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Full winner list for the 37th Hong Kong Film Awards, and my quick opinions for some categories.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2018 by vincentloy

The 37th Hong Kong Film Awards was held yesterday to honor the best of Hong Kong films in 2017. I was very free on the Sunday’s evening and so I watched the whole awards ceremony which lasted for almost 4 hours (definitely overrun). I am not interested in most parts of the ceremony because I actually didn’t watch any of the nominated films (no love to Hong Kong films last year, I only watched very few but not the nominated ones). I am only excited and curious on who will win the best actor and actress this time. Here below is the full list of winners and nominees along with my comments in several categories:

Best Film from Mainland and Taiwan
The Great Buddha (Taiwan) (WINNER)
The Bold, the Corrupt, and the Beautiful (Taiwan)
Youth (China)
Duckweed (China)
Wolf Warrior 2 (China)

Best New Director
Kearen Pang — 29+1 (WINNER)
Jonathan Li — The Brink
Chapman To — The Empty Hands
Derek Hui — This Is Not What I Expected
Chan Tai-lee — Tomorrow Is Another Day

Opinion: I think this category should be removed because it is way too early to reward first-time director. There can be many other ways to reward first-time director rather than an award immediately.

Best Visual Effects
Henri Wong, Eric Xu — Wu Kong (WINNER)
Park Young-soo, Kim Wook — Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back
Jang Seong-ho, Park Young-soo, Son Oh-young — The Thousand Faces of Dunjia
Yee Kwok-leung, Chui Tak-piu, Jules Lin, Loki Ho — Shock Wave
Victor Wong, Eman Tse — The Founding of an Army

Opinion: When you do a movie about the mythical Monkey King legend and you place in heavy amount of CGI, you will win. The quality of visual effects in Asia is still quite far behind compared to Hollywood production. Every CGI scenes look fake especially in these kind of fantasy movies.

Best Sound Design
Kinson Tsang, George Lee — Paradox (WINNER)
Tu Du-chih, Wu Shu-yao — Our Time Will Come
Kinson Tsang, Yiu Chun-hin — Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back
Nip Kei-wing, Ip Siu-kei — Shock Wave
Hao Gang, Wang Chong — Wu Kong

Best Original Film Song
“An Unheard Melody” — Concerto of the Bully (WINNER)
Composer: Peter Kam
Lyrics: Keith Chan Siu-kei
Performer: Ronald Cheng
“Fake a Smile (For Hector)” — 29+1
Composer: Subyub Lee
Lyrics: Subyub Lee
Performer: Subyub Lee
“Flowers in Blossom” — Love Education
Composer: Kay Huang
Lyrics: Lam Kwun-fan
Performer: Sitar Tan
“Jeung Seung Si Sau” — Vampire Cleanup Department
Composer: ToNick
Lyrics: Leung Pak-kin, Gingerlemon Cola
Performer: ToNick
“When I Love You” — This Is Not What I Expected
Composer: Chan Kwong-wing
Lyrics: Han Han
Performer: Cheer Chen

Best Original Film Score
Joe Hisaishi — Our Time Will Come (WINNER)
Wong Ngai-lun, Janet Yung — 29+1
Peter Kam — Concerto of the Bully
Veronica Lee — The Empty Hands
Kay Huang — Love Education

Best Action Choreography
Sammo Hung — Paradox (WINNER)
Li Chung-chi — The Brink
Yuen Cheung-yan, Yuen Shun-yi — The Thousand Faces of Dunjia
Ku Huen-chiu — Wu Kong
Yu Kang, Yuen Bun, Yan Hua — Chasing the Dragon

Best Costume & Make Up Design
Bruce Yu, Lee Pik-kwan — Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (WINNER)
Man Lim-chung, Polly Chan — Our Time Will Come
Bruce Yu, Lee Pik-kwan — Wu Kong
Yee Chung-man, Bruce Yu, Kwok Suk-man — Chasing the Dragon
Dora Ng — This Is Not What I Expected

Best Art Direction
Man Lim-chung, Billy Li — Our Time Will Come (WINNER)
Yoshihito Akatsuka, Liao Huei-li, Guo Zhongshan — Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back
Irving Cheung — The Empty Hands
Eric Lam — Wu Kong
James Cheung — Chasing the Dragon

Best Film Editing
Li Ka-wing — Chasing the Dragon (WINNER)
William Chang, Shirley Yip — In Your Dreams
Azreal Chung — Shock Wave
Mary Stephen, Kong Chi-leung — Our Time Will Come
Wong Hoi — Paradox

Best Cinematography
Jason Kwan — Chasing the Dragon (WINNER)
Nelson Yu — Our Time Will Come
Tam Wai-kai — The Empty Hands
Mark Lee Ping-bing — Love Education
Kenny Tse — Paradox

Best Screenplay
Sylvia Chang, You Xiaoying — Love Education (WINNER)
Kearen Pang — 29+1
Ho Kei-ping — Our Time Will Come
Pang Ho-cheung, Jimmy Wan, Luk Yee-sum — Love Off the Cuff
Cheung King-wai — Somewhere Beyond the Mist

Opinion: Since Sylvia Chang won here, it looks like she will lose the best actress trophy later. It’s okay because she has won it before many years ago.

