2014 Oscar Nominations Not-Remotely-Live Blog

Oscar Nominations

I wasn’t quite organised enough to have a liveblog up and running when the Oscar nominations were announced this lunchtime but I made myself a post so I’m damn well going to put something in it. I will forgo listing all the nominations as they can be found everywhere else on the internet. The important facts are these…

  • Gravity and American Hustle lead the pack with ten nominations each, closely followed by 12 Years a Slave with nine. Nebraska has a pleasing six nominations and Her continues to taunt me with five nominations and a UK release that has yet to arrive.
  • Judi Dench and Meryl Streep are competing for the Best Actress award, a title that Dench has never won and one that Streep has taken twice and been nominated for fourteen(!!!) times.
  • The only nomination for Saving Mr. Banks is for its music and this upsets me greatly.
  • Blue is the Warmest Colour has completely failed to be nominated for Best Foreign Film and that is a tragedy as it clearly is the best foreign film and if you ask me the best film overall. So there.
  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa has been nominated for an Oscar. Take that in. It’s for Best Makeup and Hairstyling but still, it just feels wrong. Weirdly American Hustle is not nominated in this category despite the hair being the best bit.
  • David O Russell and American Hustle continue to rhyme and sound incredibly satisfying.
  • Jonah Hill has received his second Oscar nomination. Who would have thought he’d ever be an Oscar contender considering his former career in broad comedies? Ditto for Matthew McConaughey who has moved so far away from his Romantic Comedy background he is barely recognisable.
  • Best Live Action Short is not normally a category I can comment on but somehow I have seen nominee The Voorman Problem twice and it is worthy of the win. The short stars Martin Freeman as a psychiatrist called to a prison to deal with an inmate who is convinced that he is God (Tom Hollander). It is short, clever, funny, and has famous people in it.
  • There are really only three nominees for Best Film. For the past three years I have seen the winner of the top prize at the previous year’s London Film Festival therefore this year’s winner must come from the films I saw back in October. The real list of nominees is as follows:

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club

The Wolf of Wall Street

Let’s meet back here on 2nd/3rd March to discuss the winners.

Famous People are Given Golden Globes – 2014 Edition

Golden Globes 2014 - Emma Thompson

The Golden Globes took place last night and boy did some people win some awards. Award ceremonies are both trivial and exciting and the Golden Globes in particular have a reputation for nominating people they think will turn up and that the voters would like to party with. That said the Golden Globes offer the combined excitement of the Emmys and the Oscars as awards are given to both TV series and films allowing Bryan Cranston to be sat feet away from Leonardo DiCaprio.

Regardless of the awards’ merits the list of winners put a smile on my face a few times this morning as actors/films/TV shows I love got given little golden orbs. This will serve as a quick summary of who won that matches who I think deserved to win and absolutely no negative feelings towards any decisions I disagree with. No Amy Adams hate. None at all. Nope…

Let’s start with the big winner 12 Years A Slave which grabbed only one prize last night but as it was the award for “Best Motion Picture – Drama” it’s hard to really complain. This is a fantastic film that could well have deserved more awards (no grumbling here, I promise) but I am really pleased that it beat the more audience-friendly Gravity to the top spot. American Hustle won the sister award of “Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” which is a tricky category when its rivals Inside Llewyn Davis and Nebraska could arguably be seen as dramas just as easily as Philomena was. American Hustle is a fun period crime romp that puts wigs character at its core instead of a complex plot filled with endless reveals (hello Oceans Eleven!). The scene-stealing star of the film Jennifer Lawrence was rightly awarded the lengthy-titled “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” alongside two of her co-stars.

Gravity may have missed out on the big award but was rewarded for its visual spectacle when Alfonso Cuarón was given the award for “Best Director – Motion Picture”. This sci-fi thriller didn’t make my top ten last year but is without a doubt a visual and technical marvel requiring the most precise direction of any film out last year; the precise camera movement required to believable create outer space on a soundstage require a steady hand at the helm. If you somehow managed to miss Gravity, or simply want to marvel at it one more time, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the film is back in IMAX cinemas where you can get the full immersive effect/throw up if you’re my mum.

