JUMPSCARECUT: 5 Of The Worst Decisions Made In Horror Films

Written by Megan Williams

Warning: This article contains spoilers!

One of my favourite film genres is horror. I’m not sure why I love this genre, but I do. However, the majority of them seem to share the same thing: They’ll have at least one stupid character. These characters will usually make a decision that will affect the storyline, affect themselves or another character, or set the overall film into motion. Their decisions are either unrealistic, ridiculous or just plain stupid. Therefore, I’ve decided to put together a little list of the five worst decisions made in horror films. This is not a top five list; merely a collection of awful, awful choices.

Let’s begin…

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Jeepers Creepers (2001): Going Back to the Pipeline

In this 2001 monster movie, Darry and Trisha, a brother and a sister, have just passed a cathedral where they see a stranger throwing white, blood-stained sheets down a pipe. What would you do in this situation? You’d probably get as far away as possible, or report the incident to the police, right? Well, the siblings don’t do either of these things but, instead, decide to return to the scene of the crime on the suggestion (or guilt-tripping) of the brother. I understand that this decision sets the whole film into motion, but come on. What makes this even more ridiculous is that Trisha even tells Darry that we, the audience, will hate him for making this decision.

 

Saw 2 (2005): Addison and the Box Trap

I love the Saw franchise (it’s actually my favourite horror franchise), but even I can admit that the film is filled with stupid decisions and brainless characters. However, out of all of the dumb decisions I had to place this well-known one, from Saw 2, on my list because her slow death could’ve easily been avoided.

In the red-circled area, you can just make out the key to open the box and get the antidote out. If Addison had stopped and actually looked at the whole trap then she would’ve seen this. Alas, this is not the case and she ends up putting both hands into the box and getting herself stuck.

 

Drag Me to Hell (2009): Wrong Envelope!

In this Sam Raimi film, the main character (Christine Brown) is cursed; in three days, she will literally be dragged to Hell. The cursed item, a button, is placed in an envelope, which she drops in the car after it breaks. A pile of other papers and envelopes also drop on the car floor as well. In a situation like this, where you’d be dragged to Hell in less than twelve hours time, any normal person would double, even triple-check that the envelope you picked up is the right one. However, Christine does not do this. It’s a stupid and unrealistic decision, but it leads to a sucker punch of an ending, so I can’t completely complain.

 

Blair Witch Project (1999): Mike Throws the Map in the River

So, I have a confession to make: I hate this film. None of the characters make a single sensible decision throughout the entire movie, and it was difficult to pick just one bad decision. However, I have to give this one to Mike who, for no apparent reason, decides to get rid of the trio’s map that’ll help them get out of the forest they’re lost in. Why anyone would do this is beyond me and he doesn’t seem to have a good reason for doing it, either. Instead, he laughs at his actions. Not cool, Mike, not cool.

(The reveal and reactions start at the 1:30 mark)

Jaws (1973): Mayor Vaughn keeps Amity Beach open

I know what you might be thinking: Is Jaws a horror film? I would say yes: it has the tension of a horror film (mainly thanks to the fantastic score). As well as this, it has the scares and, at times, gore that would be included in a horror film (e.g.: Quint’s death scene). And the idea of a man-eating great white shark is a pretty scary idea!

The decision I’ve chosen from this film is Mayor Vaughn’s decision to keep Amity Beach open throughout the film, despite warnings about the shark eating people. The reason for it is because the film is set near Independence Day, and the Mayor didn’t want the celebrations dampened by something as insignificant as a man-eating shark. It could be argued that, because Vaughn hasn’t seen any evidence of the shark, he would have no reason to believe them. However, by this point in the film, he’s aware of people dying at the beach and, if a policeman and a shark expert were giving him warnings, then surely precautions would be put in place, just in case they were telling the truth?

Even main characters, Chief Brody and Matt Hooper, disrespect him and dislike him as he sticks to his decision; Hooper even says “I’m not going to waste my time arguing with a man who’s lining up to be a hot lunch!”

