm Moore and Paul Young)
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (dir: Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura)

Best Animated Short
The Bigger Picture (Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees)
The Dam Keeper (Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi)
Feast (Patrick and Kristina Reed)
Me and My Moulton (Torill Kove)
A Single Life (Joris Oprins)

Live Action Short Film
Aya (Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis)
Boogalo and Graham (Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney)
Butter Lamp (Hu Wei and Julien Féret)
Parvaneh (Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger)
The Phone Call (Mat Kirkby and James Lucas)

Production Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration))
The Imitation Game (Maria Djurkovic (Production Design); Tatiana Macdonald (Set Decoration))
Interstellar (dir: Nathan Crowley (Production Design); Gary Fettis (Set Decoration))
Into the Woods (dir: Dennis Gassner (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration))
Mr. Turner (dir: Suzie Davies (Production Design); Charlotte Watts (Set Decoration))

Visual Effects
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (dir: Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (dir: Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist)
Guardians of the Galaxy (dir: Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould)
Interstellar (dir: Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher)
X:Men: Days of Future Past (dir: Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer)

Best Documentary feature
Citizenfour (dir: Laura Poitras)
Finding Vivian Maier (dir: John Maloof and Charlie Siskel)
Last Days in Vietnam (dir: Rory Kennedy)
The Salt of the Earth (dir: Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado)
Virunga (dir: Orlando von Einsiedel)

Best Editing
American Sniper (Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach)
Boyhood (Sandra Adair)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Barney Pilling)
The Imitation Game (William Goldenberg)
Whiplash (Tom Cross)

Sound Editing
American Sniper (Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman)
Birdman (Martin Hernández and Aaron Glascock)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Brent Burge and Jason Canovas)
Interstellar (Richard King)
Unbroken (Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro)

Sound Mixing
American Sniper (John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin)
Birdman (Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga)
Interstellar (Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten)
Unbroken (Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee)
Whiplash (Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley)

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Golden Globes 2015 Winners!

Golden Globes logo

The Golden Globes are happening! The most exciting thing about the show is that it launches the public, the press and the stars into the film award season. Although the Golden Globes include TV awards, I’m only focusing on the Film-related awards (I am afterall a film blog). I’ll be adding the winners as they happen.

Film nominees and their winners:

Best Motion Picture – Drama:
WINNER: Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller)
The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum)
Selma (Ava DuVernay)
The Theory of Everything (James Marsh)

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:
WINNER: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)
Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Into the Woods (Rob Marshall)
Pride (Matthew Warchus)
St. Vincent (Theodore Melfi)

Best Director:
WINNER: Richard Linklater – Boyhood
-Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
-Ava Duvernay – Selma
-David Fincher – Gone Girl
-Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman

Best Actress – Drama:
WINNER: Julianne Moore – Still Alice (Wash Westmoreland, Richard Glatzer)
-Jennifer Aniston – Cake (Daniel Barnz)
-Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything (James Marsh)
-Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl (David Fincher)
-Reese Witherspoon – Wild (Jean-Marc Vallée)

Best Actor – Drama:
WINNER: Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything (James Marsh)
-Steve Carell – Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller)
-Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum)
-Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)
-David Oyelowo – Selma (Ava Duvernay)

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy:
WINNER: Amy Adams – Big Eyes (Tim Burton)
-Emily Blunt – Into the Woods (Rob Marshall)
-Helen Mirren – The Hundred-Foot Journey (Lasse Hallström)
-Julianne Moore – Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg)
-Quvenzhané Wallis – Annie (Will Gluck)

Best Actor – Musical or Comedy:
WINNER: Michael Keaton – Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu)
-Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)
-Bill Murray – St. Vincent (Theodore Melfi)
-Joaquin Pheonix – Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)
-Christoph Waltz – Big Eyes (Tim Burton)

Best Supporting Actress:
WINNER: Patricia Arquette – Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
-Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year (J. C. Chandor)
-Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum)
-Emma Stone – Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu)
-Meryl Streep – Into the Woods (Rob Marshall)

Best Supporting Actor:
Whiplash (2014) -- Screengrab from exclusive clip.
WINNER: JK Simmons – Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)
-Robert Duvall – The Judge (David Dobkin)
-Ethan Hawke – Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
-Edward Norton – Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu)
-Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller)

Best Screenplay:
WINNER: Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo)
-Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)
-Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl (David Fincher)
-Richard Linklater – Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
-Graham Moore – The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum)

Best Foreign Film:
WINNER: Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev)
Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund)
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Shlomi Elkabetz, Ronit Elkabetz)
Ida (Paweł Pawlikowski)
Tangerines (Zaza Urushadze)

