After winning big in Golden Globes last weekend, Bohemian Rhapsody goes home empty handed in Critics Choice.


Here comes the second out of five major Hollywood film awards honouring the best of 2018 films; Critics Choice Awards 2019. After a shocking major win by Bohemian Rhapsody in Golden Globes in the last weekend, the film wins nothing in Critics Choice, cementing the fact that critics (Broadcast Film Critics Association, BFCA) really do not like the movie as much as Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).

Here below is the full list of winners (only for film categories) for the 24th Critics Choice Awards along with my opinions:

BEST PICTURE

Black Panther

BlacKkKlansman

The Favourite

First Man

Green Book

If Beale Street Could Talk

Mary Poppins Returns

Roma (WINNER)

A Star Is Born

Vice

Opinion: Ahhaa…a foreign film wins the top honor and that is very unusual. It means that ‘Roma’ is really an excellent film and is now the strong frontrunner for the Academy Awards next month. Usually, whichever film wins Critics Choice for best picture will win the Oscars for the same. Seeing Bohemian Rhapsody not even nominated for the 10 slot here is a strong sign that the film isn’t appealing to critics. The critics are all wrong. On the other hand, ‘A Star Is Born’ is losing some strength. It will still pose a big risk to Roma for best picture win in the Oscar though.

 

BEST ACTRESS

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma

Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns

Glenn Close, The Wife (WINNER)

Toni Collette, Hereditary

Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born (WINNER)

Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Opinion: A tie, seriously?! Just ignore Lady Gaga and hand this to Glenn Close only. Now, it shows that Lady Gaga is still in position to grab the Oscars and it now makes the best actress race much more exciting with a three-way fight (Glenn Close, Lady Gaga and Olivia Colman). Lady Gaga is good in ‘A Star Is Born’ but isn’t impresssive enough for best actress honour. For me, she is just acting as her own self (a person who can sing as required for the film) with some added emotion in to make it work. It’s nothing difficult especially for her whom is a talented singer.

 

BEST ACTOR

Christian Bale, Vice (WINNER)

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate

Ryan Gosling, First Man

Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Opinion: Rami Malek is robbed. Best actor should easily goes to Rami Malek for his marvelous performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. No one could top that. Christian Bale is just doing something so similar with Gary Oldman last year (portraying as a fat politician). The exact same formula and you get to win best actor again. The critics just love to see actors transformed literally with huge makeup and gave them best actor honour. Christian Bale is good in Vice but Rami Malek is a step ahead clearly. Now, it depends on SAG (Screen Actors Guild Awards) end of this month to determine who will be the frontrunner for the Oscars next month. It’s now between Christian Bale and Rami Malek. Others have all lost their momentum especially Bradley Cooper. He just seems doesn’t have luck for awards every year.

 

BEST DIRECTOR

Damien Chazelle, First Man

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Alfonso Cuarón, Roma (WINNER)

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Adam McKay, Vice

Opinion: This is a lock in. Alfonso Cuaron had been snatching all the precursor awards for best director for his work in Roma. He will went on to win Oscars, taking that award twice which is an impressive achievement.

 

#SEEHER AWARD

Claire Foy

Opinion: Don’t know what’s this about. It’s something about an award to honour woman in film industry.

 

BEST COMEDY

Crazy Rich Asians (WINNER)

Deadpool 2

The Death of Stalin

The Favourite

Game Night

Sorry to Bother You

Opinion: A good recognition for ‘Crazy Rich Asians’. I would have thought that ‘The Favourite’ would win this easily. Looks like ‘The Favourite’ isn’t getting a lot of love here surprisingly.

 

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY

Christian Bale, Vice (WINNER)

Jason Bateman, Game Night

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

John C. Reilly, Stan & Ollie

Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool 2

Lakeith Stanfield, Sorry to Bother You

Opinion: Christian Bale again. It reminds me of Michael Keaton winning both best actor awards in Critics Choice last time but ended up losing the Oscar to Eddie Redmayne. I hope the same case applies here (Rami Malek is my pick for the Oscar). It all comes to the SAG most likely to determine the eventual Oscar winner.

