Where, or where has the time gone…

Marie Asner’s Academy Award Picks for 2015 Films---The Oscars


Where, or where has the time gone…it seems yesterday this reviewer was at her computer with hot cocoa and writing comments. The outside temperature being zero. This year, 2016, it is a balmy 45 degrees and winter so far in this area has been mild. Can’t say that for the tough choices made to put together the Oscar Nominations list by the Academy. 2015 was an above-average year for quality films, and I don’t mean heading for another galaxy, fighting dinosaurs in a park or leading a revolution in a land of Districts where hunger is prevalent. Listed below are the Oscar Nominations and my choices.






The Big Short---on my list for one of the worst films of the year. Try to understand the strategy here without an accounting degree.
Bridge of Spies--- gives us the Cold War and yet another confrontation with a foreign government.
Brooklyn---a sweet romance set in the 1950’s of an immigrant who finds happiness in America.
Mad Max: Fury Road --- an old style film-making without computer effects and this is how the world would look without oil.
The Martian---supposed to be humor, but deadly when you get down to the basics of survival on another world.
The Revenant---survival in the 1800’s after being mauled by a bear and left behind by so-called friends. See any resemblance to “The Martian?”
Room--- gave some movie-goers nightmares about being held captive by a lunatic.
Spotlight---journalistic thoroughness as the Boston Globe explores the Catholic Church.
My Choice: The Revenant


What Happened To? My favorite is still “Sicario” with storyline, acting, cinematography and music. “99 Homes” and how the housing industry is worked behind the scenes. “Beasts Of No Nation” and building soldiers out of children. “Youth” with a secret that gradually unfolds through music.






Adam McKay ---The Big Short and I can’t figure this one out as I thought there was rough editing between graphics and actors.
George Miller--- Mad Max: Fury Road for pulling together an enormous cast with all those stunts and a storyline. Plus, he did the same thing with Mel Gibson years ago.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ---The Revenant and he brought his crew out of the wilderness intact.
Lenny Abrahamson ---Room and using a closed space as effective as other directors did with landscapes.
Tom McCarthy ---Spotlight and concentrating on the facts of the story and not personalities.
My Choice: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for The Reverent


What Happened To: Dennis Villeneue for “Sicario” and keeping the secret of the storyline intact.
Paolo Sorrentino for “Youth” and letting two elderly men tell their stories while the audience sees their lives unfold. Cary Joji Fukunaga for “Beasts Of No Nation” and telling the story of war through the eyes of children. Sarah Gavron for “Suffragette” and what it took for women to get the vote in Great Britain was sometimes as harsh as fighting bears.




Best Actor


Bryan Cranston ---Trumbo and humor in the story of a blacklisted Hollywood writer.
Matt Damon---The Martian also with a sense of humor while millions away from home.
Leonardo Di Caprio ---The Revenant and looking as though that animal skin on his back was part of him.
Michael Fassbender---Steve Jobs and giving us a glimpse into the heart of the computer person.
Eddie Redmayne ---The Danish Girl and transforming from one gender to another with grace.
My Choice: Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl


What Happened To? Harvey Kietel or Michael Caine for “Youth” and their portrayals of men with secrets. Johnny Depp for “Black Mass” and the mind of a murderer. Tom Hardy for “Mad Max: Fury Road,” but his role in “The Revenant” got a nomination.



Best Supporting Actor


Christian Bale ---The Big Short and how trying to figure out the stock market can get a nomination.
Tom Hardy ---The Revenant and the villain of the year.
Mark Ruffalo ---Spotlight and how a temper can make the nominations list .
Mark Rylance ----Bridge of Spies and the Cold War comes alive.
Sylvester Stallone ---Creed and Rocky Balboa will be on the screen as long as Mars is a planet.
My Choice: Tom Hardy for The Revenant


What Happened To: David Morse for “Concussion” and a mournful performance as a ill football player. Idris Elba for “Beasts Of No Nation” and training children to be soldiers. Michael Shannon for “99 Homes” and how to cower people into housing submission.



Best Actress


Cate Blanchett ---Carol and the 1950’s comes alive with a woman’s story in which nuances count.
Brie Larson ---Room and survival with a child in another’s person’s prison.
Jennifer Lawrence ---Joy and housewives come alive with new mops.
Charlotte Rampling ---45 Years and the anatomy of marriage with ebbs and flows.
Saoirse Ronan ---Brooklyn and the sweetness of youth combined with determination to succeed.
My Choice: Cate Blanchett for Carol


What Happened To? Emily Blunt in “Sicario” and being the newcomer in a world of government agents. Carey Mulligan for “Suffragette” and the determination to build a new life. Cate Blanchette for ‘Truth” may have gone in favor of the “Carol” nomination.




