REVIEW: Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

Directed by: Rob Marshall
Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke.

Written by Cameron Frew

Mary Poppins is a curious thing. Depending on how you explain her, one would be forgiven for being slightly disturbed – a nanny who arrives out of nowhere flying out of the clouds on an umbrella, with seemingly magical powers and the ability to transport whomever she pleases into weird and wacky animated worlds. Disney turned P.L. Travers’ creation into a cinematic legend, however, beaming with warmth, peppy energy and a rigid stance on manners that taught the virtues of decorum and imagination as a pair. It was the perfect treat for the children and adults of 1964 – now more than 50 years later, cinema has given way to a sequel. Will you require a spoonful of sugar to put it over? No, this medicine is an immensely pleasant time all on its own.

Michael and Jane Banks (Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer) are now fully-fledged grown-ups. The latter organises rallies for the working class, the former isn’t so content. After losing his wife, he’s saddled with the task of trying to earn a living at a bank under the scrupulous but seemingly generous eye of William “Weatherall” Wilkins (Colin Firth) and raising his three children (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and Joel Dawson). Life is getting particularly hard as untenable bills mount. Then, as luck would have it, from the breaking clouds flies down Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) to look after the Banks children – and their children.

From the murky, familiar opening shots of an industrial London, there’s a keen sense of welcome in the picture. Not just welcoming new and old audiences, but welcoming its roots, the look, the feel, the style, the mood. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Broadway superstar from In the Heights and Hamilton, plays a huge role in fuelling the charisma machine, leading us into “the days of the Great Slump” with a pep and a jive. He has a breathless allure, the sort of birth-given gift that can’t be truly explained; he’s simply a diamond of the industry.

Whishaw and Mortimer are uncannily believable siblings, both sharing similar ticks and resonant chemistry that’s neither overpowering nor weak. The Newsroom star brings a little of that anxious energy in a likeable turn, but Whishaw has far more to do. That soft-spoken voice which propelled Paddington into our hearts is still around, but the nuance in his performance is quite impressive; at times he’s overcome with giddy joy, at others he’s harrowed with anguish and rage as events out with control cause continuous hardship. There’s a constantly sad undercurrent, the writers (David Magee, Rob Marshall and John Deluca) reminding you of the children’s endless devotion to their mother’s ethos – “That’s what mother would do” you hear them say. But in respecting this grief, in a very accessible way, the filmmakers untangle that knot of emotion.

Of course, they’re gifted the most supreme of helping hands in the form of Blunt, who in one of the most supercalifragilisticexpialadocious efforts this year, totally embodies the spirit of Poppins, and then some. Julie Andrews won the Oscar for the role, and it won’t be a surprise if there’s a Best Actress nomination on the cards this time. Punctilious and genteel, kind and firm, a queen of decorum and advocate of the imagination, Blunt is a revelation.

Soon we’re into ebullient animated-land, a mixture of modernistic visual effects-driven sequences and old-time, classic hand-drawn works that blend live-action and art in the finest display since Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The way writer-and-director Marshall and cinematographer Dion Beebe (who worked on the very different but insanely brilliant Collateral) orchestrate such dazzling set-pieces, packed with stunning choreography and warmly impressive animation is nothing short of remarkable. There are visual gags aplenty that’ll only improve on repeat viewings too, any excuse to dive back into the bathtub.

The song list is only impaired by the odd slightly overlong show tune, but the wild enthusiasm of them all is infectious, anchored on Marc Shaiman’s extravagantly grand composition that never feels anything less than an occasion. ’Trip a Little Light Fantastic’ is the finest number, an ensemble-belter that transports you into the cinema of old.

That’s the thing, Mary Poppins Returns feels like an ode to a cherished time at the movies. It packs both the power to move the kids and the adults, tap everyone’s feet and widen all the grins. There are only a few little bits that nag; the more ornate animation exceeds far better than the CGI stuff, and there’s one joke that sticks around a long time not all that effectively until the admittedly funny pay off. But you can see why big names wanted to get involved; Firth is delicious as a pantomime villain, Meryl Streep makes an appearance, and watch out for Dick Van Dyke. Few sequels these days are quite as joyous.

Blunt is sensational. On top of that, it’s pure Disney. Suppose when you consider the talent involved, there’s nowhere to go but up.

CAMERON’S VERDICT:

4

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A Magical New Trailer For ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Has Arrived

“In Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” an all new original musical and sequel, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. Emily Blunt stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London.”

