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May 31, 2020







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Watch the Oscars
The award ceremony will broadcast Sunday, Feb. 9, starting at 8 p.m. on ABC. Watch the show with people at Red River Theatres (11 S. Main St. in Concord; 224-4600, redrivertheatres.org) where they are having a Red River Theatres’ Couch Potato Oscar Party starting at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45. 
 
See the movies
Most of the movies nominated for an Oscar are either in theaters or available for home viewing — or both. Here is where to find the films (information about theaters is as of Feb. 3 and will likely change on Feb. 7). 
 
Best Picture
Ford v Ferrari — Currently available for purchase, scheduled to be available for rent on Feb. 11. The movie is also screening in theaters in northern Massachusetts. 
The Irishman — Netflix 
Jojo Rabbit — Available for purchase and playing at some area theaters including AMC Londonderry, Chunkys in Manchester, Red River Theatres in Concord and Wilton Town Hall Theatre starting Friday.
Joker — Available for rent or purchase, the movie is screening at Regal Fox Run in Newington and in northern Massachusetts.
Little Women — Screening at most area theaters.
Marriage Story — available on Netflix
1917 — Screening at most area theaters.
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood — available for rent or purchase.
Parasite — Screening at some theaters, including Cinemagic Hooksett and Red River Theatres. Also available for rent or purchase.
 
Other documentaries and international films
American Factory — available on Netflix 
The Cave — available for rent or purchase and on Hulu (with a Live TV subscription).
The Edge of Democracy — available on Netflix 
For Sama — available for rent or purchase, on Amazon Prime with membership and via PBS.
Honeyland — available for rent or purchase or with Hulu subscription (Honeyland is both a documentary and international film nominee)
Pain and Glory — available for rent or purchase
 
Two of the international feature films aren’t yet available for online viewing:
Corpus Christi — According to Variety.com, this Polish entry opens in the U.S. on Feb. 19. (Look for it at Red River Theatres possibly in March.)
Les Miserables — This movie from Amazon Studios actually shares its name with the short film on which it was based (by the same director and featuring some of the same cast). While that short is available for rent, the movie isn’t available for viewing (though it does have a page on Prime Video, suggesting it might be at some point). According to Wikipedia, the film is in theaters now. 
 
Shorts
Blocks of Oscar shorts are playing at Red River Theatres in Concord through Thursday, Feb. 13. Of the documentary short subject nominees, four of the five are available for home viewing: In the Absence (on its own website), Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) (via a variety of subscriptions including Hulu), Life Overtakes Me (Netflix) and Walk Run Cha-Cha (on the New York Times website). St. Louis Superman is not yet available. Of the animated short films, Hair Love is available on YouTube and Kitbull is on Disney+; Decera (Daughter), Memorable and Sister didn’t seem to be available. In the live action short film category, Brotherhood (Vimeo), Nefta Football Club (Vimeo) and The Neighbor’s Window (Vimeo) were easy to find but not Saria and A Sister. Keep an eye on shorts.tv/theoscarshorts for the on-demand release of all the shorts blocks.
 
The rest of the nominees
Ad Astra (available for rent or purchase)
Avengers: Endgame (available for rent or purchase and on Disney+)
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (in some theaters including Cinemagic Hooksett, available for purchase)
Bombshell (in some theaters)
Breakthrough (available for purchase and through HBO)
Frozen II (in theaters)
Harriet (available for rent or purchase)
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (available for rent or purchase and on Hulu)
Judy (available for rent or purchase)
Klaus (Netflix)
Knives Out (in theaters, available for purchase Feb. 7)
The Lighthouse (available for rent or purchase)
The Lion King (available for rent or purchase and on Disney+)
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (available for rent or purchase)
Missing Link (available for rent or purchase and on Hulu)
Rocketman (available for rent or purchase)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (in theaters)
Toy Story 4 (available on Disney+ on Feb. 5)
The Two Popes (Netflix)
 




And the Oscar should go to...
Picks and predictions for this year’s Academy awards — plus where to find the movies

02/06/20



by Amy Diaz
adiaz@hippopress.com
 
Greta Gerwig can’t win best director and Jennifer Lopez won’t win a best supporting actress Oscar.
Those are two of the disappointments from this year’s Oscar nominations but there are still plenty of movies to cheer for when the awards are handed out on Sunday, Feb. 9. And, most fun for movie-goers, most of this year’s nominees are available for viewing now, so if clips of Renee Zellweger’s portrayal of Judy Garland in Judy or the song from Rocketman have you interested in checking out those movies, you can find them pretty easily.
Who will win, who would I award and who was robbed (Greta!)? Here are my 2020 Oscar picks, plus tips on where to find all the films.
 
