The 90th Academy Awards: Who Will Win, Who Should Win

With the Academy Awards just hours away, who will win the gold statues, and who should win the gold statues?


Best Director nominees:


Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water

Jordan Peele, Get Out

Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

Who will win: Guillermo Del Toro

Who should win: Jordan Peele

Guillermo Del Toro will finally get his due when he walks away with “Best Director” honors Sunday night, and he is a worthy winner for his visionary work in The Shape of Water. There is a case to be made, however, for Jordan Peele’s work in his feature film directorial debut. Get Out might be one of the most culturally relevant films to be released in quite some time, making Peele more than worthy of the honor.

Best Supporting Actress nominees:


Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound

Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Who will win: Allison Janney

Who should win: Allison Janney, Laurie Metcalf, or Lesley Manville

Allison Janney is a force as Tonya Harding’s abusive mother in I, Tonya, and will walk away with Oscar gold. While very deserving of such recognition, one must also note Laurie Metcalf’s terrific turn in Lady Bird and the under the radar performance given by Lesley Manville in Phantom Thread. Should either of them walk away with the award come Sunday, it’ll be much deserved.

Best Supporting Actor nominees:


Christopher Plummer, All The Money in the World

Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water

Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

Who will win: Sam Rockwell

Who should win: Woody Harrelson

Sam Rockwell is one of the best things about Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, and as a veteran character actor he is due for some well deserved recognition. But considering the current political climate, maybe it isn’t the best idea to recognize a performance that rests upon corrupt, racist ideals. Woody Harrelson gives a much more quiet performance in the film, but his impact on it is more powerful, and recognizing a long stalwart of Hollywood would be one of the best directions to go in.

Best Actress nominees:


Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie, I, Tonya

Meryl Streep, The Post

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water

Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Who will win: Frances McDormand

Who should win: Saoirse Ronan

In the time of “#metoo” and “Time’s Up”, it seems fitting a performance that focuses on a strong female character fighting the justice system in regards to her daughter’s rape and murder wins “Best Actress.” Frances McDormand’s performance, while good, is one of the most overrated, overblown performances in recent memory. It’s time to acknowledge the young talents of Saoirse Ronan, whose coming of age performance in Lady Bird more than fits in well with “#metoo” and “Time’s Up.”

Best Actor nominees:


Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread

Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name

Who will win: Gary Oldman

Who should win: Daniel Day-Lewis

Gary Oldman will finally get his due when he walks away with his first and long-awaited little gold man for his outstanding work in Darkest Hour as Winston Churchill. However, should this be the final performance of his acting career, the Academy needs to honor perhaps the greatest actor to ever live, Daniel Day-Lewis, one final time for his gripping, tour de force performance in Phantom Thread.

Best Picture nominees:


Call Me by Your Name

Darkest Hour


Get Out

Lady Bird

Phantom Thread

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

Who will win: The Shape of Water

Who should win: Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water seems destined for Oscar glory as being recognized as one of the most bizarre films to ever win “Best Picture”, and its visionary take on the romance genre definitely makes it a worthy winner. Call it pretentious, but the nuances and tremendous performances in Phantom Thread make it the best film of the bunch, and would finally give director Paul Thomas Anderson the credit he deserves as one of the best filmmakers in the industry.



Bro-Reviews: Academy Award Nominations and Snubs

While you were sleeping, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the nominees for the best in film 2017. The most notable awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress, and Best Actor, are always hotly debated every year. This discussion only gets more heated once we learn those who were snubbed from the list of nominations. The nominees, along with the snubs, are:

Best Picture:

The Shape of Water”

“Call Me by Your Name”

“Darkest Hour”


“Get Out”

“Lady Bird”

“Phantom Thread”

“The Post”

“The Shape of Water”

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Snubs: “Wonder Woman”, “I, Tonya”

Gal Gadot in “Wonder Woman.”

