Vincent's Views

Home » Posts tagged 'ampas'

Tag Archives: ampas

95th Academy Awards: Results

If you’re like me, you love watching the Oscars and stayed up until stupid o’clock watching the show. Then again, if you’re like me, you’re an academic- film critic-podcaster with a blog who likes to think he’s funny. What’s that all about?

Anyway, as you may have heard, the 95th Academy Awards took place on 12th March, and there is much to say about the results. The Oscars is the only thing I would place a bet on, but I never do. Had I done so this year, I might have won something because my predictions were largely correct. Look back at my earlier posts and you’ll see I picked the winner in multiple categories including Animated Feature – Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio, Sound – Top Gun: Maverick and Visual Effects – Avatar: The Way of Water. I was incorrect with my picks on Documentary Feature, which went to Navalny; Adapted Screenplay which went to Sarah Polley for Women Talking; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever received Costume Design; and Original Song, which was awarded to ‘Naatu Naatu’ from RRR, a very pleasing win for a film that received no other nominations but was certainly a major talking point last year.

The aforementioned films all received one award apiece, while The Whale won two, repeating the pattern of Darkest Hour and The Iron Lady by winning Makeup and Hairstyling and a leading performance. The now Academy Award winning Brendan Fraser’s speech was one of many that were deeply earnest and heartfelt. Tolerance for such gushing emotion will vary, and personally I love it and wanted to enfold the tearful Fraser in a warm hug. For those of us who have loved Fraser since (or even before) The Mummy, this was a fitting sight for this always engaging and likeable screen presence.

Overall, the evening was largely dominated by two films. After cleaning up nicely at the BAFTAs, All Quiet on the Western Front proved a significant awards magnet for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. As a Best Picture nominee, it was always likely that AQOTWF would collect International Feature, as indeed it did. In addition, Edward Berger’s haunting and harrowing adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel received awards for Cinematography, Production Design and Original Score, all of which were correctly predicted by yours truly, if you care.

However, the big story of the night was the little film that did. A tale of an immigrant family struggling with laundry, taxes, duty, disappointment, ennui, hot dog fingers, martial arts, combat, fame, identity, googly eyes, puppeteering racoons, bagel black holes and the sheer extraordinariness of the everyday across multiple universes is possibly the most deranged fever dream to ever win Best Picture, and the first science fiction film to receive this award. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s mad work of genius garnered a total of seven Oscars (all of which I predicted correctly), including Directing, Original Screenplay, Editing, Actress in a Leading Role for Michelle Yeoh, Actor in a Supporting Role for Ke Huy Quan and Actress in a Supporting Role for Jamie Lee Curtis. Curtis’ reaction at hearing her name announced as the winner was priceless as you could clearly see her say ‘OH SHUT UP!’

Curtis’ acceptance speeches paid tribute to the horror genre where Curtis made her name, declaring that the fans of her earlier work had all won the Oscar with her. Quan’s speech was highly emotional and paid tribute to his family who entered the USA on an immigrant boat, a sentiment echoed by the Daniels who also indicated their humble beginnings. As the first Asian performer to win this award, Yeoh called out to all the girls who ‘look like her’, and that women are never past their prime. Plus there was something lovely about seeing Yeoh alongside fellow Best Actress winners Halle Berry and Jessica Chastain. Hats off to all of them.

The seven awards make Everything Everywhere All At Once the biggest award winner since Gravity in 2013 (though that did not win Best Picture). The film’s history is the stuff of Hollywood itself – independent filmmakers who previously made a couple of quirky comedies and then put together a bizarre but deeply affecting tale that combines multiple genres, references, styles and concepts and somehow resonated with audiences, critics and the Academy.

It will not surprise me when sniffy attitudes emerge that downplay the success and claim that other films were ‘better’ and should have won, because there are always those who say they know best. I had an issue or two with EEAAO, and perhaps Tár overall impressed me more, but I am delighted that such an out-there film did so well. As I have mentioned previously, in recent years the Academy has demonstrated an openness towards more radical films than it used to, and in an era where cinema is frequently criticised for safe and formulaic material, the success of Everything Everywhere All At Once is something to be applauded.