Decade Definers: 1970s

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes, Abbie Eales, and Corey Hughes

Throughout history, cinema has reflected, echoed and even preempted societal shifts that occur through the ages, and that’s where our Decade Definers series comes in. We’ll take a look at the world, decade by decade, and discuss how the films of that era represented the attitudes, fears, desires and innovations of our society.

With the close of the Swinging Sixties, the 1970s came along like the much deserved  hangover after a period of such hedonism and optimism.  The 1970s was a decade of turmoil across the world. The Vietnam War, the Watergate Scandal and the death of Elvis shook the USA, while the UK dealt with Bloody Sunday, decimalisation, miners strikes and the election of Margaret Thatcher. The 1970s were desperately difficult times, both politically and economically but, as is often the way in times of hardship, this led to a period of rapid change. Some incredible art came from the period, from the rise of punk and disco to feminist and conceptual art, while cinema was not far behind in terms of pushing boundaries

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Star Wars (1977)

Thanks to Stanley Kubrick and his Space Odyssey, the idea of the universe around us became a thrilling and exciting setting for film going forward. No film encapsulates this sense of adventure and eagerness to explore galaxies far, far away, than ‘Star Wars’. A franchise which today is going from strength to strength, an unstoppable movie machine, the inception of this epic saga in 1977 changed the sci-fi landscape forever. Taking us across breathtaking worlds, introducing us to iconic characters from a multitude of species and handing us the most legendary weapon in film history, George Lucas’ space opera perfectly reflected mankind’s relentless desire to learn about and journey through our universe. (JLB)

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Alien (1979) – Sci-fi Horror on the Rise

Following on from the success of sci-fi family favourite Star Wars, Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece put science fiction back on a distinctly adult footing in what became one of the most influential films of all time. The “haunted house in space” film took a familiar theme but took it to revolutionary places. The casting of Sigourney Weaver as the lead character Ripley was hugely unusual, so much so that a conversation between Ripley and  Lambert (played by Veronica Cartwright, who was originally signed up to play the role of Ripley) served as the inspiration for the much quoted Bechdel test; the simple test for a female positive film, which simply looks at whether it features at least two women, who talk about something other than a man.

HR Giger’s design of the Xenomorph was revolutionary at the time and remains iconic, bringing together the natural and seemingly mechanical into one gloriously terrifying creature, a mash-up of man, machine and the unknown.

The design of the ship, the Nostromo proved hugely influential too, with it’s worn industrial feel influencing the design of future sci-fi productions away from simply white and shiny, recognising that these craft had to be lived in and used.

The rest of the crew on Ripley’s ship weren’t highly educated scientists or soldiers, but rather blue collar workers, picking up on one of the 70’s big themes, the disenfranchised working class. (AE)

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Jaws (1975)

Who would’ve thought that a mechanical shark would change cinema forever? But that’s exactly what Steven Spielberg and his aquatic beast, Bruce the shark, did in 1975. Before ‘Jaws’, a night at the cinema was a means to enjoy and appreciate an art form. Now, it was a blockbuster event, and your summers would never be the same again – for a start, a trip to the beach was off the cards unless you were feeling super brave. But most importantly, there was now better things to do. Now, you could bet your bottom dollar that every year there would be a huge, mass-appeal, blockbuster movie release that you just couldn’t miss out on. (JLB)

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The Exorcist (1973) and Halloween (1978) – The Birth of Mainstream Horror

The 1970’s saw the birth of truly mainstream horror, with the grim backdrop of the political landscape providing a plethora of psychological hang-ups to plunder.

William Friedkin’s horror masterpiece,The Exorcist was voted the scariest movie of all time by Total Film in 1999 and rightly so. Tapping in to one of the key horror themes of the 1960’s and 70s- fear of children- the film brought horror out of the realm of the schlocky B movie stable and made horror accessible to the masses.

