91st Oscars: ‘Green Book’ took Best Picture. Rami Malek is the best actor while Olivia Colman prevailed with best actress win over heavy favourite Glenn Close.


Finally, the Oscars is here. The 91st Academy Awards took place just a moment ago with some surprising wins. This year’s ceremony runs half hour longer than the anticipated 3-hours period. The ceremony also comes with no host. Here’s below is the full winners list along with my comments:

Best Picture
“BlacKkKlansman”
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“Roma”
“A Star Is Born”
“Vice”

 

Opinion: I haven’t watch ‘Green Book’ (now I think I should). My first choice is ‘Roma’. I have a feeling many would be fine with ‘Roma’ winning since it is not as divisive as ‘Green Book’ (this film has some controversy). I’m surprised. I have to admit that ‘Roma’ is more of a technical masterpiece while the Academy just wanted to go away from that since they had done so last year (as many viewed ‘The Shape of Water’ more of a technical masterpiece too).

Best Director
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”

Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Adam McKay, “Vice”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”

Opinion: Expected. It’s so nice to see Guillermo del Toro (last year winner) to present this to Alfonso Cuaron. Both are great friends and are from Mexico. Very well deserved win to Cuaron. It’s his second directing win! So many Mexicans rule in this category for the last couple of years.

Best Actress
Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Opinion: Oh my god! I was so shocked when I heard ‘Olivia Colman’. Poor Glenn…she is amazing in ‘The Wife’ and everyone thinks she is going to get it this time due to the huge overdue factor (me included). But she isn’t. That is shocking. I was really hoping she will win after 7 nominations. And yet, not again. She is a a wonderful actress and has been unfortunately overlooked by the Academy once again. Felt really bad for Glenn Close. Congratz, Olivia Colman; win in first nomination! I love her acceptance speech (she is a very likable and fun person). She is excellent in ‘The Favourite’ too but I still wanted Close to win her first Oscar in her long amazing career.

Best Actor
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

Opinion: Happy for Rami Malek. He is phenomenal in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Some people criticized that he just impersonates Freddie Mercury and lip-sync throughout the entire movie. To these people, have you watched the entire movie? His performance in it is much more than that and I’m glad that the Academy recognizes that.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

Opinion: Haven’t watch ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ but have heard a lot of good reviews particularly for Regina King’s performance in it. She is snubbed at the SAG and BAFTA surprisingly. I would have prefer Emma Stone from ‘The Favourite’ to win this one but I knew she won’t. The 5 ladies here are all very deserving.

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”

Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

Opinion: No. Although I knew Mahershala Ali is going to win as he sweeps all the major precursor awards, but I prefer Richard E. Grant. My judgement is a bit biased here as I have not watched ‘Green Book’. Ali has already won the same award just few years ago and I think it’s too quick for him to win another one.

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (Joel Coen , Ethan Coen)
“BlacKkKlansman” (Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee)
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty)
“If Beale Street Could Talk” (Barry Jenkins)
“A Star Is Born” (Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters)

Opinion: Haven’t watch ‘Blackkklansman’. My choice is ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’.

Best Original Screenplay
“The Favourite” (Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara)
“First Reformed” (Paul Schrader)
“Green Book” (Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly)
“Roma” (Alfonso Cuarón)
“Vice” (Adam McKay)

Opinion: Haven’t watch ‘Green Book’ and I would prefer ‘The Favourite’ to win this. Its script is brilliant. It just doesn’t feel right when ‘The Favourite’ is not winning anything at all.

Best Cinematography
“Cold War” (Lukasz Zal)
“The Favourite” (Robbie Ryan)
“Never Look Away” (Caleb Deschanel)
“Roma” (Alfonso Cuaron)
“A Star Is Born” (Matty Libatique)

Opinion: Expected. The camerawork and lighting in ‘Roma’ are brilliant. The black-and-white style further expresses the cinematography of the film.

Best Costume Design
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (Mary Zophres)
“Black Panther”(Ruth E. Carter)
“The Favourite” (Sandy Powell)
“Mary Poppins Returns” (Sandy Powell)
“Mary Queen of Scots” (Alexandra Byrne)

Opinion: Good for ‘Black Panther’. The only fascinating thing from the film is its unique costumes.

Best Film Editing
“BlacKkKlansman” (Barry Alexander Brown)
“Bohemian Rhapsody” (John Ottman)
“The Favourite” (Yorgos Mavropsaridis)
“Green Book”(Patrick J. Don Vito)
“Vice” (Hank Corwin)

Opinion: I predicted ‘Vice’ while ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is my second choice. I was wrong. I find that the editing in ‘Vice’ is much more obvious but Academy is very in love with the editing for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (mostly due to the amazing Live Aid scene).

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
“Border”
“Mary Queen of Scots”
“Vice”

Opinion: Expected. The same formula last year; do a huge transformation to a leading man in a movie (particularly turning one into a fat politician – Winston Churchill last year and Dick Cheney this year) and you got this.