Directed by: Rob Marshall

Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, ssBen Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walkters, Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke

Release Date: December 21st, 2018

Weekend BO Results: ‘Rampage’ Triumphs In A Tight Race For First Place

Written by Dapo Olowu

There’s something about a mid-April release that really proves Dwayne Johnson’s box office prowess. Exactly a year ago, he was leading the way with $98m, alongside Vin Diesel and others, in ‘Fate of the Furious’ –  a film which had the biggest worldwide opening weekend of all time with $541.9m. Two years before that, he was again topping the charts in the US with ‘Fast 7′. This year, it was a little more reserved, with ‘Rampage ‘ making (as predicted by yours truly) the solid start of $35.8m to claim top spot.

With an A- on Cinemascore, and an 81% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes (although 50% by critics), Warner Bros will be confident in the positive word-of-mouth surrounding the film in upcoming weeks; it’ll need this if it wants to remain in cinemas, and possibly reach the $100m domestic mark. It’s very optimistic, especially as ‘Infinity War’ opens in a week, but a 2.78x domestic total/opening weekend multiple isn’t impossible – just look at another of The Rock’s flicks, ‘San Andreas’.

Coming in at a close second was ‘A Quiet Place’. Its $33m gross (don’t forget, in its second weekend) was just a shade below the opening of another much-heralded horror from last year, ‘Get Out’ ($33.4m). With $100m now in the bank from the US, and $151.7m worldwide, ‘A Quiet Place’ is looking to become a hugely profitable film after just 2 weeks of release, especially with the budget only being between $17m-$21m (depending on where you look). The real question, then, is how much can ‘A Quiet Place’ make? My unofficial prediction, based on how similar it’s performing to 2017’s ‘Split’, is around $170m. Nothing quiet (heh) about that.

Another horror is next, and it’s ‘Truth or Dare’, raking in an impressive $18.7m. The moral of the story here is pretty obvious: never write-off Blumhouse. The 15% on Rotten Tomatoes had us fooled into thinking an opening of around $12m was in play, but the under-25 target audience really ate this up. A different type of horror to ‘A Quiet Place’, this is a good example of 2 same-genre films not necessarily cannibalising each other. But, its B- on Cinemascore may indicate that it won’t stick around to cannibalise anything else either.

‘Ready Player One’ saw a 53.2% drop from last weekend (for an $11.5m weekend), much more substantial than the 41% drop in its first weekend. Although, we can attribute this to ‘Rampage’s opening, as well as Spielberg’s fantasy movie losing nearly 600 cinemas this weekend, so, this isn’t the big news. What’s really interesting here, is how ‘Ready Player One’ has nearly hit $500m worldwide, a massive figure, bolstered by its incredible popularity in China; according to Deadline, it’s now just shy of $200m over there. Wow.

Rounding off the top 5 is ‘Blockers‘, the comedy that’s starting to get a bit crowded amongst the general blockbuster noise. Its $10.8m this weekend isn’t at all bad, but you just get the feeling that more could’ve been made if Universal didn’t release ‘Truth or Dare’, a film targeted at the same young, female audience, only a week after. To make matters worse, Amy Schumer’s comedy ‘I Feel Pretty’ opens next weekend – so, let’s just hope its PG-13 rating means less of an audience overlap, for ‘Blockers’ sake.

‘Black Panther’ drops out of the top 5 for the first time since it came onto our screens 9 weeks ago. It only fell by 33.9%, giving it a current domestic total of $674.2m and a worldwide cume of $1.309bn. We’re hoping that ‘Infinity War’ may give the film the boost it needs, to not only creep past $700m in the US but also past ‘The Last Jedi’s $1.33bn worldwide number, to become the 9th biggest film of all time.

‘Isle of Dogs’ grossed a very disappointing $5.5m this weekend, just a 20% increase from last weekend even though it opened in 1,400 more cinemas. The Christian drama ‘I Can Only Imagine’ finally saw a major drop of near 50% after losing over 300 cinemas, but with $75m in the bank, it’s been a more than satisfying run. Tyler Perry’s ‘Acrimony’s $3.7m weekend gives it a total of $37.8m, and will probably end up just short of his 2017 effort, ‘Boo 2! A Madea Halloween’, which raked in a $47.3m domestic total. Finally, period-drama ‘Chappaquidick’, originally meant for a late 2017 ‘for the awards’ release, came in at number 10, with $3.1m in its second weekend.