Ironically this break into the mainstream was fuelled by it’s initial shock value.Originally banned by the BBFC on it’s release in June 1971 it was recut and finally released with an X rating in the UK in 1974.

Audiences were horrified by the tale of teenager Regan (Linda Blair), who has become wracked by convulsions, which after medical examinations prove fruitless are judged to be demonic possession, leading to meeting with Father Merrin (the Exorcist of the title).

Newspapers at the time of its release reported audience members fainting in horror or shock at the sight of this young girl screaming obscenities, vomiting profusely and masturbating with a crucifix.

Combined with themes around the guilt of women moving into the workplace, usurping masculine roles, Regan and her mother can be seen of emblematic of the fear of the rapid changes happening in the 1970s.

Despite the outcry around some of the scenes in The Exorcist it is important to recognise that the horror all takes place in a very domestic setting, the home. This mixture of the familiar and the unknown proved to be a hit with audiences, buoyed by its reputation as  banned film it raked in over $400million at the box office, proving to studios that horror could be a money spinner.

1978’s Halloween was made on a budget of just $325,000, going on to gross over $60million worldwide, a record for independent film at the time. John Carpenter’s deft use of music and ability to build tension elevated Halloween above it’s B-movie counterparts. Another home-based horror, Carpenter took the seemingly safe setting of suburban America and turned it into a source of terror. The initial idea of a psychotic killer stalking baby-sitters came from producer Irwin Yablans, an idea which was then woven together into a thrilling narrative by Carpenter and Debra Hill.

Largely seen from the point of view of teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) we watch as the disturbed killer (and now horror icon) Michael Myers stalks and murders the teenage residents of Haddonfield. Notably Myers is known as ‘The Shape’ in the credits for Halloween, a big pointer to how Carpenter and cinematographer Dean Cundey made his presence seem so intimidating.

Since copied by an endless slew of imitators, Halloween was the original ‘Who’s next?’ of horror films, with the killer seemingly punishing victims for their perceived transgressions. Debra Hill’s huge contribution to the script was to write dialogue for the three main women on screen which seems both realistic and relatable, raising the characters above mere stereotypes. Halloween did prove to be the original in a line of knife-wielding killers flicks, from Friday the Thirteenth and  A Nightmare on Elm Street, later stumbling into the realms of the meta with films like Scream and Cabin in the Woods. Halloween’s tiny budget belied the huge impact it had on cinema. (AE)

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Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) – The Rise of Offbeat Comedy

While the Hollywood film industry was distracted by sci-fi and big budget blockbusters, the UK film industry became obsessed with home-grown comedy. Some, such as the ‘Confessions’ series and TV spin-offs such as ‘On the Buses’ and ‘Please, Sir!’ along with the enduring Carry On film franchise did not translate well in overseas markets. Others, such as the Monty Python films found a niche around the world.

The second of the Monty Python films (following 1971’s sketch-based ‘And now for something completely different’) Holy Grail was made on a budget of £230,000, money which was raised from investors such as Pink Floyd, Genesis and Led Zeppelin. The film went on to take £5 million at the world-wide box office. Still quoted regularly today, Monty Python and the Holy Grail became a comedy classic and changed the face of British, and indeed world, comedy with it’s off-beat and irreverant humour.

While according to the credits the movie was directed by a variety of different llamas we can safely assume the real work was done by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. Jones and Gilliam took on directorial roles when it became apparent the budget wouldn’t stretch to hiring anyone else in, which of course then kick-started the directorial careers of both. (AE)

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Apocalypse Now (1979)

The war in Vietnam will always be a dark shadow on human history, as any war is. But a war spanning 20 years, and claiming 850,000 lives, is something which cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet. Many films have portrayed this conflict, in very different ways, but perhaps none more powerful and impacting than Francis Ford Coppola’s tour de force ‘Apocalypse Now’. Far from shying away from the issues, and with no concern for pandering to American interests, Coppola truly ventured into the heart of darkness, and goes all out with his brutal depictions of violence, death and evil. (JLB)