For the most part, the academy got the nominations here right. All of the films listed above opened to rave reviews, and have had relatively healthy box office longevity. It is curious, however, in the wake of the #MeeToo and Time’s Up movements that Wonder Woman, the 3rd highest grossing film of the year, wasn’t nominated. Maybe it’s more proof the Academy isn’t ready to acknowledge super-hero movies as the best films (*see The Dark Knight and The Avengers), but considering the current times, acknowledging Wonder Woman as one of the best films of 2017 should’ve been a no-brainer. On top of that, I, Tonya has received critical acclaim due to its performances, yet didn’t crack the “Best Picture” list.

Best Actress:

Frances McDormand in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

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”

Snubs: Michelle Williams, “All the Money in the World”, Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”

Jessica Chastain in “Molly’s Game.

All of the nominees are deserving of a nomination here, and maybe there just weren’t enough slots to go around. Michelle Williams has been a force throughout the years during awards season, but her exclusion from this category is questionable considering her great performance in All the Money in the World. Jessica Chastain has also received accolades for her powerhouse performance in Molly’s Game, but also got left off the list due to the number of great performances this year.

Best Actor:

Gary Oldman in “Darkest Hour.”

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 Esquire”

Snubs: Tom Hanks, “The Post”, James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”

James Franco in “The Disaster Artist.”

The biggest surprise here is Washington’s nomination for a so-so movie. He’s the best thing in it, but it’s the only nomination Roman J. Israel Esquire received. Maybe it was a toss-up between Washington and Hanks, who while doesn’t give a memorable performance, has now not been nominated since 2000’s Cast Away. More egregious was the snubbing of James Franco, who won the Golden Globe for his role as Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist. Maybe his recent sexual assault allegations had something to do with it, but Franco was most certainly overlooked for some reason.

Best Director:

Guillermo del Toro, director of “The Shape of Water.”

Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”

Jordan Peele, “Get Out”

Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”

Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread”

Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”

Snub: Steven Spielberg, “The Post”

Merly Streep, director Steven Spielberg, and Tom Hanks on the set of “The Post.”

Once again, not many surprises in this category.  The biggest omission, however, is Steven Spielberg. Spielberg is a stalwart in Hollywood, and his film about the importance of the news media is quite topical. Personally, I didn’t find The Post to be extraordinary, but there had to have been some way to include him in this list.

Best Supporting Actor

Sam Rockwell in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

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”

Snub: Armie Hammer, “Call Me by Your Name”

Armie Hammer in “Call Me by Your Name.”

The biggest surprise in this list is the inclusion of Woody Harrelson. His Three Billboards co-star, Sam Rockwell, is considered the favorite, and it’s a curious decision as to why both men were included in the list of nominees. This led to the exclusion of Armie Hammer, who received universal acclaim for his role as an older, same-sex lover in Call Me by Your Name. Maybe he’s still paying for the sins of The Lone Ranger, but leaving Hammer off this list seems like an error.

Best Supporting Actress:

Allsion Janney in “I, Tonya.”

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”

Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”

Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”

Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”

Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Snubs: Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”, Tiffany Haddish, “Girls Trip”

Tiffany Haddish in “Girl’s Trip.”

Most of the nominees here were expected, but you’d have to believe the nomination of Lesley Manville, who hadn’t received much attention until now, cost Holly Hunter a nomination for her career renaissance role in indie darling The Big Sick. And while she was a presenter of the nominees and comedies typically don’t get love from the Academy, one could make an argument for Tiffany Haddish in Girls Trip. In a year in which diversity is at the forefront, why not recognize one of the funniest performances from a predominantly African-American film?





Bro-Reviews: 2017 Summer Box Office Winners and Losers

Whether you’re a winner or a loser, box office revenue is down significantly compared to last summer.

The Summer movie season is officially over, after 4 long months, it’s finally over. While this summer had it fair share of winners that won the box office, their were plenty of losers, and boy did they lose. It’s now time to asses the winners and losers of the 2017 Summer box office.

Winner: Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot in “Wonder Woman.”

The highest grossing film of the summer by a significant margin, Wonder Woman was a much needed win for the DC extended universe and showed girl power is alive and well in Hollywood. The film saw unprecedented holds from weekend to weekend over the summer, playing similarly to 2002’s Spider-Man en route to $406.8 million domestically, making it the 7th highest grossing super-hero film of all time and the highest grossing film ever directed by a woman.

