Hustlers

Hustlers (Lorene Scafaria, 2019) 4/5

Yes, this is the film about strippers. But it is so much more than that. Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlersfilm is adapted from a 2015 New York Magazine’s article entitled ‘The Hustlers at Scores: The Ex-Strippers Who Stole From (Mostly) Rich Men and Gave to, Well, Themselves” by Jessica Pressler. Catchy, no?

For those of you that think this sounds like a soulless, mindlessly provocative title, then you would be right, this film however is anything but. We follow Destiny (Constance Wu), a stripper trying to make ends meet while supporting her grandmother. She is barely getting by from the tips from the drunken businessman. Until, that is she meets fellow stripper Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), who takes an instant shine to her. The duo become famous in the club and this is mirrored in the surge of attention and most of all Benjamin’s.

Of course, once the financial crisis of 2007 hits, and the money slowly goes and both women must use their wiles to attract men, and well, drug and steal from them. As we follow both women down this seductive rabbit hole, what is apparent is that both Lopez and Wu are a dream to watch. The chemistry works on the level of a pair of mafia brothers, but also a couple in a relationship. Both actresses commit fully to their roles and Scafaria creates a star power role for Lopez. The reason that she is NOT nominated for an Academy Award this year for Best Supporting Actress is criminal (pun intended).

There are moments of genuine emotion throughout as both women must support families and protect those around them. However, as the tale increases, we become embroiled in their struggle for equality and to stick it to the misogynists. Alas, you cannot con only those that you despise, and this proves to be their downfall.

Hustlers is one of those films that creeps up out of nowhere, and it is one that you could dismiss as fluff. However, the supporting case of Cardi B, Lizzo, Julia Stiles and Keke Palmer make you take notice. Scafaria’s film is one of those rare treats, blending comedy, crime and human drama. Indeed, produced by Adam McKay (The Big Short) along with a cohort of others has ensured that this is a clever tale of sexual politics and economics.

In sum, Hustlers is a triumph and will entertain those that might perform on the pole and those that don’t. It is a underdog story, a story about equality and a story with stunning performances. Go see this, to prove the academy wrong.

72nd Golden Globe Awards Predictions

It is that time of year when the glamorous don their suits and frocks and prance around golden-globes-logothat red carpet. The Golden Globes are something of an oddity and create unlikely nominees, there are only 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press and so they have definite selective tastes.

They go for European more often than not and like to repeat their choices of nominees. So who have they gone for this year? Let’s see…

Best Motion Picture – Drama

  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything

Who will Win – The Imitation Game

This film although outstanding, is exactly what the HFP love. Throw in Cumberbatch,the imitation game Knightley and a period setting and I will be shocked if this doesn’t walk away with the gong. Although at the same time, remember The King’s Speech being overlooked for The Social Network?

 

 

 

 

 

Who should have been nominated – Mr Turner

A little suprising this one, I thought they would have gone for Mike Leigh’s new film. Theymr turner do love biopics, perhaps this one was a little too artsy and the competition was just a little too fierce for this far less showy film.

 

 

 

 

 

Wildcard – Any of the other FOUR

I know this seems a little bit of a cop-out, but let me explain. I feel the field is a little too wide open and Foxcatcher, Boyhood, Selma and The Theory of Everything all have their followers it just depends on who is going to have that photo-finish.

Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical

  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Into the Woods
  • Pride
  • St. Vincent

Who will win – Birdman

Scooping up awards here, there and everywhere. Where there is two Best Picturebirdman-click categories this seems like a sure bet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who should have been nominated – Get on Up

Has been largely ignored by all of the pre-cursors, which is really unfortunate. I think withget on up the early release date, this film has gotten lost in the pack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildcard – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Is on many a Top 2014 film list (including mine) and just seems like the likeliest other the grandcontender for this title (famous last words, I know). They could show some love for Wes Anderson, however on the flip side watch out for Into The Woods.

 

 

 

 

 

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Steve Carell – Foxcatcher as John Eleuthère du Pont
  • Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game as Alan Turing
  • Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler as Louis “Lou” Bloom
  • David Oyelowo – Selma as Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything as Stephen Hawking

Who will win – Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game

Cumberbatch has stolen the show here, the GG’s has a history of awarding the brits and I think with this film he could be crowned the winner.