Best New Performer
Ling Man-lung — Tomorrow Is Another Day (WINNER)
Larine Tang — The Yuppie Fantasia 3
Stephanie Au — Love Off the Cuff
Hanna Chan — Paradox
Rachel Leung — Somewhere Beyond the Mist

Opinion: I didn’t watch the film, but I am already amazed by Ling Man-lung’s acting just by seeing the short clip of his performance as an autistic son in ‘Tomorrow Is Another Day’ alone. Hence, I think he deserved this award.

Best Supporting Actress
Deanie Ip — Our Time Will Come (WINNER)
Joyce Cheng — 29+1
Estelle Wu — Love Education
Susan Shaw — Vampire Cleanup Department
Baby Bo — Somewhere Beyond the Mist

Opinion: Deanie Ip is a wonderful actress and it’s lovely to see her return to the stage again after winning best actress few years ago.

Best Supporting Actor
Philip Keung — Shock Wave (WINNER)
Philip Keung — Concerto of the Bully
Yasuaki Kurata — The Empty Hands
Paul Chun — Love Off the Cuff
Gordon Lam — Paradox
Yasuaki Kurata — God of War

Opinion: I have seen quite a number of Hong Kong movies in the past with Philip Keung in it. In most of those movies, he is not that noticeable because he is always playing average roles. Hey..not this time. This time, he got a role that won the recognition he deserves.

Best Actress
Teresa Mo — Tomorrow Is Another Day (WINNER)
Chrissie Chau — 29+1
Zhou Xun — Our Time Will Come
Stephy Tang — The Empty Hands
Sylvia Chang — Love Education

Opinion: Teresa Mo deserves this award. She has placed a lot of effort in Hong Kong film industry in all these years. After failing to win in previous occasions (has been nominated several times in the past), she finally prevailed this time. I’m glad for her. She too is a wonderful actress. I particularly like her comedic roles (although this award-winning role is not).

Best Actor
Louis Koo — Paradox (WINNER)
Ronald Cheng — Concerto of the Bully
Andy Lau — Shock Wave
Tian Zhuangzhuang — Love Education
Ling Man-lung — Tomorrow Is Another Day

Opinion: I already expected this. Louis Koo has been the frontrunner in this category after winning several best actor prizes in some other awards earlier for his role in ‘Paradox’. He has been nominated several times in the past too (but never win before) and no one is of doubt that he is a lead actor material. His time came and I’m happy for him winning his first Film King  in Hong Kong Film Awards. He has also won TV King many years ago from TVB.

Best Director
Ann Hui — Our Time Will Come (WINNER)
Kearen Pang — 29+1
Herman Yau — Shock Wave
Sylvia Chang — Love Education
Wilson Yip — Paradox

Opinion: Ann Hui again. She is a great director but at this point, I’m tired of hearing her name again. She has won the best director for a total of 6 times (most wins in directing). I think the voters tend to choose only the familiar name in this category (and also in some other categories too). This is discouraging to other directors who also did great jobs.

Best Film
Roger Lee, Stephen Lam, Ann Hui — Our Time Will Come (WINNER)
Alvin Lam, Andy Lau, Chan Pui-wah, Esther Koo, Alice Chan, Jeffrey Chan, Simon Li, Thomas Tang, Chang Bin, C.K. Wong, Xingbo Guan — Shock Wave
Patricia Cheng — Love Education
Wong Jing, Donnie Yen, Andy Lau, Connie Wong — Chasing the Dragon
Soi Cheang, Paco Wong — Paradox

Opinion: Yet, another film by Ann Hui winning best film again. Usually those artistic and historical movie (and usually boring) will win. I’m not against it but again, I’m tired of seeing the similar type of movie taking the top honor. The voters should opt for innovative (boundary pushing) or truly moving (warm and relatable) works next time.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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Gold Coast 2018 ended with Malaysia still couldn’t break into top 10 in final medal tally.

Posted in Uncategorized Domain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2018 by vincentloy

The 21st Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast 2018 concluded today after 11 days of competition involving athletes from 71 participating countries and territories. I watched the highlight of the closing ceremony and it was a very underwhelming way to brought the successful games to an end. Although as expected, there is no particularly striking moment in the closing ceremony due to the relevant budget cut to hosting sporting events recently (hence inevitable decrease in scale and quality of ceremonies…and there is even no allocation for grand performance), but the show felt like the organizer wanted to just end it once and for all. It’s like a show made for no one to care for with lack of star power, poor fireworks, etc. By the way, the next edition of the games will be held on Birmingham, England in 2022 (4 years from now).