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Taxi Driver (1976) and Clockwork Orange (1971)

Following on from the fallout of the Vietnam war, Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’ centres around a young man fresh from military service who is on a mission to save the world. But Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is more than just a symbol of traumatised soldiers, he embodies a much larger problem – the disassociated young adults who found no place in society. This issue didn’t just resonate in America either, with Britain’s youth arguably even more affected by a feeling of being on the outside, unwelcome in their own communities. You’d be hard pressed to find a more resounding example of this, than Stanley Kubrick’s ultra violent depiction of restless, rebellious and dangerous young men, ‘A Clockwork Orange’. (JLB)

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Saturday Night Fever (1977) and Quadrophenia (1979)  – Working Class Struggles and the Modern Musical

1977’s Saturday Night Fever captured the grim mood of the era. In the US at the tail-end of the 70s disco was king and was providing the escapism that was needed from the drudgery of the daily grind. Based on an essay by Nik Cohn, (which was later revealed to have been a work of partial fiction, based on a British mod, not a New York disco King) we follow the fortunes of Tony Manero, a teenage Italian-American. By day Manero works a dead-end job in a hardware store, but by night he is king of the disco. Taking in hard hitting themes such as racism, abortion,  rape and Catholic guilt, Saturday Night Fever is a look at the dark side of 1970’s America.  Marrying together the glamour of a dance competition, the music of the Bee Gees and such dark themes is no mean feat, but John Badham’s classic manages to do just that. Despite the white suited dancehall swagger, Saturday Night Fever is not a million miles from Taxi Driver in tone, but it’s musical appeal managed to nudge it into the mainstream. Such was it’s appeal at the time that even the parody album by everyone’s favourite puppets ‘Sesame Street Fever’ went gold.

Working class alienation wasn’t reserved for the Americans however, as was shown in Franc Roddam’s tale of the tribal battle between mods and rockers in 1960’s Brighton. Loosley based on The Who’s rock opera of the same name, Quadrophenia follows the tale of Jimmy Cooper (Phil Daniels) who is desperate to escape his day to day life as a post room worker and find more meaning and excitement out in the big, wide world. Very much the British cousin to Saturday Night Fever, Quadrophenia is about escapism and finding glamour in a world that normally looks grim and dark. Also like it’s US cousin there is a distinctly dark underbelly to the scooters and rock music, with violence, drug-use and a gritty realism to the featured weekend of abandon. (AE)

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The Godfather (1972)

Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece The Godfather is a film that stands the test of time, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with some of cinema’s greatest feats. Yet The Godfather was not expected to reach the success that it would go on to achieve. Directed by the relatively inexperienced Coppola, starring a generally unrecognisable cast and Marlon Brando (who, at the time, was considered to be past his prime) and based on a novel that wasn’t a best-seller; The Godfather had no precedent to be the classic that it is today.

As a prolific member of the ‘movie brats’ (a group of New Hollywood filmmakers who opposed the traditional Hollywood era), Francis Ford Coppola was eager to smash the boundaries of American filmmaking, and he did so by bringing forth a film so enriched in complex themes and uncensored imagery that it would shock the cinematic world. The Godfather singlehandedly set the standard for the gangster-crime genre, a standard that would subsequently influence films such as Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas and Brian De Palma’s Scarface. Coppola made Hollywood an offer it could not refuse. And the world thanks him for it. (CH)

 

JUMPCUT’s Favourites: Jaws

Year: 1975
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary

Written by Sarah Buddery

People: What’s the film you’ll never get tired of watching? 
Me: Jaws. 
People: What’s the one film you would choose to watch for the rest of your life?
Me: Jaws.
People: What’s your favourite fi…
Me: JAWS OKAY. 