Over on the TV side of things the departing juggernaut that is Breaking Bad took was awarded “Best Television Series – Drama” and the man who made the show what it became through his chameleon-like acting, Bryan Cranston, took home the “Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama” award. It’s a lovely cherry on the cake for a show that never let its quality drop while others that have been less consistent (*cough* Dexter *cough*) weren’t even nominated.

The winner of “Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television” is a confusing one as in the UK it was released in cinemas, and rightly so. The award went to my 3rd favourite film of last year Behind the Candelabra and its star Michael Douglas won “Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television”. Two rightly deserved victories and wins that might not have happened had it actually had a cinematic release in the USA and was forced to take on the might of David Russell’s American Hustle.

Last but not least TV’s best current comedy Parks and Recreation finally won its first major award as producer, star, and Golden Globes co-host Amy Poehler was handed “Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy”. For anyone ignorant of the joys of this series I urge you to seek it out and stick with it when Series 3 comes to BBC Four later this year. If you don’t enjoy it I will cook you dinner either as a reward or punishment, I can’t quite decide how to classify my cooking skills.

The awards also served to highlight for me the films I need to get my eyeballs on; Blue Jasmine, Frozen, Her, Wolf of Wall Street, and Dallas Buyers Club in particular.

As for what I have seen of the ceremony itself it looks to have been a fun affair but sadly we had to get our beauty sleep so missed out on watching it live. Emma Thompson proved to be a highlight and you can see why by clicking on this orange text. As for the co-hosts of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey… have a watch below:

The 3.142 Ridiculous Scientific Mistakes in Gravity and Why They Completely Ruin All Films Ever Made Both Past & Future


Gravity FINALLY came out at the weekend and this film fan was particularly pleased to finally have his eyeballs treated to the visual spectacle that Alfonso Cuarón has concocted. Reaction on the internet, and in old-fashioned “we’ve inked words onto dead trees” newspapers, has mostly fallen into one of two camps:

1. OMFG! That is the best film I have ever seen! It has made me reconsider not just my stance on 3D but reaffirmed my belief in cinema as an art form and life itself as a worthwhile pastime.
2. WTF! This film is not scientifically accurate at all. All Sci-Fi films must 100% accurate! You can’t spell Science Fiction without “peer-reviewed facts”! You Hollywood bastards!

Some reactions fall a little into both camps and presumably there are even some people out there less keen on spouting their opinions online who simply found the film to be “alright” and don’t get too worried about whether the science holds up or not. These people are a strange breed I’m going to label as “normals”.

Personally I think I fall into the first category, though possibly with less gushing and more conservative head-nodding. Gravity is a visually stunning film with a nice simple plot that is executed in groundbreaking fashion. Sure the dialogue isn’t up to much and certain liberties have been taken with science and logistics but that isn’t what Gravity is about. This is a straightforward thriller about being stranded in space and one that wants you to believe what you are seeing. The live action and CGI imagery are blended so well by London’s own Framestore that the film was totally authentic and believable. I have never been up in space but I reckon it looks a whole lot like it does in Gravity and if you popped George Clooney and Sandra Bullock up there they would closely resemble what we see onscreen.

The film is so well crafted and gorgeously shot I couldn’t care less about the science. This is storytelling, not a science lesson.

Gravity Still

Using what little I can remember from my Physics degree (they don’t call me Tim Brandon BSc for nothing often enough) the science in Gravity isn’t actually too bad. One major point of contention for angry nerds is the scene pictured above. Not wanting to spoil the film for anyone all I will say is that I don’t think **** could have pulled #### in as **** was still decelerating themselves. Lets not forget Newton’s three laws of motion… To slow down #### they need a force applied to them and if **** applies that force then the same force will act on them in the opposite direction. As **** is still slowing down and their foot is slowly coming loose any act of pulling #### could move them further from safety.