Best Animated Feature:
WINNER: How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Dean DeBlois)
Big Hero 6 (Don Hall, Chris Williams)
The Book of Life (Jorge Gutierrez)
The Boxtrolls (Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable)
The Lego Movie (Chris Miller, Phil Lord)

Best Motion Picture Soundtrack – Original Score:
WINNER: The Theory of Everything (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
Birdman (Antonio Sanchez)
Gone Girl (Trent Reznor)
Imitation Game (Alexandre Desplat)
Interstellar (Hans Zimmer)

Best Motion Picture Soundtrack – Original Song
WINNER: “Glory” – Selma (John Legend, Common)
-“Big Eyes” – Big Eyes (Lana Del Ray)
-“Mercy Is” – Noah (Patty Smith, Lenny Kaye)
-“Opportunity” – Annie (Sia/Quvenhané Wallis)
-“Yellow Flicker Beat” – Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 1) (Lorde)

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The BAFTA nominations 2015 are here!

The start of a new year always brings us a fresh supply of award shows for films including the Golden Globes held in January, and the BAFTAs and Oscars held in February (sometimes March). When the list was revealed this morning, I found that for the first time ever, I’d actually seen the majority of nominees on the list. I normally have to attempt to watch them all before the award show (which is always impossible due to the lack of dvd releases etc). However, I was very impressed with this year’s list. I thought that 2014-15 had been lacking slightly in a huge selection of great films, but the list highlights just how many fantastic achievements have been made in the film industry in the past year.

So here are the nominations for the BAFTAs 2015:

Best film
Birdman (dir: Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Boyhood (dir: Richard Linklater)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (dir: Wes Anderson)
The Imitation Game (dir: Morten Tyldum)
The Theory of Everything (dir: James Marsh)

Outstanding British film
’71 (dir: Yann Demange)
The Imitation Game (dir: Morten Tyldum)
Paddington (dir: Paul King)
Pride (dir: Matthew Warchus)
The Theory of Everything (dir: James Marsh)
Under the Skin (dir: Jonathan Glazer)

Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer
Elaine Constantine (writer/director) Northern Soul
Gregory Burke (writer), Yann Demange (director) ’71
Hong Khaou (writer/director) Lilting
Paul Katis (director/producer), Andrew Lotbinière (producer) Kajaki: The True Story
Stephen Beresford (writer), David Livingstone (producer) Pride

Film not in the English Language
Ida (dir: Paweł Pawlikowski)
Leviathan (dir: Andrey Zvyagintsev)
The Lunchbox (dir: Ritesh Batra)
Trash (dir: Stephen Daldry)
Two Days, One Night (dir: Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne)

20 Feet from Stardom (dir: Morgan Neville)
20,000 Days on Earth (dir: Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard)
Citizenfour (dir: Laura Poitras)
Finding Vivian Maier (dir: Charles Siskel, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel)
Virunga (dir: Orlando von Einsiedel)

Animated Film
Big Hero 6 (dir: Don Hall and Chris Williams)
The Boxtrolls (dir: Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable)
The Lego Movie (dir: Chris Miller and Phil Lord)

Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
James Marsh – The Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle – Whiplash

Original Screenplay
Birdman (Screenwriter: Alexander Dinelaris, Nicolás Giacobone, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Armando Bo)
Boyhood (Screenwriter: Richard Linklater)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Screenwriter: Wes Anderson)
Nightcrawler (Screenwriter: Dan Gilroy)
Whiplash (Screenwriter: Damien Chazelle)

Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper (Screenwriter: Jason Dean Hall)
Gone Girl (Screenwriter: Gillian Flynn)
The Imitation Game (Screenwriter: Graham Moore)
Paddington (Screenwriter: Paul King, Hamish McColl and Emma Thompson)
The Theory of Everything (Screenwriter: Anthony McCarten)

Leading Actor
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton – Birdman
Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Leading Actress
Amy Adams – Big Eyes
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Reese Witherspoon – Wild
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

Supporting Actor
Edward Norton – Birdman
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
JK Simmons – Whiplash
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

Supporting Actress
Emma Stone – Birdman
Imelda Staunton – Pride
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Rene Russo – Nightcrawler

Original Music
Birdman (Composer: Antonio Sanchez)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Composer: Alexandre Desplat)
Interstellar (Composer: Hans Zimmer)
The Theory of Everything (Composer: Jóhann Jóhannsson)
Under The Skin (Composer: Mica Levi)