It is pretty much a guarantee that any positive film question such as those above, my answer will be ‘Jaws’. My love for this film knows no end, and whilst for many their favourite film may be one they first saw when they were young or when it first came out, due to my younger years and that I came into my obsession for film quite late, I did in fact only watch ‘Jaws’ for the first time about 5 years ago.

It was the start of a great love affair though, and since then I’ve attended every single big-screen showing of ‘Jaws’ I can get to, and most recently paid extortionate amounts of money to see it with a live orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London. I’ll have a ten slide PowerPoint presentation prepared for every retort – the shark looks fake, it isn’t scary, etc. etc. – and will defend it until my dying day.

‘Jaws’ represents everything that is great about cinema and can be credited with changing cinema as we know it. Being only the second feature film directed by now-legendary, and multi-award-winning Steven Spielberg, ‘Jaws’ ushered in the age of the blockbuster, paving the way for ‘Star Wars’ and the big summer blockbuster releases that followed, right up to the present day. Seeing ‘Jaws’ was an event, there were lines around the block, the praise spreading like the ripples in the sea as cinema-goers urged their friends, “You HAVE to see this film!”.

So what is so great about ‘Jaws’? The magic of ‘Jaws’ lies in its simplicity. At its heart, it is a story of survival, of humankind’s varying reactions to a shadowy threat which sets to supplant their comfortable way of life. The three main characters of Brody, Quint, and Hooper represent the different ways in which people react, and each has a different perspective despite their united goal of capturing the shark. Brody is the law man, duty bound to protect the inhabitants of Amity Island, whilst also trying to look after his family, and seek the acceptance of the locals because he is not an “Islander”. Quint is a hunter, seeking out the shark as a prize. He is experienced undoubtedly, but also arrogant and cocky, the capturing of the shark simply being another trophy he can adorn his walls with. Hooper is a man of science, an academic, fascinated with sharks and with a deep love and respect for them. Whilst unspoken, there is an obvious inner turmoil for this character, caught in the middle between the mounting pressure to capture the shark, and his own appreciation and respect for the creatures.

I’ve very deliberately chosen to focus on the characters first rather than perhaps the more obvious elements of the film, because the core of this film is a character study, each of the main trio having identifiable traits and because of their performances, it is near impossible to imagine anyone else playing those characters – which is all the makings of a classic really.

Of course, arguably the most iconic thing about ‘Jaws’ is the score. The menacing simplicity of John Williams score is crucial in creating the atmosphere of fear and dread, and has become totally iconic, striking fear in the hearts of everyone who happened to dip a toe in the water afterwards. The score has to do more heavy lifting than most as well. The famously temperamental mechanical shark – affectionately known as “Bruce” – caused all kinds of headaches in filming, so in the absence of the monster itself, the score is the shark. So many horror films could learn from ‘Jaws’ in this sense; the visual absence of the thing itself, yet the presence of the ominous score is enough to create fear. It is what we don’t see that scares us the most, and this is something so incredibly wonderful.

‘Jaws’ is the perfect film. Of course I am unbelievably biased in this, but packed with iconic lines, memorable moments, and with one of the all-time greatest cinematic trios and villain, ‘Jaws’ stands the test of time and still goes down as one of the very, very best.

Steven Spielberg: Top 5

Written by Chris Winterbottom

It’s going to be an interesting year for Steven Spielberg, as his upcoming adaptation of ‘The BFG’ is due to be released to UK audiences on the 22nd July 2016, and I for one am very much looking forward to it. As a child, this Roald Dahl novel about nasty and nice giants was one of my favourites, so it will be interesting to see how Spielberg’s vision fairs. The novel is obviously aimed at younger audiences, yet it also holds a real sinister edge, which I absolutely love.

Spielberg is often criticised for being overly sentimental in his films (War Horse being a near-unbearable example of this), so I do hope Spielberg finds a perfect balance between the dark edge and family-friendly tone of the novel. With this and the recent announcement that Spielberg and Harrison Ford would be re-teaming to create a fifth instalment in the ‘Indiana Jones’ saga, I thought now would be a good to go through my favourite Spielberg films. Here’s my top 5.


