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2015 Oscar Contenders - Part One

November 20th 2014 05:43

Guessing Game by Linh

With the Academy Awards ceremony only a few months away, the various film and entertainment media are playing the guessing game at which film, director, actress, actor et cetera will walk away with a golden statuette on 22 February 2015. While many of the films being named as contenders have not been released in most countries, their nomination as a contender is based on early critics’ reviews, awards received or, sometimes, audience responses. There is also the studio versus independent take on the potential Oscar winners. In the past few years, small independent films with wide appeal such as Slumdog Millionaire or The Hurt Locker, have won the hearts and votes of Academy award voters, earning them Best Picture Oscar wins. Having a contentious subject matter or big-name stars onboard also help independent films reach a wider audience, such as this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, 12 Years A Slave, which featured Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch.
It may still be too early to pick any winners, but it is still fun to speculate and show support for the films, performers and directors we like.

Best Picture Oscar contenders:
The Theory of Everything
Mr. Turner
Boyhood
Whiplash
The Imitation Game
Gone Girl
Unbroken
Birdman
Foxcatcher
Wild
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Homesman
The Gambler
Still Alice
Big Eyes
American Sniper
A Most Violent Year
Interstellar
Into The Woods
Inherent Vice
Selma


Best Director Oscar contenders:
Angelina Jolie for Unbroken
Ava DuVernay for Selma
Christopher Nolan for Interstellar
Damien Chazzelle for Whiplash
Tim Burton for Big Eyes
Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Mike Leigh for Mr. Turner
Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher
James Marsh for The Theory of Everything
Clint Eastwood for American Sniper
Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel
Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland for Still Alice
Rob Marshall for Into The Woods
David Fincher for Gone Girl
Tommy Lee Jones for The Homesman
Jean-Marc Vallée for Wild
Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman
Paul Thomas Anderson for Inherent Vice

Ava DuVernay, director for the film Selma.


Angelina Jolie, director for the film Unbroken.


Alejandro González Iñárritu, director for the film Birdman.


Best Leading Actress Oscar contenders:
Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl
Hilary Swank in The Homesman
Reese Witherspoon in Wild
Julianne Moore in Still Alice
Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything
Meryl Streep in Into The Woods
Amy Adams in Big Eyes
Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year
Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night
Keira Knightley in Begin Again
Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Belle

Meryl Streep as The Witch in the fantasy film Into The Woods.


Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Dido Elizabeth Belle in the film Belle.


Jessica Chastain as Anna Morales in the crime drama film A Most Violent Year.


Best Supporting Actress Oscar contenders:
Emma Stone in Birdman
Emily Blunt in Into The Woods
Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game
Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

Emily Blunt as the Baker's Wife in the fantasy film Into The Woods.


Emma Stone as Sam Thomson in the drama film Birdman.


Best Leading Actor Oscar contenders:
Ben Affleck in Gone Girl
Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel
Brendan Gleeson in Calvary
Chadwick Boseman in Get On Up
Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game
David Oyelowo in Selma
Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year
Mark Wahlberg in The Gambler
Timothy Spall in Mr. Turner
Steve Carell in Foxcatcher
Tommy Lee Jones in The Homesman
Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar
Ellar Coltrane in Boyhood
Bradley Cooper in American Sniper
Michael Keaton in Birdman
Philip Seymour Hoffman in A Most Wanted Man
Bill Murray in St. Vincent
Miles Teller in Whiplash
Joaquin Phoenix in Inherent Vice

Oscar Isaac as Abel Morales in the crime drama film A Most Violent Year.


David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. in the historical drama film Selma.


Miles Teller as Andrew Neiman in the drama film Whiplash.


Best Supporting Actor Oscar contenders:
J.K. Simmons in Whiplash
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything
Ethan Hawke in Boyhood
Edward Norton in Birdman
Tom Wilkinson in Selma
Takamasa Ishihara (Miyavi) in Unbroken

Takamasa Ishihara (Miyavi) as Mutsushiro Watanabe in the film Unbroken.


J.K. Simmons as Terence Fletcher in the drama film Whiplash.


Best Documentary Oscar contenders:
Finding Vivian Maier
Red Army
Life Itself
Keep on Keeping On
Citizenfour


Poster artwork for the documentary film Citizenfour.


