February comes and it’s all about the upcoming Chinese New Year celebration!


First month of 2019 is over and now we welcomes not only the arrival of the second month of the year but also the wonderful Chinese New Year celebration! This lunar new year festival doesn’t comes until next Tuesday, 5th February but everyone is already in the celebration and holiday mood by now. Time to fill the month with plenty of red colour (deemed as auspicious colour for the Chinese) starting with this post!

I will be taking my flight to Europe tomorrow to kickstart my 10 days trip during this long holiday. I am very excited to visit all the amazing places in Eastern Europe soon (but not excited for the two long-hour flights to reach Europe which would definitely caused me huge discomfort). Hence, my next blog post will be somewhere on mid February when I returned from the trip to note down all the wonderful experience I had from it and share some amazing photographs I have taken.

For now, I would like to take this opportunity to wish to my family, relative, Chinese friends and colleagues a wonderful and prosperous lunar new year! Gong Xi Fa Cai! May this new lunar year of pig brings you abundance of great health, wealth and happiness! Yeah, it’s the year of the pig. The last animal zodiac sign in the 12-year cycle.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

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Drama review for ‘The Learning Curve Of A Warlord’.


A long week with toothache and lacking concentration at work is certainly not good. Fortunately, the week ends with me being very delighted to be able to get my hand on a latest music DVD all the way from Hong Kong and also being thrilled with the final episode of a TVB drama that I have been following for the past one month. The drama is called ‘The Learning Curve Of A Warlord’ (大帥哥).

This 30-episode drama starred Dicky Cheung who is promoted to a marshal in control of a small town during chaotic warlord era. From there, he faces multiple threats and challenges from three neighbouring town’s warlords, the higher rank marshal, Japanese spies, etc along with his loyal friends and three wives. Other cast in the series include Sisley Choi, Zoie Tam, Vivien Yeo, Raymond Cho, Tony Hung, Tsui Wing, etc.

This drama is very impressive. When I first know the existence of this drama and learning a bit of what the story is going to be about and its setting, I felt that this is going to be a lousy, silly and meaninglessly funny drama and that’s it. The selling point would just be the comeback of Dicky Cheung who is famous for his work in TVB decades ago (Journey to the West, etc). In the end, I’m very surprised by how good the drama turns out to be, in all areas.

Dicky Cheung is amazing as Dik Kei / Dai Sui Gor. I am very impressed by his memory skill. He can memorize super long lines of dialogue and spill them out clear, fast, continuous and sharp, along with varied range of expression he delivered in the same time. It’s perfect ‘multitasking while acting’ (that’s another level) if you know what I mean. His performance in here is no doubt splendid and him not winning best actor in last month’s TVB Anniversary Awards is totally absurd. His performance in just the first 10 episodes in this drama (before the awards ceremony) is more than enough to defeat any contenders in 2018 including the best actor winner, Joe Ma. I also got to know that Dicky do improvise certain lines of his as well as of the other cast to improve things. Now, that is great.

The supporting cast also have their shining moment in this drama. They are not left out of their character development and story arc which is good. Zoie Tam and Vivien Yeo (both portrayed as Dicky’s wives) surprised audiences with their excellent performances (both of them improved a lot and outshines the supporting boys in the drama) while the main female lead, Sisley Choi is also not bad (it is just that she couldn’t push it all out in her acting and her character’s personality is partly to blame and hence not getting higher praise compared to Zoie and Vivien).

This series has a lot of dramatic things going on to keep audiences hooked to its episode every evening. It has a lot of hilarious scenes (funny lines and multiple thoughtful reference to famous Dicky’s lines from his past memorable roles), emotional moments (a number of pretty good and heartfelt crying scenes), intense gun fighting sequence, and warm friendship moments. The final episode is intense, unpredictable, exciting. has happy conclusion, and left me moved, thrilled and impressed once again. ‘The Learning Curve Of A Warlord’ performs beyond my expectation and I would rate it a total of 8.4 out of 10. This is my most favourite TVB drama in 2018. Highly entertaining, has great ingredients and I enjoyed it very much.

(Images in this post are from online sources)

Movie review for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Gindelwald and thoughts on the nomination list for Golden Globes 2019


I enjoyed the original Harry Potter film series a lot. The film series added magic to my teenage years. When its last film was out back in 2011, I felt sad to bid goodbye to the wizarding world wonderfully created by J.K. Rowling. I was very excited when she decided to write 5 films set in the same wizarding world after that, and till now, 2 films have been released including the recent Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The film follows the adventure of Newt Scamander again as he takes on Grindelwald, a powerful dark wizard who had escaped from prison and is on his quest for worldwide wizard supremacy.

The film is a must watch for Potter fans but is certainly a must miss for ordinary moviegoers. You will not understand most of the plot details if you have not been following the Harry Potter universe in the past. I am not an extreme Potter fans (but I do still know some details of this magical universe) and I find it hard to digest the story. It is too complicated and the movie did no good by introducing so many new characters to make things more confusing. There were a lot of scenes with spells and magic but I can’t feel the charm out of them (I felt a lot of that in Harry Potter films despite much lesser spells cast). It’s certainly not about quantity or visual effects but about the building up of material and atmosphere in this aspect to exude the charm and excitement. Fantastic Beasts film series didn’t quite succeed on that although it has better visuals as expected in the current standard.

