So the 2017 Academy Awards! Just like last year, my friend and I tried to watch as many as we could. A lot of them, I saw before the nominations were announced so there some headway regardless. So this piece, is just for me to recap what happened Sunday night, or at least some of the more memorable things. I will also put the winners here as well.
Also, I tried to get all of my reviews up before the Oscars, but between work, school and me being tired, it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, so I have some movie reviews coming up in the next few days. Hopefully they will go in this order, but we’ll see. There are also some book reviews in there.
Captain Fantastic, Collateral Beauty, John Wick: Chapter 2, Get Out, Moonlight, and Rock Dog.
Kong: Skull Island should be coming some time this week as well.
Oscars 2017 Winners!
Actor in a Leading Role: Casey Affleck- Manchester by the Sea
Actress in a Leading Role: Emma Stone- La La Land
Actor in a Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali- Moonlight
Actress in a Supporting Role: Viola Davis- Fences
Animated Feature Film:Zootopia
Cinematography:La La Land
Costume Design:Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Directing:La La Land
Documentary (Feature):O.J. Made in America
Documentary (Short Subject):The White Helmets
Film Editing:Hacksaw Ridge
Foreign Language Film:The Salesman
Makeup and Hairstyling:Suicide Squad
Music (Original Score):La La Land
Music (Original Song): “City of Stars” from La La Land
Production Design:La La Land
Short Film (Animated):Piper
Short Film (Live Action):Sing
Sound Mixing:Hacksaw Ridge
Visual Effects:The Jungle Book
Writing (Adapted Screenplay):Moonlight
Writing (Original Screenplay):Manchester by the Sea
The Red Carpet is always amazing. It’s so fun to see what people decide to wear. I know people don’t always pay attention to the guys, but there was some dapper men dressed up last night. Some of my favorite looks.
Viola Davis Hailee Steinfeld Brie Larson
Emma Stone Taraji P. Henson Dev Patel
Janelle Monae Kirsten Dunst Octavia Spencer
Mahershala Ali Riz Ahmed John Legend & Chrissy Teigan
I mean, I think there were others I liked, but off the top of my head, these are the ones I remembered. Now here are the ones I was like… meh.
Dakota Johnson Jessica Biel
This next picture… I liked her dress… but the winner of the night was her hair. I think Halle Berry usually looks great on the red carpet. I’m not a fan of her acting most times but she can show up on the carpet. However, I don’t know what happened with her hair here. It looked like it was going to take flight. Twitter was ablaze with comments, it was hilarious.
Jimmy Kimmel. I don’t know. I mean, there were definitely times where I enjoyed him. The Hunger Games like tribute air drop things were cute. There was a joke he made about Moonlight in the beginning “All of the movies are sad this year, a lot of them have no happy endings unless you count the middle of Moonlight” or something like that, that made me cackle. But he was inconsistent, at least in his humor (but humor is subjective ya know).
I didn’t particularly like the Tour Bus thing. I mean, it was cute, I enjoyed how some of the people were reacting, but after a while, it started to be a bit too long. I know I would have been embarrassed after being walking around a movie lot, or being on a tour bus for a while. I mean, I would want to meet people whose work I admire while looking nice.
Lin Manuel Miranda and Auli’i Cravalho perform “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana.
So I loved this performance. It was so great. The video is below for your viewing pleasure. I did want Lin-Manuel Miranda to win and get his EGOT, I love the movie, I love the song. I wish he would have won but at least we got to see this performance because Auli’i Cravalho is a professional and I think she has a bright future ahead of her.
The Best Picture Flub
You can watch the awkwardness below. So, it’s no surprise that I quite enjoyed La La Land. It was my favorite of the year last year, at least I kept going back and forth with that and Zootopia. I even gave it a 5/5 which I still stand by, going over it again, I would recognize a couple more “cons” but I wouldn’t change my score. With that said, I don’t think it’s Best Picture worthy. I wouldn’t have voted for it, especially after I saw Moonlight. So, I was rooting for Moonlight to win most of the awards it was nominated for: Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Directing, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.