Best Original Score
“Black Panther” (Ludwig Goransson)

“BlacKkKlansman” (Terence Blanchard)
“If Beale Street Could Talk” (Nicholas Britell)
“Isle of Dogs” (Alexandre Desplat)
“Mary Poppins Returns” (Marc Shaiman)

Opinion: ‘Black Panther’ has best score?! This is a joke. ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ or even ‘Isle of Dogs’ are much more worthy. I have a feeling that Academy wanted to give a lot of awards to ‘Black Panther’ just to show that they are very serious in celebrating diversity. This is not right. Quality should be the priority.

Best Original Song
“All The Stars” from “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA

“I’ll Fight” from “RBG” by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice

“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by Willie Watson, Tim Blake Nelson

Opinion: Definitely ‘Shallow’. Very deserving as the song is simply amazing! The only win for ‘A Star Is Born’ which has been predicted to be a strong contender in the early award season but fails.

Best Production Design
“Black Panther” (Hannah Beachler)

“First Man” (Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas)
“The Favourite” (Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton)
“Mary Poppins Returns” (John Myhre, Gordon Sim)
“Roma” (Eugenio Caballero, Bárbara Enrı́quez)

Opinion: Not hugely disappointed but would have prefer ‘The Favourite’ to take this. Looks like the love for ‘Black Panther’ is strong. There’s a lot of reliance on green screen for most setting in ‘Black Panther’ and less on practical set-up and that’s why I don’t really agree with it winning production design.

Best Sound Editing
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“A Quiet Place”
“Roma”

Opinion: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is my third pick and it ends up prevailing even in this category. ‘A Quiet Place’ and ‘First Man’ have better sound editing in my opinion.

Best Sound Mixing
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“Roma”
“A Star Is Born”

Opinion: Expected. The sound mixing for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is amazing. Music-themed film usually win here. Sorry ‘A Star Is Born’. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has much more obvious sound work and in much larger quantity and volume.

Best Visual Effects
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Christopher Robin”
“First Man”
“Ready Player One”
“Solo: A Star Wars Story”

Opinion: Wow. This is so surprising. Academy tends to favour low-key supporting visual effects (same like when ‘Ex Machina’ won some years ago). I disagree totally. ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is robbed. The CGI on Thanos alone is enough to win. ‘First Man’ is like my 4th pick (at the bottom).

Best Foreign Language Film
“Capernaum” (Lebanon)
“Cold War” (Poland)
“Never Look Away” (Germany)
“Roma” (Mexico)
“Shoplifters” (Japan)

Opinion: Expected again. ‘Roma’ is even in best picture contention.

Best Animated Feature
“Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
“Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson
“Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
“Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Opinion: No competition. ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ is certainly at the top this year. ‘Incredibles 2’ is fun but ordinary. I have high expectation for ‘Isle of Dogs’ but it came out being fine although it has unique animation. ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ is here just to fill in the slot.

– No comments for the last 4 categories below as I’m not interested in them and have not watched any of them too.-

Best Animated Short
“Animal Behavior”
“Bao”
“Late Afternoon”
“One Small Step”
“Weekends”

Best Documentary Feature
“Free Solo,” Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

“Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” RaMell Ross
“Minding the Gap,” Bing Liu
“Of Fathers and Sons,” Talal Derki
“RBG,” Betsy West, Julie Cohen

Best Documentary Short
“Black Sheep,” Ed Perkins
“End Game,” Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
“Lifeboat,” Skye Fitzgerald
“A Night at the Garden,” Marshall Curry
“Period. End of Sentence.,” Rayka Zehtabchi

Best Live Action Short
“Detainment,” Vincent Lambe
“Fauve,” Jeremy Comte
“Marguerite,” Marianne Farley
“Mother,” Rodrigo Sorogoyen
“Skin,” Guy Nattiv

I got 11 correct and 9 incorrect for my prediction (can check out my final prediction in my previous blog post). That is not good. I got almost half of my prediction wrong. The 91st Academy Awards gave us a lot of surprise in a year where a lot of races are wide open.

‘Green Book’ took the top honor (winning best picture), defeating ‘Roma’ which is thought to be the frontrunner (‘Roma’ has most nominations and has won quite a lot of major precursor prizes). ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has the most wins at the night with 4 (lead actor, film editing, sound mixing, sound editing). ‘Green Book’, ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Roma’ ties with 3 wins each. Each of the best picture nominees won at least an award this year which is quite rare.

So now, that’s the official end of the 2018 Hollywood film awards season.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

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My final prediction for the 2019 Oscars.


