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2024 Oscar Predictions: Who will Win – and who could?

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Picture Courtesy: The Academy

The 2024 Academy Awards promise to be a celebration of cinematic excellence, showcasing the diverse talent and creativity that have graced the silver screen over the past year. From breakout performances to groundbreaking storytelling, each category holds a trove of contenders vying for the coveted golden statuette. The race for Best Picture is often at the forefront of speculation, with films that resonate emotionally, socially, or artistically standing as prime contenders. This year, movies like ‘Oppenheimer,’ ‘The Zone of Interest,’ ‘Anatomy of a Fall‘, ‘Past Lives‘ and more are battling against each other to win the night’s top prize. All the movies in the category are different from each other and that’s why this year’s Oscars are so special.

Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ has won every precursor prize and is poised to take home the most number of trophies at the 96th Academy Awards. It has received 13 nominations at this year’s event, just one shy of tying the record.

Meanwhile, the acting categories are a battleground of talent, where seasoned actors and rising stars are competing for the ultimate prize. From Cillian Murphy‘s haunting portrayal of J Robert Oppenheimer to Da’vine Joy Randolph’s stunning performance as the grieving mother, this year’s acting nominees didn’t leave any stone unturned to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Amidst the speculation and anticipation, predicting the Oscars involves a delicate balance of critical analysis, industry insights, and a touch of intuition. As the red carpet unfurls and the envelopes are opened, the 2024 Oscars will undoubtedly provide a night of suspense, surprises, and celebration for the extraordinary talent that has graced theaters throughout the year. Here are our final predictions in all the major categories for the 96th Academy Awards.

Best Picture

American Fiction
Anatomy of a Fall
Barbie
The Holdovers
Killers of the Flower Moon
Maestro
Oppenheimer
Past Lives
Poor Things
The Zone of Interest

Will Win: ‘Oppenheimer’
Could Win: ‘The Zone of Interest’

There seems to be no competition in this category. ‘Oppenheimer’ swept the entire awards season with the most number of accolades and won at every big event. So, it doesn’t come as a shock when every prediction list has ‘Oppenheimer’ as the winner in the list.

OPPENHEIMER, written and directed by Christopher Nolan

Best Director

Jonathan Glazer, The Zone of Interest
Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things
Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon
Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall

Will Win: Christopher Nolan, ‘Oppenheimer’
Could Win: Jonathan Glazer, ‘The Zone of Interest’

Jonathan Glazer did a fantastic job of giving viewers a different and haunting perspective of the Holocaust. However, it was Christopher Nolan who kept us on the edge of our seats with a 3-hour biopic. He made the aforementioned biopic the biggest film of the year and also the most important one.

Christopher Nolan (CBS/Golden Globes)

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper, Maestro
Colman Domingo, Rustin
Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers
Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer
Jeffrey Wright, American Fiction

Will Win: Cillian Murphy, ‘Oppenheimer’
Could Win: Paul Giamatti, ‘The Holdovers’

Cillian Murphy didn’t enter the race as the favorite. However, as time passed, it became clear that the guilds and critics associations realized how powerful his performance was. His wins at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, SAG Awards, and Critics’ Choice Awards have made him an undeniable favorite in this category.

Best Actress

Annette Bening, Nyad
Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon
Sandra Hüller, Anatomy of a Fall
Carey Mulligan, Maestro
Emma Stone, Poor Things

Will Win: Lily Gladstone, ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’
Could Win: Emma Stone, ‘Poor Things’

The Best Actress race this year is very interesting. The decision to have Gladstone in the Lead Actress category baffled everyone. But it seems the industry loved her work so much that it didn’t matter which category she was nominated in. Meanwhile, Emma Stone closely followed her and won several accolades for her performance in ‘Poor Things’. Although it’s pretty difficult to choose in this category, we’ll go ahead and predict Lily Gladstone as the winner. It would be a historical win for Gladstone and a welcome change as well.

Lily Gladstone (CBS/Golden Globes)

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown, American Fiction
Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon
Robert Downey Jr., Oppenheimer
Ryan Gosling, Barbie
Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things

Will Win: Robert Downey Jr.

Yep, here we don’t believe anyone else could take the trophy. By winning almost every award on the horizon, Downey Jr. has made it impossible to think of anyone else as the winner in this category. The actor took the world by storm by making a sort of comeback to more hard-hitting cinema. This is one of the few categories where the winner has already been chosen.