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns

Olivia Colman, The Favourite (WINNER)

Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade

Rachel McAdams, Game Night

Charlize Theron, Tully

Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians

Opinion: Yes, certainly! Olivia Colman is great in ‘The Favourite’. She still has the momentum to go for the Oscar glory (but now looks more likely that Glenn Close will prevail due to overdue factor for the Oscar).

 

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE

Black Panther

Crazy Rich Asians

The Favourite (WINNER)

Vice

Widows

Opinion: Agreed. The best thing from ‘The Favourite’ comes from the great chemistry and performances from all the three main female leads in the film; Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz.

 

BEST SCI-FI/HORROR MOVIE

Annihilation

Halloween

Hereditary

A Quiet Place (WINNER)

Suspiria

Opinion: Agreed on this too. ‘A Quiet Place’ is an impressive film and it ranks among my top 3 most favourite films last year.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy Adams, Vice

Claire Foy, First Man

Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (WINNER)

Emma Stone, The Favourite

Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Opinion: Regina King won at the Golden Globe and now at Critics Choice. So is she an Oscar frontrunner? Not so fast. She had been snubbed surprisingly for even nomination at the SAG and BAFTA. It makes the supporting actress race intense this year. All the nominees in this category are incredible by the way.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Mahershala Ali, Green Book (WINNER)

Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy

Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther

Opinion: Ohh, looks like Mahershala Ali is on his way to his win his second supporting actor win at the Oscar so soon. Many would have thought that this would go to Richard E. Grant. Anyway, Grant still remains the darkhorse for the remaining awards.

 

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS

Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade (WINNER)

Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace

Ed Oxenbould, Wildlife

Millicent Simmonds, A Quiet Place

Amandla Stenberg, The Hate U Give

Sunny Suljic, Mid90s

Opinion: Nothing to comment here as I didn’t watch ‘Eighth Grade’.

 

BEST SONG

All the Stars, Black Panther

Girl in the Movies, Dumplin’

I’ll Fight, RBG

The Place Where Lost Things Go, Mary Poppins Returns

Shallow, A Star Is Born (WINNER)

Trip a Little Light Fantastic, Mary Poppins Returns

Opinion: Very much expected. ‘Shallow’ is a powerful and a beautiful song and is going to sweep all ‘best original song’ awards. I personally like this song a lot too.

 

BEST ACTION MOVIE

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

Deadpool 2

Mission: Impossible — Fallout (WINNER)

Ready Player One

Widows

Opinion: I disagree to this choice. Fallout is good but it is just like a typical Mission Impossible movie with nothing exceptional. I would have prefer ‘Infinity War’ or even ‘Ready Player One’ to take this one.

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

The Grinch

Incredibles 2

Isle of Dogs

Mirai

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (WINNER)

Opinion: Now, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is the clear frontrunner for the Oscar next month after winning also at the Golden Globe last week. Incredibles 2 has lost the momentum heavily.

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Bo Burnham: Eighth Grade

Alfonso Cuarón: Roma

Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara: The Favourite

Adam McKay: Vice

Paul Schrader: First Reformed (WINNER)

Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie and Peter Farrelly: Green Book

Bryan Woods, Scott Beck and John Krasinski: A Quiet Place

Opinion: No comment as I didn’t watch ‘First Reformed’. This movie jumped out of nowhere and win this. Many didn’t expect ‘First Reformed’ to win anything. Now that is quite surprising.

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole: Black Panther

Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Barry Jenkins: If Beale Street Could Talk (WINNER)

Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper and Will Fetters: A Star Is Born

Josh Singer: First Man

Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee: BlacKkKlansman

Opinion: ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ gain back some momentum after its win here in adapted screenplay. Didn’t watch the movie.

