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A look at who could win at the Oscars; 'Logan' excels from the Marvel Universe

The Oscars: 89th Academy Awards (MGN Online 2/21/2017)

LOGAN (2017)

Score: A

Rated R -- 135 minutes

*This is a NON-SPOILER review*

"A Marvel comic book evolves into art"

LOGAN is the first 2017 motion picture that has earned an "A" rating. The film is so well written, directed, and acted, that despite being released at the beginning of the year, hopefully, the Oscar voters will not forget LOGAN come next December. Credit James Mangold for his superb direction. But, most of all, credit the exceptional career-high performances from Hugh Jackman (as Logan), Patrick Stewart (as Charles, head of the X-Men), and Stephen Merchant (as the Albino mutant Caliban). Young Dafne Keen (as Laura) should have a long acting career ahead of her. Pardon the pun – but she is a marvel.

LOGAN was filmed in New Mexico, Louisiana, and California. Both the cinematography and editing contribute to the impact of this final chapter of the Wolverine movies, set in the year 2029.

It would be an understatement to say that LOGAN is extremely violent, brutal, and bloody. This is a film where literally heads will roll – actually, lots of heads. This also marks only the second time a Marvel project has been rated with an R – the first being DEADPOOL (2016).

The Johnny Cash song "Hurt" plays a critical role in the mutating human emotions that Wolverine seems to now struggle with. After three decades, he is suffering with pain and is alone with nothing to love. Listen to these lyrics:

"I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel.
I focus on the pain,
The only thing that's real."

Who knew that the last film of warriors with special powers would be the best. Who knew that the superhero, in the end, would be humanity itself. This film is not to be missed.

OSCAR PREDICTIONS: Who should win vs. Who will win vs. Upsets

"Will it be La La Land or Moonlight?"

It is that time of the year again when every film critic across the land goes out on a limb and stakes their reputation in predicting who will win the major Academy Awards this Sunday evening. As for 2016, it was a very interesting year. After screening more than 150 movies, I feel it is a safe bet that there were some absolutely significant motion pictures released in 2016. I still believe that THE BIRTH OF A NATION was the "best of the forgotten" films of this year. In addition to LA LA LAND, my personal Top Four Movies of the Year remain LION, HACKSAW RIDGE, and HIDDEN FIGURES. Not since 2004, when LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING" went 11 for 11, has a Best Picture won this many Oscars. In fact, last year, SPOTLIGHT only won two Oscars, and two years ago, BIRDMAN only won four. My prediction is LA LA LAND will win 10 Oscars. The only film that could upset this juggernaut is MOONLIGHT. Here we go:

BEST PICTURE

  • Should: LA LA LAND
  • Will: LA LA LAND
  • Upset: MOONLIGHT

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Should: Damien Chazelle, LA LA LAND
  • Will: Damien Chazelle, LA LA LAND
  • Upset: Barry Jenkins, MOONLIGHT

BEST ACTOR

  • Should: Denzel Washington, FENCES
  • Will: Denzel Washington, FENCES
  • Upset: Casey Affleck, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

BEST ACTRESS

  • Should: Emma Stone, LA LA LAND
  • Will: Emma Stone, LA LA LAND
  • Upset: Natalie Portman, JACKIE

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Should: Mahershala Ali, MOONLIGHT
  • Will: Mahershala Ali, MOONLIGHT
  • Upset: Lucas Hedges, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Should: Viola Davis, FENCES
  • Will: Viola Davis, FENCES
  • There will be no upset.

PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS

Disney brings a live-action adaptation of their animated film, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

The 1991 film was significant for two reasons – it was their 30th animated feature film and was the first to ever be nominated for Best Picture of the Year. The film grossed $425 million worldwide.

This new 121-minute PG-rated family film is directed by Bill Condon and stars Dan Stevens, Emma Watson, and Luke Evans. Full review next week.


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