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2021 Oscar Snubs:

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This years Oscars threw a few surprise nominations at us. In this piece, I will be looking through some of the people who may feel unlucky not to be getting glammed up on the 25th April. Check out my snubs for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor.

Best Picture:
This years Best Picture nominations are some of the strongest competitors for this prize in recent memory. However, there’s a couple of films that will feel aggrieved not to have made it in…

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

After picking up five nominations in other categories, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will feel put out that it didn’t clinch the Best Picture nomination too. Realistically, it should’ve picked up a nod for Best Picture.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

One of the most divisive films of the year, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is an incredibly visceral and at times mind boggling film. Its not the kind of film the Oscars normally like, proven by its total of zero nominations however it would’ve been fantastic to see this in the running!

Another Round

One of my personal favourites to come out of a terrific batch of 2020 films, Another Round should’ve been a strong contender for Best Picture. It’ll surely sweep the award for Best International Feature, but with Vinterberg’s nod for Best Director, it’s a big miss in the race for Best Picture.

Supernova

A bit of a long shot this one (and not the only one to come up in this piece), but Supernova was another favourite that felt like it would be right up the Academies street. It’s touching and intimate portrayal of the strains love can feel when combatted with dementia was fantastically done. Just up staged in this awards season by The Father!

Best Director:
Aaron Sorkin

It feels like another snub to not have Sorkin in the running for Best Director, particularly given all the other nominations The Trial of the Chicago 7 received for Oscar night. A big miss but there’s nobody in the lineup I would take out to be replaced by Sorkin.

Charlie Kaufman

Another long shot I know. Kaufman should’ve been in the running for Screenplay and Director. No other filmmaker created something as visceral and bizarre as he did.

Best Actress:
The race for Best Actress has been one of the highlights of this topsy turvy awards season. We’re less than two weeks away and still no further to predicting who will take home the award. Here’s some of the actresses who will feel disappointed to not be in the mix.

Han Yeri

Within the excellence of Minari, Han Yeri does shine amongst her fantastic costars who are rightly nominated. Her performance is fantastic and it’s a shame that she isn’t in the running for this year.

Kate Winslet

Say what you will about Ammonite (and a lot has been said), Kate Winslet is the sheer driving force of the film. Whilst the film leaves a lot to be desired, Winslet is an absolute powerhouse who is ultimately let down by the quality of her surroundings.

Elisabeth Moss

Toni Collette, Lupita Nyongo’o and now Elisabeth Moss. The Academy has once again failed to recognise an excellent performance delivered in the horror genre. Moss is wholly captivating in her turn in The Invisible Man.

Rosamund Pike

Another stand out performance of the year, Rosamund Pike is excellent in I Care A Lot, equalling her performance given in her Oscar nominated performance for Gone Girl. Given her Golden Globe win for this performance too, it’s a shame not to see her nominated.

Sidney Flanigan

Sidney Flanigan’s first acting credit is a truly heartbreaking and real performance delivered in Never Rarely Sometimes Always. Easily one of the best performances put in from last year.

Best Actor:

Mads Mikklesen

Mads Mikklesen feels like an actor who is surely destined to pick up at least one Oscar nomination in his career. He should’ve been nominated in The Hunt and should’ve been nominated for Another Round too. He blends comedy and tragedy expertly and I don’t see any of the other nominees for this year putting in a dance routine like him!

Delroy Lindo

Probably the biggest snub from this years Oscars, Delroy Lindo is pure brilliance in Da 5 Bloods. Playing a man on a mission and a man with nothing to lose, he puts in the best performance of his career and the second best performance of the year (behind Anthony Hopkins).

Ben Affleck

Another long shot, but Ben Affleck delivers the best performance of his entire career in The Way Back (or Finding the Way Back), playing a haunted character with an addiction who sets out on the road to coach his former high school basketball team. A great performance!

Best Supporting Actress

Ellen Burstyn

Up there with Lindo in terms of the weight of snub, Ellen Burstyn was truly spectacular in Pieces of a Woman. The monologue she delivers to Vanessa Kirby is breathtaking. I’m not sure how Glenn Close got the nod over her. The Academy really messed up this one.

Jodie Foster

Joining Rosamund Pike as another Golden Globe winner to not be nominated for the Oscar. It’s surprising not to see Jodie Foster, who is so obviously an Academy favourite, not be nominated. Another one who suffered from her overall surroundings perhaps?

