Top 7 Takeaways from the Oscar Nominations

So the 89th Academy Award nominations were released at 8:18 EST this morning, and the news has been very positive for a number of movies. La La Land, the current Best Picture frontrunner, tied for the most Oscar nominations ever with Titanic and All About Eve at 14 nominations. La La Land was followed closely by, well not much, as the next films with multiple award nominations were Arrival and Moonlight, both of which got eight nominations, almost half of the number of La La Land. Then Hacksaw RidgeLion, and Manchester by the Sea, all of which got six nominations, Fences and Hell or High Water with four, then Hidden Figures and Jackie both with three. For the complete list of nominees look here. By the way, La La Land already has over $170 million at the box office, so I’m expecting that number to go north of $200 million after this weekend with news like this. So that being said, here are some major snubs or surprises that happened, as well as what these nominations mean for potential winners going forward.

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Top 10 Films of 2016

Well 2016 has come and gone very rapidly, and although it wasn’t the best year for major blockbusters aside from some Marvel and Disney releases, it was a great year for smaller and more modest, personal films. From smaller, more intense horror films that weren’t afraid to scare people out of their wits, or intense dramas that got at the core of how people experience grief, this was a very diverse year. Just as in years past, there were some that decried the “death of cinema” but as always those calls were antithetical to the wide slate of excellent films of all sizes and sorts that we got last year. I went through various levels of appreciation for this past year in cinema while it was happening, from high anticipation at its beginning, to worrying about the state of big-budget features at the height of the Summer, and finally a sense that last year was full of great films as long as one was willing to look for them.

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89th Academy Award Nomination Predictions

The 89th Academy Award nominations are almost upon us, with the actual nominations to be announced on the morning of January 24th. Between the end of 2016 and now, the Golden Globes have given their awards and the numerous movie guilds like the Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild, and American Society of Cinematographers have announced nominees and some winners for their own awards, while the British Academy or BAFTA just announced their nominees. Guilds are good predictors for each of the categories at the Oscars because their members tend to overlap well with the various branches that actually vote on the Academy’s nominees. This year has offered up a number of excellent movies, some of which you can read my reviews for, and these will offer plenty of choices for the Academy to vote on. I have listed my predictions for the nominees below, along with some alternates or other nominees that might pop up. Each category will also have a short explanation of the choices made therein.

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Silence

“I pray but I am lost. Am I just praying to silence?” Such is the ultimate line in the trailer for Martin Scorsese’s latest film, Silence. Scorsese has spent about twenty-five years trying to make Silence since reading Shusaku Endo’s novel, and it’s clear why with some knowledge about Scorsese and his career. Martin Scorsese has professed in interviews that prior to becoming a filmmaker he contemplated a career in the priesthood, and even after going to film school internalized the messages of Christ and his teachings. Since then Scorsese has professed to having crises of faith as a lapsed Catholic, and it emanates through each film that he does. Each in their own way deals with the idea of faith in the face of obstacles, or people who ponder if their bad deeds will ever catch up to them. It’s what connects a film like Taxi Driver in which a Vietnam War veteran hopes that divine intervention will clean the filth off of the streets of New York with a film like Wolf of Wall Street in which a career conman is eventually forced to reap what he sows in the form of imprisonment. It’s a subject that Scorsese has been trying to put on film for decades, and at last he has done so in its clearest form.

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Top 20 Greatest Best Picture Oscar Winners

It’s awards season and the Internet is chock full of websites about movies predicting Oscar nominations and awards winners, or talking about previous winners. While my own Oscar predictions will be up later this week, there’s plenty of Oscar history to talk about. This is the first part of a series in which I’ll be examining the best winners from particular categories at the Academy Awards. Plenty of others lists on the Internet like to rank the “Worst” of particular categories like the Worst Best Picture winners, or similar lists for Best Actor and so on. However, we like to stay positive here at The Reel Life and so our focus is here is going to be on the “Best” of a particular award. The first is going to be the Top 20 Greatest Best Picture Winners here, including some honorable mentions, that is going to be followed by others later in the week. Films on this list are ranked based on how well they have stood the test of time, becoming essential parts of film history and that are widely considered as being among the top award best winners, if not some of the best films ever made. Continue reading “Top 20 Greatest Best Picture Oscar Winners”