Robert Downey Jr as Lewis Strauss un ‘Oppenheimer’ (Universal)

Robert Downey Jr as Lewis Strauss un ‘Oppenheimer’ (Universal)

Best Supporting Actress

Emily Blunt, Oppenheimer
Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
America Ferrera, Barbie
Jodie Foster, Nyad
Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers

Will Win: Da’Vine Joy Randolph, ‘The Holdovers’

Another category where no one needs to think about who to choose. Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s stunning performance in ‘The Holdovers’ took everyone by storm. Since the beginning of this awards season, Randolph has been one of the few names who have managed to win accolades from the smallest groups of critics. So, Randolph is surely taking the trophy home.

Dominic Sessa, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Paul Giamatti in ‘The Holdovers’ (Focus Features)

Best Original Screenplay

Justine Triet and Arthur Harari, Anatomy of a Fall
David Hemingson, The Holdovers
Bradley Cooper and Josh Singer, Maestro
Samy Burch, May December
Celine Song, Past Lives

Will Win: Justine Triet and Arthur Harari, ‘Anatomy of a Fall’
Could Win: David Hemingson, ‘The Holdovers’

It’s a travesty that Justine Triet’s extraordinary ‘Anatomy of a Fall might not win many awards at the biggest night of Hollywood. However, the Screenplay category might turn out to be the one where Triet could triumph. Although she might face tough competition from Hemingson (‘The Holdovers’), ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ is the predicted winner in this category.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Cord Jefferson, American Fiction
Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, Barbie
Tony McNamara, Poor Things
Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
Jonathan Glazer, The Zone of Interest

Will Win: Cord Jefferson, ‘American Fiction’
Could Win: Christopher Nolan, ‘Oppenheimer’/Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, ‘Barbie’

Jefferson’s work in ‘American Fiction’ has made him earn several precursor prizes, but it seems highly possible that he’d be known as an Academy Award winner after Sunday’s event. But there’s a catch. The inclusion of ‘Barbie’ in this category has made this race a little unpredictable and some of the industry voters are still flabbergasted about how Barbie was not nominated in some categories. So, it’s a bit hard to choose the winner. However, we are going with ‘American Fiction’ as the winner in this category.

A still from ‘American Fiction’ (Amazon MGM)

Best International Feature

Io Capitano, Italy
Perfect Days, Japan
Society of the Snow, Spain
The Teacher’s Lounge, Germany
The Zone of Interest, United Kingdom

Will Win: ‘The Zone of Interest,’ United Kingdom

This category had the power of being the most interesting one if ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ had been nominated here. However, the exclusion of the aforementioned title made it pretty obvious that Jonathan Glazer’s haunting exploration of the holocaust would emerge as the winner. It would be a well-deserved victory because it is nerve-wracking.

Best Animated Feature

The Boy and the Heron
Elemental
Nimona
Robot Dreams
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Will Win: ‘The Boy and the Heron’
Could Win: ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’

On a serious note, there are only two movies that are up for this award and both are technical marvels. However, it’s Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Boy and the Heron’ that soulfully explores several thought-provoking themes. Miyazaki has once again told the world that he is the greatest animator alive and continues to be a force to be reckoned with. The race will be very close, but we predict ‘The Boy and the Heron’ as the winner.

A still from ‘The Boy and the Heron’ (Studio Ghibli)

Best Documentary Feature

Bobi Wine: The People’s President
The Eternal Memory
Four Daughters
To Kill a Tiger
20 Days in Mariupol

Will Win: ’20 Days in Mariupol’
Could Win: ‘Four Daughters’

This is another category that is very difficult to predict. ’20 Days in Mariupol’ is an extraordinary take on the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war. It is brutal and heart-wrenching. However, ‘Four Daughters’ is one of the dark-horses here. The documentary shows the brutal effects of extremism and radicalization. Who will win? Well, we have chosen ’20 Days in Mariupol’ for its brutal portrayal of how war can be so devastating.

’20 Days in Mariupol’ (PBS)

Predictions in Other Categories:

Best Documentary Short: ‘The ABCs of Book Banning’
Best Animated Short: ‘War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko’
Best Live-Action Short: ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar’
Best Film Editing: ‘Oppenheimer’
Best Original Score: ‘Oppenheimer’
Best Cinematography: ‘Oppenheimer’
Best Costume Design: ‘Poor Things’
Best Makeup & Hairstyling: ‘Poor Things’
Best Original Song: ‘What Was I Made For?’, ‘Barbie’
Best Sound: ‘The Zone of Interest’

 

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‘Swede Caroline’ Review | An Unbe-leaf-ably Gourd Thyme!