The 91st Academy Awards is finally happening this weekend. All the 13 guilds have handed out their prizes and major precursor awards (Golden Globes, Critics Choice, SAG, BAFTA) have announced their winners in the past several weeks.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ topped at the guild wins with 4 but these wins are mostly at the lesser important technical categories. The movie also won best motion picture – drama at the Golden Globes. ‘Green Book’ won at the Producers Guild Awards (PGA) and also won best motion picture – musical or comedy at the Golden Globes. ‘Roma’ won at the Directors Guild Awards (DGA) and also won Best Picture at the Critics Choice and the BAFTA. ‘Black Panther’ won Best Cast in Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG). So which film is going to win best picture this Sunday at the Oscars? Predicting the winner this year is super challenging as there is no clear frontrunner even after all the precursors. Now, this is really an exciting year.

I have previously published the full nomination list for the 2019 Oscars some time ago with my prediction but that wasn’t quite updated. Here, I will publish it again with my latest and final prediction of who will win and who should win.

Best Picture
“BlacKkKlansman”
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“Roma”
“A Star Is Born”
“Vice”

Should win: Roma

Will win: Roma

Opinion: In term of statistic, ‘Roma’ is at a very slight upper edge over the other nominees in terms of winning in the precursor awards. This movie is beautiful, intimate and is a technical masterpiece. Since preferential system is applied for this category, ‘Roma’ has the advantage for being a movie that is not divisive or heavily hated by anyone (unlike Bohemian Rhapsody, Black Panther, Vice and Green Book) and is expected to take up a lot of 1st, and also crucial 2nd and 3rd pick by the voters. Out of the 8 nominees, I enjoyed ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ the most because it is highly entertaining. But other than that, I don’t think that it is best picture material. ‘Roma’ has my pick. ‘The Favourite’ or ‘Blackkklansman’ may upset but I think their chances are quite far behind.

Best Director
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Adam McKay, “Vice”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”

Should win: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)

Will win: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)

Opinion: There is no doubt that Alfonso Cuaron is getting his second directing Oscars. The dark horse here would be Spike Lee but I don’t think he has that momentum to take down Cuaron at this point since the latter has been sweeping all the precursor awards already.

Best Actress
Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Should win: Glenn Close (The Wife)

Will win: Glenn Close (The Wife)

Opinion: Only losing the best actress to Olivia Colman in the BAFTA (due to Colman being a British and has the home advantage), Glenn Close is certainly the frontrunner (she won at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice and SAG) and my pick to win the best actress. This would be her first ever win in her 7th nomination. That is crazy and unbelievable that such an amazing actress has never won an Oscar before. She is winning this not because of the overdue factor but because she delivered an excellent performance in ‘The Wife’. I have to admit that the overdue factor is also giving her an advantage over the other nominees. I will scream if she doesn’t get to go up on stage to take that Oscar this Sunday. Looking forward to a standing ovation for her. She is a phenomenal actress. This shall be her year!

Best Actor
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

Should win: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)

Will win: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)

Opinion: Rami Malek is the frontrunner after winning Golden Globes, BAFTA and SAG. He only lost the Critics Choice (to Christian Bale). Forget about Critics Choice. The critics have been seriously panning ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ but the film industry people have shown the opposite reaction to the movie instead (by giving it multiple major awards). I am with the industry people this time. The critics are wrong. Rami Malek didn’t just imitate Freddie Mercury but he brought the character to life with fantastic acting. His performance there is beyond imitation or lip-syncing. He made us believe that Freddie Mercury himself was in that movie.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

Should win: Emma Stone (The Favourite)

Will win: Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Opinion: Regina King may still win this but I think Rachel Weisz will prevail especially after her recent BAFTA win. It gave her a lot of momentum. Between her and Emma Stone (both from the same film;The Favourite), I would slightly prefer the latter more because her role is slightly more complex and her performance slightly more engaging. But I don’t think she can win as she has just won best actress not long ago. The other nominees can pull off upset here too as this race is wide open till now.

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

Should win: Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Will win: Mahershala Ali (Green Book)

Opinion: Mahershala Ali has been taking all the supporting actor prizes, making him the clear frontrunner in this category. He is certainly going to win (this will be his second supporting actor Oscar) but I would prefer Richard E. Grant to prevail. He is superb in ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ alongside Mellisa McCarthy.

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (Joel Coen , Ethan Coen)
“BlacKkKlansman” (Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee)
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty)
“If Beale Street Could Talk” (Barry Jenkins)
“A Star Is Born” (Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters)

Should win: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Will win: Blackkklansman.

Opinion: Can You Ever Forgive Me? won at the Writers Guild Awards (WGA) and that’s my choice too. However, I think the Academy wouldn’t want ‘Blackkklansman’ to go home empty-handed since it is also a best picture nominee (Can You Ever Forgive Me? is not a best picture nominee).

Best Original Screenplay
“The Favourite” (Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara)
“First Reformed” (Paul Schrader)
“Green Book” (Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly)
“Roma” (Alfonso Cuarón)
“Vice” (Adam McKay)

Should win: The Favourite

Will win: The Favourite

Opinion: ‘The Favourite’ is the frontrunner here but ‘Green Book’ or even ‘Roma’ can pull off a surprise win here too. ‘The Favourite’ is a quirky, unconventional period film and its screenplay helps a lot for its success. If the love for ‘Roma’ is super strong, then it may also possible to take this one too.