The top 10 box office report for the weekend is below. Next weekend sees ‘I Feel Pretty’ starring Amy Schumer, ‘Super Troopers 2′ (the sequel to the 2001 cult classic), and ‘Traffik’ starring Paula Patton and Omar Epps, all opening in the US. What do you think will challenge ‘Rampage‘ for the top spot?

Rank Last Week Rank Film Weekend Gross Total Gross Weekend drop Jumpcut’s prediction Difference Week number
1 Rampage $35.8m $35.8m $36m $0.2m 1
2 1 A Quiet Place $33.0m $100m -34.3% $32.2m $0.8m 2
3 Truth or Dare $18.7m $18.7m $12.5m $6.2m 1
4 2 Ready Player One $11.5m $114.9m -53.2% $13.5m $2m 3
5 3 Blockers $10.8m $37.4m -47.6% $10.8m $0 2
6 4 Black Panther $5.8m $674.2m -33.6% $6.1m $0.3m 9
7 10 Isle of Dogs $5.5m $18.9m +20% $10m $4.5m 4
8 6 I Can Only Imagine $4.1m $75.3m -46.9% $5.7m $1.6m 5
9 5 Tyler Perry’s Acrimony $3.7m $37.8m -56.4% $3.8m $0.1m 3
10 7 Chappaquiddick $3.1m $11m -46.9% 2

A Quiet Place

Year: 2018
Directed by: John Krasinski
Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe

Written by Jessica Peña

Silence can truly be deafening. Even in a packed theater, it’s daunting how a small sound becomes amplified in the absence of others. Sound is the enemy in John Krasinski’s newest film, ‘A Quiet Place’. Yes, Jim Halpert from The Office has grown some exceptional directorial skills and has given us an ingenious thriller about a family surviving in a post apocalyptic reality where monsters hunt you down by sound. Supremely inventive with its world building and familial ties, ‘A Quiet Place’ is cutting edge intensity and it deserves your praise (and money).

A family of five are forced to live their lives in utter silence in order to survive. Creatures with super agility and hearing hunt by sound, and it poses detrimental risks to the family’s fully aware lifestyle. The film has an interesting creature concept that, from the get-go, is well established to the audience. It leaves a few curiosities unanswered, but it introduces enough of these monsters to pique interest. Rather than stretching the imagination of what they look like (like how many modern horrors work), it’s decided that the tension build is given more respectively to the film’s fight for survival and the things they become aware of themselves. What a relief it is to have a film that doesn’t waste time with exposition. We aren’t given any backstory to the family, but it’s refreshing because it still works. Immediately, we are thrown into Day 89 of this tragic stricken reality, and it’s shown just how high the stakes are. The tension begins and lasts throughout the runtime, giving us a visceral, dreaded satisfaction.

Krasinski, who has a writing credit on the film, implements a great deal of dread in the form of its story structure and how exactly the family dynamic plays out. Their natural way of living has been compromised and they have nothing left but survival. You could say this has become their natural way of living, as they’ve perfected alternatives down to using lettuce leaves as plates and felt pieces for Monopoly. In this sentiment, the production value pays off.  It drags us into the tension by letting us in on things unknown to the characters; plot devices that further put us over the edge of our seats. The sound design lends itself impeccably in the way it can make the shatter of a lantern one of the first outbursts of quick desperation in the film. Marco Beltrami’s score complements the way tension transcends and finds a home in the film. Daring, intimidating, and nuanced, it’s easily become a favorite to hopefully seek an Oscar nomination. We’re treading lightly in this world with the family and Krasinski’s direction is well enough to see all of these aspects through to the audience.

Krasinski and Blunt’s chemistry as they take on the roles of industrious, resilient parents is so gratifying and real. Krasinski, a full-bearded, sweater wearing dad here, is meticulously cautious. He’s not over the top great, but he gives enough of himself to sustain a very deep likability. He’s keen to prepare their farmhouse bunker into a sound-proof environment they can live in. Blunt also full heartedly lays it all out on the line and truly is the star here. Her character’s maternal instinct to protect and defend is something that lends a relatability to the film. One major element, as shown in the trailers, is that she’s pregnant. This is used cleverly later on, but it’s just so hard to believe that, in a world where you could literally die if a sound you make is remotely loud enough, you’d be careless enough to become pregnant here. Possibly a cop out to ensure sentimental impact, or maybe just a way for them to find new hope in a desolate existence, it’s still quite reckless to believe. That said, it really doesn’t take away from the film overall.