The_Imitation_Game_starring_Benedict_Cumberbatch_gets_a_UK_release_date

Who should have been nominated – Timothy Spall for Mr Turner

Was the winner in Cannes, Eurpoean actor/film, the film hasn’t been noticed anywhere, which is a shame.

Timothy Spall in Mr Turner

Wildcard – Steve Carell for Foxcatcher

Ok, I’m putting my neck out, if they are going for a new ‘Erin Brockovich’ type of figure then Carell’s transformation into serious actor could just be the ticket.

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Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Jennifer Aniston – Cake as Claire Simmons
  • Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything as Jane Hawking
  • Julianne Moore – Still Alice as Dr. Alice Howland
  • Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl as Amy Elliott-Dunne
  • Reese Witherspoon – Wild as Cheryl Strayed

Who will win – Julianne Moore for Still Alice

Heart-wrenching portryal and long overdue, this is what they call a career awards season and she needs to be recognised a lot more than she has in the past.

Julianne-Moore-in-Still-Alice

Who should have been nominated – Gugu-Mbatha Raw for Belle

Such a star-making performance that I thought they would recognise it. Thrown in the fact that it was well-recieved from almost everybody and got good notices from the Festival circuit does seem odd that she wasn’t in the mix.

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Wildcard – Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything

This nomination does sound like when Carey Mulligan was nominated for ‘An Education’, great reviews but just couldn’t beat the flashier American star. On the other hand this and the BAFTA might be her best shot at scooping it. Saying that, watch out for Jennifer Aniston who is also on her ‘Erin Brockovich’  transformation.

Felicity_Jones_Interview_THEORY_OF_EVERYTHING

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel as Monsieur Gustave H.
  • Michael Keaton – Birdman as Riggan Thomson
  • Bill Murray – St. Vincent as Vincent MacKenna
  • Joaquin Phoenix – Inherent Vice as Larry “Doc” Sportello
  • Christoph Waltz – Big Eyes as Walter Keane

Who will win – Michael Keaton for Birdman

It all feels very sewn up at this point, however I also thought that for many other films going into the first awards event. At the moment I will stick with him, although don’t count out any other suprises.

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Who should have been nominated – Chadwick Boseman for Get on Up

Such a great performance and garnered real praise for his portrayal of James Brown. He is the best thing about the film, although I think he has been forgotten with all of the ‘biopic fatigue’

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Wildcard – Bill Murray for St. Vincent

Who knows? They do love to throw a spanner in the works and he had favourable mentions for the film. Could long-term fan voters conjure up a win for him?

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Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Amy Adams – Big Eyes as Margaret Keane
  • Emily Blunt – Into the Woods as The Baker’s Wife
  • Helen Mirren – The Hundred-Foot Journey as Madame Mallory
  • Julianne Moore – Maps to the Stars as Havana Segrand
  • Quvenzhané Wallis – Annie as Annie Bennett

Who will win – Amy Adams for Big Eyes

Another career season and for those who have seen it says she is a standout. Burton generally does well with his ladies and this is no exception. She, like Moore is continually overlooked and the win last year for American Hustle should put her in good stead.

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Who should have been nominated – Angelina Jolie for Maleficent

Ok, so this is a suprise. I thought out of everything she would have been nominated for the film, however it has been overlooked for the most recent ‘Annie’. She was the best thing about the film and held everything squarely on her shoulders.

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Wildcard – Emily Blunt for Into The Woods

Popular actress and a brit and musical heroines do good business at the Globes, I really would like her to have some success here.

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Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, Musical or Comedy

  • Robert Duvall – The Judge as Judge Joseph Palmer
  • Ethan Hawke – Boyhood as Mason Evans, Sr.
  • Edward Norton – Birdman as Mike Shiner
  • Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher as Dave Schultz
  • J. K. Simmons – Whiplash as Terence Fletcher

Who will win – J.K Simmons for Whiplash

Has been recieving all the praise for the film and this is their only nomination. That can be a tall order and the pressure can mount as a result, however I am putting my chips all in for Simmons to be victorious.