Best Cinematography
“Cold War” (Lukasz Zal)
“The Favourite” (Robbie Ryan)
“Never Look Away” (Caleb Deschanel)
“Roma” (Alfonso Cuaron)
“A Star Is Born” (Matty Libatique)

Should win: Roma

Will win: Roma

Opinion: No debate. It’s going to be ‘Roma’. Another foreign film ‘Cold War’ is the dark horse here. English film has no chance for this category this year. Opps.

Best Costume Design
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (Mary Zophres)
“Black Panther”(Ruth E. Carter)
“The Favourite” (Sandy Powell)
“Mary Poppins Returns” (Sandy Powell)
“Mary Queen of Scots” (Alexandra Byrne)

Should win: Black Panther

Will win: Black Panther

Opinion: This is going to be battle between ‘Black Panther’ and ‘The Favourite’. Academy will certainly find a way to reward ‘Black Panther’ which is the first superhero film nominated for best picture ever (but unlikely to win best picture) and this is the category for it (also possible on the ‘best production design’ category). I’m giving the edge for ‘Black Panther’ due to their creative and futuristic looking costumes and I’m bored of seeing period movies keep on winning this from their typical massive traditional dresses.

Best Film Editing
“BlacKkKlansman” (Barry Alexander Brown)
“Bohemian Rhapsody” (John Ottman)
“The Favourite” (Yorgos Mavropsaridis)
“Green Book”(Patrick J. Don Vito)
“Vice” (Hank Corwin)

Should win: Vice

Will win: Vice

Opinion: It’s between ‘Vice’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. It’s too close to call but I’m picking ‘Vice’ in the end for its more obvious editing effort throughout the entire movie while ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has splendid and spectacular editing only particularly at its end during the Live Aid segment.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
“Border”
“Mary Queen of Scots”
“Vice”

Should win: Vice

Will win: Vice

Opinion: Same scenario as ‘Darkest Hour’ last year. Huge makeup to turn an actor unrecognizable and particularly into a fat politician and you are winning this.

Best Original Score
“Black Panther” (Ludwig Goransson)
“BlacKkKlansman” (Terence Blanchard)
“If Beale Street Could Talk” (Nicholas Britell)
“Isle of Dogs” (Alexandre Desplat)
“Mary Poppins Returns” (Marc Shaiman)

Should win: Isle Of Dogs

Will win: If Beale Street Could Talk

Opinion: It is absurd that ‘First Man’ is not nominated here. I would have pick that to win here easily. This is the category where ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ has the higher chance of winning (besides than the very tight race in the supporting actress category).

Best Original Song
“All The Stars” from “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA

“I’ll Fight” from “RBG” by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice

“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by Willie Watson, Tim Blake Nelson

Should win: Shallow (A Star Is Born)

Will win: Shallow (A Star Is Born)

Opinion: 100% sure that Lady Gaga (and Bradley Cooper) will still have their moment on stage to receive an award (rather than just performing the song live during the ceremony). They won’t have chance to win for the acting categories. ‘Shallow’ is a beautiful and powerful song (I love this song too) and it will secure the only win for the overrated ‘A Star Is Born’.

Best Production Design
“Black Panther” (Hannah Beachler)
“First Man” (Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas)
“The Favourite” (Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton)
“Mary Poppins Returns” (John Myhre, Gordon Sim)
“Roma” (Eugenio Caballero, Bárbara Enrı́quez)

Should win: The Favourite

Will win: The Favourite

Opinion: Similar to the ‘best costume design’ category, this is the battle between ‘Black Panther’ and ‘The Favourite’. The other nominees wouldn’t stand a chance at all. I’m fine with any of these two winning. If ‘The Favourite’ won here, I prefer ‘Black Panther’ to win for costume design. Hence, that’s my prediction right now.

Best Sound Editing
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“A Quiet Place”
“Roma”

Should win: A Quiet Place

Will win: A Quiet Place

Opinion: The only nomination for ‘A Quiet Place’ and I have a feeling that many voters will put a tick for it. The movie has great sound editing despite its content being mostly quiet due to its plot. Now, that is what makes the sound work from the movie so awesome and noticeable. ‘First Man’ or ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ may stun us with a win here too.

Best Sound Mixing
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“Roma”
“A Star Is Born”

Should win: Bohemian Rhapsody

Will win: Bohemian Rhapsody

Opinion: All the way for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. The sound mixing work in this movie is brilliant! Period.

Best Visual Effects
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Christopher Robin”
“First Man”
“Ready Player One”
“Solo: A Star Wars Story”

Should win: Avengers: Infinity War

Will win: Avengers: Infinity War

Opinion: The visual effect on Thanos alone is enough for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ to win. I must say that I’m also impressed by the visual effects from ‘Ready Player One’. But hey, this mega blockbuster (Infinity War) has to be rewarded!