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“Swede Caroline” is a delightful romp that showcases the eccentric world of competitive vegetable growing, tossing in a bushel of comedy and unexpected twists with a touch of heartfelt depth. The film, presented in a mockumentary style that’s influenced by the latest trend of Netflix’s true crime documentaries, follows the story of Caroline, played brilliantly by Jo Hartley, as she navigates the cutthroat world of giant vegetable competitions. Hartley’s nuanced performance anchors the film like a finely seasoned dish bringing depth and authenticity to her character’s journey from suburban strife to high-stakes drama by solving mysteries one vegetable at a thyme!”

Directed by Brook Driver and Finn Bruce, “Swede Caroline” starts innocently enough but quickly sprouts and escalates into a wild ride of conspiracy, betrayal, and unexpected leafy alliances. The film cleverly combines elements of “Best In Show” and “Hot Fuzz” with a touch of “Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” creating a unique and engaging British experience for the audience. For the directors Swede Caroline” is a passion project; one with a lot of phallic puns. This is evident in each character, all of which are loved in the way you might love your weird relative. Bruce and Driver’s attention to detail is another sign of the duo’s love for this project.

In this British Mockumentary, the competitive giant vegetable-growing world is rocked by scandal when up-and-coming prospect Caroline (Jo Hartley) has her prized marrow plants stolen. With her life turned upside down and desperate for answers, she turns to two private detectives (Aisling Bea and Ray Fearon), who are then dramatically kidnapped. Are the events linked? No, of course not. But Caroline thinks they are and the hunt for her missing marrows takes her way beyond the allotments, plunging her into a national corruption scandal that goes all the way to the top!! As Caroline readies herself for the big championship with the help of her trusty partners Willy (Celyn Jones) and Paul (Richard Lumsden), she sets off in search of the truth. On the way enduring kidnappings, car chases and – worst of all – courgettes. But will the culprit ever be caught? Caroline (Jo Hartley) is being followed by a documentary crew led by Kirsty (Rebekah Murrell) whose report on pesticides has tangentially uncovered controversy among the large vegetable growing community that competes each year at Shepton Mallet but uncovers something more sinister than horticultural sabotage, ultimately peeling back the layers of deception in the veggie underworld.

 Photograph: Picnik Entertainment

Throughout, the film bounces from one quintessential British location to the next, showcasing what the village environment has to offer as Caroline’s quest leads her from allotments to service stations, by way of chip shops and the odd lay-by. This award-winning debut Feature from Bruce and Driver pokes a comedic carrot at the eccentric world of competitive vegetable growers, And not since Wallace and Gromit encountered the were-rabbit has competitive vegetable growing been so quarrelsome.

The vegetable-packed ensemble cast of eccentric characters includes Paul Lumsden, Celyn Jones, Aisling Bea, and Alice Lowe, all deliver standout performances, adding layers of humour and depth to their quirky characters. The witty dialogue, improvisation, and offbeat comedy kept me engaged and entertained throughout the film.

Jo Hartley who’s also an executive producer on the film gives such a standout performance as Caroline, her comedic timing is excellent, as walks that line of making a character smart but also oblivious and missing out on common sense, which is a great combination for Caroline. She’s the heart of this band of lovable garden-growing eccentrics. Caroline feels like a very real character, a convincingly lonely woman invested in her marrows and equally reliant and irritated by her friends. Hartley suits this film well and showcases a performance that’s a step away from her recent roles. I fell in love with her innocence and determination to win.

Caroline exudes a certain discomfort in front of the camera, yet maintains a stoic British demeanour, unwilling to make a scene. Despite her reluctance, Harlrley’s performance is fueled by raw emotion, revealing a character who resists the life imposed upon her by the film. Nevertheless, when the camera turns towards her, Caroline radiates a captivating presence, injecting a sense of truth, authenticity, and vitality into the film. Surprising both the audience and her fellow characters, Caroline and Hartley both emerge as a hidden gem, gradually winning hearts and garnering support as the film progresses. Caroline proves to be a captivating presence that grows on viewers over time, leaving a lasting impression that transcends initial perceptions. Jo Hartley’s performance as Caroline is a standout, capturing the essence of a reluctant hero in a world of cutthroat competition. Like the film, she is a grower, not a shower.