95th Academy Awards: Best Picture

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Banshees of Inisherin 


Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans


Top Gun: Maverick

Triangle of Sadness

Women Talking

And so, we come to it at last, with ten powerful contenders for Best Picture. I have seen all of these, and am surprised at the inclusion of some of them here. Were this back in the days of only five nominees, I believe those five would be The Banshees of InisherinElvis, The Fabelmans, Tár and Women Talking. The inclusion of two (!) blockbuster sequels, one of which is science fiction, another science fiction film, a satire and a German film (albeit a war film) demonstrates the more open tendency of the Academy voters. Yes, the Academy is a conversative, traditionalist organisation and it is disappointing that no women were nominated for directing. However, in the Best Picture category, because of the ten nominees, we can see a diverse, inventive and genuinely radical set of films. And I think the most deranged, creative and unapologetically out-there film of the lot will replicate its success at the Producers Guild of America Awards, not to mention various other categories this year, and Everything Everywhere All At Once will win Best Picture. If I’m right, Everything Everywhere All At Once will be the biggest Odcar winner since Slumdog Millionaire in 2008! Let that resonate across the multiverse, because Oscars are coming for all versions.

95th Academy Awards: Writing and Directing

Adapted Screenplay

Edward Berger, Ian Stokell, Lesley Paterson – All Quiet on the Western Front

Rian Johnson – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Kazuo Ishiguro – Living

Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Christopher McQuarrie – Top Gun: Maverick 

Sarah Polley – Women Talking

Something I learned this year – sequels count as adapted screenplays, which is why Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and Top Gun: Maverick are eligible for this category. This is a tricky one and could well go to Women Talking, which received the Writers Guild Award for Adapted Screenplay. However, I see this award going to All Quiet on the Western Front, due to it being a war film which is the type of film the Academy loves. Not the most reliable criteria, I admit, and I would be happy with Women Talking as well.

Original Screenplay

Martin McDonagh – The Banshees of Inisherin

Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert – Everything Everywhere All At Once

Steven Spielberg, Tony Kushner – The Fabelmans

Todd Field – Tár

Ruben Östlund – Triangle of Sadness 

Interestingly, the nominees for Original Screenplay overlap with those for Directing (aside from Tony Kushner). This is a change from how the Oscars used to play out, when Adapted Screenplay tended to be a good indicator of Directing and indeed Best Picture success. Now it seems that Original Screenplays are more honoured. While I think all of these films are intricately and effectively written, one stands out for its ingenious weaving together of multiple possibilities and explanations that somehow never gets too confusing or bogged down in detail. And it won the Writers Guild of American Award as well. I see the Daniels receiving the Oscar for Everything Everywhere All At Once.


Martin McDonagh – The Banshees of Inisherin 

Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert – Everything Everywhere All at Once

Steven Spielberg – The Fabelmans

Todd Field – Tár

Ruben Östlund – Triangle of Sadness

Not to sound like a broken record, but I predict the Daniels in this category as well. Triangle of Sadness is a rather look-at-me directed film, while Tár is Hitchcockian in its staging and framing. The Fabelmans has charm and wonder to spare and could woo the Directors branch of the Academy, and The Banshees of Inisherin balances whimsy and grimness quite remarkably. However, such keen, exquisite and ambitious direction is overt in every frame of Everything Everywhere All At Once, which already impressed the Directors Guild of America to the point of winning that award. I think the Daniels will pick up the Directing Oscar as well.

95th Academy Awards: Clothe and Make Up That Acting!

Costume Design


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 


Everything Everywhere All at Once

Mrs Harris Goes to Paris

I’ve seen three of these, but I pick a winner I have not seen. An important feature of Mrs Harris Goes to Paris is a dress and tailoring, so I think it is going to win. It would be a bit mean if it didn’t frankly.

Makeup and Hairstyling

All Quiet on the Western Front

The Batman

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever


The Whale

Again, I pick a winner I have not seen. The make-up effects in All Quiet on the Western Front manage to place the battlefield onto the faces of the performers, while Black Panther: Wakanda Forever made the appearances of its various elaborate cultures truly striking and always engaging. But in the year of the fat suits when Colin Farrell was unrecognisable in The Batman and Tom Hanks looked like something else, I see The Whale picking up this award, which brings us to…

Actor in a Leading Role

Austin Butler – Elvis

Colin Farrell – The Banshees of Inisherin

Brendan Fraser – The Whale

Paul Mescal – Aftersun

Bill Nighy – Living

It is notable that some of the films nominated here have received relatively little attention, such as no other nominations for Aftersun and only one other for Living and The Whale. Austin Butler picked up the BAFTA and could conceivably collect the Oscar as well. However, Brendan Fraser received the Screen Actors Guild Award, and I think Actor in a Leading Role will go to him as well. If so, this will be in keeping with the pattern of actors transforming for a role and the film winning for a performance as well as Make-up and Hairstyling (see Darkest Hour and The Iron Lady).

