The Other Oscars: Our fourth Alternative Academy Awards
A recent meme under the hashtag #OscarsWeNeed, dubbed “Outstanding Background Extra”, perfectly encapsulates what The National’s Alternative Academy Awards (aka The Other Oscars) is all about.
There he was, an extra standing behind Spectre star Daniel Craig, sweeping as if his life depended on it - even as his broom never came close to the ground. As Hollywood prepares to honour the best of American and foreign cinema in 2016 at the 89th Academy Awards, Arts&Life’s film buffs round up all the moments that definitely won’t be commemorated on Sunday night.
Best product placement for Kia minivan: Office Christmas Party
Kate McKinnon’s Christmas sweater-wearing HR manager stole much of Office Christmas Party, which was filled with not-so-hidden advertisements for an assortment of products (Red Bull, Lululemon, anyone?). But rarely is such an average automobile the subject of such daredevil maneouvres. The crazed scenes of her at the wheel of her trusty bird-carrier Kia were one of many hilarious highlights in what was a worthwhile but uneven comedy.
*Ann Marie McQueen
Best costume that ruined Halloween fancy dress, possibly forever: Margot Robbie/Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad)
Once upon a time, Margot Robbie played unremarkably attired semi-airhead Donna on cult Australian soap opera Neighbours. At which point, you probably wouldn’t have predicted she would blossom into a glamorous Hollywood star. Nevertheless, her get-up as damaged damsel-causing-distress Harley Quinn became the female fancy-dress look last Halloween (backed up by stats from Google Trends’ Frightgeist site). Sadly, as thousands of girls of often questionable age followed the blind rush to transform themselves into sanitarium-bound school cheerleaders, few stopped to ask: but what if we just cut two eyeholes in a bed sheet, instead?
* Adam Workman
Most gratuitous pole-dancing scene: Shailene Woodley (Snowden)
Oliver Stone’s biopic about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden strives for historical accuracy, but did it really need a cutaway to Shailene Woodley pole-dancing? Playing Snowden’s performance artist girlfriend Lindsay Mills, Woodley looks pro. But it’s so out-of-context: one minute Snowden’s downloading top-secret documents, the next Mills is teaching others how to gyrate round a pole.
Most lovable fugitive: Sam Neill in Hunt for the Wilderpeople
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel uncomfortable, but you’ll fall in love with Sam Neill’s portrayal of Hector, the grumpy uncle of Ricky Baker, a boy abandoned by his mum and left to live with his aunt and uncle. Aunt Bella dies, Ricky burns the barn down and the two end up the subjects of a national manhunt while trying to survive in the New Zealand bush. Hector and Ricky form a heartwarming bond that will give you all the feels and, even though you know Hector has to go to jail once the pair are caught, you’re left hoping he’ll find a way to escape.
*Stacie Overton Johnson
Most embarrassing use of a tricycle: Geoffrey Rush (Gods of Egypt)
Poor old Geoffrey Rush. The Australian Academy Award winner is made to look like a complete buffoon in Alex Proyas’ risible pantomime fantasy. As the Sun God Ra, he lives above Earth, hovering in the stratosphere on a divine vessel, which requires peddle power for reasons unknown. Rush duly hops on a mini-tricycle, leaving his dignity far behind. Oh, that is has come to this.
Worst hashtag for marketing of a political film in an election year: Miss Sloane
This film about an ethically challenged political lobbyist made like Donald Trump and used #NastyWoman in their promotional campaign. Much like Hilary Clinton’s run for office, the uneven film isn’t about to win any awards and offered a last-minute plot twist many people didn’t see coming.
Best death scene using just a pencil: John Wick: Chapter 2
For anyone who has watched the John Wick film franchise series, it’s well known by fans that assassin John Wick (played by Keanu Reeves) is spectacular at his job. In the first film (which was released in 2014), viewers learned how John Wick gets his nickname “The Boogeyman”, as one rival describes witnessing Wick kill “three men in a bar using a pencil”. But the scene was never shown and viewers were left to wonder how it was done. This year’s sequel John Wick: Chapter 2 provided them much satisfaction, in the form of a slick action sequence that just goes to show that anything can be used a weapon.
Most disparate examples of Christopher Walken roles to date: 2016
Every appearance by Walken is wacky these days, but last year must have been a high point. In Eddie the Eagle he appeared as a legendary ski-jumping coach; in Nine Lives (released in the UAE as Mr Fuzzypants) he played a cat whisperer and the only person able to talk to Kevin Spacey after the House of Cards actor turns into a feline following a nasty fall. Just typing that last sentence should give an indication of how nutty Walken’s career choices were last year.
Best Example of How Not to Adapt a Love Story for the Screen: Mirzya
Flamboyant Bollywood director Rakeysh OmPrakash Mehra, usually a sensible man, took an age-old romantic tragedy and transformed it into a gaudy pantomime so full of bad actors butchering Shakespearean verse that audiences walked out of cinemas, went home and did something that made India proud: they created enough memes to make sure the lead stars never find work again.
Most indulgent vanity project: Voyage of Time
American auteur Terrence Malick reportedly spent 40 years and more than US$10 million dollars (Dh3.67 million) realising his ambitious documentary Voyage of Time, which – after being sued by financial backers in 2013 – finally premiered at last year’s Venice International Film Festival. With the lofty aim of telling the story of the universe, the meandering, formless work mixes awe-inspiring CGI sequences with grainy footage of civilisations from across the world – and gives a notable cameo to the Burj Khalifa. The feature length movie – which was screened at Dubai International Film Festival in December – features a dreamy, oblique monologue from Cate Blanchett, while Brad Pitt (who starred in Malick’s Tree of Life) narrates a shorter, 40-minute Imax cut. The result was beautiful, baffling, beguiling – and utterly self-indulgent.
Updated: February 23, 2017 04:00 AM