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5. Saving Private Ryan

Criticism of this film is levelled at its sentimentality, and its inability to improve on what is one of the most groundbreaking opening sequences in cinema history. The D-Day landings which open the film is as brutal, powerful and moving now as it was upon release in 1998. I agree that the rest of the film does not reach the dizzy heights of the opening, but for me, it remains one of Spielberg’s most accomplished technical achievements. I also agree that its sentimentality becomes a little cloying by the end, but there is no doubting the technical brilliance and moving story at the heart of this film. Also the acting is superb, particularly from Tom Hanks, who delivers one of the most interesting performances of his career. Hollywood’s treatment of battle sequences changed forever after this film and it’s clear that the technical achievements have inspired other filmmakers (Paul Greengrass for example). ‘Saving Private Ryan’ is undoubtedly one of the finest war films ever made.


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4. Minority Report

This film really is an underrated gem. To tell the truth, my first viewing of ‘Minority Report’ left me uninspired; I thought it was just another middle of the road sci-fi movie. But one Christmas, I remember watching it on TV while flicking through the channels. Within seconds I was hooked and I saw a completely different movie than I did the first time around. I think this is one of Tom Cruise’s finest performances; he is so captivating and charismatic in this role it’s hard to think of another film where he is so watchable. Not to mention the beautiful cinematography which adds so much atmosphere. Where the special effects create a unique vision of the future, it is the oppressive light in the background that creates a heady mixture of noir and science fiction. The atmosphere is creepy, claustrophobic and strangely chilling. This overexposed light technique is something Spielberg has used quite often in his modern movies; he even used the technique in the recent ‘Bridge of Spies’ and it is clearly a device he will continue to use. The storytelling is also executed brilliantly and the set pieces are exhilarating.


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3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

A moving and expertly-crafted family story where, once again, Spielberg’s unquenchable thematic exploration of an absent father is at the film’s heart. Of course, it ends on a syrupy-sweet note but there is no doubting the films power and you would be hard pushed not to be swept up in the film’s majesty. This is a film that is as timeless as any, and E.T. himself is one of the most recognisable movie characters in history. A spellbinding performance from Henry Thomas who plays Elliot, Spielberg really did get the best from an incredibly young cast. One of the key quotes from E.T. is “I’ll be right here” and I’m sure he will be for many a year.


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2. Jurassic Park

I personally think this is one of the finest films ever made. It is a rollercoaster ride that has all the thrills and spills you expect, as well as plenty of spectacle. But there are deep philosophical mutterings underneath the still gleaming surface, such as the fear of fatherhood and the morals of genetic engineering. This was a film long in the making for Spielberg; it is ‘Jaws’ on land and has some of the most iconic action sequences in recent cinema; the bloke on the toilet?! Wow. With strong performances throughout and Jeff Goldblum showing why he was one of the coolest actors of the ’90’s, this is one of Spielberg’s finest films and a movie that rewards repeat viewings.


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1. Jaws

Of course Spielberg’s finest film has to be ‘Jaws’. Films like ‘Jurassic Park’ would not have existed if it was not for this work of genius. With the now infamous production problems with the animatronic shark, the film is an example of how financial restrictions often spark the most interesting creativity. With recent big-budget superhero films being released – films which I believe fundamentally lack imagination and creativity – ‘Jaws’ is a lesson in how to stretch a budget and invent filmmaking techniques to achieve your cinematic goal. Not seeing the shark ultimately proved to be the greatest strength of this film, because it somehow amplified the scare-factor and cranked up the claustrophobia. It was also the first film to smash the box-office; word of mouth and large publicity meant this film was sold out for weeks. Now every big-budget blockbuster tries to emulate this feat and to be honest, it works – just look at ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’. Thanks to a carefully moulded marketing campaign, no amount of bad reviews can stop a juggernaut of this scale. It is, by far, Spielberg’s greatest achievement both technically and on a commercial level. The film has inspired so many of his colleagues and even himself in recent years and will continue to do so for many more. 

