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90th Academy Awards – My predictions on who will take the Oscars home

It’s that time of the year again. The 90th Academy Awards will be given away in less than 24 hours. 2017 was a good year at the cinemas, and the films that have made it to the nominations richly deserved their respective spots.



There is a diverse mix of films nominated this year at the Oscars. On one hand, you have ‘Call me by your name’ which is a sublime representation of tender love, while on the other hand, you have ‘The Shape of Water’ that explores a romantic fairy tale. While ‘Three Billboards’ makes you ponder about revenge and redemption, ‘Lady Bird’ takes you to the world of a girl trying to fit in to an adult world. Then, there are period pieces like ‘Dunkirk’ and ‘Darkest Hour’ which narrate the same story from two different perspectives. How can one not spare a line for ‘The Post’ which reminds us once again why the media is considered the fourth pillar of democracy.

Without much ado, let me share with you, which films I’d give the Oscars to (I have not included a few categories – like Docu feature and Short Animation – which I do not watch).

Best Picture:

“Call Me by Your Name”

“Darkest Hour”


“Get Out”

“Lady Bird”

“Phantom Thread”

“The Post”

“The Shape of Water”

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”


Lead Actor:

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”

Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”

Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”

Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”

Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”


Lead Actress:

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”

Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”

Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

Meryl Streep, “The Post”


Supporting Actor:

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”

Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”

Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”

Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”


Supporting Actress:

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”

Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”

Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”

Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”

Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”



“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan

“Get Out,” Jordan Peele

“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig

“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson

“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro


Animated Feature:

“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito

“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo

“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson

“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha

“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman


Adapted Screenplay:

“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory

“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber

“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green

“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin

“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees


Original Screenplay:

“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani

“Get Out,” Jordan Peele

“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig

“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh



“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins

“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel

“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema

“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison

“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen


Film Editing:

“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss

“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith

“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel

“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory


Sound Editing:

“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater

“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green

“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King

“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood


Sound Mixing:

“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin

“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill

“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo

“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick


Production Design:

“Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer

“Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola

“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer

“Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis

“The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau


Original Score:

“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer

“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood

“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell


Original Song:

“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,” Mary J. Blige

“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens

“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez

“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common

“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul


Makeup and Hair:

“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick

“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard

“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten


Costume Design:

“Beauty and the Beast,” Jacqueline Durran

“Darkest Hour,” Jacqueline Durran

“Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges

“The Shape of Water,” Luis Sequeira

“Victoria and Abdul,” Consolata Boyle


Visual Effects:

“Blade Runner 2049,” John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick

“Kong: Skull Island,” Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Mike Meinardus

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,”  Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould, Neal Scanlan

“War for the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist




Report Card: My take on the movies that released during Durga Pujo

Durga Puja is the biggest socio-cultural event in the calendar of Bengalis. From food to frolic, the festival brings with it freshness and gaiety aplomb. Whether it is music or literature (pujor gaan and pujabarshiki for fellow Bangalis), Pujo has become synonymous with an annual splash of cultural pot-puree. And in the last couple of years, a string of blockbuster releases have added to the Durga Pujo blitzkrieg.

This year Tollywood celebrated Durga Pujo with five releases: Yeti Obhijaan by Srijit Mukherjee, Projapoti Biskut by Anindya Chatterjee, Byomkesh O Agniban by Anjan Dutt, Cockpit by Kamaleshwar Mukherjee and Chawlochitro Circus by Mainak Bhowmick. Adding to the pleasure of cine-goers, Newton (India’s entry to the Oscars this year) released in the same week.

Apart from Chawlochitro Circus, yours truly has watched all the movies that released during this period. I have already written detailed reviews of Yeti Obhijaan and Projapoti Biskut earlier. Being too lazy to write reviews for the rest, I decided to pen my thoughts about each of these movies in a single post. So, here goes:

Newton: Brevity is an art that is often found missing in India movies. Newton not only delivers its message in less than two hours, but its simplistic and honest commentary on the wonder that is Indian democracy will move you to tears by the time the end credits roll.

Image Source: The Wire


We, the privileged urban middle class, often take our rights for granted. For some of our fellow countrymen, like the tribals residing in Naxal-dominated areas of Dandakaranya, basic survival is nothing short of a struggle. Thus, even the biggest festival of democracy – elections – becomes an orchestrated spectacle here. And then there are upright officers like Newton, who would go to any lengths to ensure the rulebook is followed to the T. Alas, he is just a spoke in the cycle of power, which keeps moving on.

Rajkumar Rao’s understated performance, the subtlety in the writing, quirky yet effective and pointed dialogues and the sublimely used background score help Newton achieve a feat one can only dream of. The film shows the society a mirror and forces us to question the pre-conceived notions we live with, in our urban bubbles. Without being preachy, the film packs a solid punch into mainstream belief system that we are accustomed to.

My Rating: 4/5 stars


Byomkesh O Agniban: Anjan Dutt’s Byomkesh franchise finally comes of age with Byomkesh O Agniban. Based on Saradindu Bandyopadhyay’s Agniban and Uposonghar, the film brings Byomkesh face to face with his arch nemesis Kokonod Gupta.

Set against the backdrop of the turbulent late 60s, the film takes us into a murky underworld of arms dealings and drug cartels. In a deadly matchstick lies the recipe for a global disaster and it is incumbent upon a dhoti-clad Bengali ‘truth-seeker’ to avert this apparent apocalypse.

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The film breaks free from the typical Byomkesh mould that we have so far received from Anjan Dutt. The freshness is apparent in every frame. The background score, while retaining the signature Byomkesh tune, adds to the drama with the somber notes.

Jishu Sengupta brings the suave, intelligent, Bengali sleuth alive with finesse while Saswata Chatterjee’s somewhat subdued charm complements his friend. The exchange of dialogues during the climax, between Byomkesh and Kokonod, is essentially a commentary on the current socio-political landscape.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars


Cockpit: Perhaps the weakest link among the films that released during Pujo (apart from Chawlochitra Circus, which is worse I am told), this is Tollywood’s answer to Sully; and ruefully so. The film suffers from several inconsistencies that are glaring on your face, juvenile visual effects and a botched-up execution of a novel concept.

Firstly, I was confused whether the film was about how a pilot saved his flight from a near-apparent crash, or was it about the relationship woes of the pilot and the air hostess. The entire first half of the film is devoted to the chemistry of Dibs and Kirti (Dev and Rukmini) and the audience is led to believe they are into each other, except that Dibs friendzones her. It is also baffling why an air-hostess, who is spurned in love, chooses a flight to be flown by the man who dumped her.

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And to complete the circle of love, Koel’s character makes a sudden entry at a beach party in Mumbai (where they play Bengali songs from the 90s). In fact, throughout the film, most characters – whether they are doctors in Mumbai or non-Bengali air-hostesses, speak Bangla (sometimes better than the Bengali actors). Koel’s character has acrophobia and so she avoided flying. But there is a full song dedicated to her honeymoon with Dibs in Thailand. Did she take the train?

Then there were the back-stories for some of the passengers. The film suffers from too many sub-plots without any substantive story. Kirti’s character deserved more development. The final half an hour, where Dibs faces the actual crisis while landing, lacked gravity and was overtly melodramatic (like Rukmini’s Neerja moment while saving a child). In fact, when the whole flight was going through turbulence, and from luggage to bottles of fruits juice and milk were falling at will, Kirti’s hat did not even move an inch.

I can go on and on. Surely, Cockpit is not a film that one would expect from the person who made Khawto or Meghe Dhaka Tara.

My Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you watch any of these movies? What were your views after watching them? Do share with me!


DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

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