I thought it was strange how Warren Beatty kept pausing and looking around when he was supposed to be calling the winner. Faye Dunaway laughed and was urging him to say the winner. I thought “what is he doing?”, then he showed her the card and she shouted “La La Land!” and I went “NO! BOOO!” and of course Twitter exploded, as did some of my friends on Facebook. Someone immediately said “F*** right off” (that cracked me up). I was already looking for the gif from Get Out where the “maid” said “no, no, no”. I wasn’t listening to the speeches until Jordan Horowitz (Producer from La La Land) interrupted and said it was a mistake. I sat up so quickly “Are they serious?” “What’s going on?” “This isn’t funny.” I watched as Horowitz said it was a mistake, snatched the card away from Warren Beatty (I mean, chill out lol), and showed us the card. It sure enough said Moonlight. I was so shocked that I couldn’t even react the way I wanted to initially. Mr. Beatty explained what happened and I feel bad for him, but I think he also should have said something when he was confused, instead after Faye Dunaway read the card (which she also should have looked more closely), he just let the crew of La La Land come up. It was strange. I do feel bad for everyone involved. That’s harsh but YAY FOR MOONLIGHT! Much more deserving.
My thoughts on Awards Given
I didn’t get the chance to see everything that won but I saw a nice majority and a lot of the awards I agree with.
I do think La La Land was deserving in their Cinematography and Music (Original Score) wins. I don’t think they should have won Best Director or Production Design (I think I missed something but I’m not sure what it is). I’m still salty about that Original Song though.
Moonlight won for Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Picture, Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and it also should have won for Best Directing (I will definitely go into that when I post my review).
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them rightfully won for Costume Design and should have also won for Production Design. Yay for a Harry Potter film to win an Oscar, it was a long time coming.
Suicide Squad won for Makeup and Hairstyling. I’m legit cackling and rolling my eyes because now that film can call it self an Oscar winner but I mean, one of the things it did right was the look of the characters. So, I guess it can have that.
Zootopia rightfully won for Best Animated Feature Film because it’s amazing. I would have been okay if any of the nominees won because I liked them all, but Zootopia is the better film out of the options (though I think Kubo and the Two Strings was the biggest contender).
I saw someone say on Twitter that Zootopia was the Crash of Animated Films and that actually made me upset. I don’t agree. I saw Crash once, a long time ago and I thought it was preachy and tried to do too much, there was some good stuff in it but it felt forceful (not to mention, no one really wanted it to win). However, Zootopia was very clever in how they handled the topics presented, it’s a very two tones film, very layered. It can be watched as a kid’s movie, no worries in the world, it’s cute, it’s colorful, fun and the characters are all likable. Crash was not like that. On the other hand, it also had a lot of deep undertones, talking about racial and gender equality among other things. I remember seeing it for the first time and going “okay cute movie” then it turned into “wow… Disney, that’s deep.” So I disagree with that statement so much.
Casey Affleck vs Denzel Washington for Actor in a Leading Role.
So I saw both films, I think Manchester by the Sea was a great movie as was Fences. I thought both actors did great jobs in their roles, and I think it’s easy to see why Denzel wanted that award so much, August Wilson is important to him, that play is important to him and I personally think he should have won. It seemed to me that Casey Affleck thought the same thing due to his reaction to winning. I’m sure he was grateful for the win, but he seemed so flustered that his head was down almost the entire time. Both films are a lot to take in and both performances were nuanced in their own way but I thought Denzel Washington was stronger. I knew it was going to be between the two of them but it was interesting to see what happened.
Emma Stone for Actress in a Leading Role.
I don’t really have a problem with this only because La La Land was the only film I saw in the Actress in a Leading Role category. I wanted to see the others, but I didn’t get the chance unfortunately. I thought Ruth Negga had a chance from what I heard of her performance (plus, it would have been nice to see all Actor awards held by black people but ya know), but I wasn’t upset by this because of that fact. I may feel differently once I see the other films (like how I was upset at Jennifer Lawrence beating out Quvenzhané Wallis that one year) but can’t say about it for now. Besides, I thought Emma Stone did very well in La La Land, she was the star of that film. Just make smart after Oscar choices Emma. I’ll still like you though regardless.
