Movie Awards

My Predictions: 2021 EE British Academy Film Awards

It’s finally here! Tomorrow night is the BAFTAs, the only movie awards show I actually get to watch live. In true movie blogger fashion, I’m here with my predictions for the night, and in true Often Off Topic fashion, I’m here to get most categories terribly wrong. It might be an usual year what with, you know, the never-ending worldwide pandemic – but you’ll still find me on Sunday night in my living room with my blanket and slippers, confusing my husband with my prediction rants.

In the past I’ve tried to wear only my critic hat, I’ve also tried to guess with my heart. The best method seems to be to go with a mixture of both, so let’s give it a go and hop into the predictions, shall we?

BEST FILM

THE FATHER
THE MAURITANIAN
NOMADLAND
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Only the first category and I’m already stuck. Nomadland is the clear front runner in most other awards but BAFTA are so well known for going against the grain. It wouldn’t be my first choice, I would prefer PYW or TTotC7, but I think Nomadland will win.

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM

CALM WITH HORSES
THE DIG
THE FATHER
HIS HOUSE
LIMBO
THE MAURITANIAN
MOGUL MOWGLI
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN 
ROCKS
SAINT MAUD

Some wild choices in here, right? BAFTA seem to be all over The Mauritanian but I don’t rate it. I’m really hoping for a Promising Young Woman win here, but I would be happy with The Father too.

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER

HIS HOUSE Remi Weekes (Writer/Director)
LIMBO Ben Sharrock (Writer/Director), Irune Gurtubai (Producer) [also produced by Angus Lamont]
MOFFIE Jack Sidey (Writer/Producer) [also written by Oliver Hermanus and produced by Eric Abraham]
ROCKS Theresa Ikoko, Claire Wilson (Writers)
SAINT MAUD Rose Glass (Writer/Director), Oliver Kassman (Producer) [also produced by Andrea Cornwell]

Oh boy. I’ve seen 1 movie from this list (Saint Maud) and I didn’t like it at the time, I was missold by the marketing and was left confused, although it’s grown on me since. From online chatter I’m going with Rocks as the winner, but it would be awesome for a horror to win in a major awards ceremony.

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

ANOTHER ROUND 
DEAR COMRADES!
LES MISÉRABLES
MINARI
QUO VADIS, AIDA?

I can’t believe Minari is here but not in Best Film. It feels like an obvious winner, but there’s a lot of love for Another Round and I’ve great things about Quo Vadis, Aida? too. Argh! My head and my heart are fighting but I’m going with Another Round.

DOCUMENTARY

COLLECTIVE
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: A LIFE ON OUR PLANET
THE DISSIDENT
MY OCTOPUS TEACHER
THE SOCIAL DILEMMA

The Social Dilemma was interesting but didn’t feel award-worthy to me. I haven’t seen any others but I’ve heard of them. Us Brits adore David Attenborough but my gut says Collective will win.

ANIMATED FILM

ONWARD
SOUL
WOLFWALKERS 

Come on BAFTA, you got this one right last year with Klaus and I fully believe you can do it again. Wolfwalkers!

DIRECTOR

ANOTHER ROUND Thomas Vinterberg
BABYTEETH Shannon Murphy
MINARI Lee Isaac Chung
NOMADLAND Chloé Zhao
QUO VADIS, AIDA? Jasmila Žbanić
ROCKS Sarah Gavron

This is a wild bunch for sure, isn’t it? I mean, this feels like it’s Chloé Zhao’s award but I just can’t fully put my faith in it!

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

ANOTHER ROUND Tobias Lindholm, Thomas Vinterberg
MANK Jack Fincher
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN Emerald Fennell
ROCKS Theresa Ikoko, Claire Wilson
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 Aaron Sorkin

My heart is being pulled in two directions. I gave PYW and TTotC7 a full 5/5 and I love them both so much. I’m going with Promising Young Woman!

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

THE DIG Moira Buffini
THE FATHER Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller
THE MAURITANIAN Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani, M.B. Traven
NOMADLAND Chloé Zhao
THE WHITE TIGER Ramin Bahrani

Imagine having so many interesting movies to choose from, and picking The Dig. Sigh. I feel like The Father could win here, I would never have guessed it was based on a play.

LEADING ACTRESS

BUKKY BAKRAY Rocks
RADHA BLANK The Forty-Year-Old Version
VANESSA KIRBY Pieces of a Woman
FRANCES McDORMAND Nomadland
WUNMI MOSAKU His House
ALFRE WOODARD Clemency

Where is Viola Davis?! Carey Mulligan?! Ughhh! Could this be the award Vanessa Kirby takes home? I just…I’m so deflated. Let’s go with Frances McDormand.

