Memo to the Academy: For Your Consideration

Time for the Academy to consider worthy nominees! Pictured: Amy Adams in Arrival
The ballots are in the mail as the race enters the final stretch! Best Picture seems like a done deal for La La Land, and that’s just fine by me, but this season offered one surprise after another beginning with the Golden Globe win for Moonlight just after Aaron Taylor-Johnson snuck past favourite Mahersala Ali that same night. Isabelle Huppert knocked out Natalie Portman at the Globes, then Denzel Washington and Hidden Figures shook up the SAG Awards before Dev Patel and Lion roared at the BAFTAs. With the exception of Best Supporting Actress—Viola Davis has that in the bag for her work in Fences—some races might be closer than we think. On that note, it’s time to send the annual memo to the Academy to vote with their heads—and hearts—for a few contenders that deserve the gold.


TIFF Next Wave Review: 'Before the Streets'

Before the Streets (Avant les rues)
(Canada, 97 min.)
Written and directed by Chloé Leriche
Starring: Rykko Bellemarre, Kwena Bellemare-Boivin, Jacques Newashish, Martin Dubreuil
Every year as of late, the Canadian Academy nominates a completely random movie for Best Picture that flew under the radars of most of us covering the Canadian film beat. Demons barely saw life until it was a Canada’s Top Ten pick, Cast No Shadow invited a collective “huh?” when it scored four nominations, and the ever-confounding call for Maïna despite the film not screening at any qualifying festival can, for better or for worse, draw attention to a film that squeaked by us. (Or flagrantly chose to cheat the system, in the latter case.)


Oscar Live Action Shorts Highlight Connection and Inclusion

La Femme et le TGV
Shorts HC
The five films in this year’s pack of Oscar-nominated live action shorts are a lengthy bunch. They’re good, mind you, but with four of ’em each coming in at nearly half an hour, the full programme is akin to binge-watching a few weeks’ worth of a sitcom, except that only two of them are comedies.


Oscar Animated Shorts: Canuck Nominees Lead Field

Blind Vaysha.
Courtesy of the NFB.
Canada goes for gold in this year’s Oscar race for Best Animated Short. Two of the five nominees are Canuck cartoons and they’re easily the most unique films of the bunch. Let’s build to the best, though, and save the homegrown talent for last.


Contest! Win 'The Edge of Seventeen' on Blu-ray!

Fall in love all over again with one of last year’s hidden gems, The Edge of Seventeen. (Read the Cinemablographer interview with the Edge of Seventeen team here.) This refreshing comedy from newcomer Kelly Fremon Craig and producer James L. Brooks boasts a never better Hailee Steinfeld in a performance that earned her a Golden Globe nomination. The Edge of Seventeen is coming soon to home video from VVS Films and Cinemablographer has Blu-rays to give away to luck readers! Answer the trivia below for your chance to win!

It's Miller Time for Asghar Farhadi

The Salesman (Forushande)
(Iran/France, 125 min.)
Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi
Starring: Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti
Shahab Hosseini & Taraneh Alidoosti in The Salesman directed by Asghar Farhadi
Elevation Pictures
It's Miller Time for Asghar Farhadi. The Oscar winning director of A Separation returns with this sparse parable that draws upon the beloved American play Death of a Salesman. Opening in theatres with the news that Farhadi won’t be attending the Oscars due to President Trump’s outrageous Muslim ban, this nominee for Best Foreign Language Film benefits from hitting screens when viewers must be willing to open themselves up when the powers that be are closing borders to entire pockets of the world. This demanding and at times painfully slow film asks a lot of a viewer to disentangle Farhadi's play with Miller's text. The Salesman might be an exercise in patience, but it is also a necessary essay on compassion.


Less is More in 'The Red Turtle'

The Red Turtle
(France/Belgium/Japan, 80 min.)
Dir. Michael Dudok de Wit, Writ. Michael Dudok de Wit, Pascal Ferran
Sony Pictures Classics
The Red Turtle is a masterful example of how less can be more. This Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature and new Studio Ghibli film—the first international co-production from the Japanese animation empire—takes a very simple story and delivers it with breathtaking modesty. Director Michael Dudok de Wit unfurls a timeless fable in which a young man finds himself shipwrecked and stranded on an island—and nary a word of dialogue aside from a “Hey!” and a mumble here or there. Without anyone to help him until a large mythical red turtle comes ashore, the man is left to survive without so much as a volleyball named Wilson. The Red Turtle is storytelling in its purest and most basic form.