Blunt and Krasinski embrace their roles with a very realized fear: “Who are we if we can’t protect them?” And it’s at that level when we realize that the “horror” you will find in the film isn’t so much the idea of these monsters, but of feeling powerless to aid and protect your children from these evils. Arguably, it’s as much a deep dive into the insecurities of parenthood as it is a monster thriller, and these themes are carefully merged into a successfully immersive final cut.

Coming off the indie success of ‘Wonderstruck’ last year, Millicent Simmonds is casted here, by the enormous perseverance of Krasinski to get her in, and gives a wonderful performance that truly needs no words to convey. Every pained remark told by the eyes and every intense build is told through her facial features and hand motions. Her signing comes to life in ways that leans us into emotional weight with her inner guilt. Simmonds’ casting choice is highly representative of both the hearing impaired and disabled community, where it’s apparent not enough is done to cast these actors. It’s so satisfying and even more telling to how it touches others in the community. So, thank you, John Krasinski. Moreover, Noah Jupe plays his role stupendously as the young brother afraid of the shift in responsibilities and what’s to come, but manages to step up to the plate quite convincingly to do what he needs to do.

‘A Quiet Place’ is high octane survival in an everlasting slice of tension. The film is so well paced and finds success in these moments of a fear so loud it falls silent. John Krasinski pulls out all his tricks to quietly convey the kind of suspense that will lead among other successes this year. Thrilling and nail-bitingly good, you’ll find yourself forgetting to exhale.

JESSICA’S RATING: 8.5/10

A New Story Begins In The First Teaser Trailer For ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

“Mary Poppins Returns” stars: Emily Blunt as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure; Lin-Manuel Miranda as her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London; Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks; Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks; and Julie Walters as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen; with Colin Firth as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s William Weatherall Wilkins; and Meryl Streep as Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy. The film also introduces three new Banks’ children played by Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and newcomer Joel Dawson. Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady, a treasured character from the PL Travers books and Dick Van Dyke is Mr. Dawes Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character.”

Directed by: Rob Marshall

Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, ssBen Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walkters, Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke

Release Date: December 21st, 2018

Production Underway On Mary Poppins Returns

Lin-Manuel Miranda has confirmed that production began yesterday (9th February) on ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, a sequel to the 1964 childhood favourite ‘Mary Poppins’.

The synopsis for the sequel is:

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is set in 1930s depression-era London and is drawn from the wealth of material in PL Travers’ additional seven books. In the story, Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer) are now grown up, with Michael, his three children (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson) and their housekeeper, Ellen (Julie Walters), living on Cherry Tree Land. After Michael suffers a personal loss, the enigmatic nanny Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) re-enters the lives of the Banks family, and, along with the optimistic street lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), uses her unique magical skills to help the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing on their lives. Mary Poppins also introduces the children to a new assortment of colourful and whimsical characters, including her eccentric cousin, Topsy (Meryl Streep).

Dick Van Dyke will be returning to the cobbles of London to play the character of Mr Dawes Jr., who is the chairman of the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, which is being run by William Weatherall Wilkins (Colin Firth). Helming this sequel is Academy Award nominatee Rob Marhsall, who is also signed on as a producer.

It’s fair to say that this sequel has a lot to live up to, with the original being a classic childhood favourite for many many people, but with such a strong cast line-up and creative team working on it, I think this sequel has great potential to be successful. 

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is scheduled for a Christmas Day release in 2018

What are your thoughts on this ambitious sequel?

Written by Tom Sheffield

Dick Van Dyke Will Be In The 2018 Mary Poppins Sequel

Dick Van Dyke has confirmed that he will have some sort of role in ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, a sequel to the original ‘Mary Poppins’ which was released in 1964, in which he played lovable cockney chimney-sweep, Bert. It’s not yet clear whether this ‘role’ will be a small cameo or an integral part of the story, but either way it will be nice to have a familiar face in the sequel! 

Emily Blunt will be playing the main lady herself, Mary Poppins, and confirmed to join her are Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Angela Lansbury. The story is set to focus on Michael Banks and his 3 children 20 years after Poppins left Michael and his sister Jane at the end of the first film. Michael and his children suffer a personal tragedy, which is where Poppins comes in to do what she does best. 