Best Foreign Language Film
“Capernaum” (Lebanon)
“Cold War” (Poland)
“Never Look Away” (Germany)
“Roma” (Mexico)
“Shoplifters” (Japan)

Should win: Roma

Will win: Roma

Opinion: Definitely ‘Roma’. This film is even in contention at best picture category and is even projected to win there. So, it should take this one easily without any competition.

Best Animated Feature
“Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
“Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson
“Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
“Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Should win: Spider-Man: Into The Spider- Verse.

Will win: Spider-Man: Into The Spider- Verse.

Opinion: No competition. ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ is going to win due to its brilliant story and unique animation. The other nominees are pretty ordinary.

– No comments or predictions for the last 4 categories below as I’m not interested in them and have not watched any of them too.-

Best Animated Short
“Animal Behavior”
“Bao”
“Late Afternoon”
“One Small Step”
“Weekends”

Best Documentary Feature
“Free Solo,” Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” RaMell Ross
“Minding the Gap,” Bing Liu
“Of Fathers and Sons,” Talal Derki
“RBG,” Betsy West, Julie Cohen

Best Documentary Short
“Black Sheep,” Ed Perkins
“End Game,” Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
“Lifeboat,” Skye Fitzgerald
“A Night at the Garden,” Marshall Curry
“Period. End of Sentence.,” Rayka Zehtabchi

Best Live Action Short
“Detainment,” Vincent Lambe
“Fauve,” Jeremy Comte
“Marguerite,” Marianne Farley
“Mother,” Rodrigo Sorogoyen
“Skin,” Guy Nattiv

So, it looks like each of the 8 best picture nominee is going to win at least one award. That is good. No one is going home empty handed. Everyone will be happy at the end of the ceremony (except for the non best picture contender which lost in the categories they are contending). ‘Roma’ is projected to be the biggest winner with 4 wins (picture, director, foreign language film and cinematography). ‘The Favourite’ is expected to win 3 awards (production design, original screenplay and supporting actress). ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is to win 2 (lead actor, sound mixing) and ‘Vice’ is predicted to do the same (makeup & hairstyling, film editing).

So now, I have made my final prediction for the 91st Academy Awards (2019 Oscars) in 20 out of the 24 categories. Let see how many out of 20 that I got it right. The awards ceremony is happening this Sunday, 24th February 2019 at 8pm (will be the next day morning at local time). I will be watching it live. This year’s competition is intense and many categories are still wide open. It makes the awards to be more exciting than previous years.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Awesome 10 days 8 nights Eastern Europe trip during CNY 2019 break.


Good times pass by so quickly. There goes the conclusion of my long 10 days 8 nights trip to Eastern Europe. The trip took place from 2nd to 11th February 2019 during the Chinese New Year break and covers 6 countries; Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Czech Republic.

Day 1 (02/02/2019 – Saturday)

First light from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Muscat International Airport (at Oman) and then second flight to Munich International Airport (Germany). Basically spending whole day in various airports.

Day 2 (03/02/2019 – Sunday)

Heavy snowfall greeted our official first day of trip. Snowfall made it hard for us to walk in the city for the city tour. Wet environment, no sun, freezing temperature and snow-covered walkways made photographing a challenging task.

Had a quick city tour at Munich (Germany) and visited Marienplatz, the central square of the city.

Then, we proceed to Salzburg, the place famous for being the home of the popular late music composer, Mozart. We then visited the Mirabelle Garden (not picturesque during winter unfortunately). Then, we moved on to Vienna in the late afternoon.

Day 3 (04/02/2019 – Monday)

Commenced the day at Vienna (Austria) with city tour (photo stop) at The Ring Road, Opera House, Parliament House, Johann Strauss Statue, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Town Hall.

Next, we proceed to visit Schonbrunn Palace, a huge baroque-styled palace that contains 1441 rooms and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ended the day at Pandorf Outlet for quick shopping. Brought my first ever luxury branded wallet here. Then, we moved on to Budapest.

Day 4 (05/02/2019 – Tuesday)

It’s the first day of Chinese New Year! Had a city tour at Budapest (Hungary) to view the Hero’s Square, Parliament House, Chain Bridge, St. Matthias Church, Central Market Hall, Citadel Hill and Fisherman’s Bastion.

Spent the afternoon on a 1-hour cruise ride along the scenic Danube River. The view is spectacular and I took a lot of pictures here. Then, we proceed to another city; Bratislava.

Day 5 (06/02/2019 – Wednesday)

Quick city tour at Bratislava (Slovakia) with visit to Bratislava Castle, Presidential Palace, Michael’s Gate and Old Town area.

Spent the whole afternoon on long journey to Krakow.

Day 6 (07/02/2019 – Thursday)

Began the day with a city tour of Krakow (Poland). Visit to Jagiellonian University, Wavel Hill, Royal Castle, Old Town area, Cloth Market Hall and St. Mary’s Church. The main square of Krakow is breathtaking.