Poster artwork for the biographical documentary Life Itself.


Poster artwork for the documentary Keep On Keeping On.


Best Animated Feature Oscar contenders:
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
The Boxtrolls
Big Hero 6
The LEGO Movie
How To Train Your Dragon 2
The Book of Life
Mr. Peabody and Sherman
Rio 2


Cast of characters from the animated film Big Hero 6.


Poster artwork for the animated film The LEGO Movie.


Japanese poster artwork for the animated film The Tale of Princess Kaguya.




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2014 Korean Film Festival in Australia poster artwork.

South Australia is the festival state, so it’s long overdue that Adelaide finally gets to screen its first Korean Film Festival, following screenings in the eastern states. In its fifth year, the Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) again delivers some of the best and popular contemporary Korean films from some of the most prolific directors. In 2014, Adelaide may only have a four-day long schedule, but the selection is diverse and appeals to a broad audience.

Only seven films will be screened in Adelaide for the KOFFIA with some cinematic gems amongst them. The genres range from action and comedy to romance and true crime dramas. Some highlights include director Lee Joon-ik’s film Hope which is based on a real crime called the Na Yeong case from 2008 where an eight-year old girl was bashed and raped, with the offender receiving a light sentence which created public outrage; director Kim Byeong-woo’s The Terror, Live is an intense drama set almost exclusively inside a radio station. Yoon Young-hwa, a disgraced television news anchor turned radio host, receives a call from someone threatening to blow up Seoul’s Mapo Bridge. After a bomb explodes on the bridge and innocent people are taken hostage, Hwa must negotiate with the caller to stop a second bomb being detonated; Jang Cheol-soo’s Secretly, Greatly begins as a slapstick comedy and ends as a tragic drama, about three young highly trained North Korean secret agents sent to South Korea by the government with one posing as a village idiot, another as an aspiring singer and the third as a high school student. After a while, the trio settle into their small town until the North Korean government sends them a message to commit suicide, and the spies’ instructor is sent across the border to ensure all the spies comply.

Hopefully, KOFFIA’s debut is Adelaide is well-supported so there may be more Korean films returning in the coming years.

The Korean Film Festival in Australia screens at Greater Union Cinemas, Arndale.

*Adelaide Schedule 23 - 26 September 2014
Tues 23-09-2014
6:30pm Cold Eyes

Wed 24-09-2014
6:15pm Hot Young Bloods
8:45pm The Terror, Live

Thurs 25-09-2014
6:15pm Secretly, Greatly
8:45pm The Suspect

Fri 26-09-2014
6:15pm Very Ordinary Couple
8:45pm Hope

*Screening times are correct at the time of publication.

Single Ticket cost: $16 Adult, $12.50 Concession (pensioner,student), $11 Cinebuzz Member
All films in Korean language feature English Subtitles





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Screen Scandinavia by Linh

Norwegian Nonpareil


Norwegian poster artwork for the film Pioneer/Pionér.


Norwegian director and writer Erik Skjoldbjaerg’s (Insomnia, Prozac Nation) most recent film Pioneer is in the early development stages for an American re-make with George Clooney attached as a producer. Skjoldbjaerg’s original Norwegian version has hit and miss aspects yet is still a compelling drama thriller. The film is inspired by true events where the discovery of large oil and gas resources at the bottom of the North Sea in the 1970s, sparked a collaborative effort between Norway and America to establish underwater pipelines to transport the oil ashore.

Pioneer/Pionér is set in the late 1970s and early 1980s, opening with archival footage of oil being discovered off the Norwegian coast. As Norway do not have experienced deep-sea divers and technicians to do the task of testing the seabed for underwater pipeline construction, an American team are brought over to train the Norwegians. US deep-sea divers Mike (Wes Bentley), Ronald (Jonathan LaPaglia) and supervisor Ferris (Stephen Lang) arrive to train the Norwegian team which includes brothers Petter (Aksel Hennie) and Knut (Andreas Eriksen). After the teams undergo a series of tests and exercises, an actual dive into the North Sea is organised. Unfortunately, Knut loses oxygen during the dive and Petter is unable to resuscitate him. Petter is determined to seek the truth behind his brother’s death, which leads him on a dangerous path involving distrust between Norway and the United States, corrupt oil company executives and government cover-ups.

