The Oscars 2015: Predictions & Film Reviews




The Oscars are soon coming upon us, full of controversy about Hollywood racism and sexism, drama and fashion. Everything we love to talk and fight over.

Here are my 2015 Predictions: 

1. Best Picture: 

Nominees: Whiplash, Birdman, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Selma, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Will go to Boyhood, and deservedly so. Even though I haven’t seen the movie, I hear that it is very good, and for a director to spend 12 years of his life following and filming the life of a boy becoming a man, this deserves all the plaudits it can get. It’s a cinematic feat to having achieved it and I love the concept. (I love that Grand Budapest Hotel has received a nod though, see below review).


All photographs in this post have been poached from some internet site. NHYM 2015

2. Best Actor

Nominees: Eddie Redmayne (Theory of Everything), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Bradley Cooper, Michael Keaton (Birdman), Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher)

It will be a battle between Eddie Redmayne in ‘The Theory of Everything‘ versus Michael Keaton’s Birdman. As you can read in the below review, I wasn’t bowled over by the movie Birdman and don’t think he deserves to win I’m afraid. But it is Hollywood, and with a majority of 60 year old white jurors, you never know. I think Eddie Redmayne will win it, with a Golden Globe and SAG award already under his belt. (Personally, I would have loved Steve Carrell in Foxcatcher to win as I thought he was absolutely brilliant in it. But hey, I clearly don’t fit the Oscar juror profile).

3. Best Director

Nominees: Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game).

Will also go to Richard Linklater, as above mentioned for Boyhood. Best Director and Best Picture often go hand in hand, which makes sense, although The Theory of Everything missed out on Best Director whilst Foxcatcher missed out on Best Picture. Another happy nod to Wes Anderson as Best Director!

4. Best Actress

Nominees: Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Marillon Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Reese Witherspoon (Wild), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl).

Julianne Moore is loved by Hollywood and America. She can do no wrong and will win in her performance in ‘Still Alice.’ Everyone loves a physical and emotional transformation in a film. This is a sure bet. Rosamund Pike will miss out, although she is eerily terrific in Gone Girl. A nice nod to Marillon Cotillard for her performance in Two Days, One Night, the best french actress of our times (aka the French, younger version of Meryl Streep), whose performance in Of Rust and Bone was completely missed last year, which was a shame. Felicity Jones is trailing last in this race, but give her time and she may mature into an Oscar-worthy actress (see my review below).


5. Best Supporting Actor:

Nominees: JK Simmons (Whiplash), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), Edward Norton (Birdman), Robert Duvall (The Judge)

JK Simmons in Whiplash will win, he who is more commonly known for his TV performances in some crime series aka Law & Order, as he provides a cringeworthy and intense performance as a tyrannical music teacher, which will beat all of his contenders in this fight.

6. Best Supporting Actress:

Nominees: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Meryl Streep (Into the Woods), Laura Dern (Wild), Emma Stone (Birdman), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)

Rosanna Arquette in Boyhood will win although I really enjoyed Emma Stone in Birdman, and we can bow down to Meryl Streep for her *101st* nomination.

* With 17 or 19 Academy Award Nominations and 29 Golden Globe Nominations, I am sure I am not far off…

FILM REVIEWS: The Theory of Everything, Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Foxcatcher


I recently discovered the Lounge at Whiteleys, which has become a second home to Mr. X and me. The ‘Business Class’ reclining seats successfully accomplish making a trip to the cinema worth it. Of course, I have one friend who feels an anxiety attack coming on when she sits in one of the seats, bringing on flashbacks of her flying for work, something she has happily given up long ago, while I hear others are bothered by the hamburger smells coming from their neighbour’s tray, which, when you aren’t eating, can be quite unappealing. But since I don’t have the patience to book a movie 1 month in advance for the Electric, The Lounge beats the regular Kensington High Street Odeon (or Westfield) any time!

