Most embarrassing Oscar moment in history!

OMG! Who thought the 2017 Oscars was the craziest ever?! Who thought that was the most embarrassing moment in Oscar history?! (Fay Dunaway & Warren Beatty, we’ll never forget you guys!) In other news, who’s excited for great movies?! Well me, for one! Every year, I get hyped for all the movies that earn an Academy Award nomination, as we, as casual movie-goers otherwise miss out on some amazing movies! Here’s onomeister’s picks of this year’s movies nominated for Best Picture:

  • Arrival (Rated PG-13; 94% RottenTomatoes) – “When a mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team–lead by expert linguist (Amy Adams), are brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, the team race against time for answers–and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity”.
    • Why you should see it:  One critic said it’s “a thinking man’s science-fiction movie”.
    • Watch for:  After credits have finished, there is a short documentary on the making of Arrival.
  • Fences (Rated PG-13; 93% RottenTomatoes) – Denzel Washington directed and stars in this adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which centers on a black garbage collector named Troy Maxson in 1950s Pittsburgh. Bitter that baseball’s color barrier was only broken after his own heyday in the Negro Leagues, Maxson is prone to taking out his frustrations on his loved ones.
    • Why you should see it:   Denzel’s strong acting chops! One of his best ever acting roles earns him another Oscar nomination.
    • Watch for:  Denzel Washington as he reprises his role from his 2010 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical version of this movie, where he performed the role 114 times in the musical (yeah, he’s memorized the script, me thinks).
  • Hacksaw Ridge (Rated R; 86% RottenTomatoes) – The extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers.
    • Why you should see it:  Andrew Garfield’s highly emotional performance earned him an Oscar nomination.
    • Watch for:  The battle scenes that took Mel Gibson nineteen days to shoot.
  • Hell or High Water (Rated R; 98% RottenTomatoes) – Texas brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) come together after years divided to rob branches of the bank threatening to foreclose on their family land, part of a last-ditch scheme to take back a future that seemed to have been stolen from under them. Justice seems to be theirs, until they find themselves on the radar of Texas Ranger, Marcus (Jeff Bridges) looking for one last grand pursuit on the eve of his retirement. As the brothers plot a final bank heist to complete their scheme, and with the Rangers on their heels, a showdown looms at the crossroads where the values of the Old and New West murderously collide.
    • Why you should see it:  The writing, it’s just fantastic! No wonder it got nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
    • Watch for:  Jeff Bridges’ Oscar-nominated performance as Best Supporting Actor
  • Hidden Figures (Rated PG; 92% RottenTomatoes) – The incredible untold story of three brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.
    • Why you should see it:  A feel-good movie that makes you learn to appreciate these women’s roles and the adversity that they had to go through (remember this was only 50 years ago).
    • Watch for: “Chock Full o’Nuts” coffee in the office’s coffee area is an ‘easter egg’. The use of this brand in the context of segregation is historically relevant. In 1957, Chock Full o’Nuts was one of the first major New York corporations to hire a black executive as a corporate vice-president. The man they hired, retired baseball legend Jackie Robinson, made history by being the first person to break the color barrier in professional baseball.
  • La La Land (Rated PG-13; 93% RottenTomatoes) – Written and directed by Academy Award winning director Damien Chazelle (youngest to ever earn the nod), LA LA LAND tells the story of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.
    • Why you should see it:  Well, aren’t you as curious as I am why this musical/movie earned a record-tying 14 nominations, and winning six of them including Best Director, Best Actress and Best Cinematography? I remember laughing and shaking my head when I first heard that Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling were doing a musical together… Now who’s laughing?
    • Watch for:  Ryan Gosling saying the phrase “pis y caca”, which is Spanish for urine and feces, an expression meaning “it is not important”.
  • Lion (Rated PG; 86% RottenTomatoes) – Five-year-old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of kilometers across India, away from home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. 25 years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.
    • Why you should see it:  “Lion” earned six Oscar nominations, should be reason enough. Also, don’t forget to bring some tissues.
    • Watch for:  Little five year old Saroo’s performance. If there was a Best Young Actor Academy Award category (there should be!), he would have won it.
  • Manchester by the Sea (Rated R; 96% RottenTomatoes) – After the death of his older brother Joe, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is shocked to learn that Joe has made him sole guardian of his nephew Patrick. Taking leave of his job, Lee reluctantly returns to Manchester-by-the-Sea to care for Patrick, a spirited 16-year-old, and is forced to deal with a past that separated him from his wife Randi and the community where he was born and raised. Bonded by the man who held their family together, Lee and Patrick struggle to adjust to a world without him.
    • Why you should see it:  Casey Affleck’s Best Actor winning performance (let’s suspend the hatred towards him just for two hours and enjoy a movie); Oh, and the movie was nominated for six Academy Awards.
    • Watch for:  The unpredictable storyline; Either you’ll love this movie or you’ll hate it.
  • Moonlight (Rated R; 98% RottenTomatoes) – The tender, heartbreaking story of a young man’s struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality.
    • Why you should see it:  Cinematography is visually stunning; it’s more than a movie about growing up gay; it’s about overcoming your adversities.
    • Watch for:  Director Barry Jenkins’ favorite scene in his film, a sequence of Paula (Naomie Harris) staring straight into the camera overcranked at 48fps.

