A&E » Film

Sick birds and gold statues

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What's worse? Having your movie released on Super Bowl weekend (Blake Lively's The Rhythm Section last weekend), or having it dumped on Oscar weekend, like this week's Margot Robbie ensemble flick Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)?

In an era when there is still noticeably less appreciation for female-driven projects in Hollywood (since 1929, only five women have ever been nominated for the best director Oscar) why is DC dumping a female-directed, R-rated, action comedy, all-woman superhero-team flick led by one of the hottest stars in Hollywood right now, when all the attention is on the fashion show going down on Sunday night?

It's either a bold move to catch the younger generation who doesn't give a shit about Oscar's usual period dramas, art house pictures, and war flicks... or DC has no faith in their product (and a lack of pre-screeners isn't instilling confidence).

Regardless, Margot Robbie stars as the titular Harley Quinn, who assembles a badass team of chicks to take down a Gotham criminal who is, thankfully, not the Joker. From the trailer, the cast (hello, Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and the director (Cathy Yan, check out her last film Dead Pigs), Birds of Prey looks awesome and it opens this week at the Whistler Village 8.

And that's it for new flicks this week, so on to the Oscars predictions. Be wary, a kid, a mortgage and fistful of jobs means I didn't see near enough movies in 2019, but here are my thoughts for the 2020 Academy Awards.

Best Actor: Joker was underwhelming (the origin of the greatest comic book villain ever is a dude with hurt feelings?!) but Joaquin Phoenix should be a lock for this one. Dark Horse: Adam Driver for Marriage Story.

Best Actress: Hollywood loves movies about Hollywood. They also love celebrating their icons of old, and they really love when stars sing songs. So Renee Zellweger is the frontrunner here for portraying Judy Garland in Judy. BUT... Scarlett Johansson absolutely slayed her monologues in Marriage Story so she is a contender. Scarlett has two nominations this year but the Academy really likes singing—Zellweger probably takes it but I'm pulling for Scarlett.

Best Original Screenplay: A lot of people are gunning for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. For my money, though, it was the direction that truly made that one shine so I'm cheering for Bong Joon-ho; Parasite. Both flicks have solid character, strong dialogue and great twists. Will subtitles hurt Bong's chances? I hope not.

Best Adapted Screenplay: This is an easy one for me. Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit is one of the best films of the year and deserves the win. However, Greta Gerwig's rendition of Little Women has been turning a lot of heads and the Academy knows they've shat the bed in the past for not recognizing female brilliance. There could be some make-up votes here, but Jo-Jo Rabbit is my pick.

Best Cinematography: Roger Deakin's extended one-shot work on 1917 pretty much has to win here. It was bonkers.

Best Supporting Actor: Everyone says Brad Pitt gets it this year. I won't argue (Joe Pesci was pretty sick in The Irishman but was he really flexing his range?)

Best Supporting Actress: Maybe the tightest race of the night (Scarlett Johansson is good and Florence Pugh is a huge rising star no one knows about yet) but Shit Martha if Laura Dern might not have this one in the bag—that's my gut feeling anyhow.

Best Direction: In my opinion, the way he builds tension in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood wins this category for Tarantino. But Hollywood often gives this as a Best Picture runner-up, so beware of Sam Mendes and Bong Joon-ho here.

Best Picture: For my money, no film had the emotional impact and sense of cinematic magic that Jojo Rabbit did, but Hollywood thinks differently. This one is up between Parasite and (the favourite) 1917. Both great flicks but I choose Parasite. 1917 was all visual; Parasite gets inside you.

We're out of space, and the technical and short categories are too impossible to predict anyhow (does anyone even know the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing?).

On the fashion side, for sure, the best outfit of the night goes to Zendaya. Rock on!

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