LEADING ACTOR

RIZ AHMED Sound of Metal
CHADWICK BOSEMAN Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
ADARSH GOURAV The White Tiger
ANTHONY HOPKINS The Father
MADS MIKKELSEN Another Round
TAHAR RAHIM The Mauritanian

At least this category is looking better! I’m actually completely torn here. This is surely Chadwick Boseman’s award but BAFTA have pretty much ignored Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom! I’m going to take a risk…and I don’t know if I should take it with Riz Ahmed or Anthony Hopkins. I let my husband pick and he went with Riz!

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

NIAMH ALGAR Calm With Horses
KOSAR ALI Rocks
MARIA BAKALOVA Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
DOMINIQUE FISHBACK Judas and the Black Messiah
ASHLEY MADEKWE County Lines
YUH-JUNG YOUN Minari

Easy easy easy! I was fully on the Maria Bakalova train until I watched Minari. I would be over the moon still if Bakalova won but I have to go with Yuh-Jung Youn!

SUPPORTING ACTOR

DANIEL KALUUYA Judas and the Black Messiah
BARRY KEOGHAN Calm With Horses
ALAN KIM Minari
LESLIE ODOM JR. One Night in Miami…
CLARKE PETERS Da 5 Bloods
PAUL RACI Sound of Metal

How bloody lovely that BAFTA put Alan Kim here, seriously. Also so lovely to see Paul Raci here, but I feel like it’s going to Daniel Kaluuya.

ORIGINAL SCORE

MANK Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
MINARI Emile Mosseri
NEWS OF THE WORLD James Newton Howard
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN Anthony Willis
SOUL Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Now, we enter the real guessing game. You’ll see my commentary disappearing when I’m basically picking by intuition alone!

CASTING

CALM WITH HORSES Shaheen Baig
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH Alexa L. Fogel
MINARI Julia Kim
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN Lindsay Graham Ahanonu, Mary Vernieu
ROCKS Lucy Pardee

CINEMATOGRAPHY

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH Sean Bobbitt
MANK Erik Messerschmidt
THE MAURITANIAN Alwin H. Küchler
NEWS OF THE WORLD Dariusz Wolski
NOMADLAND Joshua James Richards

Really shocked that Tenet isn’t here, to be honest. I’m confident with this choice though.

EDITING

THE FATHER Yorgos Lamprinos
NOMADLAND Chloé Zhao
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN Frédéric Thoraval
SOUND OF METAL Mikkel E.G. Nielsen
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 Alan Baumgarten

PRODUCTION DESIGN

THE DIG Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana Macdonald
THE FATHER Peter Francis, Cathy Featherstone
MANK Donald Graham Burt, Jan Pascale
NEWS OF THE WORLD David Crank, Elizabeth Keenan
REBECCA Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer

COSTUME DESIGN

AMMONITE Michael O’Connor
THE DIG Alice Babidge
EMMA. Alexandra Byrne
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM Ann Roth
MANK Trish Summerville

MAKE UP & HAIR

THE DIG Jenny Shircore
HILLBILLY ELEGY Patricia Dehaney, Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM Matiki Anoff, Larry M. Cherry, Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal
MANK Colleen LaBaff, Kimberley Spiteri, Gigi Williams
PINOCCHIO Dalia Colli, Mark Coulier, Francesco Pegoretti

SOUND

GREYHOUND Beau Borders, Christian P. Minkler, Michael Minkler, Warren Shaw, David Wyman
NEWS OF THE WORLD Michael Fentum, William Miller, Mike Prestwood Smith, John Pritchett, Oliver Tarney
NOMADLAND Sergio Diaz, Zach Seivers, M. Wolf Snyder
SOUL Coya Elliott, Ren Klyce, David Parker
SOUND OF METAL Jaime Baksht, Nicolas Becker, Phillip Bladh, Carlos Cortés, Michelle Couttolenc

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS

GREYHOUND Pete Bebb, Nathan McGuinness, Sebastian von Overheidt, Whitney Richman
THE MIDNIGHT SKY Matt Kasmir, Chris Lawrence, Max Solomon, David Watkins
MULAN Sean Faden, Steve Ingram, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury
THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN Santiago Colomo Martinez, Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones
TENET Scott Fisher, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Lockley

BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION

THE FIRE NEXT TIME Renaldho Pelle, Yanling Wang, Kerry Jade Kolbe
THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT Mole Hill, Laura Duncalf
THE SONG OF A LOST BOY Daniel Quirke, Jamie MacDonald, Brid Arnstein