If Men Are From Mars...

The Space Between Us
(USA, 120 min.)
Dir. Peter Chelsom, Writ. Allan Loeb
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson, Carla Gugino, Gary Oldman
Britt Robertson and Asa Butterfield star in The Space Between Us.
VVS Films
Interplanetary romance is a claim that few can make, no matter how alien one’s ex-lover might be. If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then a relationship between a Martian and an Earthling isn’t too farfetched. There’s less space between the red dot in the sky and the blue one, compared to the red and the yellow.


What Were They Smoking?

Bad Seeds (Les mauvaises herbes)
(Canada, 105 min.)
Dir. Louis Bélanger, Writ. Louis Bélanger, Alexis Martin
Starring: Alexis Martin, Gilles Renaud, Emmanuelle Lussier Martinez
Alexis Martin in Les mauvaises herbes.
Les Films Séville
Screenie voters, roll up your ballots and toke a fatty. Some members of the Academy must have been blintzed while casting their votes their year. What were they smoking?


SAG Awards Tonight: Will Win/Should Win

Trevonte Rhodes and André Holland in Moonlight.
Elevation Pictures
The Oscar race for Best Picture is almost a done deal at this point following last night's La La Land win at the Producer's Guild of America Awards. While a PGA isn't the surest sign of Oscar victory (The Big Short won last year), it shows that this season's frontrunner plays well on the only other awards body that uses the same ranked preference ballot that the Academy employs for Best Picture. If someone wants to shake things up, it's now or never.


'It's Only the End of the World' Lands 6 César Noms

Photo by Shane Laverdière, Sons of Manual
Xavier Dolan's It's Only the End of the World might have missed out at the Oscars, but it landed six nominations at France's César Awards, the European country's equivalent to the little golden man. Dolan's film, which was Canada's submission for Best Foreign Language Film in this year's Academy Awards race, earned a César nom in the foreign film category, as well as two nods for Dolan in the categories of Best Director and Best Editing. The film also landed nominations for actors Gaspar Ulliel (Best Actor), Nathalie Baye (Best Supporting Actress), and Best Supporting Actor (Vincent Cassel). The film lead the total number of film nominees for this year's Canadian Screen Awards announced earlier this week.


Oscar Nominations!

Oscar nominations! A big day for Canada with well-deserved nominations for Denis Villeneuve (Best Director, Arrival), Ryan Gosling (Best Actor, La La Land), Patrice Vermette and Paul Hotte (Best Production Design, Arrival), and in a nomination that's long overdue, Theodore Ushev (Best Animated Short, Blind Vaysha). Canada's It's Only the End of the World didn't make the cut for Best Foreign Language Film, but it made it further in the race than anticipated. The nominees in that category are a strong bunch with heavy favourite Toni Erdmann leading the pack and dark horse Tanna passing most pundits' expectations.


Oscars Round 4 - Here Come the Nominations!

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land, an Entertainment One release.
Photo by Dale Robinette
The ballots are in and accountants are busy! The Oscar nominations come out Tuesday morning without the usual fanfare of woohoos! in the room. Not only is the Academy keeping the press announcement press and publicist free, but the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the USA leaves the Oscar nominations at the end of a very dire news cycle. It's times like this one in which a feel-good film like La La Land stands poised to sweep.


How Do You Say 'Get Off My Lawn!' in Swedish?

A Man Called Ove
(Sweden, 116 min.)
Written and directed by Hannes Holm
Starring: Rolf Lassgård
Music Box Films

What’s the Swedish translation for “Get off my lawn?” A Man Called Ove (pronounced Ové) transport Clint Eastwood’s crusty old man from Gran Torino to a peculiar little Nordic community. The only real difference between Ove (played by Rolf Lassgård) and Eastwood’s Walt Kowalski is a shotgun. But Ove will undoubtedly pack some heat in the inevitable American remake of this hugely popular Swedish hit.

Contest: Win Tickets to See 'The Space Between Us' in Select Cities!

Asa Butterfield and Britt Robertson play star-crossed lovers in The Space Between Us, a new interplanetary adventure that’s The Fault in Our Stars meets The Martian. The Space Between Us opens February 3rd from VVS Films and Cinemablographer has tickets to give away in select cities! Answer the trivia below for your chance to win tickets!