The Theory of Everything

I actually enjoyed watching the Theory of Everything, and Eddie Redmayne is faultless in his performance of Stephen Hawking. The control he had physically in this part was tremendous and his nerdy-but-genius charisma worked very well. The trouble with the film is two-fold; it ended up being a rather sticky sweet, syrupy movie which didn’t really delve in the depths of the mental trauma of getting a life-threatening, catastrophic illness, and the emotional impact of it. Nor did Felicity Jones feel that believable as she aged. As a young university student, I think she was perfect. But as an ageing, possibly bitter, emotionally and physically exhausted woman who had lost her husband in some ways, she lacked the depth or maturity (or personal suffering) to convey the true emotions of a woman going through, let’s face it, hell. I don’t mean to criticise her, for she is a lovely, posh actress, but she is green and I think that they should have chosen a more mature woman for the part of Stephen Hawking’s wife as a mother and carer. All in all, a good film, I enjoyed learning about his triumphs over nature and his own body, and it was very watchable, but it was a bit too Hollywood-esque for me. A Beautiful Mind, was for me, a more beautiful movie.

Best for: Date Night

Rating: 4 stars



Birdman is the film that the whole film industry is rooting for, with endless nominations, wins and glowing critiques. I went expecting a life-changing film as one film critic described it, but left not quite satisfied with the movie, as if I had eaten a 3 star Michelin meal, but that was too heavy for me and left my tummy unsettled. The film industry loves it because it is about actors and performing arts, and the film industry loves itself, which makes it rather self-indulgent. The cinematic feat of making it appear as one long take is a new visual skill that makes it quite exciting, another reason it received so many nominations. And the acting is actually quite good; Edward Norton is excellent as an arrogant, aggressive self aggrandising actor, Emma Stone has the right mixture of vulnerability and anger that a teenager/young adult should have and Michael Keaton is overall quite good at playing himself (although does not deserve to win Best Actor when there are so many great actors like Eddie Redmayne and Steve Carell competing). As an ensemble, they deserve to win best acting. As a whole though, the movie for me just didn’t quite to it for me. I felt that I could have skipped traipsing down to the movie theatre for it. Which is why I am not in the Film Industry; I just don’t get it.

Best for: Waiting for the DVD and watching it on your home projector

Rating: 3.5 stars (for the excellent acting)


The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson is like Marmite, you either love him or hate him. I generally love him, even though I can’t stand marmite. I particularly loved Moonrise Kingdom, The Royal Tennenbaums and The Darjeeling Limited. His characters and story lines are quirky, inventive, and unique, always bringing light to the underdogs. He breaks taboos and shows real humans in their flawed glory. The Grand Budapest Hotel is just that, with Ralph Fiennes shagging old ladies, while showing the strength of loyalty between Master and Servant. His characters always end up loveable and flawed.

Best For: Double Date night

Rating: 4 Stars


In October, I predicted Best Actor, Best Director and a Best Soundtrack nominations for Foxcatcher, and I wasn’t too far off as it has bagged Best Actor, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best original screenplay and Best Hair & Make-up (which it will win) nominations.  This movie waited almost a whole year to be released at the right time, in the fall, in order to pick up some nominations, so I’m glad the wait was worth it. Channing Tatum may have been overlooked in the nominations, but I question whether he was playing a lot of himself rather than the role. Hats off for the nominations!





London Film Festival 2014: Foxcatcher & The New Girlfriend


Q & A with Francois Ozon, Director of the New Girlfriend, at the London Film Festival 2014. NHYM. Copyright 2014. 

The London Film Festival ended last Sunday but I still managed to fit in two Premieres in my busy schedule. It is less about red carpet glitz and glamour (which lasts about 10 minutes), and more about the love of film and showing off London’s creative enthusiasm for indie, international and art house films. I chose two films to see this year, Foxcatcher and The New Girlfriend, from two very different directors; Bennett Miller who makes a movie every four years (Capote, Moneyball) and Francois Ozon (The Swimming Pool, 8 Women, Jeune et Jolie), a prolific French director who makes approximately one movie per year. Miller took eight years to make this project reality and found it difficult to find funding for this movie since Hollywood these days is more about Blockbusters than making great films. Ozon proudly doesn’t make high budget films so that he can have full creative control of his films. The Q&A sessions with the directors and actors is my favourite part of the festival, providing insight into the motivation and passion behind the making of these films.The London Film Festival is a place for talented directors to showcase their creativity and share it with cinephiles like myself who prefer to watch ‘proper’ films rather than action-film/ marvel-comics/Blockbusters.