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Alfonso Cuarón, Roma (WINNER)

James Laxton, If Beale Street Could Talk

Matthew Libatique, A Star Is Born

Rachel Morrison, Black Panther

Robbie Ryan, The Favourite

Linus Sandgren, First Man

Opinion: Didn’t watch Roma but I knew it is a black-and-white film. The film must be really good in capturing lighting even when the final product is just black and white without colours.

 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart, Black Panther (WINNER)

Eugenio Caballero and Barbara Enriquez, Roma

Nelson Coates and Andrew Baseman, Crazy Rich Asians

Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton, The Favourite

Nathan Crowley and Kathy Lucas, First Man

John Myhre and Gordon Sim, Mary Poppins Returns

Opinion: Some love for Black Panther. I didn’t enjoy Black Panther like what most critics do but I do felt fine with the film winning best production design.

 

BEST EDITING

Jay Cassidy, A Star Is Born

Hank Corwin, Vice

Tom Cross, First Man (WINNER)

Alfonso Cuarón and Adam Gough, Roma

Yorgos Mavropsaridis, The Favourite

Joe Walker, Widows

Opinion: Good for ‘First Man’. Now, the movie gained back also some strength for contention of some technical awards in next month’s Academy Awards. This is one of them. ‘First Man’ does really have great editing.

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Alexandra Byrne, Mary Queen of Scots

Ruth Carter, Black Panther (WINNER)

Julian Day, Bohemian Rhapsody

Sandy Powell, The Favourite

Sandy Powell, Mary Poppins Returns

Opinion: Quite surprising for a superhero film to win best costume design. It means that the critics really love Black Panther a lot. I would have picked ‘The Favourite’ or even any other nominees in this list.

 

BEST HAIR AND MAKEUP

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Mary Queen of Scots

Suspiria

Vice (WINNER)

Opinion: Expected. The body and face transformation for Christian Bale in Vice alone earns the film the trophy. Same as what ‘Darkest Hour’ had done last year to Gary Oldman face and body. Boring…

 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther (WINNER)

First Man

Mary Poppins Returns

Mission: Impossible — Fallout

Ready Player One

Opinion: Black Panther again. Boring again…I personally think that this award should goes to either Infinity War or Ready Player One.

 

BEST SCORE

Kris Bowers, Green Book

Nicholas Britell, If Beale Street Could Talk

Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs

Ludwig Göransson, Black Panther

Justin Hurwitz, First Man (WINNER)

Marc Shaiman, Mary Poppins Returns

Opinion: Yes. The score in ‘First Man’ is the most outstanding aspect of the movie. Period.

 

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Burning

Capernaum

Cold War

Roma (WINNER)

Shoplifters

Opinion: Wow…Roma taking this as well as the best picture! Roma is the biggest winner. Looks like I have to check out the movie soon to see how great it is.

Right. That’s it for Critics Choice. The next major awards (the third one) will be the Screen Actors Guild Awards to be presented on 27th January 2019 (Sunday).

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

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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)

New Year 2018 fireworks from across the world!


Happy New Year once again!

I went to KLCC yesterday to join in the countdown and watch the fireworks display at the stroke of midnight. As expected, the area is very crowded as KLCC is the biggest venue for new year countdown every year in Malaysia. I think there is around 300 000. Try to imagine that you are one of the 300 000 and you are surrounded by all the people, all the noises and all the chaos. Well, it is still a one great experience to be able to observe such happening atmosphere and celebrating the arrival of new year with so many people including both locals and the foreign tourists. While others were busy blowing the horns or cheering, I was concentrating on looking up to admire the beauty of the Petronas Twin Towers in the evening. I won’t be bored seeing the towers all these years.

Here’s the video that I captured during the countdown to usher in year 2018 and the fireworks display from the KLCC Park. It is about 10-minutes long.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

It took almost an hour for most of the crowd to disperse and leave the area after the fireworks. Traffic congestion stayed for another two hours. That was insane. I was only able to reach home at around 2.30am and sleep at 3.00am. Although it was a cool experience, but I don’t think I will be joining countdown anytime soon again.