Oscars 2016: Best Picture Predictions

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes

The approach of the winter months doesn’t just mean it’s time to go shopping for a new coat, because with the cold weather and shorter days comes a growing desire for people to discuss The Oscars. It may be more than four months until the 88th Academy Awards, but that doesn’t stop anyone speculating as to who the winners and losers will be on the big night. To be honest, I’ve been guessing since this year’s ceremony ended, and whilst guesses are all we have for now, The Academy certainly have a distinct pattern to their choices, hence the term “Oscar bait”. Here are the films that are likely to make the cut and be nominated in the Best Picture category.

And the nominees are…

Sicario
Arguably, this intense thriller from Denis Villeneuve (who directed the fantastic Prisoners) is the film which started the ball rolling with all this Oscars buzz. As one of the few films in this list that has actually been released in cinemas, I can offer my personal opinion of ‘Sicario’, and if it was up to me, this would be the winner. Whilst myself, and many others, love this gritty crime flick though, it’s unlikely that ‘Sicario’ will go further than a nomination.

Steve Jobs
Nothing gets The Academy’s attention like a biopic, and with the late founder of Apple taking centre stage in this Danny Boyle production, ‘Steve Jobs’ is about as relevant as they come. A fantastic cast, led by the very talented Michael Fassbender, and Academy favourite Kate Winslet in support, ‘Steve Jobs’ has been garnering praise from early viewings and could be the frontrunner for the Best Picture award.

Suffragette
If there’s anything The Academy loves more than a biopic, it’s controversy. A cast boasting some of the best actresses around – including Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter – should boost ‘Suffragette’ and allow the feminist movement to be represented next February. It also helps that various stars, including Meryl Streep herself, voiced their concerns over the lack of opportunities and equality for women at this year’s ceremony.

Bridge Of Spies
The man responsible for classics such as ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Jaws’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan’, Steven Spielberg, is back, and has teamed up with legendary actor, Tom Hanks, for this cold war drama. Both of these men are probably sick of the sight of these trophies, but it is very likely that this winning recipe will earn them a few more nominations to add to their resumé.

The Revenant
One man who certainly wouldn’t mind getting hold of a golden statuette is Leonardo DiCaprio, and whilst we’re sure Tom Hanks could just lend him one for the weekend, we don’t think that would quite be the same. By hooking up with Tom Hardy, and last year’s big winner Alejandro González Iñárritu (director of Birdman), Leo may well have given  himself his best chance yet at grabbing a personal award and leading his film to glory. Could Iñárritu win back-to-back Best Picture awards?

Joy
Another winning team come together once again, to bring us ‘Joy’ this Christmas. Director David O Russell, who has received nominations for his last three films (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle), joins forces with Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence, and familiar faces Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, in what could be a perfectly crafted, Oscar-bait picture. Whilst unlikely to win the top gong, it would be a surprise to see this one snubbed.

The Lobster
The film festival circuit isn’t just a fun way to spend your summer, it’s actually a breeding ground for hot productions hoping to catch the eye of The Academy. Pretty much every year there will be one or two films that thrive in the quirky world of film festivals and make it to the big stage for The Oscars. With an interesting plot, big name stars in Rachel Weisz and Colin Farrell, and plenty of hype from critics, ‘The Lobster’ could well crawl its way into the Best Picture category.

Carol
The big success story from the film festival circuit however, is undoubtedly ‘Carol’. This film, which sees Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara embark on a complicated lesbian relationship, has been lauded by critics all summer and will continue to be praised all the way through winter as it arrives in mainstream cinema theatres. It’s an outside shot, but this low-key, artistic offering could well beat the big names and steal the top prize next February.