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is set to release in December 2018

Written by Tom Sheffield

The JumpCut UK Film Awards 2015: The Nominees

After weeks of agonising over the films of 2015, our esteemed panel have finally submitted their picks for the first annual JumpCut UK Film Awards. The votes have been counted and the nominees are…


actors
Best Support Actress
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
Kristen Stewart (Clouds Of Sils Maria)
Marion Cotillard (Macbeth)
Rooney Mara (Carol)
Best Support Actor
Benicio del Toro (Sicario)
Idris Elba (Beasts Of No Nation)
JK Simmons (Whiplash)
Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina)
Paul Dano (Love & Mercy)
Best Lead Actress
Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Emily Blunt (Sicario)
Olivia Cooke (Me And Earl And The Dying Girl)
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
Best Lead Actor
Abraham Attah (Beasts Of No Nation)
Jason Segel (The End Of The Tour)
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Miles Teller (Whiplash)
Best Breakthrough Actor/Actress
Abraham Attah
Alicia Vikander
Daisy Ridley
O’Shea Jackson Jr
Taron Egerton
Worst Acting Performance
Adam Sandler (Pixels)
Jai Courtney (Terminator Genisys)
Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades Of Grey)
Johnny Depp (Mortdecai)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Jurassic World)

 

technical

Best Director
Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
Denis Villeneuve (Sicario)
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Ridley Scott (The Martian)
Best Original Story
Ex Machina
Inside Out
The Gift
The Lobster
Whiplash
Best Adaptation
American Sniper
Macbeth
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Steve Jobs
The Martian
Best Cinematography
American Sniper
Macbeth
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
The Martian

 

Best Editing
Birdman
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Whiplash
Best Soundtrack/Score
Dope
Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Whiplash
Best Visual Effects
Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Martian

genre

Best Action Film
American Sniper
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Best Comedy Film
Inside Out
Spy
The Lobster
The Night Before
Trainwreck
Best Drama Film
Carol
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Straight Outta Compton
Whiplash
White God
Best Horror Film
Crimson Peak
Insidious: Chapter 3
It Follows
The Gift
Best Sci-Fi Film
Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Martian

 

Best Documentary, Foreign, Indie or Short Film
Cobain: Montage Of Heck
The End Of The Tour
Kung Fury
The Lobster
World Of Tomorrow
Worst Sequel/Reboot
Fantastic Four
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Taken 3
Terminator Genisys
Vacation
Worst Film
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Pan
Paul Blart 2
Pixels
Vacation
Best Film
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
The Martian
Whiplash

miscellaneous

The “Guilty Pleasure” Award
American Ultra
Focus
San Andreas
Ted 2
The Interview

 

 

 

 



So there you have it – 24 categories with lots of films and individuals to celebrate. We will be opening up the voting to the public for the following categories: Best Breakthrough Actor/Actress, Worst Film and Best Trailer, and you can cast your vote here (voting closes 31st December). The rest of the categories will be decided by the JumpCut UK team, our official partners and a handful of expert guests, with all the winners announced on our special YouTube Awards Show at the end of January. 

Oscars 2016: Best Picture Predictions

Written by Chris Winterbottom

It may be early, but with awards season kicking off, I thought I would share my tips for who will be nominated at the 2016 Academy Awards, which will be held on the 28th February. Last year’s winner of the award for Best Picture, ‘Birdman’, was part of an eight-strong group vying for that prestigious gold statuette, but the category can have up to ten films nominated. With that in mind, I’m predicting a nine horse race, considering the amount of interesting films still to be released before the big night.

And the nominees are…

Steve Jobs

After making the hugely enjoyable ‘Trance’, Danny Boyle is back to courting the big awards with this biopic of the Apple genius Steve Jobs. Michael Fassbender plays the titular character and with supporting actors in Kate Winslet and Jeff Daniels, early reviews have suggested this is the one to watch. Personally, I am looking forward to this immensely; Danny Boyle is one of my favourite filmmakers and with a script penned by Aaron Sorkin, whose other works include the wonderful ‘The Social Network’, this film looks set to be a huge success both financially and critically.

Suffragette

This recent release has seen much of its acclaim directed towards the acting performances; I am sure Carey Mulligan in particular will at least be nominated for Best Actress at the awards ceremony next February. I haven’t seen the film, but with Jennifer Lawrence’s recent essay on sexism in Hollywood, and the regular calls of discontent at the amount of roles for women and the pay they receive when they come along, I feel the Academy will include the film in the Best Picture category to acknowledge female filmmakers’ cries for equality, regardless of its quality.