Birdman (Cinematographer: Emmanuel Lubezki)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Cinematographer: Robert Yeoman)
Ida (Cinematographers: Lukasz Zal and Ryzsard Lenczewski)
Interstellar (Cinematographer: Hoyte van Hoytema)
Mr Turner (Cinematographer: Dick Pope)

Due to a tie in voting in this category, there are six nominations
Birdman (Editors: Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Editor: Barney Pilling)
The Imitation Game (Editor: William Goldenberg)
Nightcrawler (Editor: John Gilroy)
The Theory of Everything (Editor: Jinx Godfrey)
Whiplash (Editor: Tom Cross)

Production Design
Big Eyes (Production Designers: Rick Heinrichs and Shane Vieau)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Production Designers: Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock)
The Imitation Game (Production Designers: Maria Djurkovic and Tatiana MacDonald)
Interstellar (Production Designers: Nathan Crowley and Gary Fettis)
Mr Turner (Production Designers: Suzie Davies and Charlotte Watts)

Costume design
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Costume Designer: Milena Canonero)
The Imitation Game (Costume Designer: Sammy Sheldon Differ)
Into the Woods (Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood)
Mr Turner (Costume Designer: Jacqueline Durran)
The Theory of Eveyrthing (Costume Designer: Steven Noble)

Make-up and Hair
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Make-up and hair: Frances Hannon)
Guardians of the Galaxy (Make-up and hair: Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White)
Into the Woods (Make-up and hair: Peter Swords King and J. Roy Helland)
Mr Turner (Make-up and hair: Christine Blundell and Lesa Warrener)
The Theory of Eveyrthing (Make-up and hair: Jan Sewell)

American Sniper (Sound: Walt Martin, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman)
Birdman (Sound: Thomas Varga, Martin Hernández, Aaron Glascock, Jon Taylor and Frank A. Montaño)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Sound: Wayne Lemmer, Christopher Scarabosio and Pawel Wdowczak)
The Imitation Game (Sound: John Midgley, Lee Walpole, Stuart Hilliker and Martin Jensen)
Whiplash (Sound: Thomas Curley, Ben Wilkins and Craig Mann)

Special Visual Effects
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (SFX: Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Erik Winquist and Daniel Barrett)
Guardians of the Galaxy (SFX: Stephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Jonathan Fawkner and Nicolas Aithadi)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (SFX: Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White)
Interstellar (SFX: Paul Franklin, Scott Fisher and Andrew Lockley)
X-Men: Days of Future Past (SFX: Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer)

British Short Animation
The Bigger Picture (Chris Hees, Daisy Jacobs and Jennifer Majka)
Monkey Love Experiments (Ainslie Henderson, Cam Fraser and Will Anderson)
My Dad (Marcus Armitage)

British Short Film
Boogaloo and Graham (Brian J. Falconer, Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney)
Emotional Fusebox (Michael Berliner and Rachel Tunnard)
The Kármán Line (Campbell Beaton, Dawn King, Tiernan Hanby and Oscar Sharp)
Slap (Islay Bell-Webb, Michelangelo Fano and Nick Rowland)
Three Brothers (Aleem Khan, Matthieu de Braconier and Stephanie Paeplow)

The EE Rising Star Award (voted for by the public)
Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Jack O’Connell
Margot Robbie
Miles Teller
Shailene Woodley

The BAFTAs will be held and broadcast on BBC One on Sunday 8th February 2015

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10 Most Anticipated Films of 2015

2015 is boasting a promising list of films to be released throughout the year, and I have compiled a list of the 10 that I am most looking forward to seeing (in no particular order as some of the films have not had much information or promotional material released yet).

Surprisingly no film has ever really been made about some of the most inspirational and important women in history. The Suffragettes made a name for themselves as fighters and supporters of a woman’s right to vote kicking off in 1792 when Mary Wollstonecraft helped to launch the campaign through to the early 20th Century, when they were most active. They were the voice of a generation, and Suffragettes, due to be released by Pathé in September, focuses on the early 20th Century suffragette movement and stars notable British stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw and Meryl Streep. Suffragettes focuses on a generation’s struggle for gender equality in a time where women only held value as being the wife of a man, and how the suffragettes launched the early feminist movement, but fought in a cat and mouse struggle against the state who were eager to silence them. It is set to become a memorable British drama in a long line of British classics, and from what I have heard, they will be re-enacting Emily Davison’s Derby tragedy along with many other iconic moments of the suffragettes’ fight. Personally I have always been very interested in the suffragettes as they paved the way in increasing equality for women (although there is still a long way to go!). The wide release of a film focusing on these inspirational women will highlight a piece of history that many people, even young women, have no knowledge of, and I am very much looking forward to seeing it, especially due to the success of Pathé’s last film Pride (2014), and the critical acclaim of their upcoming film Selma.