Actor and Actress in Supporting Roles.
Viola Davis in Fences
Oh my goodness, so deserving. I still feel like she should have been nominated for Actress in a Leading Role and I think she should win for that but who knows if they would have picked her over Emma Stone in that category. Her speech was amazing. She is amazing. That dress was amazing. VIOLA!!! She is the only black woman to have an Emmy, Oscar and Tony all for acting. A coworker said that now Beyonce just needs to sample Viola’s speech in a song so Viola can get her Grammy and have her EGOT lol. I agree! She can do no wrong to me, she is amazing. I also know she had me all the way stressed out on that “How To Get Away with Murder” finale though. I need answers Viola.
Mahershala Ali in Moonlight.
I don’t want to talk about this much here as I’m going to do a review for the film, but this dude is amazing. First thing I saw him in was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1 and 2 (unfortunately) which I didn’t realize he was in those. He was a standout in Free State of Jones and then of course “Luke Cage” where he was also a standout (scary dude), he was in Kicks (which was one of my favorite movies last year) and then this film. He deserves all the awards. His speech was also very well done. He seems so likable, and he is fine. I can’t wait to see what else he’s going to do.
So that’s my Oscars 2017 Recap. Stay tuned for my Captain Fantastic movie review!
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This is my personal list of the best films of this year. I loved all of the movies on this list, or really liked them, and recognize they are good films. This list is my opinion, it’s alright if you don’t agree. There were a lot of movies I liked this year so this list took a while to get down to ten but that’s why I have honorable mentions lol. I haven’t seen everything that came out so some things aren’t on here unfortunately. Click HERE for my worst list.
Also, not every film on this list I did a review for, but the ones I did, I will put a link.
Honorable Mentions:The Jungle Book, The Neon Demon, Kung Fu Panda 3, The Lobster, Eye In the Sky, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
My Top 10 Best Films of 2016
10. The Boy and the Beast
I didn’t do a review for this film, but this is an anime film. Chris Stuckmann said it best it’s like Karate Kid with anamorphic animals. A human boy finds this world, he doesn’t have a relationship with his father and he ends up becoming the apprentice to this bear like man. It’s so beautifully animated, the characters are fantastic, and while they’re not all “good people” I think they’re all likable to the point where you can’t help but feel connected to them. Especially Ren, the main character. I loved his relationship to his mentor, it came off antagonistic a lot but you could tell they cared about each other. It’s very emotional and heartfelt but I do think it’s very interesting, especially the third act. It’s kind of weird but it’s great.
I loved this movie, but it was so under the radar that I don’t think many people saw it. However, I loved the cinematography, I thought the direction was great because it felt like I was actually there alongside Brandon trying to get his shoes back. Oakland looked real. I thought Jahking Guillory did a great job holding his own in this role, I hope to see more from him in the future. The story is a bit basic but the journey this character takes over something that seems so trivial is amazing because in this world, those shoes mean something to him. I also loved the idealism of the astronaut being there. It’s a very unique film.
8. Swiss Army Man
I actually debated with myself a lot about doing a review for this one but I ended up not doing it because it’s so hard to get my thoughts out about it. But it’s so good. It’s weird, believe me it’s weird, but Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe work so well together, it’s hilarious, it’s emotional and kind of sad in many areas but it’s also kind of uplifting. The music is FANTASTIC, probably one of my favorite elements about the film. The cinematography is so crisp and clear. Definitely check this one out.
I think is a great character study film. Between Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, the talent and emotion explodes from the screen. August Wilson is a fantastic writer and these characters are complex human beings. Outside of a few editing choices, I think the direction is great, I loved how the camera would sometimes view the characters from a window, or through the tree branches, or through the fence… it was amazing. I do think it was a bit wordy but the words are magical, they build these characters up in ways that allows them to be understood. All of the characters are interesting people. Viola Davis though, she’s a powerhouse.