Then, we had an awesome visit to Wielicka Salt Mine. This is my first time visited a tourist attraction so deep below the ground (over 130m underground at one section).

Day 7 (08/02/2019 – Friday)

Only one tourist destination for today before continuing the journey to Brno. Today, we visited the infamous Auschwitz Concentration Camp. It is the largest Nazi concentration and extermination camp and is now a museum for us to learn more of the World War II history, particularly the suffering of the Jewish in Nazi German era.

Day 8 (09/02/2019 – Saturday)

We moved on from Brno to Prague (Czech Republic) for a city tour. Visited the Prague Castle Complex, Saint Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, Charles Bridge, Parizska Street (street for luxury brands shopping), Old Town and the Square. The Old Town Square is another fantastic spot for photographs.

Day 9 (10/02/2019 – Sunday)

Time flies. It’s already our last day of trip. We head to a brewery tour at Pilsner Urquell Brewery at Plzen (don’t like the bitter taste of this local beer). Then, we moved on to our last tourist attraction, the BMW Welt in Munich, a multi-functional exhibition facility of BMW. It’s the spot for car lovers.

Finally, we head back to the Munich International Airport for flight back home.

Day 10 (11/02/2019 – Monday)

Whole day spent at the airports just like on the first day of the trip (but now is on the other way round). Reached home in the evening. There goes the end of the trip.

Had an awesome time joining this trip (a guided tour with a group of 42 people). I took about 500 photographs! The good thing for this guided tour is that daily lunch is on our own which allow us to try local food at our preference. Certainly enjoyed this trip (except for that one or two days in the middle when I was not feeling well – vomiting, and also except for the lengthy and uncomfortable flights). This is my third time visiting Europe and it’s another unforgettable experience.

 

 

 

As the year is coming to an end soon, it’s time to revisit major events in 2018.


Year 2018 is going to end soon and it’s a usual practice for me to write a post to highlight some major things that happened in a particular year when it is almost coming to an end. It’s is something like a year in review or a flashback. 2018 is no exception. This year, I’m categorizing 2018’s landmark events into 5 sections;

2018, Year of Multiple International Sporting Events

There are a total of 5 major international sporting events held in this year alone. They are:

a) Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea) – February to March 2018.

Norway topped the medal tally with 14 gold, 14 silver and 11 bronze. Germany and Canada came in second and third place. Malaysia didn’t secure any medal.

b) Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast, Australia) – April 2018.

The host country, Australia topped the medal tally with 80 gold, 59 silver and 59 bronze. England is in second place while India is in third place finish. Malaysia is at 12th place with 7 gold, 5 silver and 12 bronze.

c) FIFA World Cup (Russia) – June to July 2018.

Heavyweight contenders like Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Spain and the previous champion, Germany all lost out in earlier rounds to everyone surprise. France becomes the champion after defeating Croatia in the final.

d) Asian Games (Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia) – August to September 2018.

China topped the medal tally with 132 gold, 92 silver and 65 bronze while Japan and South Korea came in second and third place respectively. Malaysia is at 14th place with 7 gold, 13 silver and 16 bronze.

e) Summer Youth Olympic Games (Buenos Aires, Argentina) – October 2018.

Russia topped the medal tally with 29 gold, 18 silver and 12 bronze. China is in second place while Japan took the third spot. Malaysia is at 38th place with 2 gold.

2018, Year of Kim Jong Un going out of North Korea

Known for being very secretive, disobedient and insular, North Korea leader, Kim Jong Un surprises the world by going all out (including leaving his country for the first time) to meet several important world leaders like the unexpected meeting with China President Xi Jinping on March 28, historic crossing over the Demilitarized Zone at the border between North and South Korea to meet South Korea President Moon Jae-in, and landmark meeting with US President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12th (first ever meeting between US and North Korea leader).

2018, Year of Unfortunate Events for Indonesia

2018 has been a year full of challenges for Indonesia. Indonesia is struck by multiple huge natural disasters this year such as a 7.5 magnitude earthquake on Sulawesi that leads to a tsunami which killed over 2200 people and the most recent tsunami caused by undersea landslide from volcanic eruption on December 22 that killed over 400 people at Sunda Strait. Also not to forget the saddening plane crash of Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29 that killed all 189 people on board. The plane crashes on Java Sea 13 minutes after take off from Jakarta en route to Pangkal Pinang.

2018, Year of Historic Change for Malaysia

2018 is certainly a history-making year for Malaysia. The country’s 14th general election took place on Wednesday, May 9 and it saw the first ever defeat of the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional (led by Prime Minister Najib Razak) to the opposition pact, Pakatan Harapan (led by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad). This is the first downfall for Barisan Nasional in over 60 years of its reign in Malaysia’s government and it is mainly caused by the unpopular GST, 1MDB scandal and massive corruption. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is reelected as the Prime Minister of Malaysia for the second time following the historic election win and at age 93, he is the oldest living Prime Minister in the world currently. Although I didn’t manage to vote (should be my first time voting) as I am working in Singapore and the voting day is on a normal weekday, but I’m certainly very excited and happy over this result. Next, we also observed royal pardon granted immediately for Anwar Ibrahim and seeing Najib brought to courts for charges multiple times this year. Dramatic yet positive political news. A New Malaysia from 2018 onward.