Alright, here comes the much more better new year 2018 fireworks displays from other parts of the world:

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – there is no fireworks this year at the Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building), and it is replaced with a spectacular light show instead.

Taipei, Taiwan – usual fireworks display from Taipei 101 with visual projection on the building.

Hong Kong, China – fireworks display from the Victoria Harbour with the breathtaking city skyline as the backdrop.

Sydney, Australia – one of the biggest new year events in the world with massive fireworks display from the Sydney Harbour and the bridge. The fireworks in Sydney never disappoints.

London, United Kingdom – fireworks display from the London Eye ferris wheel.

That’s it for the fireworks’ videos. Have an awesome year!

(All videos from this post are from YouTube and they are not of my possession except the first one)

 

 

The World in 2017: Recap of Major Events of the Year


2017 is coming to an end soon. As with my blog’s tradition, I am here compiling a post that looks back at some major events or viral happenings throughout this one whole year. It’s time for a flashback of 2017 as we prepare to welcome 2018. Here below are the 10 events that are highly representative for year 2017.

Trump, Trump and Trump

Ever since Donald Trump is officially inaugurated as the President of the United States of America early this year, there has been many news, reports and comments regarding him (mostly negative). His iconic hairstyle or gestures have been parodied countless of times. His tweets are also grabbing everyone’s attention with his hilariously unprofessional or unreasonable comments that should not have come out from a President at all. His remarks on North Korea and Kim Jong Un, Jerusalem, fake news, etc have sparked so much controversies. He is certainly the man of the year, but for mostly negative reasons.

Despacito Everywhere

A Mexican music video in YouTube is definitely not to be missed out. The music video ‘Despacito’ by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee broke record as the YouTube video with highest number of views in history. Currently, it has accumulated over 4.5 billion views! Up to this day, I still have no idea what the song is about and I also have no idea why it is such a massive hit worldwide.

Las Vegas Shooting

On the night of October 1, 2017, a gunman named Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at a music festival on the Las Vegas strip in Nevada, leaving 58 dead and 546 injured. He fired more than 1100 rounds from his suite on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel. About an hour after Paddock fired his last shot into the crowd of 22,000, he was found dead in his room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His motive is still unknown. The incident is the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the United States. The shooting reignited the debate about gun laws in US.

Tragic Earthquakes in central Mexico and border of Iraq and Iran

Two massive earthquakes occurred this year. First was a 7.1 earthquake on September 19 at Central Mexico that kills around 350 people. The second one was a 7.3 earthquake on November 12 that strikes the border region between Iraq and Iran , leaving at least 530 dead.

Manchester Arena’s Bombing

A terrorist bombing attack occurred at an Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, England on May 22, 2017. It killed 22 people and injured over 100. A shrapnel-laden homemade bomb was detonated as people were leaving Manchester Arena following a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande.

Grenfell Tower Fire

A massive fire broke out at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of public housing flats in North Kensington, West London on 14th June 2017. It killed 71 people and over 70 injuries are reported. Police and fire services believe the fire started accidentally in a fridge-freezer on the fourth floor. The rapid growth of the fire is thought to have been accelerated by the building’s exterior cladding, which is of a common type in widespread use. This sparked review of building regulations and fire safety not only for UK itself but also for other multiple countries.

North Korea In The Spotlight

North Korea has been condemned by international community particularly in this year for multiple actions that include test firing a ballistic missile across the Sea of Japan, conducting nuclear tests, and threatening to initiate attacks. Further sanctions have been imposed on the country by various countries across the world and also by the United Nations.

Truck Bombing in Somalia and Sinai Mosque Attack

On 14 October 2017, a massive blast caused by a truck bombing in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, killed at least 512 people and injured 316. The attack is the deadliest in Somalia‘s history, and it is is also the third-deadliest act of terrorism in recorded history, surpassed only by the 2007 Yazidi communities bombings and the September 11 attacks in 2001.