I don’t think it’s any surprise that this is on my list because I adore Disney. The music. THE MUSIC! The animation! The visuals! Moana and Maui BOTH are so great characters! The voice acting, Auli’i and Dwayne were both so good here. THE MUSIC! The animation! This is classic Disney, sure the story is basic but the wrapping is amazing because while we’ve heard the story before, the culture used, the way the story is told, the music used to tell it is all so new. Disney needs to keep moving forward like this, new cultures and have the voice actors be people who mirror those characters.
This film was very necessary in for comic book films. I do believe it’s a great film and the experience in the theater was so fun that it’s unforgettable. This is definitely something that’s rewatchable over and over again. I think it was necessary because so many comic book movies could have been rated R, should have been rated R but of course ya know, general audience and stuff. But Deadpool IS and that helps the future of these films, they shouldn’t be so scared anymore. PLUS, Ryan Reynolds owns this role, the inclusion of Colossus and NegaSonic Teenage Warhead was great, their chemistry together and then their chemistry with Wade is gold. The humor, the opening scene ALONE is gold. I loved it. I had such a great time, I don’t think I laughed so much at a superhero movie in forever.
I looooove this movie. Laika is amazing! The animation in this film! Look at the picture! Look at it! The main three characters are absolutely amazing and so interesting. Kubo is your “hero” of course, but he’s a storyteller who uses magical origami to tell them. His instrument is the object in which he uses to channel his magic. He embarks on a quest to find a magical armor and the journey is so much fun. Along the way we meet Monkey and Beetle whose relationship is so humorous, playful and sometimes antagonistic but they work together because they both end up caring about Kubo. The eyes are so very important in this film and the animation and design, spectacular. Also the music. Wow. I saw this movie earlier in the year and I have not forgotten about it. I think it’s one of Laika’s best films and one of the best animated films I’ve seen.
First of all, I love the MCU, I love superhero films and this is one of the best. What Marvel Studios has done is create this world, and these characters where they are so likable, relatable and so emotionally grabbing that in this film, there is no way (unless you are just soo biased) that you do not flip flop sides or at least understand where the other is coming from. I am unwavering Team Cap BUT the script was so well written in terms of this rift in the Avengers that I could not believe that I was understanding Tony’s side (unlike the comics where he’s just a douche). Both Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. do so well. The inclusion of Black Panther and Spider Man were stellar choices, they weren’t underused or overused and it helps continue to build this world. The film was funny but it was also emotional. The action scenes are top notch, the airport scene and the end fight between Cap, Bucky and Tony was so gut-wrenching that I almost cried. There are a few plot elements that are questionable but I do believe it was handled very well here. This is my second favorite Superhero movie ever and it’s definitely one that I would watch quite often.
The way I feel about Zootopia… such a clever film. Very different from what Disney usually gives us and I loved it. I think Zootopia has a lot of hidden gems. Judy and Nick are great interesting characters, they both are very different and work so well together. Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman were great in these roles. The music is nice and the song is catchy, the animation is beautiful, the world created in this film is expansive. There is so much more than can explore, I hope they do. It’s hilarious, that slot scene gets me every time, it’s emotional, I think I’ve cried each time I’ve watched it. The underlying message is relevant and I don’t think they do it in a manipulative way. I think they handled it for an animated film with class. I personally think it’s more for adults than for kids but kids will enjoy it and I think adults will appreciate what it’s saying. A definite must watch.
I actually flip flopped between this and Zootopia for a while. If you’re a musical lover, this film is for you as it’s a love letter to musicals but more importantly, it’s a love letter to those people who are dreamers. Starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling who have such great chemistry together, this film highlights those people who go out in search of their dreams but they also have to figure out their lives as well. Will they follow their dreams and rule out love or will they try to have both? Is it possible to have both without one being pushed back. The music here is so beautiful, all of the songs are original and I think they’re so dreamy. The cinematography is beautiful. I have never been to L.A but I think this film make it look so… lol grand. The characters are also very well written, it’s impossible to dislike either Mia or Sebastian, and I think it’s impossible to not understand them. You have to. If you’re not a fan of musicals, that’s alright because this film is not a song every second, nor is it just random singing, it has a purpose. It fits with the story, it propels it forward and honestly, it’s not like there’s a ton of singing in it. But the music, dancing, singing is a character in itself. La La Land is a feel good movie and as a dreamer, this is my favorite film of the year.