 Photograph: Picnik Entertainment

There is an air of conspiracy made by the committee’s decisions denying Caroline her place in the competition because of her massive marrows, made by vegetable bigwigs over misogyny and class. Frustrated are her two sidekicks in the form of Richard Lumsden and Celyn Jones, Lumsden brings that classic overconfidence without the intelligence to back it up, loyal but not always the most helpful, which is enjoyable to watch, he’s a conspiracy theorist and features some of the greatest and wackiest t-shirt designs. Then Jones brings us the adorable and dedicated Willy, who’s committed to helping Caroline live out her dreams. He’s a simple guy and Jones’ performance makes him an absolute joy to watch. The film is gloriously silly, with the three reliably retaining their composure as they uncover the truth behind Caroline’s tragic vegetable loss.  

 Photograph: Picnik Entertainment

The mystery takes in local corruption, kidnapping, and mysterious Russian femme fatales.  Toss in a slice of inappropriate madness from swinging private detectives Lawrence and Lousie played by Aisling Bea and  Ray Fearon, who is everything these vegetable growers are not, but part of a world that Caroline used to belong to. Fay Ripley, Jeff Bennett, and Neil Edmond turn up as fellow rival growers, whilst featuring a scene-stealing cameo from Alice Lowe,

“Swede Caroline” is not just a comedy; it’s a heartfelt exploration of friendship, rivalry, and the pursuit of one’s passion. It’s a film that will make you laugh out loud, but also tug at your heartstrings with its genuine portrayal of human emotions. I cannot express enough how much I appreciated the film since starting my own journey into gardening and growing my own vegetables not as big as Gary. It’s provided me with a new perspective and appreciation for the intricacies of gardening and growing veg , highlighting the hard work and dedication that goes into cultivating a successful garden. “Swede Caroline” has become my favourite independent quintessential British film, capturing the beauty and challenges of garden growing in a heartfelt and authentic way. The characters and storyline though made me laugh have resonated with me on a personal level, inspiring me to continue learning and growing as a gardener, and who knows maybe I’ll grow some marrows that Caroline herself would be proud of. I am grateful for the insight and inspiration that “Swede Caroline” has brought to my gardening endeavours, making it a truly memorable and cherished film.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, “Swede Caroline” is a must-see for fans of quirky comedies and mockumentaries. It’s a film that will leave you smiling and rooting for the underdog, all while immersing you in a world where giant vegetables reign supreme.

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‘Sometimes I Think About Dying’ Review | A Poignant Portrait On Internal Struggles

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Based on the 2013 play Killers by Armento and a 2019 short, Sometimes I Think About Dying, director Rachel Lambert’s film “Sometimes I Think About Dying,” starring and produced by Daisy Ridley, offers a poignant and introspective exploration of social anxiety, isolation, and suicidal impulses. The film delicately unfolds in a small Oregon coastal town, with Ridley’s character, Fran, navigating the background of life as she grapples with daydreams of her death. Ridley delivers a captivating performance, showcasing her range outside of her iconic role in the Star Wars saga. 

Lost on the dreary Oregon coast, Fran (Daisy Ridley) finds solace in her cubicle, listening to the constant hum of officemates and occasionally daydreaming to pass the time. She is ghosting through life, unable to pop her bubble of isolation, however when a friendly new coworker, Robert (Dave Merheje) persistently tries to connect with her. Though it goes against every fibre of her being, she may have to give this guy a chance. 

Fran likes to think about dying. It brings sensation to her quiet life. When she makes the new guy at work laugh, it leads to more: a date, a slice of pie, a conversation, a spark. The only thing standing in their way is Fran herself. 

Photograph: Vertigo Releasing

Working as an office administrator, it’s a role she quietly excels at, the film masterfully captures the awkwardness of Fran’s interactions with her co-workers, highlighting her struggles to speak up and navigate social situations. Lambert’s direction immersed me in Fran’s perspective, creating a sense of intimacy and empathy for her internal struggles with introversion and loneliness. The portrayal of social anxiety and awkwardness feels authentic and relatable, resonating with the complexities of human connection in a world filled with loneliness. Lambert chose to tell this story, identifying as I did with Isolation and how a person can feel when they struggle to find a connection in the world that surrounds them. Fran ultimately is a person who wants to feel love, and joy and communicate with others but that path throughout the film plays mysteriously and is often out of reach for her. So for comfort like many others, Fran retreats into her mind, creating a landscape of forest floors and oceans. The mind is where you can imagine all sorts of things for delight and often stimulation. Sometimes they are images that allow her to fathom the ultimate escape from life. These ideations, while allowing her to feel the extremity of sensation, can only deepen her feelings of being too ‘different’ or ‘strange.’ Thus, a chasm between her public and private self grows. Until that is, she meets Robert, who disrupts her patterns of orderly disassociation.