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Who should have been nominated – Alec Baldwin for Still Alice

Gave rock solid support for Julianne Moore in the film and they both provided some of the sweetest moments together. I thought the globes would get behind the film a little bit more than this, shame he was left out of the running.

Alec+Baldwin+Alec+Baldwin+Julianne+Moore+Film+d3jGYpNaMcOl

Wildcard – Ethan Hawke for Boyhood

If they really like the film and it wins early on in the proceedings, then I wouldn’t be suprised if they got behind Hawke for this one.

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Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, Musical or Comedy

  • Patricia Arquette – Boyhood as Olivia Evans
  • Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year as Anna Morales
  • Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game as Joan Clarke
  • Emma Stone – Birdman as Sam Thomson
  • Meryl Streep – Into the Woods as The Witch

Who will win – Patricia Arquette for Boyhood

Has been the most sure bet for success for the entire film for a long time and completely steals the show. She acts like glue that holds the whole project together and it is her experience as an actor that will stay with you.

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Who should have been nominated – Carrie Coon for Gone Girl and Laura Dern for Wild

Quite suprised that both of these ladies missed the list, I thought Dern was a dead cert and Coon could have proved the suprise. It will be tough for both of these ladies to cover some ground in their campaigns come the Oscars/BAFTAs.

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Wildcard – Meryl Streep for Into the Woods

Has been lauded as the best thing about the film (as she most usually is), has many friends in the HFP and has won countless times because of it.

meryl-streep-into-the-woods

Best Director

  • Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Ava DuVernay – Selma
  • David Fincher – Gone Girl
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman
  • Richard Linklater – Boyhood

Who will win – Richard Linklater for Boyhood

The entire project is awe-inspring and has been keeping him in serious contention for months. He has been picking up everything for the last few months and this will be the most serious test to whether he will win some of the ‘biggies’.

Who should have been nominated – James Marsh for The Theory of Everything

Perhaps a little too unknown for the HFP, however the film has been recognised and it is a shame to see his name off the list considering it was partly him that made the film so great. The film itself has been gaining momentum recently and the other noms help in the campaign for the other Awards shows.

Wildcard – Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman

I do get the feeling this is a two horse race emerging. However, there is a slight feeling of American Hustle here, will do good at the GG’s, however completely collapse once the Oscars come around.

Best Screenplay

  • Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr.,
    Armando Bo – Birdman
  • Richard Linklater – Boyhood
  • Graham Moore – The Imitation Game

Who will win – Graham Moore for The Imitation Game

Just think because this is a combined Original/Adapted category that the adapted ones are always going to have the most punch for the HFP. They love biopics and this one is a stomping success.

Who should have been nominated – Christopher and Jonathan Nolan for Interstellar

I really thought the film would feature more. I guess the detractors were a little bit more vocal than I realised. The story itself though, despite being slightly flawed was still very good and thought-provoking.

Wildcard – Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr.,
Armando Bo for Birdman

Feel that this is one of the categories that could throw some suprises, most people think Linklater will come ahead of these guys, but I think differently.

Best Original Score

  • Alexandre Desplat – The Imitation Game
  • Jóhann Jóhannsson – The Theory of Everything
  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Gone Girl
  • Antonio Sánchez – Birdman
  • Hans Zimmer – Interstellar

Who will win – Jóhann Jóhannsson for The Theory of Everything

The music in the film is just so beautiful that it deserves to win and really added to the whole experience of the film.

Who should have been nominated – Steven Price for Fury

The film has been shut out of the cold and War hasn’t been popular this year. The whole mood and tempo was down to the score and it is a shame that this hasn’t been recognised.

Wildcard – Trent Raznor and Atticus Ross for Gone Girl

Very popular duo when it comes to scores, they had success with The Social Network, why not this as well?

Best Original Song

  • “Big Eyes” (Lana Del Rey) – Big Eyes
  • “Glory” (John Legend and Common) – Selma
  • “Mercy Is” (Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye) – Noah
  • “Opportunity” (Greg Kurstin, Sia Furler, Will Gluck) – Annie
  • “Yellow Flicker Beat” (Lorde) – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Who will win – “Glory” (John Legend and Common) for Selma

A film with an important message and a powerful song. Really any of these films could nab it, I am literally taking a shot in the dar, this has always been a weird category to predict.