I hope you enjoyed this list. If you agree, let me know in the comments below, same if you don’t. What films of the year do you have on YOUR list? There is a lot I missed this year but I also think I did a great job in what I saw lol. If you haven’t seen any of these, please check them out! Also, check out my blog for other reviews!
First of all, when this movie was announced two years ago (I think), I was excited. I saw some designs of Moana and I immediately got even more excited because it seemed like the care going into this film was going to be extreme in a good way. Then they announced Dwayne Johnson’s character and design which I thought was cool, then when they casted for Moana, I was even more excited because not only is she an actual teenager but she is a person of color!! Then, as I fell down the Hamilton rabbit hole, I realized that Lin-Manuel Miranda was collaborating on the music which got me even more excited… so I was a bundle of excitement.
Summary: In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain’s daughter’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the demigod to set things right.
Cast and Characters.
Auli’i Cravalho as Moana. This is her first film but she comes off like a pro in her voice acting. So the voice acting for Moana is wonderful, we don’t really know how old Moana is but it’s safe to say she is a teenager, a curious, adventurous teenager and Cravalho is able to maintain this strength in the character even if she’s unsure. When she’s being forceful especially towards Maui, you can hear the nerves as she is trying to be strong. You can hear her emotion, her sadness, her happiness and excitement. Her struggle within herself with her duties back home but her love for the sea is so evident in her voice that she pulls you right into the character. Moana herself is a well written heroine, she reminded me of Mulan in terms of her actions but I think she stands on her own as a Disney heroine (notice I didn’t say princess). She is the daughter of the chief, which makes her the heir to their tribe and she must prepare to take on her role but her spirit is called to the sea and she struggles with that. I think that is handled so well with her character and the way it is pulled together… oh yeah.
Dwayne Johnson as Maui. I love Dwayne Johnson and he is so funny with this character. His voice is so smooth but it also comes off condescending and arrogant at times which is perfect for this character. When Maui sings, you can tell that Johnson had a great time recording, it shows in the song. He clearly had a great time with his character overall. Now Maui as a character, was partly not what I was expecting, I should have known though because it’s Disney. The way he’s portrayed in the trailers and what not, I had a different idea of him compared to what was on screen, which was fine. I liked it. I think his arc is pretty great.
Rachel House as Grandma Tala. She was great, she is Moana’s grandmother (obviously) and the town’s crazy person. While everyone does their duties, she’s down at the water hulaing. She teaches Moana to love the sea, she already does, but Grandma Tala helps her fully realize it. That’s all I’ll say on her because her presence must be experienced in the film.
The Ocean. The ocean is it’s own character. It chose Moana to break the curse and the way it helps her… I love it.
Secondary Characters.Chief Tui, Sina, HeiHei and Tamatoa are the other characters in the film. They’re secondary but their parts are pretty important. Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison) is Moana’s father and while he is the usual Disney father character, I like how his reasons for the way he is is shown in the film, to give both us and Moana a better understanding of him. Sina (Nicole Scherzinger) is her mother, which of course is amazing in itself that she has both of her parents lol, but she’s great and supportive and there is a scene with her during Moana’s reprise song (I think) and it made me emotional. HeiHei (Alan Tudyk) he’s a chicken lol, or more a rooster, and he’s comic relief in a lot of ways. Tamatoa (Jemaine Clement) without giving anything away about him in this review, he’s great, kind of scary but great lol.
The Music. Disney always does great with the music. Mark Mancina (the score), Lin-Manuel Miranda (songs) and Opetaia Foa’i (songs) did the music in this film and OH MY GOODNESS I CAN’T EVEN TAKE IT! I bought the soundtrack before I saw the film, I didn’t listen to the entire thing but what I did listen to I already loved. The songs are both in English and the Tokelauan language (a Polynesian language). When the film starts and the Disney logo comes on screen the first song immediately begins and I got chills. The entire score is magnificent but the standout songs are: Where You Are, How Far I’ll Go (sung by Moana), You’re Welcome (sung by Maui), and We Know the Way and I think any of these songs will be chosen for an Oscar contender. Miranda wrote the lyrics for Maui and Moana’s songs and I think it’s easy to tell that he did. Opetaia Foa’i is part of an Oceanic music group which helps in that the music is very heavy in Polynesian culture.