Loser: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne in “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.”

Valerian is a prime example of what happens when you let directors go into a CGI candy shop and allow them to lose their minds on screen. While visually striking, Valerian lacked star power and chose style over substance in this over-long, over-budgeted Star Wars wannabe. The film’s box office receipts didn’t help matters either, as it grossed a puny $39.8 million at the North American box office compared to its $172.2 million budget. A bomb indeed.

Winner: Marvel Studios

“Marvel Studios.”

At this point, Marvel Studios has perfected the blockbuster formula. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 grossed $389.4 million in May, showing that Star Lord and the gang won’t be going away anytime soon. Marvel Studios was also able to reap the rewards of re-booting the Spider-Man franchise with Spider-Man: Homecoming in July, grossing an impressive $321.2 million during its theatrical run.

Loser: Former Franchise Tent-Poles

“Transformers: The Last Knight”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”, and “Cars 3.”

Alien: Covenant, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Cars 3, Transformers: The Last Night. What do they all have in common? They are all franchises that at one point were box-office giants who presided as the kings of the summer movie season but have now all but exhausted ideas to the point that audiences have grown tired of them. While the international box office receipts helped prevent them from flat-out bombing and in some cases made them profitable, it’s time for studios to re-think their strategies in regards to tent-pole franchises.

Winner: War for the Planet of the Apes

“War For the Planet of the Apes.”

A stunning achievement in motion capture and special effects, War for the Planet of the Apes is nothing short of technically brilliant. Add in the emotional component most summer box office films are missing along with enthralling action, and War For the Planet of the Apes proves you don’t have to be brainless to be a successful summer blockbuster.

Loser: Baywatch


On paper, Baywatch seemed to be a no-brainer. A summer comedy filled with beaches, bikinis, and the Rock would surely breed box office success, right? Unfortunately, incompetent direction, lazy joke writing, and exploitation of female bodies made Baywatch unwatchable, making it one of the biggest duds of the summer movie season.

Winner: Rotten Tomatoes

“Rotten Tomatoes.”

If there were ever a time where the influence of the review aggregate site flexed its muscles, it was this summer. Films that boasted overwhelmingly positive reviews such as Dunkirk ($175.5 million) and Baby Driver ($104.3 million) enjoyed box office success and long theatrical runs. Maligned films such as The Mummy ($80.1) and The Dark Tower ($46.1 million) on the other hand saw their hopes and dreams of launching franchises either stall or end due to dog piling bad reviews.

Loser: The Summer Box Office


For every financially and critically successful film released this summer, there was an even more financially and critically disastrous film released. Add in an August with very few appealing films, and the summer box office is down nearly 16% compared to last year and movie going attendance is the worst it has been in 25 years. One can only hope the looming Fall movie season can pick up the slack, but the 2017 box office appears to be experiencing diminishing returns.


Bro-Reviews: Dunkirk


Christopher Nolan is undoubtedly one of the most masterful directors working today, but the case could also be made he’s one of the greatest directors of all time. From small budgeted independent films like Memento, to original triumphs like Inception, all the way to the Dark Knight trilogy, Nolan has proven himself to be a true auteur. However, many would agree Nolan may have lost a step with the release of the bloated and cheesy Interstellar in 2014, a major disappointment in the eyes of many. Three years later, Nolan has created another epic film being hailed as a masterpiece based on the true story of the Battle of Dunkirk during the half of World War II America always ignores, Dunkirk.

In Dunkirk, the Nazi Germany army has surrounded the British and French armies, forcing them to retreat to the beaches of Dunkirk. It is there where the soldiers await and pray for the arrival of help whilst being under constant attack by the Nazis. We follow a couple of foot soldiers attempting to escape Dunkirk within a span of a week, Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) and Alex (Harry Styles), a father (Mark Rylance) and son (Tom Glynn-Carney) sailing to Dunkirk to rescue the stranded soldiers in a span of a day, and Royal Air Force Pilots Farrier (Tom Hardy) and Collins (Jack Lowden) fighting off Nazi bomber planes in the span of an hour.