BRITISH SHORT FILM

EYELASH Jesse Lewis Reece, Ike Newman
LIZARD Akinola Davies, Rachel Dargavel, Wale Davies
LUCKY BREAK John Addis, Rami Sarras Pantoja
MISS CURVY Ghada Eldemellawy
THE PRESENT Farah Nabulsi

EE RISING STAR AWARD

BUKKY BAKRAY
CONRAD KHAN
KINGSLEY BEN-ADIR
MORFYDD CLARK
ṢỌPẸ DÌRÍSÙ

This is the only award that the public choose, and I voted Morfydd Clark so I have to stick with her!

Movie Awards

LAMB Devours the Oscars 2021: Best Actor in a Leading Role

This year’s awards season is just going on forever, isn’t it? Roll on a bit of movie normality, I say! Last year I wrote a small piece for The LAMB (Large Association of Movie Bloggers) about the Best Lead Actor category at the Oscars, and I was thrilled when Rob got in touch to say that category was still free this year! 2021 is such an incredible year for the Lead Actors. Firstly, the diversity! We love to see it. Secondly, the combined talent of these 5 men is astronomical! Let’s break it down, shall we?

Gary Oldman – Mank

gary-oldman-mank

Now, I might not be a professional critic but I like to make an effort to at least know what I’m talking about. I have to be honest, I find nothing appealing about Mank at all but I’m watching it as I write this in order to give a biased opinion. Gary Oldman is an actor who always gives 100% but if the noise on social media is anything to go by, he’s not in the running to win this year.

Anthony Hopkins – The Father

anthony-hopkins-the-father

The Father was my most recent watch and I think my heart is still hurting from it. My full review will be posted next week but wow, all I can say is believe the hype! Anthony Hopkins plays a character suffering from dementia and struggling to understand what is real and it’s so incridibly easy to sympathise with him. His final scene is his stand-out moment and he played it so well it’s a scene I don’t think I can ever bring myself to watch again.

Steven Yeun – Minari

Steven-Yeun-Minari

Argh, 2020 might have been a bit disappointing for movies generally, but we sure got a handful of gems from it, didn’t we? I didn’t expect Minari to capture my heart in the way that it did, and although that’s largely thanks to Supporting Actress Yuh-Jung Youn, I can’t ignore Steven Yeun. He plays a father desperately trying to create a better life for his family and whilst it’s a quiet and nuanced role, it can’t be ignored.

Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal

riz-ahmed-sound-of-metal

Can I get a YAAAAAAS for Riz Ahmed? Sound of Metal is growing on me every day that I think about it. I didn’t rave about it after I first watched it but Riz blew me away. Ever since Nightcrawler (2014) I knew he was destined for greatness, and here we are! As much as I would love for him to take the Oscar I don’t think he will – but he stands a decent chance at the BAFTA this weekend I reckon,

Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

chadwick-boseman-ma-rainey

Whenever I think about Chadwick or Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom I hope that his passing was a bad dream. He was taken away so, so early and right at the height of his acting career. Before I’d seen his performance as Levee, the dark cynic in me had to wonder if there was a certain level of sympathy behind his nomination, but after watching the movie twice I can say without a shadow of a doubt that isn’t the case. Chadwick absolutely owns this movie and I would argue it’s more Levee’s story than Ma Rainey’s. I don’t think it’s set in stone, but I do think that he’ll win.

Movie Reviews

What I Watched: March 2021

Can you believe we’re already a quarter of the way into 2021? April is going to be a good month, I can feel it. And even if it isn’t – fear not, I vowed this week to stop complaining because I’m boring myself, let alone you. In the middle of April in the UK we’re allowed domestic holidays, non-essential retail, outdoor attractions, outdoor dining, hairdressers, gyms, libraries…loads! If nothing catastrophic happens between now and then, that is. We’ll be driving down to the seaside for a week all being well, although the weather is looking atrocious. Anyway! Despite a shaky week here and there, I watched a lot of movies in March and today I’m here to share them with you.

TV wise, I finished Wandavision – LOVED it. That line that Vision says, “What is grief, if not love persevering” is so beautiful. I didn’t even realise till the finale episode was over that we didn’t get a major cameo like the internet thought. I don’t mind it to be honest, but it was so much fun reading all the speculation! I’ve started Falcon and the Winter Soldier too, and although it hasn’t gripped me in the same way Wandavision did, it’s still a great watch. I’ve also finally started The Flight Attendant, I’m only two episodes in but oh my goodness, it’s so stressful to watch! In a good way but oh boy, it’s not the show to wind down to.