It’s nice seeing more of Johnny Depp this time as Grindelwald and the young Albus Dumbledore portrayed by Jude Law. As there are too many characters hanging around now, even Eddie Redmayne portraying as the main character, Newt Scamander is getting much lesser screen time. J.K. Rowling tends to go big and further expand the universe but she does it too quick now and the approach becomes a distraction and confusion for the general audiences. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald’ a total of 6.8. Anyway, it’s cool to watch scenes of the Hogwarts school on the big screen again in this movie that gave us back all the Harry Potter memories.

The nomination list for the 76th Golden Globe Awards set to take place on January 6, 2019 is out and it marked the beginning of major Hollywood award season. First of all, I’m surprised of some snubs (director Damien Chazelle for First Man, lead actor Ryan Gosling for First Man, A Quiet Place for best motion picture – drama, supporting actress Michelle Yeoh for Crazy Rich Asians, etc). I’m also surprised by Bohemian Rhapsody making the cut to be in the 5 nominees for best motion picture – drama (I’m actually happy in this case as I find it a great movie). I’m also shocked to see Black Panther in the same category (this superhero movie is super overrated…I have to disagree with a lot of people on this one). Although Michelle Yeoh is snubbed, but I’m still glad of some recognition to Crazy Rich Asians elsewhere (for Constance Wu in best lead actress in musical or comedy and best motion picture – musical or comedy).

A Star Is Born looks likely to win best motion picture – drama while Alfonso Cuaron is the guy to beat for best director from his work in Roma (didn’t see that but saw a lot of praise for his directing of that movie). Since Bradley Cooper looks likely to lose best director to Cuaron, I think he will get the best lead actor – drama instead although I prefer Rami Malek to take that one instead.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Oasia Hotel Downtown won ‘Best Tall Building Worldwide’ at 16th CTBUH Awards.


Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore has been selected by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) end of last month as the winner of ‘Best Tall Building Worldwide’ in its 16th Annual CTBUH Awards. Oasia Hotel Downtown was chosen from among the four regional Best Tall Building winners.

American Copper Buildings won for Best Tall Building Americas, Oasia Hotel Downtown is named the Best Tall Building Asia & Australasia; Best Tall Building Europe went to The Silo; and Zeitz MOCAA for Best Tall Building Middle East & Africa.

The visually-striking Oasia Hotel Downtown stands out amongst the gray and blue high-rises of Singapore with its plant-covered façade of red and green, which connects to the green of the cityscape. Landscaping is used extensively as an architectural surface treatment, and forms a major part of the development’s material palette, with a total of 54 species of plants climbing along the aluminum mesh façade screen. With a substantial commitment to outdoor communal space through the incorporation of “skyspaces” along its height, the tower provides respite and relief to its occupants, neighbors, and city. “This project won not only because it incorporates 60 stories of green walls along the exterior,” said CTBUH Executive Director and Awards Juror Antony Wood, “but because of its significant commitment to communal space. The tower has given over 40 percent of its volume to open air communal terraces in the sky.”

I have the opportunity to view this building a couple of times as it is located right at the downtown of Singapore. Although it is not as tall as some of its neighbouring buildings, but it stood out from its distinctive red-coloured aluminium mesh facade coupled with greens all over the four sides of the building. The appearance breaks away from typical glass tower block or monstrous solid mass while the detailed design thought to the communal spaces is a plus point.

American Copper Buildings is a dual-tower residential skyscraper in New York City, USA. It is a venturesome and highly visible architectural statement clad in copper that addresses the area’s dual need for affordable housing and climate resiliency. The two towers are designed such that they appear to “dance” with each other. They are also connected by a bridge approximately 300 feet from the ground, which will be three levels in height.

The Silo in Copenhagen, Denmark is a 17-storey former grain silo that is now turned into a residential apartment. Exterior of the existing silo is reclad, while its interior has been preserved as raw and untouched as possible. An angular faceted exterior facade made of galvanized steel has been installed to serve as a limate shield. This has allowed the building’s characteristic slender tall shape to be maintained.

Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, South Africa underwent a similar approach with The Silo in Copenhagen. Zeitz MOCAA is formerly a grain silo building too and is now trasnformed into a contemporary art museum. Using a variety of concrete-cutting techniques, the interior of the building was carved out to create a number of galleries and a large central atrium. The remaining concrete shafts were capped with strengthened glass in order to allow natural light to enter and create a “cathedral-like” interior. I am in awe of the result of this concrete-cutting design approach. The space created looks awesome and I personally find that this is more deserving to win Best Tall Building Worldwide.

In addition to the regional and overall Best Tall Building winners, a number of other award recipients were recognized at the conference, including the World Trade Center Master Plan for the Urban Habitat Award; MULTI for the Innovation Award; The EY Centre for the Construction Award; New York Times Tower for the 10 Year Award (2007 Completions); and Shanghai World Financial Center for the 10 Year Award (2008 Completions). In all, the 10 awards winners were chosen from a group of 48 Finalist projects representing 28 countries.

Reference:

http://tallinnovation2018.com/winners/

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

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


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)

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


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)

 

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


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)