In Gold Coast 2018, the host nation, Australia topped the final medal tally as expected (due to it being a strong powerhouse in sports and also having home advantage) with 80 gold medals, 59 silver medals and 59 bronze medals (total of 198 medals). It is a huge win to Australia as England which came in second place only has 45 gold medals, 45 silver medals and 46 bronze medals (total of 136 medals). India is in third place finish with 26 gold medals, 20 silver medals and 20 bronze medals (total of 66 medals). Canada is in fourth place while New Zealand is in fifth.

Where is Malaysia? Malaysia is at 12th place with 7 gold medals, 5 silver medals and 12 bronze medals (total of 24 medals). This is a fairly good result for Malaysia as the country usually delivered around this figure in every Commonwealth Games. We have also achieved our target set earlier aiming for 6 gold medals. Well, I think the country set a pretty low target. We should at least aim for 10 gold medals. The country also failed to break into top 10 countries in the final medal tally. What’s the point of winning 145 gold medals in the 2017 SEA Games in KL but not doing well in larger-scale sporting event like the Olympics, Asian Games, or even this Commonwealth Games? Anyway, I do believe our athletes have already tried their best and I wish congratulation to the Malaysian medalists. The point is that our sporting performance still has a long way to go.

Malaysia started off really well in this games by clinching two gold medals in the first two days of the games from weightlifting events. However, we suffered a drought in multiple days after that as the country under-performed in other events like cycling, swimming, diving, squash and also badminton of which I would like to discuss here. It’s still a good news that we managed to win 2 gold medals in badminton but I’m actually expecting 5. Lee Chong Wei rise to the occasion in men single after losing to the same Indian player in the mixed team event while Vivian Hoo and Chow Mei Kuan shown to us that they are unbeatable this time in women doubles.

Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying only managed to secure a bronze in mixed double to my disappointment. Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong also only managed to get a bronze in men doubles to my disbelief. We also lost to India in the final of team event surprisingly. I have to admit that India do improve a lot in this particular sport but I’m still strong to my opinion that we are a level above them. This result shows that we have been declining in badminton. If we managed to get additional 3 gold medals, we can actually reach the 10-gold milestone. Last time, we are the only country that can give a good fight to Indonesia and China in badminton. Then, South Korea overpowered us. Next, Japan also went over us. Soon, India, England or even Thailand will deliver better than us in this sport too. We are on the downhill especially when now, we still couldn’t able to find talent to take over Lee Chong Wei and other aging athletes in badminton.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Drama review for TVB’s ‘Apple-Colada’.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2018 by vincentloy

‘Apple-Colada’ (果欄中的江湖大嫂) is a Hong Kong television series that centered on the life in fruit market. It starred Alice Chan as a debt-ridden retired actress who move back to Hong Kong from Malaysia to seek refuge with her niece (Eliza Sam) after her nasty divorce with ex-husband. They together run a fruit market previously owned by her deceased older brother and has been seized by a man (Tommy Wong) and his son (Raymond Wong). This drama has 30 episodes and is seen as an unrelated sequel to the 2016’s ‘My Dangerous Mafia Retirement Plan’ that saw some similar cast. The drama also starred Mat Yeung, Crystal Fung, Carlo Ng, Lau Kong, Kaman Kong, Andrew Yuen, etc.

The drama at first (its first few episodes) is quite interesting and that has successfully got me to catch up to the rest of the series. However, as the drama progresses, I find that the storyline to be draggy with nothing much particularly exciting or interesting going on. The plot is also very much predictable especially with the sudden appearance of Carlo Ng and Raymond Wong’s biological parents in the series. From there on, I already knew Carlo Ng would be the bad guy and yup, I was right. There is nothing new or anything worth mentioning from this series.

It is still a light-hearted drama with some funny scenes and warm family or romantic moments. But doing just that will make the series being easily not memorable and in average. I couldn’t pay my attention while watching it as there is no climax or cool stuff to get me engaged into the story and the characters. Alice Chan is a good actress and I’m fine with her leading the series. She also fits well to this role. On the other hand, Eliza Sam is awful in this series. I couldn’t stand her acting in this drama as she kept on forcing herself to raise her voice to suit her character in this drama which is totally unnecessary and annoying. She really needs to improve on her acting. With much lesser leading actresses in TVB now, she really has to do a lot of work. She felt very unnatural and I couldn’t avoid noticing that in almost every scene she was in. Raymond Wong is fine but his role with that wild and bad judgement makes his character unlikable.