On 24 November 2017, the al-Rawda mosque in Egypt was attacked by roughly 40 gunmen during Friday prayers. The attack killed 311 people and injured at least 122, making it the deadliest attack in Egyptian history. Islamic State is the suspected perpetrators behind this attack.

WannaCry Ransomware Attack

The WannaCry ransomware attack was a May 2017 worldwide cyberattack by the WannaCry[a] ransomware cryptoworm, which targeted computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. The attack began on Friday, 12 May 2017, and within a day was reported to have infected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries.

Paris 2024, Los Angeles 2028

The International Olympic Committee has officially announced on September 13, 2017 that Paris is awarded the right to host 2024 Summer Olympic Games while Los Angeles will be hosting the 2028 edition of the games. Hence, there will be no bidding event for 2028 games.

We observed mostly ruins, disasters, attacks, tragic news or negative stuff for this year. Let’s hope that we will be seeing more positive events next year.

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

 

Pritzker Prize 2017 Winner: Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta (RCR Arquitectes)


The recipient of this year’s Pritzker Prize, the world’s most prestigious honour to architect, is a little less known. The recipient goes to not only a single person this year, but three, who works under one office; RCR Architects. They are Rafael Arana, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta. Well, it’s not about popularity and the ‘star’ appeal to win this honour. It’s about one’s significant contribution to the field of architecture to be able to receive this award.

Here are an article from Dezeen (original source: https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/) that introduces us to this award-winning architecture office, RCR Arquitectes:

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Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta all studied at the School of Architecture in Vallès, and set up their practice in their home town of Olot, Catalonia, in 1988. Their work ranges from public and private spaces to cultural venues and educational institutions, each designed to closely relate to the environment of its site. The three architects started working locally, designing an athletics track for the town in 2000 before creating their own office in an old foundry there eight years later. RCR Arquitectes’ other projects in Olot include a private house and a restaurant.

Many more of the studio’s projects over the past 10 years have also been located in Spain’s Girona province, ranging from a winery to a kindergarten and a public theatre. Later the firm began building slightly further afield – completing an art centre and a museum in France in 2014. Often collaborating with other architects, the trio uses materials like recycled steel and plastic. The Pritzker jury described their projects as “beautiful and poetic”. “Each building designed by these architects is special and is uncompromising of its time and place,” said the jury citation. “Their works are always the fruit of true collaboration and at the service of the community.” “They understand that architecture and its surroundings are intimately intertwined and know that the choice of materials and the craft of building are powerful tools for creating lasting and meaningful spaces.”

See 10 key projects by RCR Arquitectes below, in roughly chronological order:

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Tossols-Basil Athletics Track, 2000, Olot, Girona, Spain

Looping through two clearings in an oak forest, the running track avoids the trees and is coloured green to blend with its surroundings. The natural topography of the site provides stands for spectators, while a small pavilion comprising two Corten steel volumes includes a bar and storage for the football field.

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Bell–Lloc Winery, 2007, Palamós, Girona, Spain

A descending pathway with angled steel sides funnels visitors down from opposite directions to the entrance of the winery. Once inside, the material also creates a vaulted ceiling over the wine production machinery and barrel storage areas, where gaps in the roof allow slithers of light into the underground spaces.

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Sant Antoni – Joan Oliver Library, Senior Citizens Center and Cándida Pérez Gardens, 2007, Barcelona, Spain

Situated in Barcelona’s dense Eixample district, this cultural venue was intended to break the continuity of its historic street. A bridging section of the front building – which houses the library – provides public access underneath to a courtyard behind, where a low-slung volume wraps around the edge.

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Barberí Laboratory, 2008, Olot, Girona, Spain

RCR Arquitectes transformed a former foundry in their home town into their own offices and studio. Elements of the original building, like crumbling walls and a steel structure, were preserved. They were then paired with huge expanses of glass to create light-filled workspaces.