For more detail see this article in the Washington Post or buy me a mulled wine. A lot of the internet disagrees with me but then that’s nothing new is it?

That debate aside I can only really see three problems you can have with the inaccuracies in Gravity:

1. Debris would not behave in the way it does in the film
2. Satellites would not line up and allow astronauts to travel between them so easily
3. The shuttles were not precise replicas of the real things and the astronauts did not behave as their genuine counterparts should

If you were to try to fix (1) you would have no set-up to the film, if you fix (2) you would have nowhere for the film (or its characters) to go after the initial disaster, and (3) is only going to bother real astronauts or someone hoping to use this film as an instructional video.

I wouldn’t suggest anyone use Gravity to revise for a Physics test or for NASA to include in their training programme but none of that matters. All you need to ask is whether Gravity is a beautifully shot and innovative film that is incredibly tense and deeply engrossing. The answer to that question is yes. Everything else is just noise and as any good physicist will tell you; there’s no noise in space*.

*Picture me very pleased with myself

Out Now – 8th November 2013


Come on guys, I think you’ve heard of this film by now; a taut space drama starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in which astronauts find themselves adrift in space. The 3D is so good even Mark Kermode recommends you don the oversized glasses and the film promises to have lengthy single shot scenes to rival Alfonso Cuarón’s previous work in Children of Men. All this and the film is only 90 minutes long, how refreshing. I’m so excited I could vomit.

Seduced and Abandoned
Documentary looking at the way in which films are financed as filmmaker James Toback and Alec Baldwin attend Cannes to seek funding for a potentially fictional project entitled Last Tango in Tikrit. Supposedly an amusing look at the bizarre way films actually get made. Reviews are good, not Gravity good but good nonetheless, and with Baldwin involved you never know when he’ll be caught off guard and spew homophobic slurs. FUN!

Love Tomorrow
“After an ex-ballet dancer’s life is turned upside down after receiving devastating news, a chance encounter with a charismatic dancer marks the start to a fragile friendship that might turn into something more profound.” No offense to any of my friends but none of my friendships have ever gotten close to becoming profound and frankly the whole idea sounds a little dull. The minute a friend gets profound just give them a quick slap and it should clear up soon enough. You’ll be back to running around town giggling at tourists in no time.

How to Survive a Plague
Being flippant about the AIDs crisis seems a bad idea so instead let me say that this film on the subject is “an intimate and personal documentary about a global tragedy that will give you hope in the strength of the combined human spirit just as much as it crushes your belief in humanity.” This and other awkwardly sincere phrases can be found in my review.

Behzat Ç. Ankara yaniyor
“Behzat Ç.’nin yoklu?unda Cinayet Büronun ba??na Himmet ad?nda bir Ba?komiser atanm??t?r. ?çi?leri Bakan?n?n öldürülmesi te?kilatta büyük bir çalkant?ya yol aç?nca Himmet de bunu kendi aç?s?ndan bir f?rsata dönü?türmeye karar verir ve ekibini Terörle Mücadeleye yard?mc? olmaya yönlendirir.” Ekibini indeed.

Hükümet kadin 2
I assume this is a sequel to Hükümet kadin. Let’s be straight with each other now; you’re going to see Gravity this weekend and if you’re avoiding the hype maybe see Seduced and Abandoned instead. The sequel to a Turkish film you haven’t seen that is only showing in four cinemas is not going to be troubling you this evening. Prove me wrong. I dare you.

BFI London Film Festival 2013 Line-up

BFI London Film Festival 2013

It’s that time again! Yesterday the line-up for the 57th BFI London Film Festival was announced to a lot of press that didn’t include ourselves. Last year’s festival was a lot of fun and I successfully saw more films than I could handle but there was no one film that got me properly excited like there had been in previous years. 2013 looks to be different.