Let’s move onto movies, shall we?

what-i-watched-the-mauritanian

The Mauritanian (2021) – I don’t have much to say about this at all. There is some stellar acting by Tahar Rahim and the BAFTA have fallen head over heels in love with it, but to me it felt like a very generic and dull way of telling a fascinating story. It was too long and too by the book to stand out.

Wolfwalkers (2020)Full Review

Moxie (2021)Full Review

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020)Previous Review – I re-watched this to cheer myself up and it worked!

what-i-watched-the-dig-2021

The Dig (2021) – Why did I watch this?! I knew it would be boring. But it kept cropping up on Letterboxd as being popular and I hate to be left out so I gave it a go. It’s about a man digging holes. Yes, I know there’s more to it than that but I would rather watch paint dry than watch The Dig again. Sorry.

Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) Full Review

what-i-watched-yes-day

Yes Day (2021) – This fictional family are saying yes to whatever their kids ask them for a whole day and I have to say no to my own kid every time she asks if she can visit anyone’s house? I knew this was a bad idea to watch. They went to Six Flags Magic Mountain though and I went there on honeymoon so it was fun to relive some of those memories!

Cherry (2021) Full Review

My Own Private Idaho (1991) – Reviewed for Hidden Gems: Keanu Reeves

what-i-watched-judas-black-messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) – I tend to avoid political movies (I don’t enjoy them) but after LaKeith Stanfield got a surprise Oscar nomination last month I had to see why. Him and Daniel Kaluuya are phenomenal in this but I have to wonder, if they’re both supporting actors, who’s the lead?!

The Devil’s Advocate (1997) – Reviewed for Hidden Gems: Keanu Reeves

Happily (2021) Full Review

Deadly Illusions (2021) Full Review

Hardball (2001) – Reviewed for Hidden Gems: Keanu Reeves

breaking-news-in-yuba-county

Breaking News in Yuba County (2021) – I’m going to try really hard to write a full review for this one over the weekend because this movie was WILD. Think Fargo, not quite as good as the original, but with a fantastic cast and a lot of laughs along the way!

Seaspiracy (2021) – I know this documentary got it’s name to follow a pattern from another documentary but come on, the name ConspiraSEA was right there! I don’t review documentaries because I watch so few and I don’t really know how I would score them, but this one was an interesting watch. Put me off eating fish though.

what-i-watched-bad-trip

Bad Trip (2021) – I was expecting Bad Trip to be some goofy nonsense I could watch whilst doing a bit of life admin but it was actually really good, I would honestly put it up there with Borat in terms of quality and jokes!

Movie Reviews

Hidden Gems: Keanu Reeves

In the month of March, a third month into full lockdown in the UK and our third lockdown, I really needed cheering up and I was hopeful that Keanu Reeves could save the day! If you aren’t familiar with the Hidden Gems Challenge, it was started by Mettel Ray and you can find her original post here. Her pick for March is Audrey Hepburn and I can’t wait to see what she watched! Speaking of Mettel Ray, this month she wrote an amazing piece called Ted Lasso: The Unexpected Appeal of the Good Guy. If you haven’t read it yet then please spare 5 minutes, it’s beautifully written! But let’s talk about Keanu, shall we?

Why Keanu Reeves?

I was really late to the party when it comes to Keanu. I was fairly certain I’d seen the first Bill & Ted movie when I was a kid but I’d never watched any of the Matrix movies (until recently!). It wasn’t really until the release of John Wick: Chapter 3 that I became a real fan, and boy what a year that was for him anyway! I went on a bit of a Keanu binge in 2019 but I knew there was so much more of his work I had yet to see, so he was an easy choice for the challenge.

Statistics

Letterboxd has a whopping 124 movies listed under Keanu Reeves’ name. Some of these will obviously be not-yet-released movies and shorts but I don’t know where to even start filtering those out! I’d seen 19 of them, which is a decent number but a less than impressive percentage! Out of the ones I’d already seen some of my favourites include John Wick: Chapter 3, Speed, Toy Story 4 and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

I’ve also seen John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2, The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Neon Demon, Point Break, Always Be My Maybe, Bill & Ted Face the Music, Knock Knock, Keanu, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, The Lake House, Destination Wedding, Replicas and Siberia.

As before, I tried to pick 3 movies where Keanu Reeves played a main role, and so my choices ended up being My Own Private Idaho, The Devil’s Advocate and Hardball.