Actress in a Leading Role

Cate Blanchett – Tár

Ana de Armas – Blonde

Andrea Riseborough – To Leslie

Michelle Williams – The Fabelmans

Michelle Yeoh – Everything Everywhere All at Once

This has been an open category, with surprising omissions such as Viola Davis in The Woman King and the inclusion of Andrea Riseborough for To Leslie. Ana de Armas’ nomination is the only recognition for Blonde, and there is little indication that she will win. On her fifth nomination, Michelle Williams has picked up little momentum, but I suspect there will be another day for Williams. It seems a two-horse race here, as Cate Blanchett earned the BAFTA and Michelle Yeoh the Screen Actors Guild. Both performances are complex, multifaceted and captivating. This is Blanchett’s eighth nomination and would be her third win after The Aviator and Blue Jasmine. But I don’t see it happening. For taking on a role that required her to play so many versions and deliver so much on a physical as well as emotional level, I predict Michelle Yeoh being this year’s winner for Actress in a Leading Role.

95th Academy Awards: Sterling Support

Actor in a Supporting Role

Brendan Gleeson – The Banshees of Inisherin 

Brian Tyree Henry – Causeway

Judd Hirsch – The Fabelmans

Barry Keoghan – The Banshees of Inisherin

Ke Huy Quan – Everything Everywhere All at Once

The acting nominees come from a wide range of films, which sometimes receive no other nominations. As of the day of writing, I have seen all of these nominated films, and I think all the performances are strong. Strong indicators of who will win can be gleaned from other award-giving bodies, such as BAFTA and the Screen Actors Guilds. In the case Actor in a Supporting Role, this is a bit tricky because BAFTA went for Barry Keoghan and the SAG for Ke Huy Quan. However, since The Banshees of Inisherin also picked up the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film (that’s a funding thing before anyone insists this is an Irish film), Keoghan may have had something of a homefield advantage. Ke Huy Quan, however, is the type of story AMPAS loves, as he came back from years away from acting to deliver something varied, compelling and heart-warming. Therefore, I pick Ke Huy Quan for this Oscar.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Angela Bassett – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Hong Chau – The Whale

Kerry Condon – The Banshees of Inisherin

Jamie Lee Curtis – Everything Everywhere All at Once

Stephanie Hsu – Everything Everywhere All at Once

Many of the same influences on the previous category influence this one. I am yet to see The Whale (more on that later) but of the other four, again the same overlap occurs with SAG and BAFTA, as well as the same potential support from the particular award bodies. What is different is the sense of a lifetime award, as two of the nominees have been movie stalwarts for decades and now find themselves up for awards. It could go to Angela Bassett on the night, however my prediction is on Jamie Lee Curtis, whose enduring presence in film and sheer versality in Everything Everywhere All At Once brought her to this nomination, and I think it’s her time.

95th Academy Awards: Sound and Edit those Effects


All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Batman


Top Gun: Maverick

I have seen and indeed heard all of these, and they all make a resounding impression. Come the awards though, I believe the deafening roar of fighter jets will drown out other nominees and Top Gun: Maverick will be victorious.

Visual Effects

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Batman

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 

Top Gun: Maverick

Perhaps on a similar note, I have seen all of these nominees and the visual effects were all thoroughly impressive. The aerial acrobatics of Top Gun: Maverick and the grounded yet spectacular events of The Batman notwithstanding, this award looks pretty certain to go to the rendering of the extra-terrestrial marine environment of Avatar: The Way of Water. It took thirteen years to return to Pandora and, while some aspects of the film were less than satisfying, the finished product is a magnificent demonstration of what happens when time, care and resources are fully committed to the production of visual effects.

Film Editing

The Banshees of Inisherin 


Everything Everywhere All at Once


Top Gun: Maverick

Once again, I have seen all of these nominees, and if there was a more dramatic, inventive and enthralling use of editing than in Everything Everywhere All At Once, it must have passed everybody by because it isn’t nominated. I see this being one of several awards for this masterpiece.

95th Academy Awards

OK, I left it a bit late. The Oscars are tonight, I will be watching, these are my predictions and a few comments on what I think. You can find more detailed discussion on the special podcast episode of Invasion of the Pody People.

International Feature Film

All Quiet on the Western Front

Argentina 1985



The Quiet Girl

This looks to be a dead cert win – All Quiet on the Western Front. It’s up for Best Picture and already won the BAFTA for Film Not in the English Language, as well as Best Picture and more at that ceremony. It is also the only of these nominees I have seen, and I was mightily impressed by this haunting, harrowing and deeply impactful portrait of the senseless waste of war, that was equal parts beautiful and horrific. Therefore, I have no opinion on the other nominees, except that I should see them, and I suspect it will be quite noisy on this film’s front.