2018, Year of Huge Transitioning for Me

2018 in review is never complete without a mention of my personal memorable events of the year. I called this year a year of huge transitioning for me as it marks the first year that I’m moving on from being no longer a student anymore in my entire life (been a student for over 18 years! from kindergarten years to my postgraduate years) to a full-time working adult. I finished my postgraduate study end of last year in Perth, Australia and returned to Malaysia for a long break and Chinese New Year vacation at Zhangjiajie, China in February. I went back to Perth before the vacation in early February for my memorable graduation ceremony (my last ever graduation as I no longer planning to venture further in study at this point). Then, I moved to Singapore on May 2018 for my career as an architectural executive. Moving around from various countries in that span of a short few months and finally settling in Singapore after that successful job interview that leaves a huge impact to my future ahead. So yeah, 2018 is a year of huge transitioning for me personally. On the other hand, I also visited Universal Studios Singapore for the first time in July this year and had an awesome and crazily fun time over there from the exhilarating attractions the theme park have.

(My graduation ceremony on Curtin campus; officially graduated with Master of Architecture this year)(Scenic view captured during my Chinese New Year trip to Zhangjiajie, China)

(My working station, this is the place I’m spending most of my time on beginning October after my office moved to new location)

(Had an awesome time with friends at Universal Studio Singapore in my first ever visit to this theme park)

(Singapore, the beautiful country where I kicked off my career this year)

So that’s my year 2018 in review. What’s your best memories in 2018? What are the biggest international news or events in 2018 that caught your attention?

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Spotlight on Indonesia as Asian Games 2018 began.


Yesterday is a very auspicious day as its date is 18.08.18. It is also picked as the day for the opening ceremony of the 18th Asian Games; Jakarta Palembang 2018. For the first time in the history of the games, the games are being co-hosted in two cities. In the original bidding for this edition of the games, Hanoi is declared the winning host city after defeating Surabaya, Indonesia. However, not long after, Hanoi dropped out of the hosting duty due to financial constraint. Indonesia is then selected to host the games and two cities have been brought forward to the task; Jakarta (its capital) and Palembang.

This is the second time Indonesia is hosting the games. The country previously hosted the 4th Asian Games back in 1962 at Jakarta. How many times have Malaysia hosted Asian Games? None. It is quite an embarrassing fact that my country have not hosted it before. We have the sports infrastructure, we have all the other supporting facilities, we have the manpower, and we have the capability to do so and yet we have not done it before. Our glory in hosting mega sporting event stopped at 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. That was already 20 years ago.

Malaysia should look seriously into bidding for another large-scale international sporting event and should start with this Asian Games. I don’t think we will need to spend a lot since we already have most of the infrastructure in place. The KL Sports City (Bukit Jalil complex) is capable of handling most of the games. Our neighbouring country, Thailand had hosted it four times and we are still at zero. We should really set sight on hosting Asian Games. Hangzhou (China) has been selected to host the 2022 edition will Nagoya (Japan) is also chosen to host the 2026 edition. Malaysia should come forward with huge effort to bid for the 2030 edition. And then, let’s carry on the tide by bidding for 2032 Summer Olympic Games (need to work together with Singapore for a single bid on this one).

Anyway, best of luck to all the participating 449 Malaysian athletes in 2018 Asian Games. We are among the ten largest contingent in this games and we should be having no problem to get into top 10 position in the overall medal tally too. We have to do much better than our previous participation in the Incheon 2014 edition that only won 5 gold medals, 14 silver medals and 14 bronze medals for a 14th place finish.

Jakarta Palembang 2018 opened yesterday with an opening ceremony that saw a unique entrance moment by Indonesian President, Joko Widodo on a cool motorbike ride. Next, the synchronization of the performers is something to be praised and I always love this kind of performances where a huge number of performers are involved to make the synchronization works beautifully. By the way, I only watched the highlight of the ceremony (not able to watch the whole thing as I couldn’t find any platform to watch the whole ceremony online). A huge stage setup of a volcanic mountain, waterfall and vegetation became the centrepiece of the show as the volcano forms the cauldron for the symbolic torch lighting segment. There were also some singing and performances showcasing Indonesian culture. The ceremony ended with typical fireworks display.

The games will run until 2nd September 2018 (day of its closing ceremony).

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

An exciting theme park experience in my first ever visit to Universal Studios Singapore today.


I have been to the entrance of the Universal Studios Singapore at Sentosa Island for couple of times in the past but never had the opportunity to enter into the theme park. I remember I could only stand outside of the gate and had a peek to the theme park. Today is the day when I finally got to enjoy the rides inside and I’m super excited. I couldn’t remember how many years have gone by since I last visited a theme park. The normal admission price for an adult is SGD76 while a child ticket would costs SGD56. I’m visiting the park with four of my newly met friends in Singapore.