Best Supporting Actress


Jennifer Jason Leigh ---The Hateful Eight and what it takes to survive with a group of men in a snowbound cabin.
Rooney Mara ---Carol and the meeting of a young girl with an elegant mature woman.
Rachel McAdams ---Spotlight and she was only part of this acting team and didn’t have much to do
Alicia Vikander ---The Danish Girl and how being a wife involves much, much more.
Kate Winslet ---Steve Jobs and the steady force that kept Jobs grounded.
My Choice: Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl


What Happened To? Jane Fonda for “Youth” who stole her scenes as an aging actress. Helen Mirren for “Trumbo” and playing Hedda Hopper to Mirren in “Woman in Gold” and searching for lost art. Rachel Weicz for “Youth” and trying to get through to an aging father.




Best Animated Feature Film


Anomalisa---an adult film that takes you on a trip through someone’s mind.
Boy and The World--- and looking at a world through the eyes of a young boy.
Inside Out--- gives us a view into the conflicting emotions of a teenage girl.
Shaun the Sheep Movie--- with hardly any dialogue and yet the nuances are hilarious.
When Marnie Was There ---a Japanese anime film and about foster care for children
My Choice: Inside Out


What Happened To: “Minions” and how the little creatures came to be. “Peanuts” and Charlie Brown with his devious kite. “The Good Dinosaur” with what an alternate version of what could have happened in prehistoric times.



Best Documentary


Amy---the life of singer Amy Winehouse who died too early.
Cartel Land---a view into what happens in Mexico in the drug war.
The Look of Silence--- about finding war criminals
What Happened, Miss Simone?--- a story of a famous singer and activist
Freedom---a camera on the streets during a rebellion.
My Choice: Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom


What Happened To? “Sunshine Superman” and the story of a man who loved jumping from heights. “He Named Me Malala” and a girl who would fight back. “Meru” and men who climb mountains barehanded.



Best Foreign Language Film (and I can only list them for you as none of the nominated films played in my part of the U.S.)


(Colombia) Embrace of the Serpent and two stories set 20 years apart
(France) Mustang set in Turkey about five sisters and old family customs
Hungary (Son of Saul) and the story of a man working in a crematorium during WWII.
(Jordan) Theeb and the adventures of a young Bedouin boy
(Denmark) A War and the decisions of war


What Happened To? I did see “The Assassin” (Taiwan) a historical film about revenge and it was very good.




Best Original Screenplay


Bridge of Spies---Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen for the tale of prisoner release
during the Cold War
Ex Machina---Alex Garland for a study in female robot construction
Inside Out---Peter Doctor, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley for an animated story of the emotions of a teenage girl
Spotlight---Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy for an incisive study of journalists and the Catholic Church of Boston
Straight Outta Compton---Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff for a look at the new music venue
My Choice: Inside Out by Doctor, LeFauve and Cooley


What Happened To? Paolo Sorrentino for “Youth” and the complexities of growing old in a modern culture. Taylor Sheridan for “Sicario” and the drug trade along the Mexican/U.S. border. Abi Morgan for “Suffragette” and what happened to help women get to vote in Great Britain.



Best Adapted Screenplay


The Big Short---Charles Randolph and Adam McKay and I still can’t understand their concept.
Brooklyn---Nick Hornsby and adapted by him in a story of romance and Ireland and the U.S.
Carol---Phyllis Nagy from author Patricia Highsmith and a study of two woman and their intricate friendship.
The Martian---Drew Goddard and from a small book that became a best seller.
Room---Emma Donoghue and the emotions of being locked up for years.
My Choice: The Martian


What Happened To? Lucinda Coxon for “The Danish Girl” and self-awareness in the 1930’s. Peter Landesman for “Concussion” and adapted from an article on this sports problem. Cary Joji Fukunaga for “Beasts Of No Nation” and building soldiers from boys.




Best Original Score


Thomas Newman---Bridge of Spies and the tension involved in prisoner release.
Carter Burwell---Carol and the ambience of the 1950’s.
Ennio Morricone---The Hateful Eight and reminiscent of the Eastwood westerns.
Johann Johannsson---Sicario and using a familiar theme to dramatize the action.
John Williams---Star Wars: The Force Awakens and you don’t have to wake up the audience for this as Williams had those melodies nailed from Day One.
My Choice: Johann Johannson for Sicario


What Happened To? Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto and Bryce Dessner for “The Revenant” and music to match the Old West of the 1840’s. Hans Zimmer for “Woman in Gold” and a look at the art world. Junkie XL for “Mad Max: Fury Road” and a new world without oil and Alexander Desplat for “The Danish Girl” and the sounds of a luxurious art world.




Best Original Song


“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey---Tesfaye, Balshe, Quenneville and Moccio and a world removed from the rest of us.
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction“---J. Ralph and Antony Hegarty from a movie few have seen
“Simple Song #3” from “Youth”---David Lang and the haunting melody tells a story in itself.
“Til It Happens To You” from “The Haunting Ground”---Diane Warren and Lady Gaga and poignancy.
“Writings On The Wall” from “Spectre”---Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith and was there ever a time a James Bond song that was not nominated?
My Choice: “Simple Song #3” from “Youth”


What Happened To? “So Long” from “Concussion” by Leon Bridges.




Enjoy the movies.


Copyright 2016 Marie Asner