Animated Feature Film

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

The Sea Beast

Turning Red 

I’ve seen three of these, and I confess to being somewhat baffled by the nomination of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish which I found only intermittently amusing and often quite laboured. Turning Red was my top animated film of 2022 and I would love this zany and heartfelt comedy adventure of family, fandom, friendship and floof to pick up the award. However, I believe another Oscar will be added to Guillermo Del Toro’s collection with the strange, charming, dark, witty and rather wonderful stop motion marvel that is Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio.

Documentary Feature

All That Breathes

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Fire of Love

A House Made of Splinters


I have seen none of these, but because I know the topic of Fire of Love, I pick that one.

Oscar Reflections


I know, I know, the awards were ages ago. I’ve been busy, whaddya want? Despite the various changes that took place, I enjoyed the Oscars ceremony. The absence of a host did not adversely affect things, although the opening speech from Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler suggested that any or all of these comedians would make excellent hosts in the future.

Opening ladies

Other presenters were also entertaining, and it was especially pleasing to see the acting winners of last year presenting the awards for this year in pairs, Gary Oldman and Alison Janney presenting Leading Actor to Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody while Francis McDormand and Sam Rockwell presented Leading Actress to Olivia Colman for The Favourite, whose acceptance speech was one of the most moving.

Colman Malek

Alfonso Cuarón spent a lot of time on the stage, winning three awards personally for Roma, Foreign Language Film, Cinematography and Directing, the last of which was affectionately presented to him by his friend and last year’s winner, Guillermo Del Toro.


Performance highlights included the various nominees for Original Song, especially the eventual winner of this award, ‘Shallow’ (from A Star Is Born) performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry appeared in hilarious costumes that incorporated elements of all the nominees for Costume Design, was another highlight.

Some of the most significant speeches came from the newcomers, especially those in the Short Film categories. For their winning Documentary (Short), Period. End of Sentence, Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa Berton gave an impassioned and empowering speech about women’s rights and the need for films like theirs to get this kind of attention. Similarly, Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-Cobb were inspiring as they received the award for Short Film (Animated) for their charming Bao. And with his first competitive Oscar win, Spike Lee gave a jubilant celebration alongside his co-winners Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott, seeming to climb up the much longer form of his friend Samuel L. Jackson to receive a congratulatory embrace.

As is often the case, however, the Oscars are dogged with as much controversy as glamour. The most heated debate has been around Best Picture, and with good reason. In a year when such unusual fare as Roma and The Favourite and such provocative offerings as BlacKkKlansman were in contention, for the Academy to reward Green Book feels like a conservative cop-out. I don’t think Green Book is a bad film, but it seems remarkably unremarkable. Little in its subject matter or film style stood out, especially in comparison to the distinctive style and unusual content of the films mentioned above.

Hating meme.jpg

As is so often the case, the suspected politics of the Oscars are illuminating. Green Book presents a very simplistic view of US race relations, and it has been described disparagingly as Driving Miss Daisy with the racist in the front. Green Book charts the resolution of racism through a tale of one white man shaking off his prejudices, and in doing so saves a black man with companionship. It’s a white saviour story, where the journey of the white saviour is more prominent than that of the black man who is ‘saved’. It is therefore easy to see why Green Book’s victory annoyed Spike Lee as well as others. I won’t say I’m angry, but I am disappointed that after radical and surprising choices in recent years, Green Book feels like a Best Picture winner from earlier, safer times. Wackier choices next time, I hope.

Green Book Oscar

91st Annual Academy Awards: Part Two – Pictorial Direction


Recently, I took on a new job which takes up rather a lot of my time. Therefore, I haven’t posted as much as I, and you, my devoted fans, would like. With the Oscars just around the corner, here’s my quick predictions for the awards, and a few of my own thoughts on them.




Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book


A Star is Born



I’ve see all but one of these (hopefully get to Green Book one day). All have their strong points, some more than others. My personal favourite film of last year is up for multiple awards, but after its success at the BAFTA awards, I think this year AMPAS will, for the first time, award a film not in the English language the coveted prize of Best Picture. Roma is a magnificent piece of work that makes the ordinary extraordinary, all through the power of cinema. For that, I see AMPAS voting for Roma as Best Picture, and also Best Foreign Language Film for good measure.