The series concluded with a happy ending as predicted. Nothing new again. There are still some things (story arc) not completely resolved like unknown conclusion to Eliza Sam’s cousin brother who fall in love with Mat Yeung’s sister from the first time he met her, Lau Kong’s health condition after the trouble with the gangster hiding drugs in his fruit boxes, Andrew Yuen letting Alice Chan go so easily without much heartbreak, etc. There is not much effort and passion put in to make this a good drama, and that’s a waste considering I do have interest on its main story that is based on the fruit market setting. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Apple-Colada’ a total of 6.3.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

90th Academy Awards: ‘The Shape of Water’ wins best picture.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2018 by vincentloy

The 90th Academy Awards took place on March 4th, 2018 (Sunday) in Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles. Well, it’s Monday’s morning (the next day) for us in Asia to catch the ceremony live. I am very excited for this year’s result as I watched a lot of the nominated films this year including all the 9 films nominated for best picture. Well, for your information, the films nominated are the ones released last year (in 2017). Jimmy Kimmel hosted the ceremony for the second time consecutively and he did quite well. The best picture mix-up error made last year became the highlight of his talks this year besides than the currently viral issue of empowering the females in Hollywood.

Here below is the full result of the 90th Academy Awards along with the list of nominees and my opinions:

BEST PICTURE

Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post

WINNER: The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Opinion: I’m so delighted that ‘The Shape of Water’ wins best picture for this year when the race is too close to call. This movie is certainly my best out of the 9 nominated films. It has a daring story, amazing performances by lead and supporting cast, beautiful score, mesmerizing production design, great cinematography, and fantastic direction. What more can you ask for? The movie excels in almost all categories and it is further proven by securing 13 nominations in the Academy Awards (the biggest ever this year) and winning 4 (also the biggest winner). I’m predicting earlier that ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ will win after its triumphant victory in Golden Globes, SAG and BAFTA although I don’t wish too because I didn’t enjoy the movie. I’m very happy for ‘The Shape of Water’ winning in the end to my excitement. It has now won the Golden Lion, Critics Choice, PGA, DGA and the Oscar.

LEAD ACTRESS

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
WINNER: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post

Opinion: I’m okay with Frances McDormand winning (also very much expected) but I would prefer to give this win to someone else who has not win an Oscar before. Sally Hawkins is incredible in ‘The Shape of Water’ and it’s a pity that she lost here. Frances McDormand is amazing in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ by the way. I like her more and more after seeing her going on the stage in the past two months receiving Best Actress trophies and giving speeches with style.

LEAD ACTOR

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
WINNER: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Opinion: Expected again. It is finally the year for Gary Oldman, a great actor to take home an Oscar. Although I do not enjoy his performance as Winston Churchill in ‘Darkest Hour’ (the movie is also boring to me), but I’m still fine with him winning just like how I was fine with Frances McDormand winning. It is more like a career award for him. Timothee Chalamet is actually the best among these 5 nominees in performance wise but he is too young and too early for an Oscar. I believe there is much more chance for him to get nominated and winning later in his future career (which is going to be bright).

DIRECTOR

Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out
WINNER: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

Opinion: Expected outcome too. I’m happy that Guillermo del Toro wins for his amazing directing in ‘The Shape of Water’. I think only his visionary mind would be able to accomplish such movie. Now all the Three Amigos (Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro G. Innaritu and Guillermo del Toro) from Mexico have won best director in the Oscars.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
WINNER: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Opinion: Also expected. Allison Janney gave a memorable performance as a fierce mother in ”I, Tonya’. Her character stood out more than the other strong contender, Laurie Metcalf who also portrayed a mother (in ‘Lady Bird’).

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
WINNER: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Opinion: Yes…expected too. Besides Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell steals the show in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. Now, Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell became the first group in history to have a clean sweep in all the five major televised awards show in the same year. All four of them won in Golden Globes, SAG, Critics Choice, BAFTA and the Oscars.

ORIGINAL SONG 

Mighty River, from Mudbound (Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson)
Mystery of Love, from Call Me By Your Name (Sufjan Stevens)
WINNER: Remember Me, from Coco (Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez)
Stand Up for Something, from Marshall (Diane Warren and Lonnie R. Lynn)
This Is Me, from The Greatest Showman (Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)

Opinion: I’m fine with ‘Remember Me’ winning but I actually prefer ‘This Is Me’ to win instead for the more powerful and catchy the latter is. I somehow find that ‘Remember Me’ is moving but has too simple lyrics and is overused in the movie ‘Coco’.

ORIGINAL SCORE

Dunkirk, Hans Zimmer
Phantom Thread, Jonny Greenwood
WINNER: The Shape of Water, Alexandre Desplat
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, John Williams
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Carter Burwell

Opinion: Yup! A very deserving win. Alexandre Desplat’s score for ‘The Shape of Water’ is unique, magical and it suits the movie’s vision very well.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

WINNER: Blade Runner 2049, Roger A. Deakins
Darkest Hour, Bruno Delbonnel
Dunkirk, Hoyte van Hoytema
Mudbound, Rachel Morrison
The Shape of Water, Dan Lausten

Opinion: I didn’t watch ‘Blade Runner 2049’ and hence not much comment on this but I have heard a lot of good feedback to this movie especially on its visuals and cinematography (lighting design).