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El Petit Comte Kindergarten, 2010, Besalú, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

Gradients of colourful plastic create a rainbow effect across this kindergarten building. A courtyard at the centre lets children play outside in a protected environment, while the plastic allows coloured light to flood the spaces inside.

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La Lira Theater Public Open Space, 2011, Ripoll, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

To form a covered public space for theatre productions, the architects built a slatted-steel box, with angled sides and open ends, over a plaza sandwiched between two old structures. The volume faces a river and is connected to the opposite bank via a bridge made from the same material.

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Les Cols Restaurant Marquee, 2011, Olot, Girona, Spain

Swooping over this restaurant is a lightweight structure made from thin metal pipes, with translucent plastic stretched across the top. The canopy evokes the experience of dining al fresco, and extends beyond the enclosed space to protect those who are actually eating outside.

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Row House, 2012, Olot, Girona, Spain

When renovating this house in their home town, the architects exposed the underside of its tiled roof and concealed circulation on either side behind thin vertical louvres. In the central space – illuminated by a giant glass wall at the back – contemporary insertions form a sunken kitchen and dining level, with two separate mezzanines for lounging and sleeping above.

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La Cuisine Art Center, 2014, Nègrepelisse, France

Tucked inside the stone walls of a historic chateau, rooms made from steel and glass wrap around three sides of the building’s internal perimeter. These spaces host exhibitions, conferences and workshops dedicated to the art and design of food and cooking, and face a central courtyard that is used for larger events.

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Soulages Museum, 2014, Rodez, France
In collaboration with G Trégouët

Contemporary art exhibitions are housed within weathering-steel boxes that cantilever slightly from a small slope. The galleries are linked by glazed corridors and bridges, forming a route through the museum.

After receiving this prestigious honour, this Spanish firm along with these three leading architects shot to fame immediately in world of architecture.

(Images and information in this post are from the following source (also stated earlier): https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/.)

 

3 major potential upsets tomorrow at the Oscars.


The 89th Academy Awards is finally just around the corner. It will take place tomorrow and to watch it live, I have to purposely wake up early on Monday morning (time difference). Fortunately, I don’t have any class to attend on Monday for this semester. I have been staying closely with the awards season this year and it gets more exciting day by day as the Oscars gets nearer. I had in the past posted the full nomination list of this coming Academy Awards alongside my predictions on who should and who will win on that evening.

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Just a day before the ceremony, I’m here to write on 3 major potential upsets that may happen tomorrow in the Oscars.

First one would be ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ winning the Best Animated Feature over the frontrunner, ‘Zootopia’. ‘Zootopia’ has been leading the race in this category ever since with wins in many precursor awards including some major ones like Annie Awards, Golden Globe Awards and Critics’ Choice Awards. However, do not look down on ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ that has been in the second place to many people’s predictions in winning the best animated film. The movie has also won multiple precursor awards including the BAFTA which is a strong indicator of Oscar winner in animated film category. I myself love ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ much more than ‘Zootopia’ and I would love it if it really takes home the award tomorrow. In my opinion, it has a much more better story, better visual, better style, better characters, better animations, and better effort than ‘Zootopia’ and the remaining three other nominees; ‘Moana’, ‘The Red Turtle’ and ‘My Life as a Zucchini’. I would love this upset to happen. It’s time to reward Laika, the production company behind this work. Their past works are three also great stop-motion animated films (all were nominated but didn’t win); ‘Coraline’, ‘Paranorman’ and ‘Boxtrolls’.