Hidden Figures

In the 1960’s there was such a palpable air of progress in the United States, the sense that so many great things were just beyond the horizon. This feeling existed despite the fact that there were dangerous things ahead in 1961, like the Vietnam War, the disruptions that plagued the year 1968, and so many other things. But the decade started off on a hopeful note as President Kennedy took office and the Civil Rights movement was on the march, the slow and steady march of progress. We’ve seen many stories on the big screen of the more high-profile steps in the Civil Rights movement like the Selma march or the fight for the Civil Rights Act in the past couple of years in films like Selma and All the Way, both excellent. Hidden Figures takes place in a part of the movement that has not yet been put on screen, but one that is still very essential to tell. The part of the movement that didn’t take place on the big public streets of America’s major cities, but in offices and working spaces where women like Katherine Johnson made progress. It just so happens that her story takes place in NASA at the height of the Space Race.

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Top 25 Directors Working in Hollywood Today

This article is part of a three-part series about the best Hollywood directors of all time, stretching from the birth of sound films until the modern day. This is the third and final part of that series where I will list the Top 25 Modern Hollywood Directors who are making their mark on the industry today. I have ranked them by their recent impact on Hollywood, general audiences, American culture, my own appreciation of film, as well as their upward career trajectory and consistent body of work at the present time. Considering the wide range of technology and techniques available for Modern directors, I will also consider those who have made use of these innovations to develop their own distinct style and that use that to make their mark on the industry. For the purposes of this list I have defined Modern Hollywood as beginning the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and lasting until the present day. Many of these filmmakers may have gotten their start as early as the mid 80’s, but by and large many of them started out in the 1990’s or reached peak form between then and the early 21st century. These directors remain our best artists working in the film industry today.

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Top 20 New Hollywood Directors

This article is part of a three-part series about the best Hollywood directors of all time, stretching from the birth of sound films until the present day. This is the second part of that series, where I will list the Top 20 Directors from the New Hollywood era who I believe have had the greatest impact on Hollywood, general audiences, American culture, and my own appreciation of cinema. For the purposes of this list, I will define “New Hollywood” as the era of filmmaking that predominated between 1967, when Bonny and Clyde and The Graduate were released, and 1982, when One From the Heart and other major box office bombs spelled the end of director-driven filmmaking that predominated in the 1970’s. Filmmakers on this list may have begun filmmaking well before 1967 and continued making films well after 1982, even until the modern day. The time frame above is to give this list some structure and to give readers an idea of what to expect. These filmmakers will have their roots in the 1960’s, some peaked in the 1970’s, and likely continued making major career-defining films in the 1980’s, 1990’s, and beyond.

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Top 10 Classical Hollywood Directors

This article is part of a three-part series about Hollywood directors, stretching from the birth of sound films until the modern day. This is the first part of that series, where I will list the Top 10 Hollywood Directors whose work I think has had the greatest impact on Hollywood, general audiences, American culture, and my own appreciation of cinema. For the purposes of this list I will define “Classical Hollywood” as extending from the 1930s until the 1960s, with directors here releasing their work primarily between 1935 and 1960. Works outside of this time-frame won’t be unmentioned, but this helps establish a more specific criteria from which to choose directors that I think are worthy of recognition. I will mention what I believe to be each director’s best or most noteworthy film, as well as selecting some honorable mentions. This list is part of a three-part series including one about New Hollywood Directors and Modern Hollywood Directors. So make sure to check those out when they’re released.

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74th Golden Globe Predictions

Awards season is here and in full swing. With the announcement of the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations a couple of weeks ago, and now with the Writers Guild Awards nominations coming tomorrow, major guild awards are slowly coming along. This will eventually culminate in the 89th Academy Awards Nominations being announced on January 24th. For now, however, the big show to look forward to as always is the 74th Golden Globe Awards which will air on January 8th. So before that happens here’s some predictions for Sunday.

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