There’s a lot of loneliness in the world today, and this film captures that realistically, slowly revealing each of the two main characters. Fran and Robert meet and awkwardly start a relationship. As they embark on this awkward relationship, the film beautifully balances moments of melancholy with glimpses of hope and humour. Lambert skillfully restricts dialogue, allowing visual storytelling to take centre stage and evoke emotional depth. The film’s blend of influences, from deadpan humour to human drama, results in a captivating and thought-provoking narrative that raises awareness about mental health issues. If you are introverted like me, the arrival of new friends tends to disrupt patterns. However, she is embraced instead of being shunned by Robert at her most vulnerable. She is seen. And her pain appears to dissolve. Fran is a woman who channels so much of the anxiety, fear, and dread that plagues her body in this moment, and, yet, she remains determined to find meaning. She is unwearying, messy, hilarious and, also, in some pain. I found it rather consoling to see that portrayed honestly. 

Photograph: Vertigo Releasing

“Sometimes I Think About Dying” serves as a quiet yet profound examination of social anxiety, depression, and the challenges of putting oneself out there. The film’s beautiful score and tone enhance its portrayal of an introverted love story, offering a tender and sensitive look at the complexities of the human experience. When thinking about death one is worrying about living. I get so worked up about living, and living rightly that I overthink in my head so I end up taking up residence there. That’s what Fran does. With Robert now in the picture, Lambert allows Fran’s story to step out into the day which allows Fran to see what’s right in front of her. And risk loving it all for the sake of being alive. Fran is not interested in hurting herself, that’s not her goal.  What I felt whilst watching is that pain, for her, has to do more with figuring out how to be a person in the world, and to be comfortable with all that entails. Ridley’s standout performance, coupled with Lambert’s nuanced direction, makes this film a compelling and emotionally resonant cinematic experience that offers an artful portrayal of shyness.

This independent feature truly showcases the highest level of craftsmanship in filmmaking. The static lensing and composed shots, thanks to cinematographer Dustin Lane, guide the audience to notice tiny, delicate details ultimately finding beauty and emotional resonance in everyday moments. Director Fran’s subtle approach allows us to dig deeper into the story, with lead actress Ridley’s remarkable ability to convey emotions through subtle gestures adding a layer of depth to the film. The score by composer Dabney Morris brings such a melancholic feel to the film, which is the perfect accompaniment to writers Kevin Armento, Stefanie Abel Horowitz and Katy Wright-Mead’s screenplay.

Photograph: Vertigo Releasing

Alongside a subtle sense of melancholy, as we’ve mentioned, the film also offers moments of hope and joy in the protagonist’s simple pleasures. From Fran excelling at her job to enjoying cottage cheese and wine in her apartment, the film embraces the beauty in life’s small moments. The inclusion of black humour adds an unexpected twist, such as during a murder-mystery game where Fran’s fascination with death serves her well. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

In conclusion, “Sometimes I Think About Dying” is a moving and thought-provoking exploration of mental health and human connection, brought to life through stellar performances and visually rich storytelling. Lambert’s directorial vision and Ridley’s compelling portrayal make this film a must-watch for those seeking a deeper understanding of social anxiety and the complexities of the human psyche. I found it rather cathartic and sincere.

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First Look at Maggie Gyllenhaal’s ‘The Bride’

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Maggie Gyllenhaal/Niko Tavernise/Instagram

We have our first look at ‘The Bride.’ New images released by director Maggie Gyllenhaal show Christian Bale as Frankenstein’s monster. Gyllenhaal, who is teaming up Warner Bros. Pictures shared the first images from a camera test to her Instagram account. The all-star cast opposite of Christian Bale and Jessie Buckley are Penélope Cruz, Peter Sarsgaard and Annette Bening. The film will also have “Joker” cinematographer Lawrence Sher.

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