My Own Private Idaho (1991)

keanu-reeves-my-own-private-idaho

This was easily the movie I was looking forward to the most, it sounded so interesting. Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix play gay hustlers travelling from Portland to Idaho in a quest to find a family member. Whilst on their travels they play tricks for money and drugs and wind up attracting the attention of a wealthy benefactor. Mixed into all of that plot is the fact that My Own Private Idaho is also a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV. Sounds crazy, right?

I’m uncultured and not well versed at all in Shakespeare so maybe that’s what to blame but I didn’t understand this movie AT ALL. For the first half I was just happy to be tagging along on the wild ride but I was just so lost. It’s got great reviews though so worth a watch if you haven’t seen it yourself!

The Devil’s Advocate (1997)

keanu-reeves-the-devils-advocate

Moving swiftly on to The Devil’s Advocate, a movie that I was sure I wanted to see but was hesitant about it’s runtime (a few minutes shy of 2.5 hours!). Keanu Reeves plays a hot shot lawyer from Florida given the opportunity of a lifetime to work for a big time lawyer (Al Pacino) in New York, who just so happens to be the devil himself.

What an opening scene to a movie! Loveable Keanu Reeves, a defence lawyer for a teacher accused of sexual abuse stands up and, knowing damn well the guyis guilty, somehow manages to sway the jury and the teacher walks free. It was shocking – and I started to wonder what kind of online reaction that scene would cause if it were in a movie released today. Regardless – it’s all part of the plot and the movie itself was highly enjoyable. Not enough for me to call it a gem, but still good.

Hardball (2001)

keanu-reeves-hardball

Oh. My. Goodness. I’ve had to actually step away from blogging after watching Hardball because all I wanted to do was talk about it and I knew I had to wait until this post! I don’t care about the lukewarm reviews, Hardball is easily a hidden gem in my eyes and easily oneof my favourite movies of all time. Keanu Reeves plays an aimless young guy addicted to gambling and thousands of dollars in debt. In a way to try and claw his way out, he agrees to coach a baseball team made up of young black kids from a deprived estate in Chicago.

It’s such a feelgood movie. I was rooting for Keanu to turn his life around but it was those kids who made it for me. One of whom just so happened to be Michael B. Jordan! If that wasn’t crazy enough, he just so happens to be another one of my picks for the Hidden Gems Challenge! Anyway – I won’t spoil it but there’s a pretty heartbreaking twist towards the end of the movie that I didn’t see coming and I don’t think I’ll ever recover. It was only not getting a conclusion to one particular kid’s story that stopped this being a full 5/5 for me, to be honest.

Final Thoughts

A mixed bag for sure but despite My Own Private Idaho being a personal dud for me I’m sure it’s something most others would enjoy. Hardball is going to be a really tough movie to beat for the rest of this challenge! I had to look back at my own announcement post to check who is next and in another twist of coincidence April is dedicated to none other than Michael B. Jordan himself! So be sure to check back this time next month!

Book Reviews

Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood

I’m going to make a deal right now – once April rolls around I’m going to stop complaining about lockdowns and feeling miserable – I promise! Just give me 2 more days because, well, I already wrote the posts and complained in them. So, during the long and depressing month of March I felt the need to be cheered up and also for my next book to be something light, fun and easy to read at night. Scrolling through the books I already had on my Kindle I stumbled across Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood and it ticked all of my boxes.

Olive Brewster lives a simple but happy life – she works with two lovely ladies at the local market, lives happily with her brother and his (slightly overbearing) girlfriend, and has an amazing best friend named Birdie. The problem is, Birdie is dying. Olive has known this for a long time but one day in hospital Birdie is upset. She knows she doesn’t have long left and asks Olive for the biggest favour she’s ever asked. To fly to New York, track down Birdie’s old childhood love, and deliver a letter to him. Olive of course accepts, but she’s never flown before or even left the city she lives in, and she’s terrified.

Loads of reviews I read claimed that readers laughed out loud constantly whilst reading Big Sexy Love and honestly I have to ask – have you ever laughed out loud whilst reading? I can’t say I have. It’s not to say the book isn’t funny because it is, but Ii feel like it’s an exaggeration. Anyway, I really enjoyed this, it was exactly what I hoped it would be and it would work so well as a movie – please make it happen movie gods!

I’d file Big Sexy Love into the ‘airport reads’ box which I hope doesn’t sound demeaning, it’s just that it’s fast paced enough to read quickly and the story is nice and light hearted. It’s no surprise that there’s a very emotional part towards the end but overall it would make a great holiday read, or, like me, a nice way to pull yourself out of a bad mood!