The entrance fee is certainly expensive and so I would want to cover all the rides that I wanted to in the park. We reached HarbourFront MRT station in the VivoCity Mall at around 8.40am and we walked to the island through the beautiful promenade. We immediately went into the park once it opens at 10am and the first ride we went to was the Battlestar Galactica. It is the world’s tallest dueling roller coaster and we went for both ‘Cylon’ and ‘Human’ coasters. It was super exhilarating and I’m really nervous as I have not been on a scary roller coaster ride for a long time. Our first two rides in the park were certainly giving us high adrenaline.

Before we came to the park, I have researched and discovered that queue for each ride would usually takes up to over an hour and this worries me because we didn’t purchase the super costly express pass. Fortunately, the queue today for most of the rides are not that long and we were able to cover all the rides that we have planned earlier. We went for the famous Transformers ride, Revenge of the Mummy ride (failed first attempt as the roller coaster experienced technical problem and had to close for some time when we were already very near in the queue…fortunately, it is opened back later in the late afternoon and I even went for the ride twice), Puss in Boots ride, Jurassic Park boat ride, Enchanted ride, Sesame Street ride, Shrek show, Madagascar ride, etc. Also not to be missed is the engaging Waterworld live action show and the hilarious-looking Jurassic World show.

There were some cool spots throughout the park for photographs such as at the lake giving a glimpse of a large chunk of the park, the Far Far Away Castle, the Battlestar Galactica roller coasters and the Hollywood street that greets visitors once they enter into the park. The park is quite small but is enough for a full day trip. We left the park at about 7pm and we were very satisfied. We had dinner at the Malaysian Food Street just outside the theme park before leaving the island and get back to our home respectively. The time at there will not be complete without a photograph of the famous ‘Universal Studios’ globe at the entrance of the park.

It was a tiring day but certainly a fun and a memorable one. Had a wonderful experience there and it’s worth 76 dollar from my point of view since I have covered most of the rides and shows (skipped some due to timing as well as certain rides are more kids-oriented). Really enjoyed the trip to Universal Studios Singapore today. I also realized that most attractions here will get you wet, but that for me is a good thing since the weather today was so hot.

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games began and it marked the fifth time Australia is hosting the games.


I realized that there is going to be a lot of international sporting events this year. We have seen the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at South Korea two months ago. Now, we came into the period of the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Later on, we would observe FIFA World Cup in June and July at Russia, Asian Games at Palembang (Indonesia) in August and September and also the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires at Argentina in October. So many sports to look out for in this year alone.

The 21st Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast 2018 began yesterday in a glitzy opening ceremony held in Carrara Stadium. The games will be held from 4th to 15th April 2018 in Gold Coast, a city famous for beautiful beaches in Queensland, Australia. This is the fifth time that Australia is hosting the games. The last time Australia hosted the Commonwealth Games is on 2006 in Melbourne (12 years ago). I have to admit that the Melbourne 2006 games was much more grander (more spectacular ceremonies) but Gold Coast 2018 also didn’t disappoint with an opening ceremony that shines a light on the aboriginal people of Australia and also presenting the diverse culture and beautiful nature of the country.

The games is officially opened by Prince Charles on behalf of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. He is joined by his wife, Camillia and Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia. There will be 275 events in 19 sports available in this games which saw 71 participating teams representing the various countries and territories which were once under the reign of British empire. My country, Malaysia has a pretty good record in this games and its capital, Kuala Lumpur has also hosted the games once in 1998. It would be nice if Kuala Lumpur has the chance of hosting it again in near future. In the first day of the games (today), Malaysia has already won one gold medal.

I only watched the highlights of the opening ceremony and I realized that there is no cauldron lighting (a tradition observed in other events like the Olympics) but rather a segment where the Queen’s Baton Relay ends with a message from the Queen read by Prince Charles in the ceremony to officiate the games. Typical with the other recent ceremonies, Gold Coast 2018 emphasizes on vibrant and colourful light projection in its opening ceremony. There is no specific ‘shockingly majestic’ moment in the ceremony but it is still a success considering the recent games’ objective (including other games like the Olympics, Asian Games, etc) to minimize the budget and scale of events to prevent the host from running into deficit and ‘white elephant’ issues to the venues.

Now, I wish all the best to the athletes (especially the Malaysian athletes that I’m supporting). In the previous edition (Glasgow 2014), Malaysia won 6 golds, 7 silvers and 6 bronzes for a 12th place finish in the overall medal tally. I think Malaysia will perform slightly better in this edition and let’s hope that it will break into the top 10 spot this time.

(Images in this post are from The Guardian. More images here: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/gallery/2018/apr/04/commonwealth-games-2018-opening-ceremony-in-pictures)