Best Picture
Nominees: Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, Parasite
My vote: Little Women Gerwig’s adaptation feels so fresh and lively while still true to the spirit of the material. Plus, it’s PG — making it one of the few capital-F Films you can take a wide age range to (maybe 10 and up).
My wild guess: 1917 Sam Mendes’ “single shot” World War I story is an exceptionally well-made movie with acting, camera work and pacing consistently strong throughout. It has won many of the big awards leading up to the Oscars (including the Golden Globe) and feels like a movie that would appeal to a wide range of tastes. 
Dark horse:  Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood Quentin Tarantino’s story of an aging movie star set against an alternate take on the Manson family murders had its moments for me (Pitt’s performance is standout) but there were big chunks of it that I personally didn’t know what to do with (everything to do with Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate). The other dark horse, Parasite, is probably getting best international film as its big prize. 
Shoulda been a contender: My Oscar 10 for 2019’s films? Keep Little Women, Parasite, 1917 and Marriage Story and mix in The Farewell (a dramady about family and culture starring Awkwafina, available now for rent or purchase), Knives Out (the super-fun whodunit that somehow only got an original screenplay nomination but is packed with great performances), Hustlers (Jennifer Lopez’s standout performance is only part of what’s great about this dancers-running-a-con movie; available for rent or purchase), The Lighthouse (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are doing some great work in this totally weird bit of classic horror), Gloria Bell (Julianne Moore did solid work in this character study, available for rent or purchase) and Dolemite Is My Name (the “let’s make a movie” movie featuring Eddie Murphy, on Netflix).
 
Best animated feature
Nominees: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; I Lost My Body; Klaus; Missing Link; Toy Story 4
My vote: Klaus The big releases (Toy Story 4, the shockingly not-nominated-here Frozen II) didn’t really delight me this year. I actually think this sweet Santa Claus origin story from Netflix was my favorite of the five nominees with the visually excellent Missing Link (about a Yeti seeking a home) as a close second. The movie won the Bafta (think British Oscars) for animated feature, so it has a shot.
My wild guess: Toy Story 4 That said, I have a hard time believing that Pixar can’t pull out a win, even if this story that seemed to have a lot to say about being an empty nester and life’s second act (which, are kids’ concerns?) wasn’t my favorite.
Dark horse: Missing Link This was the Golden Globe winner for animated feature and the movie, with its stop-motion-style visuals, shows off technical achievements as well as telling a solid story. 
Shoulda been a contender: Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (Available for purchase and with an HBO subscription). How did this movie get so completely forgotten about? I really liked its sweet take on changing sibling relationships, not to mention its super-fun songs. 
 
Best actress
Nominees: Cynthia Erivo, Harriet; Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story; Saorise Ronan, Little Women; Charlize Theron, Bombshell; Renee Zellweger, Judy.
My vote: Zellweger. She turns in a solid, all-in performance as Judy Garland ...
My wild guess: Zellweger … and has won all sorts of the season’s awards for the role.
Dark horse: Johansson. Of her two nominations I actually think her Jojo Rabbit role is more interesting, but she does a solid job as a woman rebuilding her life post-divorce in Marriage Story. 
Should been a contender: Take out Theron (sorry, the behind-the-scenes at Fox News Bombshell was just “meh”) and replace with any one of these ladies: Julianne Moore for Gloria Bell, Awkwafina in The Farewell, Constance Wu in Hustlers, Beanie Feldstein in Booksmart (the last-day-of-high-school comedy from Olivia Wilde; available for rent or purchase), Ana de Armas in Knives Out, Cate Blanchett in Where’d You Go, Bernadette (her mom-in-mid-life-stasis grew on me; the movie is available for rent or purchase), Elisabeth Moss in Her Smell (Moss is a rocker of the Courtney Love variety in this long but well-acted movie, available for rent or purchase). 
 