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
WINNER: Get Out, Jordan Peele
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh

Opinion: I’m happy that ‘Get Out’ is not going home empty handed with this win here. A very competitive category. This is a very close race between ‘Get Out’, ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. A horror movie that is so intelligent and achieves a level higher than all the other films in this genre should be acknowledged and I’m glad that the Academy did.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

WINNER: Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory
The Disaster Artist, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Logan, Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green
Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin
Mudbound, Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Opinion: Competition is so much more less intense in adapted screenplay. ‘Call Me By Your Name’ is the clear favourite already because it is the only film which is also nominated for best picture. Enough said.

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett

WINNER: The Silent Child
Watu Wote: All of Us

Opinion: No comment. Didn’t watch any of these.

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

Edith+Eddie
WINNER: Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Heroin(e)
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

WINNER: Dear Basketball
Garden Party
Lou
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

WINNER: A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
The Insult (Lebanon)
Loveless (Russia)
On Body and Soul (Hungary)
The Square (Sweden)

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE) 

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places

WINNER: Icarus
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

ANIMATED FEATURE

The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner

WINNER: Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Opinion: There is no competition this year for animated features. ‘Coco’ excels by a mile. It is a wonderful (both colourful and moving) animated movie and Pixar always do well here. Anyway, this movie reminds me a lot of 2014’s ‘The Book of Life’ (also an animated film…very similar theme and vibe).

FILM EDITING 

Baby Driver, Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos
WINNER: Dunkirk, Lee Smith
I, Tonya, Tatiana S. Riegel
The Shape of Water, Sidney Wolinsky
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Jon Gregory’

Opinion: I prefer ‘I, Tonya’ to win. I find that ‘I, Tonya’ has much more obvious masterful editing than the other nominees. The Academy seems to have deep fascination to war films and will keep choosing them to win in technical categories like this ‘film editing’ and both ‘sound mixing’ and ‘sound editing’.

VISUAL EFFECTS

WINNER: Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

Opinion: Bad outcome for ‘Planet of the Apes’ franchise. After three attempts, this franchise still couldn’t manage to win an Oscar for their brilliant visual effect (the apes really look very realistic). This final film of the series delivers the highest chance for it to win but lost to ‘Blade Runner 2049’ in the end for the more futuristic looking visuals in the latter.

PRODUCTION DESIGN

Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
WINNER: The Shape of Water

Opinion: Another victory for ‘The Shape of Water’. Very well deserved. The sets in the movie are incredible and adds up a lot to let the audiences immerse into the story and the setting.

SOUND MIXING

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
WINNER: Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

SOUND EDITING

Baby Driver, Julian Slater
Blade Runner 2049, Mark Mangini and Theo Green
WINNER: Dunkirk, Richard King and Alex Gibson
The Shape of Water, Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce

Opinion: I still couldn’t find the difference between ‘sound mixing’ and ‘sound editing’. Academy, just combine them into a single category. The winner and all the nominees in the two categories are the exact same. What’s the point?! ‘Dunkirk’ is exceptionally good in sound and is right to win these two although I find it overrated (I didn’t enjoy the movie).

COSTUME DESIGN

Beauty and the Beast, Jacqueline Durran
Darkest Hour, Jacqueline Durran
WINNER: Phantom Thread, Mark Bridges
The Shape of Water, Luis Sequeira
Victoria & Abdul, Consolata Boyle’

Opinion: The only win for ‘Phantom Thread’ as predicted. The movie about costumes is winning ‘Costume Design’. Well, what more can I say?

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

WINNER: Darkest Hour, Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick
Victoria & Abdul, Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
Wonder, Arjen Tuiten

Opinion: A deserving win for ‘Darkest Hour’ for its amazing work on Gary Oldman in transforming him into Winston Churchill. The Academy should expand the nominees to 5 just like the other categories.

Well, the 90th Oscars has ended. The major awards season for 2017 Hollywood films is over too. ‘The Shape of Water’ becomes the biggest winner with 4 wins including the coveted ‘Best Picture’ title. ‘Dunkirk’ slightly over-performed with 3 wins while ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ slightly under-performed with only 2 wins. ‘Coco’, ‘Darkest Hour’ and ‘Blade Runner 2049’ each has 2 wins. ‘Call Me By Your Name’, ‘I, Tonya’, ‘Phantom Thread’ and ‘Get Out’ each has 1 win. ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘The Post’ are the two films nominated for best picture and not winning anything at all. I find that there is no clear favourite for this year’s Oscars and the awards are well distributed to a lot of movies. This year’s outcome is one of the most satisfying in my personal opinion as most of the results is much expected.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