So, with ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ unlikely to get the nod from The Academy, in favour of something more stylistically brilliant (they don’t know what they’re missing), my money is on ‘Carol’ and ‘Steve Jobs’ to fight this one out.

Watch This Space: June 15 – 21

Welcome to your weekly go-to-guide – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

If you’re a fan of the TV show, then you will have been waiting for this day for a very long time. If you’ve never seen ‘Entourage’ before, now is the perfect time to get acquainted with the whole gang. With A-List cameos coming at you from all angles and the usual touch of humour from the regulars, this movie has entertainment value in abundance. Read our exclusive, sneak peek review if you’re still unsure.

See one of England’s best-loved detectives portrayed by one of England’s best-loved actors this week in Mr Holmes. The film is very different to its predecessor starring Robert Downey Jnr, as it stars Ian McKellen as a 93 year old Sherlock looking nostalgically back on his career. This film won’t break box office records, but it should make for some pleasant viewing if you decide to take a trip to the cinema.

ON TELEVISION

Tuesday 23:55 GMT: Whilst it may not command as much attention as some of Quentin Tarantino’s higher profile films, ‘Jackie Brown’ has all the trademark violence, dark humour and plot twists that you would expect from any film in his portfolio. Prop up the eyelids and catch this underrated classic on ITV4.

Wednesday 18:35 GMT: I remember watching ‘Beaches’ years ago, but it is only retrospectively that I have come to appreciate how powerful a film it actually is. If you do choose to tune in to Film4 this evening, beware! Tears will flow, and if they don’t? Well, you’re just not human.

Friday 16:40 GMT: A pioneer in the sci-fi genre this Friday afternoon as ‘Planet Of The Apes‘ graces our screens on Film4. Sit back and enjoy the original film from a franchise that has spanned decades. The effects may look a bit dated now, but this is classic and a must watch for any sci-fi fan.

Sunday 16:30 GMT: Again, a film which doesn’t particularly stand out amongst its competitors in the formidable Disney collection, but ‘The Hunchback Of Notre Dame’ is a delightful family film. Tune in to Channel 5 and give the kids a perfect Sunday afternoon.

Sunday 21:00 GMT: Multi-Oscar winning film ‘The Deer Hunter’ finishes off our week of recommended films, and it ensures we go out with a bang! A captivating film about the troubles and terror caused by the Vietnam War and how it affects a group of friends, this film is a must watch over on ITV4 if you haven’t already. Remember to have some tissues on hand though; you could be tearful by time the credits role.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Good Will Hunting: Last week we were treated to the first trailer of Ridley Scott’s latest epic ‘The Martian’ starring Matt Damon. One of Damon’s most captivating and celebrated performances is the title role in ‘Good Will Hunting’ starring alongside the late, great Robin Williams (who is phenomenal in this film by the way). This film is incredibly moving and boasts an incredible script from Damon and Ben Affleck, so if you’re going to watch any Matt Damon film, make sure it’s this one.

Jaws: Jurassic World’ was tearing up box office records last weekend (if you haven’t already seen it, then make sure you do as a matter of urgency), and the franchise began with Steven Spielberg and his visionary directing. Why not dig out one of his other monster movies in ‘Jaws’. The film celebrates its 40th birthday this year, so what better excuse to relive the horror and immerse yourself into the dark depths of the ocean. Oh, and remember that iconic soundtrack? That’s worth a revisit in itself.

Ghostbusters: The wheels are really turning on the upcoming, female led reboot of the classic ‘Ghostbusters’ franchise, with Paul Feig directing his favourite ladies. But news from the project this week revealed that Chris Hemsworth, the mighty Thor, will be taking on the role of the receptionist for next year’s reimagining. Rewind time and enjoy the original this week.

Guardians Of The Galaxy: This week there’s double the celebrations, with birthdays for both Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana coming up. Watch the pair link up as part of the best Marvel team (yes, better than The Avengers, promise), for tonnes of action and excitement, the usual Marvel humour and one of the best soundtracks EVER.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Nick Deal