Prediction – Roma

Preferred winner – BlacKkKlansman




Alfonso Cuarón for Roma

Yorgis Lanthimoss for The Favourite

Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman

Adam McKay for Vice

Pawel Paliwkowski for Cold War

Much like Best Picture, I think the Academy will reward Roma, not least for the amazing direction and indeed multi-tasking of Alfonso Cuarón. I would personally vote for Spike Lee for his disruption of cinematic norms, but I see Cuarón picking up his second golden baldie.

Prediction – Alfonso Cuarón

Preferred winner – Spike Lee

Roma Cuaron


91st Academy Awards: Part One – Art and Politics


The other day, a cat offered its opinion on the Oscar nominations. At any other time, this would seem strange, but Oscar season is when all opinions on film quality and aesthetic worthiness become, according to all and sundry offering opinions, The Truth. Whatever the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominates for awards, everyone from a broadsheet critic to a tweeting cat knows better.


I have opinions on the nominations, but I’m more interested in what they represent rather than knowing, let alone deciding, The Truth about the best films of last year. I am pleased to see some of my favourites from last year nominated, and while other top films of mine have been largely or entirely overlooked, I don’t think the Academy members are wrong, just have different views. In the run up to the awards, I’ll post my views and predictions on the various nominees, but for starters, let’s consider the nominees for Best Picture.


The dominant story around the nominations is the inclusion of Black Panther. The first superhero film to receive this accolade, it is also a significant black film. A blockbuster with a predominantly black cast, that succeeded critically and commercially with its incorporation of commentary about racial history and isolationism, the nomination of Black Panther is a hugely significant cultural event. Criticism of this nomination is largely based around the film’s lack of aesthetic quality: seemingly the film ‘is not really good enough’ to be nominated.


These criticisms do not specify the standards by which film quality should be measured, and imply elitist attitudes against blockbusters and superhero films in general. This cultural prejudice is interesting, since while less harmful, it is no less a prejudice than that based on skin colour. Artistic merit is subjective, and while there may be critical standards that could be considered objective, perhaps from the practitioners such as editors and cinematographers, these standards are unlikely to be universally accepted. Therefore, it seems more appropriate, and certainly less arrogant, to embrace the various subjective positions and accept the wonderful diversity of perspectives.



Speaking of diversity, I wonder if a predominantly white superhero film would have attracted such discussion. The nomination of Black Panther probably is more a political statement than an artistic one, as the members of AMPAS present themselves as progressive. The other nominees also suggest this different approach, with only two of the Best Picture nominees focused upon white men. Of these, I am yet to see Vice so will post my review subsequently, but at the very least it seems to be a satire of conservative white power, a point underscored by Christian Bale’s acceptance speech at the Golden Globes.


A Star Is Born is probably the most traditional and conservative of the nominees, being a remake of a popular rags-to-riches story in which a man helps a woman while wrestling with his personal demons. I loved the film and have no problem with it being nominated, but I am glad it is the only typical nominee. The biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is also typical, but its focus on a gay musician of Asian descent makes it unusual. Films focused on gay characters have received limited awards attention, Philadelphia, Brokeback Mountain and Moonlight being earlier examples. I’m not the biggest fan of Bohemian Rhapsody, and controversy around its director may keep it out of the frontrunning, but I applaud its inclusion.


Another film with homosexual elements is The Favourite, a surprising inclusion because of its focus upon women but also because it is such an odd film. ‘Costume dramas’ do attract attention – see Sense & Sensibility, Elizabeth, Shakespeare In Love – but rarely with this level of frank sexuality and dark comedy. To me, it is another weird choice, and all the better for it. Roma I am yet to see, but from a racial and gender perspective it is refreshing to see a film about a working-class woman in Mexico recognised. Green Book casts an eye over American racial history, much like Driving Miss Daisy, 12 Years A Slave and Hidden Figures, and once I’ve seen it I’ll let you know what I think.


Speaking of American racial history, I am thrilled to see my favourite film of last year nominated in multiple categories. BlacKkKlansman draws attention to important events with contemporary parallels, while engaging with and subverting cinematic norms. Spike Lee has long been a public face of African-American cinema, and Academy recognition brings attention to this important film.


It is easy to read many of the nominations as political. I do not see this as a problem. Film and the film industry are political, and in an age of social media everyone can be politically engaged. By engaging with debates over representation through their attention to films that address gender, race and sexuality, the members of AMPAS demonstrate social engagement. Ironically, to perpetuate lofty and undefined levels of ‘artistic quality’ would be more elitist and out of touch, as AMPAS has long been accused of. This is a radical time, and what we see in these nominations are contributions to debate and discussion. One of the most prominent platforms in the world is contributing to the debate, and that is something I applaud.