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Next major upset will be in Best Actress category. The frontrunner now is Emma Stone from her wonderful performance in ‘La La Land’, a film that has been getting a lot of love as shown from the 14 nominations it gets in this Academy Awards. She has won best actress in Golden Globes (musical and comedy), Screen Actor Guild and BAFTA. She is great in that movie. However, her performance is not the strongest compared to the other nominees in this category. It is very obvious. People are just voting her because it is Emma Stone and she is likable, and is not voting based on performance in the film. I would like to see Natalie Portman to win this as a major surprise of the evening. Her performance as Jackie Kennedy in ‘Jackie’ is tremendously good. People just think that it is too fast to award her the second Oscar since she won it few years back from her performance in ‘Black Swan’. Hey…stop that mentality. If she deserves it, then she deserves it..no matter how many she has won before. Another ‘dark horse’ contender will be Isabelle Hupert from ‘Elle’. Deep down in my heart, I still think Natalie has a shot at it because Academy usually loves people who acts as a real-life historical figure and Natalie nailed that role effectively and with a lot of effort. Seen as the early favourite as Natalie won best actress at the Critics Choice, her momentum went downward because the movie ‘Jackie’ is not getting a lot of attention unfortunately.

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The last major potential upset I foresee is in best supporting actor. Currently, Mahershala Ali is the one to beat from his performance in ‘Moonlight’. I didn’t see that movie. He has been also sweeping many precursor awards and hence many see him as a lock in this category, up until when he lost the award surprisingly in Golden Globes (to Aaron Taylor-Johnson in ‘Norturnal Animals’) and in BAFTA (to Dev Patel in ‘Lion’). Mahershala is still in the lead position to win supporting actor as he did won at Critics Choice and at Screen Actors Guild. However, Academy usually love to award Best Supporting Actor to someone many didn’t see it coming. Hence, get ready to watch some drama when the name in the envelope tomorrow is not stating ‘Mahershala Ali’. I’m thinking that all the other nominees has a chance for it except Lucas Hedges since he is too young for it, and I’m wishing for Dev Patel to win it. It’s because I watched ‘Lion’ and I’m amazed by his performance in there.

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These are my last opinions before the Academy Awards tomorrow. What do you think? My biggest wish is still to see ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ winning Best Animated Feature. It totally deserves it way more than the others. ‘Zootopia’ has the edge just because of its right timing to the current political situation in USA. It’s just an ordinary animated film, and no where near the excellence delivered by ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ in nearly all aspects.

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

 

New Year 2017 Fireworks!


Didn’t get to watch any new year fireworks live yesterday in KL since I’m at home with family on 12am last night. Well, I do not have the urge to watch the fireworks here in Malaysia eventhough I enjoy doing so because the displays here are simply too plain and boring every year.

So, I have to look up on new year fireworks display from other major cities across the world that were much more exciting to watch! YouTube is the best place for me to do so today after all cities across the globe has already celebrated the occasion from one time zone to another.

The best fireworks display goes to Sydney, Australia as usual. It is one of the largest new year’s fireworks display and its 12-minutes show was really overwhelming and beautiful. View of the massive fireworks shooting up from the Sydney Harbour and the iconic Harbour Bridge impressed me every year.

Here below are the other new year 2017 fireworks display in other cities that look great too:

London, UK – from the London Eye ferris wheel. Amazing and is always the second best.

Hong Kong, China – I like the idea of fireworks shooting from some buildings in the city but that only happened in the 10-seconds countdown to 2017 and not in the entire show which would make it much better.

Dubai, UAE – from the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa and its surrounding. I’m impressed by the LED projection screen all over the facade of Burj Khalifa during the fireworks show.

Taipei, Taiwan – from Taipei 101, former world’s tallest building. Taipei 101 is the only stand-alone tall building in the city and so shooting fireworks from the tower itself in all angles is possible. And that is what makes their fireworks show every year spectacular. The inclusion of dramatic play of light of the building during the show is also great.

These fireworks shows above are way much better than our pyrotechnic show in KLCC. We couldn’t deliver intense and interesting display every year. It’s always the same one spot and same one style. It would be much better if our city presents a unified show by shooting fireworks from some major buildings in the city with the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower as the main highlights.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – from the KLCC Park with the iconic Petronas Twin Towers as the backdrop.

That’s it. Happy New Year 2017 to everyone once again! Have a great year ahead!

(All videos in this post are from YouTube)