*Movie descriptions from RottenTomatoes.com;  *Movie trivia from imdb.com

Best Group Selfie – which actors do you recognize?

Did you miss the 2014 Oscars on TV? Had no idea of this year’s critically-acclaimed films? Any of these nominated movies worth your time? You only know the one in space with Sandra Bullock? Don’t worry, onomeister is here to help you get educated with all the movies that were nominated for Best Picture that are worth your precious viewing time. With this knowledge, you will be able to debate with your work colleagues at the next water-cooler meeting!

Best Picture nominees:

  • Gravity – In 2013, Spielberg’s Lincoln garnered the most nominations. This year, it is Oscar-winning Best Director Alfonso Cuarón‘s epic space flick (it tied with American Hustle with 10 nominations, and Gravity ultimately won the most awards with seven). If you like thrilling heart-pumping action and have not seen this yet, it is one of those must-see action movies of all time! Unlike Apollo 13, this one has less “Rah, rah, USA” and more about how to survive if you get stuck in space with little chance of staying alive. I cannot wait to watch this again on HD blu-ray!
    • Didya know: The opening scene is a single continuous shot lasting 12 minutes long.
    • HIGH recommendation
  • Captain Phillips – From the director that made the Bourne Ultimatum & Supremacy, comes this real life portrayal of the 2009 hijacking of a cargo ship by Somali pirates. This is not just another movie about a true-to-life event, director Paul Greengrass and actor Tom Hanks recreate this action thriller and both did a great job. Oh, and the bad guy was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
    • Interesting Fact: Since the 2009 attack of the ship, other pirates have attempted to hijack the same container ship four times, failing each try.
    • HIGH recommedation (if you are an action fan)
  • American Hustle – Wow, it has only been a year since Silver Linings Playbook and the same director (David O. Russell) is at the top again! This 70’s mob film you will want to see just for its acting and its all-star cast. The plot, however, is either ‘loved it’ or ‘hated it’: The casual movie-goers found it boring, but the critics loved the character development and the all-star acting. Basically, don’t expect Goodfellas.
    • Funny Fact: Robert De Niro (in a small uncredited role) did not recognize Christian Bale on the set even after they were introduced to each other, and had to ask the director who he was.
    • MEDIUM recommendation (HIGH if you like all-star casts)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street – Why does it seems that every movie that Leonardo DiCaprio does is highly-acclaimed? (he’s been in seven Best Picture nominated movies, and his third Best Actor nomination) This Martin Scorcese-directed film is based on a real-life securities fraud that occurred in the 1990s. Many have said that this is DiCaprio’s best performance ever, and that this is Scorcese’s best film since Goodfellas (Warning: this film is definitely not for the timid due to strong sexual content and drug references).
    • Fun Fact: Watch for the kissing scene between DiCaprio and Joanna Lumley (who plays a grandma hustler) – DiCaprio was so nervous that it took 27 takes to get it just right.
    • HIGH recommendation (VERY HIGH if you are a Scorcese fan)
  • Dallas Buyers Club – Wow, Matthew McConaughey comes out of nowhere and steals the show (and a Best Actor Oscar!), as well as Best Supporting Actor nod to Jared Leto. Now everyone will want to watch this to see what the fuss was all about. McConaughey is a hustler who works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he himself is also diagnosed with the disease.
    • Interesting Fact: The script was shopped around since the 90s, rewritten 10 times, and rejected 87 times by various studios.
    • HIGH recommendation
  • Nebraska – About an old alcoholic father who travels from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to collect a million dollar lottery win. Many say Bruce Dern gave the performance of his life as the father. This film is slow paced which may turn off some viewers but a very character-driven movie so worth watching for the acting.
    • Best Scene: Don’t spoil yourself by watching the hilarious scene before the movie: The cemetary scene with the complaining wife.
    • MEDIUM recommendation
  • Her – Oscar-nominated  Joaquin Phoenix plays a lonely divorcee who falls in love with a futuristic operating system. A very interesting love story based in the near future, this film won Best Original Screenplay for Spike Jonze (who also was nominated for Best Director in 2000 for Being John Malkovich)
    • Interesting Fact: The voice of “OS1” is none other than Scarlett Johansson (no, not Apple’s Siri).
    • HIGH recommendation
  • Philomena – Nominated for four Oscars, a heart-wrenching story based on true events about good versus evil where a mother, Philomena, searches for her son who had been taken by Irish nuns decades ago. Be ready, this film is an emotional roller-coaster.
    • Interesting Fact: Judi Dench, after this Best Actress nomination, has now scored seven acting nominations, all of which have come since she turned 63. No one else has scored anywhere near as many after the age of 60.
    • MEDIUM recommendation
  • 12 Years A Slave – The ultimate winner of this year’s Oscars’ Best Picture, and for Best Supporting Actress, Lupita Nyong’o, this film is a must-see if you are a movie fan. A film based on a true story about slavery in pre-American Civil War, many have used ‘epic’ and ‘tour-de-force’ to describe it. Be ready, this film is dark and will rip your heart out. Watch for Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, and Paul Giamatti to appear.
    • Funny Fact: Taran Killam often impersonates Brad Pitt on Saturday Night Live comedy skits. Though both actors appear in this film, they never meet or work together in the film.
    • VERY HIGH recommendation