A quick perusal of the festival brochure reveals a long list of films that I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of from a number of writers, directors, and actors who are at the height of their game or at the beginning of what appear to be very promising careers. The line up for this year’s festival, running from 9th – 20th October, has got me properly excited and it looks like it will be easy for me to find enough films for me to finally break the 30 films in a festival barrier.

Below I have picked out ten films from the extensive list that the BFI are screening. What follows is far from an exhaustive list but rather is made up of films I have been waiting to see for a while or anything that caught my eye as I frantically scrolled through the festival brochure. My advise to you is to download the full brochure and give it a thorough read through so that you are ready when member’s booking opens on 12th September. Tickets go fast and some BFI members (ahem) are very quick with their keyboards.


Judi Dench stars as a Irish Catholic woman on the hunt for the son she gave up against her will more than fifty years ago. Steve Coogan is the jaded journalist who accompanies her on the journey in this film he co-wrote. Dench and Coogan are a double act I refuse to miss out on.


Alfonso Cuarón directs George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in a drama about a pair of astronauts whose space shuttle becomes damaged leaving the pair stranded and unable to contact earth. Lots of good buzz surrounding this film and it could well be only the second film after Life of Pi to use 3D properly.

The Invisible Woman

The Invisible Woman
Ralph Fiennes returns to the London Film Festival with his second feature as director in which he also takes a starring role. The focus of the film is on Charles Dickens and his secret love affair with a young actress played by Felicity Jones as she looks back on the affair later on in life. I think we all know why this film interests me.

Blue is the Warmest Colour

Blue Is the Warmest Colour
This year’s Palme d’Or winner is coming to London. A film about a love shared by two teenage girls that stirred up a lot of controversy in Cannes thanks to extended graphic sex scenes. Those scenes aside this film promises to be a tender look at young love that captures all its messiness and turbulence.

Don Jon

Don Jon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes on the triple role of writer, director, and actor in his first foray behind the camera. He plays the title role of Jon, a porn obsessed young man who falls for a woman equally obsessed with romantic comedies. The woman in question is Scarlett Johansson who seems to be channelling the cast of Jersey Shore. A confident debut from a strong young talent, I’m there.

The Double

The Double

Early this week I was Googling The Double in the hopes that it was coming to UK cinema’s soon. I adored Richard Ayoade’s debut film Submarine and have been eagerly awaiting his follow-up ever since. Now we have it in the form of a film about a man who goes unnoticed at work until his exact double joins the company. Witty and romantic as only Ayoade can be.

Under the Skin

Under the Skin

Scarlett Johansson’s performance as an alien hunting for men in Glasgow has drawn a lot of praise and excitement in the past week. The film is described as “a brilliant amalgam of fantasy and reality” and from the sounds of it not all the men in the film who fall for the alien’s charms were aware they were in a film at the time. I’m baffled enough to be intrigued.

Kill Your Darlings

Kill Your Darlings

Daniel Radcliffe has come a long way since Harry Potter and has showcased his ability to act on TV and on stage. Now it’s time for his to prove himself on the big screen. Here he plays Allen Ginsberg in his first year at University as he meets fellow future heavyweights of the Beat Generation and embarks on a tumultuous affair.

Afternoon Delight

Afternoon Delight

Any film with Juno Temple in is worth a second look which is why this film finds its way into this list. Temple co-stars as a stripper who is taken into the home of a bored housewife played but the too often ignored Kathryn Hahn. Darkly funny and the debut film from a female writer/director this should not be a cheap or sleazy affair.

Short Term 12

Short Term 12

Much like Juno Temple, Felicity Jones, Judi Dench, Richard Ayoade, or Joseph Gordon-Levitt there is another artist whose work I find myself absolutely needing to see and that is Brie Larson. Too often resigned to the role of love interest or comic relief Larson is finally getting a proper meaty role as a supervisor at a foster-care home who finds herself having to deal with her own past as she helps a new resident with theirs.