Toni Collette

Another long shot, but Toni Collette is excellent in I’m Thinking of Ending Things. Any four of the actors could’ve been nominated, however Collette puts in my personal favourite performance of the four. It would’ve been nice to see her get what she deserved for Hereditary.

Best Supporting Actor:

Stanley Tucci

Stanley Tucci delivers a career best performance in Supernova (in a career filled with notable performances). Would’ve been an absolute delight to have seen him get his second Oscar nomination for a film he truly puts his heart and soul into.

Jeremy Strong

Taking nothing away from Sacha Baron Cohen’s performance, but he and Jeremry Strong feel like a double act in The Trial of the Chicago 7. It’s a shame to not have them both nominated as I felt they both complimented and played each off each other excellently.

Alan Kim

The highlight of awards season, Alan Kim has been an absolute breath of fresh air for everyone who has been paying attention. His Critics Choice Awards speech being one of the highlights. Not necessarily a snub, just one I would’ve absolutely loved to have seen.

Frank Langella

To make a film like The Trial of the Chicago 7 work, you obviously need the characters to root for, which we get. You also need a villain of the piece, and this role is played to a tee by Langella. A truly hateable character!

FILM RATING

23 years old-Manchester-Film Studies Graduate-Qualified Film and Media Teacher-Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett and Olivia Colman enthusiast. Check out my Letterboxd for more reviews and film goodness. letterboxd.com/joelhowarth

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‘Return To Monkey Island’ – the beloved franchise is back!

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Devolver Digital / Lucasfilm Games

It’s been 13 years since the last Monkey Island instalment was released in 2009. Going back even further, it’s 32 years since the original game ‘The Secret Of Monkey Island’ was released on the Amiga in 1990. Created by game designers Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, it helped launch the point and click genre of adventure games onto a global scale, and introduced young and old gamers to a fun, family-friendly interactive adventure to capture the imagination.

You take control of a young wannabe pirate, Guybrush Threepwood, who arrives on a small island in the Caribbean with aspirations of becoming a – well – a real pirate! A whole host of colourful characters await him on his journey, including the Ghost Pirate LeChuck and Governor Elaine Marley. When the Governor is kidnapped by LeChuck who terrorises the entire Caribbean with his un-dead crew, it falls to you to help Guybrush assemble a crew, get a ship, set sail for the fabled Monkey Island, save Elaine and defeat LeChuck!

‘The Secret Of Monkey Island’ (1990)

This was followed by a hugely successful sequel in 1991; ‘The Secret Of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge’ that expanded and improved on everything we had seen before. Years later in 1997 and under new management after Gilbert and his team parted ways, the third entry – ‘The Curse Of Monkey Island’ – helped introduce new blood to the franchise. New styles of graphics, interactive heads-up display and a full voice cast brought the series to life like never before.

In 2000, the fourth entry – ‘Escape From Monkey Island’ – was released that divided fans and critics. The heart was there, but the inclusion of 3D graphics and removal of the familiar mouse controls for PC was a big shift that didn’t win everyone over. It would be in 2009 when Telltale Games developed an episodic entry called ‘Tales Of Monkey Island’, returning some familiar point and click elements, the full voice cast and a very imaginative fantastical story.

2009 also signalled the revival of both original games with new special editions being released for PC and console. This breathed new life into the classics, bringing the established voice cast to record dialogue, new composition of the score and improved graphics and HUD. It also allowed players to switch between classic and special editions whilst playing for a truly immersive experience of old and new.

‘The Secret Of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge’ Special Edition (2009)

 And then…all was quiet.

Fans cried out for more Monkey Island, but when Disney acquired LucasFilm Games in 2012 and the entire back catalogue of George Lucas, it seemed the adventures were well and truly over. However, in 2021 when Disney brought Lucasfilm Games back, a glimmer of hope was sparked. And then on April 1st 2022, Ron Gilbert announced the development of a brand new Monkey Island game. Being this was April Fool’s Day and Gilbert was known for his tongue-in-cheek jokes, there was a huge pinch of salt taken with the announcement. But just three days later, Devolver Development released the teaser trailer for ‘Return To Monkey Island’

 After two years of secret conversations with Disney and the old team including Gilbert, Grossman, original composer Clint Bajakian and voice actor Dominic Armato, a new story had been written for the 5th entry into the series. Described as both a direct continuation from LeChuck’s Revenge but with new elements that honour the previous games not under Gilbert’s design, it seems this is the game fans have been waiting years for.