The animation and designs. Disney as per usual has great graphics but I love how they’re depicted here. First of all, Moana herself is animated realistically. She is thicker than all of the previous heroines, she has muscle and she looks Polynesian. Her hair is very realistic, I read they used a different type of program to make her hair more realistic which it is, it’s long and thick and when it gets wet, it actually gets wet and deflates lol. Cracked me up in thinking of my own hair and how it does that. Her clothes are also great and practical, I read that they designed her clothing to give her movement and to be able to do physical stunts. Pays off. Maui looks like Dwayne Johnson. His body is based off of him, I mean to an extent lol. I love his tattoos and how they are literally part of his character and not just to be there. The way her island tribe looks is so beautiful. There is another character, I don’t want to give it away but the design on her is so beautiful that when she’s on screen, it’s breathtaking. The villain’s look as well is pretty amazing.
Moana and Maui’s relationship. I love great friendships and these two have such a great relationship in the film. They first meet and she’s trying to get him to face his mistakes and help her but he’s pretty selfish. They end up having a kind of antagonist relationship but it grows and I love it.
The emotions. This movie made me cry the entire time. There are moments for emotions but I think I was emotional because I was overwhelmed.
The Culture. It’s easy to tell there was a lot of research that went into this film. The way they speak about navigation, how it’s portrayed, the culture of Moana’s people themselves, the religious aspects (especially evident in Moana’s faith in the ocean)… it’s prevalent and I think it helps encourage viewers to learn more about Polynesia and the Pacific Islands. No we did not see this culture with Lilo and Stitch, different island, different people. They’re all Pacific Islanders but the cultures have differences. Research.
The story. Outside of the underlying ideas being the same, I think the execution of it and the twists are pretty nice. I like how Moana’s reasons for leaving are layered. The island is dying, the food is now scarce and she tries to get past the reef of their island to find more fish, but something happens that scares her. However, her grandmother helps her find her way and a new mission begins. She must still save her island but it’s bigger than that now too.
Certain cliche tropes. The idea of the heroine leaving home to save her people has been done before, the idea of the heroine being torn between duty and something she loves has been done before, the thing she loves is forbidden because of something happening in the past… all of these tropes have been done before and aren’t original. Her father doesn’t want her to go out past the safety of their lagoon and she obviously goes anyway after discovering something about her people’s past which turns into that trope of the parent realizing they were wrong.
The villain. This is here not really because the villain is a bad villain but… perhaps not a villain at all? I mean, I called it but ya know.
There are three actors from Hamilton in the film, Christopher Jackson who originated George Washington does the singing voice for Chief Tui. Phillipa Soo who originated Eliza Schuyler is in the film and Jordan Fisher who has taken over for Anthony Ramos as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton on Broadway sings the pop version of “You’re Welcome” in the credits.
Auli’i Cravalho just so happens to look like Moana, she was designed before Cravalho was casted.
Maui was designed after Dwayne Johnson. He was the only person they wanted for him and reached out to Johnson directly.
Overall: I looove Moana. The first five minutes I was in tears because I was overwhelmed with the film. I think a lot of has to do with the fact that they took such care in this film, with the culture, the designs, the music. It was a lot and I loved it. I love that this heroine of color was so strong and realistic. I identified a lot with her. The music was beautiful and helps amplifies the film, the characters are all interesting and lovable. I think this is one of Disney’s best in a very long time. I enjoyed it more than Frozen and (edited here)I really liked it but not more than Zootopia. I think Zootopia is a complex film and Moana, while amazing, sticks to a lot of themes we’ve seen.
Regardless, Moana is a great family friendly film. I think if you love Disney, you’ll love this film. It’s beautifully handled. Go see it.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars.
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