Who should have been nominated – ‘Stay With Me’ (Stephen Sondheim) for Into The Woods

Powerful song, performed by Streep, what else do they need to have??

Wildcard – ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’ (Lorde) – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Popular franchise and a genuinely good anthem for the film. Heck, if Burlesque can nab a GG, why not HG?

Best Animated Feature Film

  • Big Hero 6
  • The Book of Life
  • The Boxtrolls
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • The Lego Movie

Who will win – Big Hero 6

I think there will be some left over love from Frozen voters. This might not be in the sameBig_Hero_6_(film)_poster genre wheelhouse, however Disney are using their prowess with buying Marvel to snag some of those fans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who should have been nominated – This category is about right actually, although a foreign animation would have been nice.

Wildcard – The Lego Movie

Early release date could hurt it and that it is already out on DVD/Blu-Ray, however thatthe lego movie poster doesn’t diminish the fact that the film is awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Force Majeure (Sweden)
  • Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Israel)
  • Ida (Poland/Denmark)
  • Leviathan (Russia)
  • Tangerines (Estonia)

Who will win – Ida

Such a powerful yet fragile film with a great message and cinematography. For better or idaworse, Hollywood does love the Holocaust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who should have been nominated – Timbuktu

Another beautiful entry about an important part of our contemporary history. Perhaps isn’tTimbuktu_poster one of the powerhouses in cinema and as such was missed out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildcard – Leviathan

Contemporary Russia never really gets a look-over, it’s usually the past that generally hasLeviathan_2014_poster the cinematic treatment. This one might prove the film to beat and has been recieving great notices.

 

Alternate Academy Awards – Best Supporting Actor

oscar2003 – Ed Harris – The Hours – Harris displayed one of the most heart breaking performances as a poet dying of AIDS. Was the role was too morose for the Academy? Perhaps, but it really should have been Harris’.

Who did win: Chris Cooper – Adaptation

2004 – Tim Robbins – Mystic River – As the psychologically damaged ‘Dave’, Robbins excels here and provided ample support for Penn.

Who did win: Tim Robbins – Mystic River

2005 – Morgan Freeman – Million Dollar Baby – After failing to win for Driving Miss Daisy and The Shawshank Redemption, Freeman finally got rewarded. It wasn’t his best performance but the Academy needed to make it up to him.

Who did win: Morgan Freeman – Million Dollar Baby

2006 – Matt Dillon – Crash – Dillon had by far the more complex role. Clooney however is, and will always be a Hollywood golden boy. Syriana was a mess of a film, which overcomplicated itself.  Although, most of the time it’s not about the performance, but the campaign…

Who did win: George Clooney – Syriana

2007 – Jackie Earle Haley – Little Children – A bit controversial this one. Everybody thought it would have been Murphy’s. He won the Golden Globe and many other precursors, however it went to Arkin. Even though Arkin was great as the acerbic grandfather in Little Miss Sunshine, Haley’s performance as the damaged paedophile was so strong.

Who did win: Alan Arkin – Little Miss Sunshine

2008 – Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men – Overrated film, good performance though. Almost made up for it….

Who did win: Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men

2009 – Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road – I understand why Ledger got it, but Shannon’s performance was miles ahead.

Who did win: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

2010 – Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds – Even though the film was over long and lop sided; Waltz’s performance was the thing you most remembered.

Who did win: Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

2011 – Christian Bale – The Fighter – Great performance by Bale, he was the frontrunner for the entire season. Minus, the BAFTAS….

Who did win: Christian Bale – The Fighter

2012 – Christopher Plummer – Beginners – Another career Oscar. This was one was truly deserved in a year that celebrated veterans, where Nick Nolte, Kenneth Branagh and Max Von Sydow were also nominated.