Best actor
Nominees: Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory; Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood; Adam Driver, Marriage Story; Joaquin Phoenix, Joker; Jonathan Price, The Two Popes
My vote: Driver. His divorced guy learning to live with his new reality is some grown-up and interesting work. Also, I’m going to pretend at least 30 percent of the nomination is for the very Harrison Ford shrug he gives near the end of The Rise of Skywalker. 
My wild guess: Phoenix. This, like Zellweger, feels like an unbeatable performance. 
Dark horse: Driver. If somehow Banderas or DiCaprio siphons enough votes away from Phoenix, maybe Driver would be the one to pull through. 
Shoulda been a contender: Eddie Murphy was great as the comedian finding his act in Dolemite Is My Name. Song Kang Ho gives us the pain of the Kim family in Parasite. Daniel Craig is having an absolute blast in Knives Out. Though not necessarily a sure-thing winner, I would have liked more conversation about what Adam Sandler is doing in Uncut Gems (still in theaters).
 
Best director
Nominees: Martin Scorsese for The Irishman, Todd Phillips for Joker, Sam Mendes for 1917, Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, Bong Joon Ho for Parasite.
My vote: Bong Joon Ho. Parasite brings together all its elements (visuals, performances, a story that balances comedy and thoughtful examination of issues) in a movie that is riveting and enjoyable to watch. 
My wild guess: Sam Mendes. For the same reasons 1917 would be my best picture guess, I suspect Mendes will continue his winning streak here. 
Dark horse: Bong Joon Ho. The Roma/Green Book split of last year (with Alfonso Cuarón taking best director and Green Book getting best picture) could play out again with Parasite and 1917.
Shoulda been a contender: Let us consider an alternate universe where congratulations would not have been to those men. Obviously, Greta Gerwig, who wrote and directed Little Women, is a solid candidate, and I’d add to that Lulu Wang for The Farewell and Lorene Scafaria for Hustlers, both of whom wrote and directed their films. Then, pick any two: Melina Matsoukas for Queen & Slim (her debut film about a couple on the run from police; available for purchase Feb. 18), Marielle Heller for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (the movie uses the look and tone of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to examine ideas of forgiveness and kindness), Olivia Wilde for Booksmart or Kasi Lemmons for the Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet.
 
Best adapted screenplay
Nominees: The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, The Two Popes
My vote: Little Women. Both in terms of how Gerwig uses the book and how she mixes in Alcott’s writings about her own life, the script balances the needs of the core story with a fresh viewpoint. 
My wild guess: Joker. Screenplay often feels like the category where movies that will get little else get their recognition.
Dark horse: The Irishman. It’s odd to think that this Scorsese saga will get completely shut out but here is one category where it might break through. 
 
Best original screenplay
Nominees: Knives Out, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, Parasite
My vote: Knives Out. This movie was so much fun (and my favorite of 2019 until I saw Little Women). 
My wild guess: Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood. The same reasoning that could get Joker the prize in the preceding category could get Once the award here. 
Dark horse: Parasite. If Parasite is sort of the second-place best picture, it could win some of these down-ballot awards. 
Shoulda been a contender: Since it’s hard to be certain what’s original and what’s adapted, let’s just talk about all the good scripts that could have been in the mix here: The Farewell, Dolemite Is My Name and Hustlers all feel like obvious candidates. I’d also suggest Gloria Bell (a remake of the 2013 Spanish-language film Gloria), Yesterday (the Danny Boyle-directed movie that has fun with the music of The Beatles; available for rent or purchase) and Booksmart.
 
 
Best supporting actress
Nominees: Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell; Laura Dern, Marriage Story; Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit; Florence Pugh, Little Women; Margot Robbie, Bombshell.
My vote: Pugh. She does good work giving Amy layers and motivations that fit with the film’s approach to considering a woman’s life and choices. 
My wild guess: Dern. She gives a solid performance as a soft-seeming but steely and unrelenting divorce attorney and has been on an awards season roll. 
Dark horse: Johansson. I mean, with two nominations it’s not impossible that she’d leave with one award.
Shoulda been a contender: The big “shoulda” of course is Jennifer Lopez for Hustlers  but I also thought Cho Yeo Jong’s Park family matriarch made Parasite, Toni Collette and Jamie Lee Curtis were just some of the actors having a blast in Knives Out and Zhao Shuzhen was great as the beloved grandmother at the heart of The Farewell.
 