Into the Woods
Merging together an array of classic and well-loved fairytales into a colourful, spirited and fantasy-filled family film makes this adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s stage musical a promising addition to the fairytale genre. From Little Red Riding Hood, to Rapunzel, through to Jack and the Beanstalk and even references to Rumpelstiltskin, Disney have created a big budget live action homage to the tales we have all grown up with. I have always been a huge fan of fairytales, and I love the increasing popularity of adaptations since Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (2010) as it means there is always a new fairytale adaptation for me to look forward to (there are 3, arguably 4 adaptations (if you include The Little Prince) that make this list). Into the Woods boasts an established and talented cast including Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine, memorable and catchy songs, and an original plot that makes this film stand out among its fellow films in the fantasy genre. The costumes are also worth noting for their unique interpretations of how we imagine the classic fairytale characters to look. I’m exceptionally excited to see Into the Woods this January and believe it will be worthy of all the critical acclaim it has already received.

The Theory of Everything
theory of everything
The story behind science genius Stephen Hawking will come to life in this film focusing on his relationship with his first wife Jane Wilde from the start of Hawking emerging on his PhD, through his struggle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (A.L.S.), right up to his later life when they divorced. Arguably one of the most famous and important scientists of all time, Hawking’s ingenious mind paved the way for modern physics. The Theory of Everything, based on Wilde’s book Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, is directed by James Marsh and scored by Jóhann Jóhannsson. It stars Eddie Redmayne as Hawking, and Felicity Jones as Jane, and with this promising cast, there is no doubt that this will be one of the most critically-acclaimed dramas of the year, with all the attention it has already received from its early release in the states. I am not too familiar with Hawking’s work, but I am sure I will love this film and will soon after go and study more of his theories. It has already been nominated for several Golden Globes and will also, I’m sure, be nominated for BAFTAs and Oscars too and is definitely a film to watch out for in 2015.

Cinderella is undoubtedly one of the most well-known fairytales of all time, and this new live action adaptation from Disney is worth watching for the big name stars alone The cast includes Lily James as the princess herself, Helena Bonham Carter as the quirky fairy Godmother, Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother, and Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera as the wicked stepsisters. Although the film adaptation appears to stay very loyal to the plot of the well-known Disney animation (1950), I am hoping for some of the brutality of the Grimm tale, although in a Disney film, that is unlikely. There are sure to be sparks of original twists in the film however as is always present in recent fairytale adaptations (Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013), Alice in Wonderland (2010), and Maleficent (2014)). With a super star cast though and the trailer boosting its popularity, Cinderella looks set to be a must-see Disney film, bringing the old tale to a new generation.

Pan is a twist on the classic tale of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. Rather than being an adaptation of Barrie’s book much like Disney’s animated or the 2003 live action versions are, it focuses on the story of Peter Pan himself, rather than the Darling family and their encounter with him. Essentially the plot of the film is, according to IMDb, ‘an orphan is spirited away to the realm of Neverland, where he fulfils his destiny as Peter Pan’. As Peter Pan is one of my favourite fairytales, I am very much looking forward to watching this adaptation, released in the UK on 17th July as it will be an original take on the story and will provide depth and a back story to Peter Pan himself. The film is directed by Atonement (2007) and Anna Karenina (2012) director Joe Wright, and stars big names Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, and Rooney Mara. Released just in time for the summer holidays, Pan will be a film for families and audiences of any age, and it will, I hope, do the book justice.

Testament of Youth
Based on the memoir of Vera Brittain, the film focuses on her time embarking on studying at Oxford which is shortly after disrupted by World War One. Vera quickly puts aside her studies and becomes a nurse to the wounded veterans (including the German soldiers). A fiercely compassionate, intelligent, and independent individual, Vera’s memoir became the voice of a generation, and has become a hugely popular and important piece of work since its reprint in the late 1970s (followed by a TV dramatisation in 1979). I am very much looking forward to seeing Testament of Youth and will be watching the preview of the film on Monday 12th January before its public release the following Friday. The preview will be livestreamed at over 300 cinemas across the UK straight from the BFI, and will have an introduction and be followed by a Q+A with the director, producer, select cast members, and Vera Brittain’s daughter Baroness Shirley Williams. The preview is part of the BFI’s new programme ‘BFI Presents’ which will lead similar previews and Q+As to promote and raise awareness of British films to British audiences.