Pioneer has a brilliant first half which creates a claustrophobic feel for the underwater scenes and adds some humour to the training and testing sessions. The second half moves the action away from the sea to land where Petter, a solid performance from Aksel Hennie, is using old style methods (no Internet or any twenty-first century technology) like breaking and entering, to investigate why nobody took responsibility for his brother’s death and no safety measures were in place for the diving team. Overall, this film is akin to an old-style 1970s conspiracy thriller with many questions left unanswered, which might frustrate audiences accustomed to more fast-paced and spoon-fed action thrillers that Hollywood serves up. Hopefully, George Clooney produces something equally good or better for the American re-make.


Norwegian poster artwork for the film Ballet Boys/Ballettguttene.

Norwegian director and producer Kenneth Elvebakk (Den hemmelige klubben/The Secret Club, Et positivt liv/ A Positive Life) is primarily known as a documentary film-maker but has also produced work for radio and television. Elvebakk’s latest documentary feature is Ballet Boys/Ballettguttene, which follows three teenage boys over a period of four years as they train, study and audition to fulfill their dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer on the international stage. Audiences may be familiar with Stephen Daldry’s successful film Billy Elliot, about a British boy who became a ballet dancer, yet this documentary takes ballet dancing and the artistry and technique of dance performance to greater extremes and higher intensities.

The teenagers in the seventy-five minute film are Lukas Bjørneboe Brændsrød, Syvert Lorenz Garcia and Torgeir Lund. The three teenage boys’ experiences, anxieties and struggles are on display as they enter the competitive world of ballet. Their friendships and alliances change, become fragmented or strengthen as they each enter various stages of success or failure in their pursuit of a dance career. Lukas, Syvert and Torgeir train together at the Norwegian Ballet School and they are aware that ballet is frequently associated with “girls in pointed shoes and pink tutus” yet they see masculine aspects to ballet dancing. The three boys make sacrifices in their young lives such as not hanging out with their friends, not having girlfriends and spending almost every spare moment training and performing. All three boys compete with and against each other in front of panels of judges for the chance to enter the National Academy of Arts in Oslo. One day, Lukas unexpectedly receives an offer to audition for the Royal Ballet School in London and it could be the ultimate opportunity for his ballet career.

This documentary may appear to be like a reality television show without the commercial breaks, yet there is more depth and substance in this film that covers issues of identity, gender, family and friendships. It also has a coming-of-age aspect where audiences can see how the three young teenagers become young men who juggle their personal lives with intense dance training for a career that may not eventuate.

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Screen Scandinavia by Linh

Icelandic Intrigue

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Poster artwork for Australia's 2014 inaugural Scandinavian Film Festival.

Screen Scandinavia by Linh

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2014 Spanish Film Festival

May 4th 2014 06:23
Exquisitamente Español by Linh

Hola amigas/amigos


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Photo-bombing Favourites by Linh

Forget planking or twerking because photo-bombing at random is the latest trend and fun way to get attention on social media. During the Oscars red carpet arrivals, backstage and in the Green Room, the glamourous and the well-groomed let out their quirky side and were captured photo-bombing unsuspecting celebrities. It is all done in jest and nobody gets physically or emotionally hurt, but there is guaranteed laughter after discovering one has been photo-bombed. The two most prominent photo-bombers during this year’s Oscars are Benedict Cumberbatch and Jared Leto. Benedict’s photo-bombing was so popular that it became a social media meme featuring The Beatles and a bookmark. Below are a few of the funniest and best photo-bombing moments during the 2014 Oscars


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VICTORS: Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong'o and Jared Leto backstage in the press room during the Oscars at Loews Hollywood Hotel on Sunday 2 March 2014 in Hollywood, California. Image: Jason Merritt/Getty Images.


Versatile Victors by Linh


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Academy Awards golden statuette. Courtesy of oscars.org


Musical Musings by Linh


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Academy Awards statuettes. Courtesy of oscars.org


Picture Perfect by Linh


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