Best supporting actor 
Nominees: Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood; Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes; Al Pacino, The Irishman; Joe Pesci, The Irishman; Brad Pitt, The Irishman.
My vote: Pesci. The Irishman is, overall, fine but Pesci with his quiet performance felt like the one new and interesting thing. 
My wild guess: Pitt. This, it seems, is His Year. 
Dark horse: Hanks. America’s kindest man as America’s kindest man — if Pitt and Pesci split the vote maybe the affable Hanks sneaks through. 
Shoulda been a contender: Willem Dafoe is so weird in the so very weird The Lighthouse. I think both Ray Liotta and Alan Alda help increase the acting heft of Marriage Story. Of all the people having fun in Knives Out, Chris Evans seems to be having the bestest of best times. 
 
Best cinematography
Nominees: The Irishman, Joker, The Lighthouse, 1917, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
My vote/wild guess: 1917. Particularly because of how closely the visual framework of the film — one “continuous” shot that follows our characters through the battlefield — is intertwined with the story, 1917 feels like the movie to beat, both in terms of the horse race and artistically. 
Dark horse: The Lighthouse. This tale of two men tending a lighthouse on an island and slowly (or not so slowly) going mad is shot with the look of a classic horror film. I wasn’t entirely certain what I thought about this movie when I first saw it, but the visual style is a thing I found myself thinking back about a lot. 
Shoulda been a contender: In addition to the nominees, the look of the picture had its own impact in Little Women, Parasite and Queen & Slim.
 
Best documentary feature
Nominees: American Factory, The Cave, The Edge of Democracy, For Sama, Honeyland
My vote: American Factory. This movie about a Chinese company opening a factory in Ohio had what felt like the cleanest presentation, with no heavy-handed narration to crowd out the story it wanted to tell. 
My wild guess: Honeyland. If Parasite is a lock for international film, then this would feel like the place to honor Honeyland, which has a nomination in both categories. This movie is also the least like any of the others, telling a narrow story about one woman and her way of life in rural Macedonia. 
Dark horse: For Sama. This very personal story from a filmmaker who is living with her young family in Aleppo, Syria, as the civil war intensifies around them packs an emotional punch. 
Should have been a contender: If you’re looking for more noteworthy foreign language films and documentaries from 2019, a good place to start is the Oscar short lists, which you can see at oscars.org/oscars/92nd-oscars-shortlists. These are the semifinalists in nine categories from which the nominees are picked and a good list if you’re looking to catch up on lesser-known movies from the previous year.  
 
Best international feature film
Nominees: Corpus Christi, Honeyland, Les Miserables, Pain and Glory, Parasite
My vote/wild guess: Parasite. Of the three movies I saw (including Honeyland and Pain and Glory), this is the strongest film and a legitimate contender for best film of 2019. It seems a lock for the international feature film category. 
Dark horse: Pain and Glory. It doesn’t feel right to completely discount the chances of a Pedro Almodovar movie. 
 
Best original score
Nominees: Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917, Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker
My vote/wild guess: Hildur Guðnadóttir for Joker. The score is distinctive and a memorable part of the way the story unfolds. 
Dark horse: Randy Newman for Marriage Story. Both this and Little Women have pretty scores that feel like very classic Hollywood scores. 
 
Best original song
Nominees: “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” Toy Story 4; “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” Rocketman; “I’m Standing with You,” Breakthrough; “Into the Unknown” Frozen II; “Stand Up,” Harriet.
My vote/wild guess: Elton John and Bernie Taupin. It’s a chance to reward this long partnership and probably the most interesting of the nominated songs. 
Dark horse: “Into the Unknown.” This is very much not “Let It Go” but this is also the only chance to show any love to Frozen II. 
Shoulda been a contender: Though I’m only lukewarm on the movie itself, I think Frozen II did have two charming songs: Olaf’s “When I Am Older” and the power ballad “Lost in the Woods.” Meanwhile, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part had two winners: “Catchy Song” and “Not Evil.”
 