A striking difference noted by many was the art style. While hardcore fans longed for a return to the classic pixel design of the original games, something of a nostalgic comfort blanket, artist Rex Crowle (of ‘Tearaway’ fame) brought the look into 2022 and then some. Taking a 2D style but with a cartoonish, almost paperfolded style, this entry looks nothing but unique and unlike anything that has come before. In order to keep the game fresh and appealing to new gamers and old, Gilbert couldn’t simply harken back to a game design that kept the series in the 90s. He had to take new, bold risks to be innovative and fresh. This looks just that.

‘Return To Monkey Island’ (2022)

With Gilbert and the team releasing mini teasers each Monday in a self-proclaimed Monkey Island Monday, critics and fans worldwide have lapped up everything the game has offered. It holds nods and winks the franchise as a whole (especially the originals) whilst giving us glimpses of new characters, islands and puzzles. The HUD retains the point and click charm but in a modern way. And with a full voice cast back to bring new and old characters to life, it seems this is the perfect time to hoist the main sails and set sail once more as we return to Monkey Island…

‘Return To Monkey Island’ will be available on PC via Steam, macOS and Nintendo Switch from Monday 19th September 2022.

FILM RATING
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Manchester Comic Con Returns! With A Star Studded Lineup And More

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With the summer Movie, Comic Book & TV season in full swing with the likes of Stranger Things: Season 4 & Obi-Wan Kenobi currently airing to their respective streaming services and Jurassic World: Dominion amongst other anticipated projects on the horizon, There’s certainly a lot to look forward too over the coming months, And one of those is the return of Monopoly Event’s Manchester Comic Con, the event which promises to bring all the love of Pop Culture & More into one place! Here’s just a small sneak peak at what you can expect below…

Manchester Comic Con General Information Provided By Monopoly Events

The next Comic Con Manchester in the summer of 2022 promises to be an event to remember for comic, tv, and film culture fans across the globe as we bring you a phenomenal guest line-up including Star Trek‘ and Heroes legend Zachary Quinto, Teen Wolf stars Tyler Posey, Holland Roden, Shelley Hennig, Dylan Sprayberry, and Linden Ashby, Superman and Lois stars Tyler Hoechlin, Elizabeth Tulloch, Jordan Elsass, and Alex Garfin, the LEGENDS that are Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner. Lesley Ann Brandt, D.B. Woodside, and Aimee Garcia from Lucifer, The Walking Dead star Chandler Riggs, Cobra Kai stars Martin Kove, Jesse Kove, Ron Thomas, and Tony O’Dell, Little Mermaid voice actor Jodi Benson, Supernatural‘s Emily Swallow, Bai Ling from The Crow, Police Academy‘s Lance Kinsey, and the sweetest of all reunions as we welcome Peter Ostrum, Paris Themmen, Julie Dawn Cole, Michael Bollner and Rusty Goffe from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!

A guest line-up that already is truly unimaginable – and as always – it’s all by the fans for the fans.

Let us not forget our epic Traders Hall as well! Where you could buy everything from a dancing Gizmo plushie to a Baywatch lifebuoy! Finally, our league of loyal cosplayers were all in attendance with their amazing costumes and make up ready and willing to get in a selfie or 100!

The Star Studded Guest Line-up Provided By Monopoly Events

This is sure to be the pop culture event of the summer & one both you & I surely wont want to miss. Am I right?

To buy your tickets and find out more information, head over to the official Manchester Comic Con site before it returns to the BEC Centre, July 30-31.

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PARAMOUNT+ Reveals UK Launch Date, Pricing, Distribution Partners & More

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Paramount+, the global streaming service from Paramount Global, will launch in the UK and Ireland on 22 June 2022. After countless months of waiting It was announced by the company reporting their first-quarter earnings call on 3 of May, during which Paramount’s President and CEO, Bob Bakish, outlines global expansion plans for the streaming service. 

The ongoing momentum of Paramount+ will also see the service launch in South Korea in June, with further launches planned in Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria in the second half of the year. Additionally, in 2023, Paramount+ will launch in India in partnership with Viacom 18, as part of a recently announced agreement, and is poised to participate in this fast-growing market. 

“Paramount is known for its leading portfolio of premium entertainment brands and a robust content engine that fuels our rapidly expanding streaming service, Paramount+. This year will be monumental for our streaming strategy as we accelerate our global ambitions, rapidly expanding Paramount+ in Europe beginning with the UK, Italy, Germany, France and more by the end of this year and debut in Asia with South Korea in June, followed by India in 2023,” said Raffaele Annecchino, President and CEO, International Networks, Studios and Streaming, Paramount Global.  “With an already expansive global footprint and a strong, long-term market-by-market strategy, we are well-poised to continue our positive momentum.” 