Cody and Jessica won The Amazing Race Season 30. I would have preferred other teams to win.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2018 by vincentloy

A lot of things are ending. This month is ending soon and that means my holiday is finishing. The two trips for this month (one to Perth, Australia for my graduation and the recent one to Zhangjiajie, China for vacation) were over. The 15-days Chinese New Year festival is also ending when this month concludes. And ‘The Amazing Race Season 30′, the reality television show that I have been catching on recently has also ended. I suddenly felt ’empty’. There is nothing more for me to look forward to in entertainment / leisure . Now, I’m getting nervous as I’m about to welcome the next stage in my life which is getting a job. No more long holiday…

As mentioned earlier, I have just finished watching the latest season of ‘The Amazing Race’. This show has now entered the 30th season (I have been following this since several years ago on its earlier seasons). If you didn’t know about this TV show, it’s a reality game where 11 teams of two complete tasks on every episodes to move forward till the final leg to win US$ 1 million. In this Season 30, teams traveled to Iceland, Belgium, Morocco, France, Czech Republic, Zimbabwe, Bahrain, Thailand, Hong Kong and finally back to United States.

As I was not around for the past week, I covered the last 4 episodes in a row for ‘The Amazing Race Season 30’. It was fun but I was not that happy with the outcome.

Team Indy (Alex & Conor) were eliminated in the second last leg at Hong Kong. They were a great team to watch. They have been on the 1st position multiple times in the earlier legs but luck is not on their side in the 11th leg. This leaves Team Big Brother (Cody & Jessica), Team Yale (Henry & Evan) and Team Extreme (Kristi & Jane) to become the final three teams to compete in the crucial last leg (12th leg) in San Francisco, USA. I’m going to be straightforward in my words. I don’t like Jessica from Team Big Brother. She literally contributed nothing in most of the show and yet her team ended up winning the race. This is mostly due to contribution by her partner, Cody who is very physically fit and has huge advantage in most tasks that require physical strength. That is so unfair to other teams particularly Team Extreme and even Team Indy when each members are equally good and competitive. Jessica is very weak and complained a lot throughout the entire season when even she has to do nothing much. She depends mostly on Cody who is a monster and handled a lot of things pretty quickly. Luck is also on her side in the final task that requires some puzzle solving.

Team Yale came in second place. Many other teams do not like this pair. However, I find them pretty likable actually. Yes, I knew that Evan is a bit arrogant, always overpowering Henry who is soft at all times and being cold to other teams frequently. But I think that is sometime necessary as this is still a competition. Her way of doing things here are still bearable. I have to admit that Henry has to listen to her sometimes as he get to be blur and weak in certain critical moments (especially in the last task when he actually solved the puzzle first but didn’t get the examiner to check, and that has costed this team the win and the US$ 1 million). Team Extreme is nice (hard to see such competitive and strong all-female team) but they tend to get stressed easily and eventually came in third place finish. So for now, this season is over and I’m already hoping that the next season will start very soon. This reality game show is exciting most of the times.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

71st British Academy Film Awards: List of winners and my overall opinion on the final race to the Oscars.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2018 by vincentloy