Who did win: Christopher Plummer – Beginners

Alternate Academy Awards – Best Supporting Actress

oscar2003 – Julianne Moore – The Hours – It is bewildering how Moore doesn’t have an Oscar by now. I guess the academy favours certain films over others, most notably the glitzy kind…

Who did win: Catherine Zeta – Jones – Chicago

 

2004 – Shohreh Aghdashloo – House of Sand and Fog – Such a great supporting performance, however I think Zellweger had the stronger campaign and as such won on the night.

Who did win: Renee Zellweger – Cold Mountain

 

2005 – Sophie Okonedo – Hotel Rwanda – Oscars usually back biopics and I really wished they would have done the same for Okonedo’s performance. However, back then she wasn’t well know enough to make an impact. Plus Hollywood loves rewarding people who play Hollywood people and Blanchett got the accent down…

Who did win: Cate Blanchett – The Aviator

 

2006 – Rachel Weisz – The Constant Gardner – Some of the greatest performances are those that are the most natural. Weisz proved that here, and deservedly won the award.

Who did win: Rachel Weisz – The Constant Gardner

 

2007 – Abigail Breslin – Little Miss Sunshine – Remember Anna Paquin in The Piano? Neither did the Academy obviously. Breslin performed well beyond her years and should have walked away with the trophy. Hudson was good, I’m just not sure if it was wholly deserved.

Who did win: Jennifer Hudson – Dreamgirls

 

2008 – Amy Ryan – Gone Baby Gone – Longshot but I would have given it to Ryan. Her role was much more demanding that Swinton’s. Also, playing a grieving mother usually does trigger the academy voters…but so do political/conspiracy thrillers.

Who did win: Tilda Swinton – Michael Clayton

 

2009 – Viola Davis – Doubt – Travesty. She may have only been in the film 10 minutes max, but Davis was the one you remembered long after you left the cinema. Not sure what the Academy were smoking when Cruz got the most votes….

Who did win: Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona

 

2010 – Mo’nique – Precious – She was just scarily good in this. Nuff said.

Who did win: Mo’nique – Precious

 

2011 – Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech – Encapsulated the character so well, definitely had a shot and was my choice.

Who did win: Melissa Leo – The Fighter

 

2012 – Octavia Spender – The Help – Standout role and THAT scene. She was always the frontrunner, however I would have loved it if Chastain won.

Who did win: Octavia Spencer – The Help

Alternate Academy Awards – Best Actor

Another day, another category. Here we go….oscar

 

2003 – Adrien Brody – The Pianist – The amount of suffering he went through in this film, it would have been criminal for him not to win. Great performance.

Who did win: Adrien Brody – The Pianist

 

2004 – Ben Kingsley – House of Sand and Fog – Even though Penn was good, this film was severely overlooked. Kingsley’s performance was understated and really blew me away.

Who did win: Sean Penn – Mystic River

 

2005 – Jamie Foxx – Ray – Even though the film as a whole had its problems, it was Foxx’s performance that held everything together.

Who did win: Jamie Foxx – Ray

 

2006 – Philip Seymour Hoffman – Capote – Back to back biopics. Hoffman fully embodied his character and as such delivered one of the most memorable of performances.

Who did win: Philip Seymour Hoffman – Capote

 

2007 – Forrest Whitaker  – The Last King of Scotland – Biopic trois. Sensing a pattern here, great performance though.

Who did win: Forrest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland

 

2008 – Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood – Nobody else stood a chance against the mighty DDL.

Who did win: Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood

 

2009 – Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler – The comeback kid should have won. I honestly thought they would reward someone who hadn’t won before. To me, this was the performance of the year.

Who did win: Sean Penn – Milk

 

2010 – Colin Firth – A Single Man – A different role for Firth, but one where he truly excelled.

Who did win: Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart

 

2011 – Jeff Bridges – True Grit – Should have swapped wins. Even though I am not a fan of the Coen Brothers, I thought Bridges performance was great.

Who did win: Colin Firth – The King’s Speech

 

2012 – Jean Dujardin – The Artist – In a year where there wasn’t that many outstanding performances Dujardin was always the frontrunner. It takes a lot to portray emotion with no spoken dialogue and Dujardin produced an outstanding performance.

Who did win: Jean Dujardin – The Artist