Maria Kyriacou, President, Australia, Canada, Israel and UK, Paramount, said, “The addition of Paramount+ to our strong portfolio of free-to-air, pay-TV and streaming services will broaden the range of choice available to our audiences in the UK and Ireland. Paramount+ will be a one-stop destination for Paramount’s biggest brands, where fans of all ages can find exclusive original premium content, global hits, and discover a world of favourites from Paramount’s vast catalogue.” 

PRICING AND DISTRIBUTION

In the UK, Paramount+ will be available online at

https://www.paramountplus.com/

and on mobile and a wide range of connected TV devices via the Paramount+ app, via broad direct-to-consumer distribution through Apple, Amazon, Google, Roku® and Samsung, with more platforms to be announced in the coming months. Users will be able to sign up to the service for £6.99 per month/£69.90 per annum in the UK, after a free seven-day trial*.   

Paramount+ will launch on Sky platforms in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria in 2022 as part of a new multi-year distribution agreement that also includes the extended carriage of Paramount’s leading portfolio of pay TV channels. Sky Cinema subscribers will get the bonus of Paramount+ included at no extra cost. 

ROBUST CONTENT SLATE

Paramount+ will launch in the UK with a broad content slate of more than 8,000 hours of content for the whole family, spanning new and exclusive Paramount+ originals, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from Paramount’s world-renowned brands and production studios, including SHOWTIME®, Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon.  

In addition, Paramount+ is home to some of the world’s most beloved franchises in the world. Audiences in the UK will have access to the Star Trek universe; and the library and new seasons of Taylor Sheridan’s critically acclaimed Yellowstone series. South Park and the MTV Shores 

will also be available, and kids and families franchises, this include SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, Rugrats plus new originals based on Nickelodeon’s most beloved characters such as Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years.   

PARAMOUNT+ ORIGINALS

Some of the most anticipated Paramount+ and SHOWTIME® originals from the US, UK and other international markets will be available in the UK and Ireland when the service launches, including HALO, 1883, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, The Offer, Mayor of Kingstown, Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, The First Lady, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Queen of the Universe and Jerry & Marge Go Large. 

These will join premium international scripted Paramount+ originals produced by VIS – the international studio division of Paramount Global – in association with independent production companies in the UK and around the world. Previously announced original UK dramas heading to Paramount+ include Sexy Beast, A Gentleman in Moscow, Flatshare, The Burning Girls, The Ex-Wife and The Blue. 

Scripted originals from around the world include

Los Enviados (The Envoys) (Mexico) and Cecilia (Mexico) – both of which have been renewed for a second season; Simon Beckett’s Chemistry of Death (Germany); The Signal (France); Bosé (Spain); Fallaci (Italy); At Midnight (Mexico); and more.   

Hours of original factual titles from the UK production community will also be available, including Haunted, The Box, Rise of the Tech Titans, MH370: The Lost Flight, Chalet Girls, LA Hairdressers, Fashion House, Pervert: Catching the Strip Search Caller and Girl Taken. 

KIDS AND FAMILY

Thousands of hours of Kids and Family content on the service will include Paramount+ Original series Fairly Odd Parents: Fairly Odder, iCarly S1 & S2, the reimagined Rumble and Big Nate. They will join original TV movies, including Honour Society, Promposal, Little Wing, Snow Day, Nicole From Last Night and Blue’s Big City Adventure. 

BLOCKBUSTER MOVIES

Paramount+ will offer unlimited access to blockbuster movies with new releases like

Scream 5, time-proven classics such as Grease and Star Trek, and family-friendly selections like PAW Patrol: The Movie, Clifford The Big Red Dog and more. 

EXCLUSIVE PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

Also coming to the UK service this year are Paramount+ exclusives The Thing About Pam and Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons. They join other exclusive titles including South Park: Post Covid and South Park: Post Covid: The Return to Covid, as well as Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, The First Lady and The Man Who Fell to Earth.  


Paramount+ is a global digital subscription video streaming service from Paramount that features a mountain of premium entertainment for audiences of all ages. Internationally, the streaming service features an expansive library of original series, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from world-renowned brands and production studios, including SHOWTIME®, BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel™, in addition to a robust offering of premier local content. The service is currently live in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Nordics, and Australia.   

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