Rating: 4 stars

My Oscars prediction:

– Best Actor: Steve Carrell (must win)

– Best Director: Bennett Miller (nomination)

– Best Soundtrack: Foxcatcher (hope it wins)

Foxcatcher is a dark, disturbing, drama based on a true story about a pro wrestler who finds himself in a twisted and uncomfortable partnership with one of America’s richest men, John E Dupont, played by Steve Carrell, who attempts to create ‘the best wrestling team in America’. The movie looks into the cringeworthy and gritty life of a pro-wrestler, Mark Schultz, played by Channing Tatum, who despite having won a Gold Olympic Medal in wrestling, lives a depressing, tortured life in America, in the shadow of his greater, older brother, Dave Schultz, played by Mark Ruffalo, the more charismatic, charming and intelligent brother that spends his life looking after his younger brother. One of the early scenes of the movie shows the two brothers wrestling like two deer fighting, showing the physicality and imbalance of their relationship. Channing Tatum is perfectly cast as Mark Schultz, the naive, influenceable, not-so-intelligent, hulk-like, younger brother with cauliflower ears full of vulnerability (Tatum brilliantly plays the part, but it is difficult to tell whether he is really acting or whether he is just playing himself).

For those who have read my article on the SuperRich, this movie looks into the life of one SuperRich man, John E Dupont, who grows up a social misfit, trying to constantly prove himself to himself and to his mother, and convinces Mark Schultz to wrestle for him, by using his intellectual and financial superiority. He  probably uses him to get to his brother Dave Schultz. Steve Carrell, who plays John E Dupont, is superb and unrecognisable as the actor you previously knew him as. No longer the funny-man, Carrell transforms himself into a lonely, unsettling, socially awkward, yet powerful John E. Dupont, who manipulates people around him to do exactly what he wants. Carrell is looking at an Oscar nomination (for sure), and possibly a win (he will deserve it). I would watch this movie purely for Carrell’s performance, which gives us an insight into a disturbed SuperRich, who never has to achieve but feels the need to make his mark, and that wants sympathy when he says his only friend growing up was paid for by his mother, but does not know how to be a friend.

The breakdown of the relationship between Mark Schultz and John E Dupont could have been better developed in my opinion, leaving the viewer unsure exactly happened. The movie slows down towards the end, at points I found it too long, and I would have wanted more of a build up to the climax. And then, like life, the movie completely changes in an instant, the foreshadowing too evident, and it ends too depressingly for words. This is not a movie of words and dialogue, it is a movie based on reality, on unhappiness, and therefore by definition, is not a Hollywood movie.

Verdict: This is a dramatic and dark film worth watching for Steve Carrell’s Oscar-worthy performance and transformation and to see Channing Tatum finally turn into a real actor. 


The New Girlfriend

Rating: 4 stars

Francois Ozon is the French answer to Pedro Almodovar, so if you don’t appreciate Pedro, there’s no point in reading any further. He has directed 15 feature length films in 16 years and is one of the most prolific French directors of our time. He often delves into themes of sexuality and gender roles, and pushes the boundaries as far as he can. He directs his films in a similar way to Almadovar, fantasy-full, unbelievable and filmed through rose/orange/purple-tinted lenses. For this film, as Ozon mentioned in the Q & A session, he wanted it to be a modern fairy tale about unexpected love. I will keep the twist to myself, as the film is best seen undistracted.

The first 10 minutes of the film are my favourite part of the entire film; it is a montage of the beginning of a friendship, a love between two friends and death that tears them apart. I was in floods of tears after those five minutes, and to me, this could have sufficed as a short film on its own. It reminded me of the more elaborate, longer, more melodramatic ‘Beaches,’ a story of friendship and love, which remains to this day, close to my heart. I am a romantic in all kinds of love, including the beauty of friendship.

The movie is about a young husband’s reaction to grief of losing his wife in a most unusual way and how he deals with being left to care for a small baby, played by Romain Duris (who is rather good and comfortable playing this role). He asks his wife’s best friend for help and advice, played by Anais Demoustier, who becomes embroiled into his secret, and isn’t sure where to turn. Romain Duris (The Beat that my Heart Skipped, Heartbreaker) plays a wonderful protagonist who is easy and fun to watch, against Anais Demoustier, an expressive and likeable actress whose name you will hear more of in the future. The film is mostly endearing because of its actors, but it feels at times confused, and quite convoluted, but I still enjoyed it nevertheless.

Verdict: If you love Pedro Almodovar, you will love Francois Ozon’s films, so check it out.