The 71st British Academy Film Awards, or simply known as BAFTA took place on 16th February 2018 at London’s Royal Albert Hall. This is the fourth of the five major televised awards in recognizing the best of Hollywood films every year.
‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is the biggest winner with 5 wins including the coveted ‘Best Film’ prize. The film also won ‘Outstanding British Film’, completing the difficult feat of nailing both the best film prizes BAFTA offered. Its big win here reinforces its position as the Oscar frontrunner particularly in the best picture race where ‘The Shape of Water’ is another serious contender. After winning Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Screen Actors Guild for Best Cast for Motion Picture, and then this BAFTA for Best Film, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ now is predicted to win Best Picture in the coming Oscars as well. The only major televised award it missed out is Critics’ Choice for Best Picture that went to ‘The Shape of Water’. I’m still hoping that ‘The Shape of Water’ will upset ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ in the Oscars.
As for the four acting categories, it is a lock. Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney can now safely practice their Oscar speech. There is no more competition. It is very unlikely that other nominees will win after they won all the major precursor awards leading up to the Oscars. James Ivory is sure to win ‘Adapted Screenplay’ in the Oscars too for ‘Call Me By Your Name’ while competition for ‘Original Screenplay’ remain heated with ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ and ‘Get Out’ battling each other. On the other hand, I’m 100% confident that ‘Coco’ will win Best Animated Feature in the Oscars without any further explanation required.
Leading with 13 nominations, ‘The Shape of Water’ is now expected to take only ‘Best Director’, ‘Best Production Design’ and ‘Best Original Score’. This movie deserves more in my opinion (including ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Actress’, etc) but it looks like no one can block the immense love to ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ from the industry people. On the other hand, it’s a pity that Timothee Chalamet lost the Rising Star Award to Daniel Kaluuya because the latter is a homegrown (definitely an advantage since this category is voted by the public). Timothee Chalamet definitely had a more stellar year (2017) in films (‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Call Me By Your Name’). ‘Blade Runner 2049’, ‘Baby Driver’, ‘Dunkirk’, ‘Phantom Thread’, ‘The Shape of Water’ and ‘Darkest Hour’ win in the remaining technical categories. Notable highlight here is ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ losing ‘Best Visual Effects’ to ‘Blade Runner 2049’ and this hurts its chance in the coming Oscars.
Here below is the full list of winners for the 71st British Academy Film Awards (2018):
Best Film
“Call Me By Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“The Shape Of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” *Winner
Outstanding British Film
“Darkest Hour”
“The Death Of Stalin”
“God’s Own Country”
“Lady Macbeth”
“Paddington 2”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” *Winner
Outstanding Debut By A British Writer, Director Or Producer
“The Ghoul Gareth Tunley”
“I Am Not A Witch” *Winner
“Jawbone Johnny Harris (Writer/Producer), Thomas Napper (Director)
“Kingdom Of Us”
“Lady Macbeth”
Film Not In The English Language
“Elle”
“First They Killed My Father”
“The Handmaiden” *Winner
“Loveless”
“The Salesman”
Documentary
“City Of Ghosts”
“I Am Not Your Negro” *Winner
“Icarus”
“An Inconvenient Sequel”
“Jane”
Animated Film
“Coco” *Winner
“Loving Vincent”
“My Life As A Courgette”
Director
“Blade Runner 2049,” Denis Villeneuve
“Call Me By Your Name,” Luca Guadagnino
“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“The Shape Of Water,” Guillermo Del Toro *Winner
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin Mcdonagh
Original Screenplay
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“I, Tonya,” Steven Rogers
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape Of Water,” Guillermo Del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin Mcdonagh *Winner
Adapted Screenplay
“Call Me By Your Name,” James Ivory *Winner
“The Death Of Stalin,” Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin, David Schneider
“Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool,” Matt Greenhalgh
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
“Paddington 2,” Simon Farnaby, Paul King
Leading Actress
Annette Bening, “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”
“Frances Mcdormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” *Winner
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape Of Water”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Leading Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour” *Winner
Jamie Bell, “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
Supporting Actress
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya” *Winner
Kristin Scott Thomas, “Darkest Hour”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape Of Water”
Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer, “All The Money In The World”
Hugh Grant, “Paddington 2”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” *Winner
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Original Music
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Shape Of Water” *Winner
Cinematography
“Blade Runner 2049” *Winner
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk Hoyte”
“The Shape Of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Editing
“Baby Driver” *Winner
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Dunkirk Lee Smith”
“The Shape Of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
EE Rising Star Award (voted for by the public)
Daniel Kaluuya *Winner
Florence Pugh
Josh O’Connor
Tessa Thompson
Timothée Chalamet
Make Up & Hair
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Darkest Hour” *Winner
“I, Tonya”
“Victoria & Abdul”
“Wonder”
Costume Design
“Beauty and the Beast”
“Darkest Hour”
“I, Tonya”
“Phantom Thread” *Winner
“The Shape of Water”
Sound
“Baby Driver”
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Dunkirk” * Winner
“The Shape of Water”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
Visual Effects
“Blade Runner 2049” *Winner
“Dunkirk”
“The Shape of Water”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
“War for the Planet of the Apes”
(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Exciting Best Picture race for the upcoming 90th Oscars.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2018 by vincentloy

The 90th Academy Awards honouring the best of 2017 films will be held on 4th March 2018, which is less than a month from now. The voting will open on 20th February (2 days after the British Academy Film Awards, the BAFTA)  for all Academy members to cast their votes until 27th February. A number of major film communities (Gold Derby, Awards Circuit, Indiewire, etc), critics group and news reporters had revealed their Oscar predictions. I had also released my predictions in this post here alongside with the nomination list (https://vincentloy.wordpress.com/2018/01/23/nomination-list-for-the-90th-academy-awards/) about two weeks ago.

There have been many discussions out there on analyzing which film will win ‘Best Picture’, the last and most coveted prize of the Oscars’ evening. I too have my own thoughts on this topic after seeing some of those discussions and debates. This year’s race for ‘Best Picture’ is intense and exciting as there is no clear frontrunner at this stage unlike in previous years. Some pointed out that it will be a tight battle between ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ and ‘The Shape of Water’. This is reminiscent to the ‘Moonlight vs. La La Land’ last year, ‘Spotlight vs The Revenant’ in 2016, ‘Birdman vs Boyhood’ in 2015, and ’12 Years A Slave vs Gravity’ in 2014.