As I stated earlier, Nolan has full control of the films he makes at this point in his career. Dunkirk is another example of Nolan’s stranglehold on his projects, as the film is beautifully shot while retaining an apocalyptic, doomed atmosphere much like the battle itself. On top of that, the battle sequences put you in the middle of the action, making you jump at every sound of a gun shot to the point that you too want to spring from your seat in the theater and run for cover. From a technical standpoint, Dunkirk might be Christopher Nolan’s most masterful work yet.

However, what prevents Dunkirk from rising to being a great film and one of the most powerful war films ever is the utter lack of characterization in the film. To put it bluntly, Dunkirk doesn’t have characters, it has people. Even though I listed the characters’ names in the synopsis, you cannot recall their names without looking at a cast of “characters” list, that’s how expendable and unmemorable they are. Sure, the whole feeling of dread and wanting to escape is present, but other than wanting to survive/ make it home, we don’t empathize with these people. As an audience member, I wanted to know what specifically these people would miss out on should they perish. Are they trying to escape because they have families back home? Are they sailing to danger because they have an overwhelming feeling of nationalism and want to serve their country? Heck, we don’t even get the cliche’ of a solider pulling out a picture of his girlfriend and saying he can’t wait to see her again.


As I stated earlier, Nolan more than likely has final cut and other overreaching decision making powers whenever he wants to make a project. It’s important to point this out, as Nolan not only directed this film, he also wrote it. This is nothing new as it pertains to Nolan, as he has a writing credit for every single film he’s made with the exception of being uncredited as a writer for 2002’s Insomnia. One of the major criticisms of Interstellar was the writing in the film, and Dunkirk marks Nolan’s second straight misfire in the writing department. A writer’s job is to make the audience empathize and feel for the protagonists, to make them want to get up and cheer once they have accomplished their goal. To make the people that appear on screen human. That feeling never arises in Dunkirk. Sure, there are moments when the performers on screen are in peril or dire circumstances, but the only investment you have in these situations is the uncertainty of what is going to happen. You couldn’t care less whether or not these “characters” survive, and that fault should be placed squarely on the shoulders of Nolan.

With such underwritten characters present and lack of dialogue in the film, it’s hard to judge the performances in Dunkirk. Every teenybopper’s dream boat of the moment and One Direction member Harry Styles makes his much anticipated acting debut in the film, but one can hardly judge his acting capabilities since he gets lost in the shuffle of all of the indispensable soldiers in the film. At this point, it seems like Christopher Nolan is determined to turn Tom Hardy into Batman supervillain Bane, as he is muffled by a plane mask throughout the film, a total waste of Mr. Hardy’s many talents. Veteran actors Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance (who might as well be wearing a tee shirt with the inscription I AM THE SPIRIT OF THE FILM) come across as the best performers, but with such minimal dialogue, Dunkirk might have been the easiest acting job they’ve had in their lengthy careers.

With all of the power Nolan has over his projects now, it’s as if no one bothers to give him notes, or as if he believes he is above them. Someone should’ve met with Nolan and said while his behind the camera craftsmanship is tremendous, the people in his movie are lifeless, inconsequential pawns lacking humanity. Had this occurred, there’s the possibility Nolan would’ve gone back to the drawing board and fleshed these people out further other than bunching them all into the theme of survival. However, maybe Nolan rules with an iron fist and no longer listens to such constructive criticism, opting to instead make his films his way. One can hardly blame him due to his impeccable resume, but one can only live off of their reputation for so long.

Do not make the mistake of thinking Dunkirk is a bad movie. From a technical standpoint, Dunkirk is nothing short of masterful. From a writing and emotional investment perspective, Dunkirk is one of the most underwritten films in a long time. While I’m sure everyone will ridicule me and say “You just don’t get it.”, and maybe I truly don’t, I will not allow a great filmmaker such as Nolan off the hook for woefully underwriting the people in this film. Someone needs to stand up to him and tell him his writing abilities have woefully diminished over his last two films, but maybe I’ll be the only one to do so. Dunkirk is nothing to marvel at and laud, if anything, don’t believe the hype.

Rating: 2/4 Stars. Rent it.