Contenders, Pretenders and Should-be’s…

Lady Ga Ga & Bradley Cooper

Each is a revelation. Individually and together, they are more surprising than the best unanticipated twist in any movie. Nobody thought either of them would produce performances of such passion and commitment. As for their fantastic voices – live on film and crystal clear, his direction and her stunning presence… speechless. A rare (english-speaking) love story completely absorbing and carrying from beginning to end, and accompanied by so many ridiculously fabulous (Gaga/Ronson/Cooper/Nelson) songs. They and their Star Is Born should win everything going, but wont.


Black Panther

This is bound to win something, not because it deserves to but because of what it is. And what it is, is just another po-faced super-hero movie, and as mediocre as the rest. Lots of straight faced acting, semi-clad muscle bound greased up extras standing dead-still, big set-piece fight scenes and very serious, so-what dialogue. But it will clean up in as many categories as are available to many less mediocre, equally worthy, contenders.



Straight out of the D.Day-Lewis book of turning in a late winner to steal the prize and the show, comes Christian Bale. This time he’s fat, bald and aged, two out three without the aide of make-up, surgical appliance or truss. What a look-at-me child. It’s only pretend Christian, so leave yourself alone next time, and try it. If you can get over him, it’s a pretty good film, but bet your sweet fanny he is nominated for something. Laurence Olivier’s advice to Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man. Dustin insisted on running around the block so he’d be genuinely puffed before a take, upon which Sir Larry remarked: “Ever considered acting dear boy..?” (“Is it safe…” Christian)



Not expecting this to be nominated in any category, even though it is as diverse as ‘diversity’ itself. A sad tale from Japan, beautifully told, by faces we are unlikely to have seen before. A merit in itself. There is no grandstanding, no preaching, and nobody appears to have deliberately lost weight, and they certainly haven’t put it on to show off their ‘acting’. A totally absorbing tale of a poor family, a noble family, trapped into going about their honest dishonest living day to day with no future in sight. It is no lifestyle movie. Instead it shares its huge heart with us, the audience, every step of the way. Underplayed, not to be underrated. A beautiful piece of work, unlikely to be noticed at all, but we’ll be playing it again and again as many times as we can, even perhaps until you’ve all seen it…?


Rami Malek

Rami Malek’s turn as the mercurial Freddie is without doubt impersonation-perfect.

A young man who can turn his face and whole body into a living replica, is exceptional indeed. As for the voice, Rami is American. Freddie was English of Indian birth. His distinct way of talking, meant there was not only an english accent to find, but one with odd inflections which turned his accent into a hybrid of its own, with virtually no etymological corners to hang on to, then had to repeat that flaccid script.  Miraculously, he did it, he didn’t miss a beat. Okay, its an impersonation like Helen Mirren’s other royal Queen, so in a category of its own. Nevertheless, he shone as Freddie, low-lighting the excruciating dullness of the rest of them. Apart from the dialogue-free opening shot, the concerts and the Live Aid finale, the rest is easily forgotten.


Others: More contenders than prizes. Here are a few prizes to catch regardless of winning…

Green Book

If Beale Street Could Talk


The Favourite





Cold War






An Impossible Love






The Wife







The Old Man & The Gun







Marlina The Murderer