After looking at the 9 nominated films (I watched all of them) this year and seeing their performances in the past major precursor awards, I attempt to break them down into three tiers. The two films in the first tier has the most probability to win, while the four films in the second tier may have the chance to sneak in for the win, while the remaining three films in the third tier will be in a long shot for the win.

FIRST TIER

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The Shape of Water

Opinion: ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG). The movie had also won scores of awards in acting races (Frances McDormand in best actress and Sam Rockwell in best supporting actor). The disadvantages to the film are that it didn’t get a crucial director’s nomination in the Academy Awards and it is currently receiving several backlash and criticisms over Sam Rockwell’s racist character who tries to redeem himself at the end of the movie.

‘The Shape of Water’ won Best Picture at Critics’ Choice, and won top honours at Producers Guild Awards (PGA) and Directors Guild Awards (DGA). The movie also excelled in a lot of technical achievements, and hence collecting up to 13 nominations at the Academy Awards (film with highest number of Oscar nominations this year). The disadvantages to the film are that it did not manage to win anything at SAG (also not getting a nomination at all in the crucial Best Cast category) and that its premise of a woman falling in love with an amphibian may turn off some voters.

There are pros and cons to these two films. For right now, I think the Oscar for Best Picture will be handed to ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ while the Director prize will go to Guillermo del Toro for his work in ‘The Shape of Water’. The Academy always deliver a split here in recent years. In my personal opinion, I would prefer ‘The Shape of Water’ to take both the Best Picture and Best Director because I find it superior (much better) than ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. I didn’t enjoy the latter at all. The preferential ballot by the Academy may also be helping ‘The Shape of Water’ as some voters may place ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ in the lower ranking of their best picture picks (that will seriously hurt its chance) due to its controversy and some who find it overrated. Yup…I find ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ over performed in the major precursor awards too. 

SECOND TIER

Lady Bird

Get Out

Dunkirk

Phantom Thread

Opinion: There is a possibility that the two films at the first tier above will cancel each other out and make way for one of these four films in this second tier that I have predicted. ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Get Out’ are beloved by many critics group. However, they have not been receiving much love at the major televised awards. I myself didn’t have huge excitement for them too because I find ‘Lady Bird’ to be a very ordinary coming-of-age story of a high school female student while I think that ‘Get Out’ only managed to deliver a level above the typical horror flick which is still not deserving enough to get Best Picture win.

‘Dunkirk’ may stand a chance too but I find it overrated too. I don’t enjoy the movie and find it boring. There is literally not much drama at all in this war movie. As for ‘Phantom Thread’, it suddenly gained a lot of love from the Academy as proven by multiple number of nominations it received to everyone’s surprise. This period drama film that starred Daniel-Day Lewis (his final film) may sneak in to win in the end but the possibility at this point is still quite low. I find this movie boring too.

THIRD TIER

Call Me By Your Name

Darkest Hour

The Post

Opinion: ‘Call Me By Your Name’ is not getting much love from major precursor groups. However, it is receiving a lot of attention from online communities that comprise mostly of the younger generations that may have different takes with the older ones that form these major precursor groups as well as the Academy. Its queer love story may disturb many conservative voters. Remember back then when ‘Brokeback Mountain’ lost to ‘Crash’ for the Best Picture although everyone is rallying behind the former. Fortunately, the film is still receiving some Oscar nominations and is also a frontrunner to win ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’.

On the other hand, ‘Darkest Hour’ is certainly to pull off wins in ‘Best Actor’ (for Gary Oldman) and ‘Best Make-up and Hair-styling’  but is certainly not a best picture material to many. ‘The Post’ is first seen as a strong contender but loses all the momentum it needs in the major precursor awards. It didn’t win anything and has only two nominations at the Oscars (including Best Picture). I didn’t expect that this movie has under-performed to such level although it is directed by the mighty Steven Spielberg and starred the great Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep (nominated for best actress). So, it will be a long shot for either of these three films to win ‘Best Picture’. If it does, the world will be in shock. 

Conclusion…this year’s best picture race is certainly an intriguing one because there is no one clear frontrunner at all. All films in my first and second tier groups have their chance to win (6 of the 9 nominated films). However, the awards buzz is following more on ‘The Shape of Water’ followed by ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. The former is now the frontrunner to win best picture according to Gold Derby and Awards Circuit predictions. ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is now losing some crucial momentum although standing up tall in the earlier major precursor awards. It still has a high chance of winning. I predict it to win but I would personally prefer ‘The Shape of Water’ as I’m very engaged and amazed by all the aspects in the latter from its story, performances, directing, production designs, score, etc. What do you think?

By the way, the Academy should just include one more nominee in the best picture race to round it up to 10 films easily. ‘I, Tonya’ should be in the list too. I’m really excited to know which film will prevail in the end…But before the Academy Awards, there will be one more major precursor that many will be paying attention to; the BAFTA (British Academy Film Awards) which is set to take place on 18th February 2018.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)