Cinefiles: 2016 Oscar movie breakdown


Jenny Levine

With one major award show under the wraps, the award season is still far from closing and even more uncertain. The BAFTAs, the simplistic British equivalent of the never ending American award show circuit, is set to premiere February 14, 2016 and is usually a good litmus test to see what’s to come for the Oscars.

Besides the BAFTAs, are the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards and Director’s Guild Awards, but c’mon, as Lenny Kravitz once said in Zoolander, “Now to the important stuff… these are the pure breeds,” all people seem to really care about are the Oscars and rightfully so. I don’t know, maybe it’s the fact that every award show in the entertainment industry is modeled after this prestigious award, but predictions for Oscars usually involve betting, family fights and surprise upsets, therefore, I’ll take you through each movie who has a serious chance of winning so you don’t have to sit through 2 hours of Catholic sex scandals.

The Revenant– I now have an irrational fear of CGI bears

The question on everyone’s mind is if Alejandro González Iñárritu will win Best Director/Best Picture for the second year in a row, and without a doubt, oh my god yes. Iñárritu and Lubezki served a 4-course masterpiece with experimental use of natural light and technical shots which made the entire film hyper realistic.

Is this the type of movie to bring your bros on a Friday night? No, not at all, it’s the kind of movie where you’ll be curled up in a ball for a couple of the more graphic scenes but also the emotionally wrenching ones (Hawk+Leo forever.)

My official prediction is despite Leo’s lack of dialogue, based on the sheer power of his transformation and vulnerability, little old Jack Dawson is going to get his first Oscar.


I think Leo will manage to yell and beard his way to the Oscar photo courtesy of laineygossip

I think Leo will manage to yell and beard his way to the Oscar
photo courtesy of laineygossip

Mad Max: Fury Road– Fire, electric guitars and monster-death trucks, oh my

George Miller’s return as never as satisfying as watching a one-armed Charlize Theron use muttering Tom Hardy’s shoulder as a prop for her shot. While Imperator Furiosa clearly steals the show and Miller’s realistic stunts were like a visual slutty brownie (this is the only food I could think of that properly describes my infatuation), but what really made this movie was the unique story line in a genre that is over saturated with teen kidnappings and secret servicemen.

Despite the fact that Mad Max has already won quite a few best pictures I seriously doubt it will be able to muster the equivalent at the Oscar’s but hopefully pick up a Best Editing or Visual Effects.

my personal favorite for Best Picture courtesy of nytimes

I honestly hope the Mad Max feminist meme will live forever
photo courtesy of nytimes

Rating- 8.5/10


Brooklyn– bring your boy or better yet best friend because you will cry.

Brooklyn is a nice romance. What I mean by nice is it doesn’t make me cringe like the majority of Nicholas Sparks movie adaptations, it’s just nicely acted, nicely shot, nicely written. Will it win anything? My ultimate guess is no, this Irish-American drama will most likely snag its awards at the BAFTA’s (that’s still good, kinda, ok!)

I was always #teamjimfarrell courtesy of realtimewriteups

I was always #teamjimfarrell
photo courtesy of realtimewriteups

Score- 7.5/10


The Hateful Eight– imagine a bathtub full of blood, Tarantino probably needed 3 of these to satisfy his deliciously sadistic spaghetti western.

A cinematic masterpiece, the fact that Tarantino included an overture and a 15-minute intermission is a testament to how close to dramatic production Tarantino wants the film to be, other than the fact that the entire movie spends approximately 70% of the time in a one-room cabin. Now, the thing about The Hateful Eight is it’s a culmination of all of Tarantino’s style and maturity from the past 24 years so mega-Tarantino fans like the 200 other 20-something year old fanboys crammed in the Village East Cinema with my friend and I on an obnoxiously windy Tuesday were quite pleased with the condensed dialogue and suspense-built plot devices.

Was it as entertaining as Django Unchained? No. Was it as hipster noteworthy as Pulp Fiction? No. Was it a damn fine piece of cinema. Absolutely, and without any doubt will not be recognized for what I think deserves recognition, Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Actor- Samuel L. Jackson. I suppose it will get a nomination or two and most definitely win Best Original Score, but I don’t think it qualifies as “Award worthy” as Sorkin’s screenplay for Steve Jobs or risky as Inarritu’s The Revenant so unfortunately no wins for Tarantino himself.

Score- 9.5/10


The Danish Girl- was Laverne Cox unavailable?

If I could give Alicia Vikander all the awards,  I would do that. Seriously, she’s a Danish delight, well, actually she’s Swedish so Swedish sweetheart? Anyway, Gerda brought the complexity to the relationship to Redmayne’s kinda bland Lili. I don’t mean bland as in boring, her story was friggen amazing, but I just felt like either the script or Redmayne didn’t do her justice through her development as a somewhat insensitive husband to a somewhat uncaring trans woman.

Regardless of critique, Vikander and Redmayne make a sweet couple courtesy of the numbers

Regardless of critique, Vikander and Redmayne make a sweet couple
courtesy of the numbers

The filmmaking was beautiful, I honestly wish I could film in the fishmarkets of Copenhagen and that peeping tom house in Paris (does anyone know what that’s called?) but Tom Hooper’s long anticipated movie felt a smidge, predictable. I might be extremely harsh, but I’m what I call a movie-crier, I don’t cry a lot in real life but give me a good biopic and I’ll cry like a babe, and for whatever reason I felt close to no sympathy for the characters in The Danish Girl. Besides my scathing criticism, I would say this is a harsh, yet delicate look into the life a transgender woman decades before the mass movement we had in the 70s and today.

Score- 7/10


What was your favorite movie of the year? Leave a comment or tweet @JALevineCourant


About Author

Eleventh grade student and Features Editor of the Courant alongside Madeleine Gertsen. Follow me on twitter for updates on the latest stories featured online and in the print issue of the Courant @ESaviniCourant.

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