Best film editing
Nominees: Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Parasite
My vote: Parasite
My wild guess: The Irishman. I mean, at three and a half hours, what exactly was edited but since 1917 isn’t in this category (why?) this would seem like a place The Irishman’s fans could reward it while other voters are split between Joker and Parasite.  
Dark horse: Joker. I feel like this movie is going to pop up somewhere in addition to Phoenix’s award. 
Shoulda been a contender: Both 1917 and Little Women feel like they should have been in the mix for this category. 
 
Best production design
Nominees: The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, 1917, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, Parasite
My vote: Parasite. The movie does a good job of using visual cues to examine the divide between the wealthy Park family and the struggling Kim family. 
My wild guess: Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood. It captures a period without feeling stagy and that period happens to have some nostalgia value for some Oscar voters. 
Dark horse: 1917. The battlefield is believably recreated. 
 
Best sound editing
Nominees: Ford v Ferrari, Joker, 1917, Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
My vote: 1917. For this and the next category, 1917 would get my vote because of its “you are there” quality.
My wild guess: Ford v Ferrari. This very decent but kinda forgettable movie about race cars in the 1960s feels like it has its best shot at an award for its use of sound to put the audience in the races depicted. 
 
Best sound mixing
Nominees: Ad Astra, Ford v Ferrari, Joker, 1917, Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood
My vote: 1917
My wild guess:  Ford v Ferrari. For reasons stated above. 
Dark horse: Ad Astra. That it shows up suggests it has fans.  
 
Best visual effects
Nominees: Avengers: Endgame, The Irishman, The Lion King, 1917, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
My vote: Avengers: Endgame. Because a decade of storytelling and a massive climactic battle feels like it should win something. 
My wild guess: 1917. But then again the visuals game of this movie is so strong that I feel like the very real, dirt-and-blood story it’s telling might eclipse the superheroes and aliens of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 
Dark horse: The Irishman. Personally, I feel like the de-aging of De Niro is on par with the frozen-faced animals of The Lion King in terms of how little either effect brought to its film. 
 
Best costume design
Nominees: The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
My vote: Little Women. There is a lived-in quality to both the sets and the clothes in Little Women that helps to keep the hats and hoop skirts from pushing the story and characters into Distant History territory. 
My wild guess: Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood. The look of late 1960s Hollywood doesn’t, for the most part, feel “costumey.” 
Dark horse: Jojo Rabbit. The emotional impact of seeing a specific pair of shoes feels like, in part, a costume design accomplishment. 
 
Best makeup and hairstyling
Nominees: Bombshell, Joker, Judy, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, 1917
My vote: Judy. Zellweger becomes Garland — enough, at least, that we can forget we’re watching Zellweger and get to know Judy. 
My wild guess: Bombshell. At least half the impact of this movie is making us see Megyn Kelly when we look at Charlize Theron.  
Dark horse: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil 
 
Best animated short film
Nominees: Dcera (Daughter), Hair Love, Kitbull, Memorable, Sister
My vote/wild guess: Hair Love. Of the two I could see (this and Kitbull), Hair Love is the most sweet and charming — and, as it played in front of The Angry Birds Movie 2, probably the most familiar. 
 
Best live action short film
Nominees: Brotherhood, Nefta Football Club, The Neighbors Window, Saria, A Sister
My vote/wild guess: Nefta Football Club. I didn’t see Saria and A Sister; of the other three, the Nefta Football Club with its cute setup and tidy resolution was the most enjoyable viewing experience. 
 
Best documentary short subject
Nominees: In the Absence, Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re A Girl), Life Overtakes Me, St. Louis Superman, Walk Run Cha-Cha
My vote/wild guess: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re A Girl). I didn’t see St. Louis Superman, but of the other four, Learning to Skateboard is definitely my favorite, with its cautiously hopeful tale of a school in Afghanistan giving girls wider options for their life. Walk Run Cha-Cha, which tells the story of the long marriage of a couple that has taken up the hobby of ballroom dancing, is my runner-up. 

 






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