Far From the Madding Crowd
As a huge Hardy fan, and indeed fan of Victorian literature, I always watch adaptations of notable classic novels. Most of these adaptations appear in the form of TV dramas however, and there aren’t many Hardy film adaptations, the most notable of which are arguably Roman Polanski’s Tess (1979) and Jude (1996). Far From the Madding Crowd is another of Hardy’s classic novels focusing on the independent Bathsheba Everdene who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer; Frank Troy, a reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor. Some big name British actors have signed up to star in the film, including Carey Mulligan in the lead role, and co-stars Juno Temple, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, and Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts.

Victor Frankenstein
Since starring in the Harry Potter films, Daniel Radcliffe has launched himself into new projects in an attempt to establish himself as an actor that isn’t just known as “that boy who played Harry Potter”. Although he remains thankful for his Harry Potter role which made him a multi-millionaire actor, he has successfully become known for other films such as The Woman in Black and Kill Your Darlings. Victor Frankenstein, based on the classic Mary Shelley horror story, will provide him with another chance to move away into more challenging roles, and he will, I am sure, do a great job of it. There have been many adaptations of the book over the past Century, but what will make this one stand out, is that it is told from Igor’s (Radcliffe) perspective, focusing on the young man who became assistant to the great scientist Victor Frankenstein. I’m hoping this will be more than just a horror film but incorporate the Burtonesque element of adding a back story and depth to the characters, giving the ‘monsters’ a very human quality. Either way it will be interesting to see how Radcliffe further develops his career, and as a fan of the book, I am looking forward to this original adaptation.

Starring Emma Watson, Ethan Hawke and David Thewlis, Regression promises a high quality film based on its actors alone. Regression focuses on the story of a young girl who is sexually abused by her father and how they are torn apart, thrown into a conspiracy that shocks the nation. Emma Watson has proven that she can tackle a diverse range of challenging and complex characters and roles and make them believable. From Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series to Pauline Fossil in Ballet Shoes, from Sam in The Perks of Being a Wallflower to Nicki in The Bling Ring. Emma Watson has become a name that young women and girls everywhere are aware of, and in fact the world after she became a UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador and gave a powerful speech for her He For She campaign, promoting gender equality. With talented co-stars David Thewlis and Ethan Hawke by her side, there is no doubt that Emma Watson will tackle an even more challenging role with ease, and Regression will be another brilliant film that she can add to her credits.

The Little Prince
Based on the classic fantasy fairytale from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, this film adaptation has cast famous stars James Franco, Rachel McAdams, and Marion Cotillard and will be accompanied by a score composed by Hans Zimmer. This animation tells the very touching and human story of a little girl whose mother is preparing her to grow up (much like the story of Wendy in Peter Pan). However, The Little Girl’s neighbour introduces her to a world he has already embarked upon through his friend The Little Prince, a world where anything can happen. The Little Girl ultimately learns that what is most important are the lessons we learn during childhood – imagination and hope and the ability to have faith in the important things, and that the most important things are those that can only be felt by the heart. Very similar to the lessons of other fairytales, in particular Peter Pan and its adaptation Finding Neverland (2005), The Little Prince promises a magical journey that reminds us what we should cherish most in the world.

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2014 in Film Overview

Pride film still interstellar_a

2014 was a great year, film-wise. The Oscars and BAFTAs were wonderful this year with lots of fantastic nominations and award winners. The year saw some fantastic releases, notably Pride (Matthew Warchus, 2014), which topped my list of the best films of the year, and saw the release of Tim Burton’s Big Eyes at the end of the year which has earned the film three Golden Globe nominations and a return to the style of his earlier films, notably Big Fish and the pastel, surburban world of Edward Scissorhands.

I had my first film-viewing experience at the BFI Imax at the end of November with Christopher Nolan’s phenomenal Interstellar which was undoubtedly the most immersive film experience I’ve had, and although I failed to stick to my themed film months throughout the year, I did watch a whopping 457 films throughout 2014.

Now 2015 has arrived, and these are my film resolutions:

  • To keep up to date with reading Sight and Sound and Empire.
  • To spend more time browsing through the Sight and Sound archive.
  • To watch more films in the cinema. I work at the volunteer-led No.6 Cinema so this shouldn’t be a problem.
  • To spend more time researching film theory and working on my own essays.
  • To post more on my blog.
  • Beat my record of how many films I watch within a year (so to beat last year’s record of 457).
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