Sicario

This Denis Villeneuve film is one of my favourites of the year so far. Currently, I would like ‘Sicario’ to win the award for Best Picture, but I haven’t seen the majority of the other potential nominees so it is too early to put fully commit. That said, the film is a brilliant piece of visceral, shocking and tense filmmaking. There may be nominations for its cast too, particularly for Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro, and Roger Deakins is sure to win the Best Cinematography award for the first time. For now, ‘Sicario’ is an outsider, but we shall see what will happen in the coming months.

Inside Out

This may prove a controversial choice to some, considering no animated film has ever won Best Picture, but the amount of positive reviews for this Disney-Pixar effort may sway Academy voters. This is another film which I am yet to see, and I have to say that it is one of my big film regrets this year. I suspect that ‘Inside Out’ is the animated film most likely to pick up the Best Picture gong in February, but it still remains a big outsider. However, it was not so long ago that the majestic ‘Toy Story 3’ picked up the nomination for Best Picture, with ‘Up’ achieving this feat the year before.

Bridge Of Spies

Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and The Cold War? I’m predicting this film will receive the most nominations of all at the 2016 Academy Awards. But I feel this movie will pull an ‘American Hustle’ – receive the most nominations, including Best Picture, but then fail to win anything. Whilst it has a chance in the Best Costume and Best Make Up categories, and maybe some of the technical categories, I just don’t feel like the ‘Bridge Of Spies’ campaign will gain enough momentum.

The Hateful Eight

Tarantino’s last two films, ‘Inglourious Basterds’ (I know it’s spelled wrong) and ‘Django Unchained’ both received Best Picture nominations, and I am certain his latest effort will deliver him another. The film’s official release date is the 8th January 2016 in the USA, which would have made this ineligible, but with a limited release on Christmas Day, I’m confident that ‘The Hateful Eight’ will be nominated. The release date is telling; films with a release date around January and February here in the UK are often the big contenders when it comes to awards. I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned out to be Tarantino’s most financially successful film, even surpassing ‘Django Unchained’, but like his previous couple of movies, I don’t think it’ll win the Best Picture award.

The Revenant

Will Leonardo Di Caprio finally win the elusive Oscar for Best Actor? Many seem to think it’ll be his year, but I think the great man will have to wait at least another year. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu enjoyed big success at last year’s ceremony with ‘Birdman’, but I think he will receive something of a muted backlash for ‘The Revenant’, at least in terms of its critical reaction. However, The Academy love Inarritu and because of this, I believe the film will be competing for the Best Picture award. More likely though, I think we could see Emmanuel Lubezki pick up another statue for his cinematography work. For those that have seen the trailer, it already looks to be a visually stunning film.

Hail, Caesar!

The Coen Brothers are back with ‘Hail, Caesar!’, a musical-comedy satirising Hollywood. The film has a 1950’s setting, during Hollywood’s golden era, and features a fantastic cast including Scarlett Johansson. This film will be the main competition for Danny Boyle’s ‘Steve Jobs’. It will certainly challenge in terms of the technical awards, like Best Editing, but in my opinion the film will most likely pick the Best Director(s) award. The Coen Brothers are no strangers to award nominations, after the receiving a whole spate of them for ‘No Country For Old Men’, ‘True Grit’ and ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’.

The Danish Girl

I am a big admirer of Tom Hooper, particularly for his work on the underrated ‘The Damned United’. But his rise to the top, in terms of British filmmakers, has come off the back of ‘The Kings Speech’ and ‘Les Miserables’. You only have to look at the poster for this movie to know that this is an unashamed, Oscar-bait project. I don’t feel like this will be much of a success at the Oscars in February, but having said that I didn’t think ‘Gravity’ would either. Sometimes there are surprises, and I am sure Redmayne will receive another Best Actor nomination for his defiant, cross-dressing role, but my gut instinct is that the film will slip under the radar somewhat.

So there you have it – my predictions for the Best Picture category. Of course, this list may well be wrong and even if it is, it does not necessarily represent the year’s best films. I often find that The Academy is completely wrong in its choices; like Christopher Nolan being ignored twice, for ‘Inception’ and ‘Interstellar’. We are talking about an awards ceremony which snubbed ‘Citizen Kane’, after all. But there is no getting around the fact that the Oscars are the most prestigious of awards ceremonies, and I think in 2016 we will see Danny Boyle and his film ‘Steve Jobs’ be the triumphant victor.