Sunday, January 26, 2020

"Dear Basketball" Kobe Bryant Inspiring Love Letter to Posterity

By José Alberto Hermosillo
Kobe Bryant, Academy Award Winner. Photo courtesy of the Academy, 2018.
"Dear Basketball" is an extraordinary animated 2018 Oscar-winning short film, written, produced, and narrated by Kobe Bryant. The short is directed by Veteran animator Glen Keane.

"Dear Basketball" is an inspiring love letter to the posterity and a legacy of one of the greatest basketball players in history, Kobe Bryant. 

In 2015, when the star of the L.A. Lakers thought in retirement, he wrote a farewell letter to his teammates, fans, and other players. In his statement, he expressed his love for basketball, his values, and how important it is to follow the dream. 


The best way to say goodbye to the game was by producing a high-quality short film and hiring the best people in the industry to do the job. 

The sublime instrumentation of the film is the responsibility of a five-time Oscar winner and a 52 Oscar-nominated composer John Williams ("E.T.," "Star Wars," "Jaws").


Two historical facts: Dear Basketball is the first time a professional athlete wins an Oscar, Kobe Bryant becomes the first Afro American to win that award for the best animated short film

Now, after the tragic events of the helicopter crash on a Sunday morning, January 26th, 2020. In the City of Calabazas, Los Angeles Country - the beautiful animated short film takes more relevance, not only for Kobe's passing but because of its motivational content. Unfortunately, the YouTube platform has removed the short film from its digital platform for unknown reasons.

My deepest condolences to the family, friends, and millions of fans around the world. Kobe Bryant was an inspiring being with a positive attitude, a spirit of constant improvement, and determination to succeed. 

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Monday, January 20, 2020

My Hindu Friend; Hector Babenco's Testament to Posterity

By José Alberto Hermosillo
“My Hindu Friend” is a cinematic celebration told with elegance, art, and gratifying visuals. The story of self-love and good cinema is a conciliatory testimony at the end of one man's life with a high sense of respect. 

"My Hindu Friend" is an insightful reflection about the life and death of one of the most beloved Brazilian-Argentinean directors, Hector Babenco. Dafoe’s execution is a tour de force playing this unique director in a quest for redemption.

If you think Antonio Banderas in his Oscar-worthy characterization of Pedro Almodovar in “Pain and Glory” was exceptional. Willem Dafoe's performance is fascinating and hypnotic, portraying Hector Babenco.

My Hindu Friend, still photo courtesy of Rock Salt Releasing.
Without self-pity, Dadoe's fictional character, Diego Fairman, is a conflicting, selfish filmmaker who blames others for things that are out of his control – including his lymphatic cancer. 

In the urgency for a bone marrow transplant, his brother Antonio (Guilherme Weber) is the only person who lives nearby with compatibility.

Antonio feels that Diego blames him for the death of their father and the misuse of their family’s money. Far-off, the brother became the medulla donor with a costly price tag.

The family liaisons don’t go well. In private, everyone feels betrayed. His surrounded friends also have problems dealing with the stressful situation of Diego going under surgery and treatment with an unknown outcome. 

“My Hindu Friend” original dark humor lightens the awkward moments of Diego's fight against cancer. 

Diego’s witty personality guides us to unexpected places, enriching, even more, the flamboyant and pristine look of the film.
My Hindu Friend, still photo courtesy of Rock Salt Releasing.
At the hospital, he meets some interesting characters who will help Diego on his transitional stage, including a symbolic gatekeeper, the death, and his new Hindu friend.

In terms of separation of the body and soul. Every doctrine has different interpretations. For Diego, being Jewish is a confrontation between those preestablished religious beliefs versus his own precepts.

Babenco's last work makes us feel vividly the experience of a dying man who wants to redeem himself in pursuit of another opportunity. In this case, to produce one more film.

The exquisite soundtrack is composed by the extraordinary Polish musician Zbigniew Preisner, who worked closely with Krzysztof Kieslowski in "Three Colors: Blue, White, and Red" and "The Double Life of Verónique," among other transcendental soundtracks. The recording was done in Austria by the Vienna Symphony.
My Hindu Friend, still photo courtesy of Rock Salt Releasing.
Born in Argentina and naturalized Brazilian, Babenco is not afraid of talking about his active sexual life - he shows, without innovations, the beauty of a women's naked body in a poetical form.

Babenco accomplishes a high grade of mastery, transmitting his personal experiences to the big screen in a very intimate atmosphere with minimalistic settings.

The filmography of Babenco includes his Oscar-nominated masterwork “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” He is also behind some other influential projects such as “Pixote,” “Carandidu,” and “El Pasado.” “Before Night Falls” and “A Play in the Fields of the Lord” represented his return to Hollywood.

“My Hindu Friend” has some references to "Pixote," a child dealing with drugs and prostitution in the streets of Saint Paulo, in the late 1970s. Both films deal with loneliness and despair in the dehumanization of an indifferent society.
 
The character-driven, linear, semi-autobiographical piece awakens paradoxical emotions in the viewer and transcends further the legacy of a director that is no longer with us.

“My Hindu Friend” is essential, spiritually meaningful, and a well-balanced work of art ready to be discovered by viewers who appreciate excellence in cinema.
 
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NETFLIX FILM EXPERIENCES 2020

By José Alberto Hermosillo
Netflix Film Experiences, Four Seasons Hotel, Beverly Hills. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
Netflix Film Experiences 2020
With well-elaborate exhibits, more screenings, Q&As, and special events, Netflix reached out to more press, social media, and had the attention of Academy members. 

Without any surprises, Netflix received more Oscar nominations than any other Studio 24, including two for best picture, two for best animation, two documentaries, and one documentary short. Disney, the closest contender, had 23 nods for all its productions.

This year, without any controversies, the streaming service showed its films for seven days in movie theaters in the Los Angeles area before its streaming platform.

Netflix's aggressive campaign and its spirit for excellence and customer service yielded for success with more number of nominations and, at the same time, with more online subscribers regardless of the recent increment of the subscription fees.

The public had the opportunity to appreciate the films on the big screen, assist to Q&As with the directors, talent, and crew members. Plus, the city witnessed some cool exhibits with costumes, props, and sets to immerse spectators into how the movies are made. 

Here is a series of photographs with the costumes, sets designs, and props of a well-mounted Netflix exhibition at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, early January.

The exposition, with a museography, quality, included vital elements of the films "Dolemite is My Name," "Marriage Story," "The Irishman," and "The Two Popes."  

The Netflix live-experience made spectators feel as if they were inside of those outstanding movies that reached an Oscar nomination.
Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
Dolemite is My Name
Director: Craig Brewer
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Keegan-Michael Key, and Wesley Snipes.
Two Golden Globe Nominations
Dolemite is My Name. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
Dolemite is My Name.  Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA


Marriage Story. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
Marriage Story
Director: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern
Music: Randy Newman
6 Oscar Nominations
Marriage Story. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
Marriage Story. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
Marriage Story. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
Marriage Story. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
Marriage Story. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA


Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
The Irishman
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, and Anna Paquin.
Cinematography: Rodrigo Prieto
10 Oscar Nominations.
The Irishman. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA

The Irishman. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
The Irishman. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
The Irishman. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
The Irishman. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
The Irishman. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA

The Irishman. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA

The Two Popes. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
The Two
Director: Fernando Meirelles
Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Anthony Hopkins.
Writer: Anthony McCarten.
3 Oscar Nominations.
The Two Popes. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
The Two Popes. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
The Two Popes. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
The Two Popes. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
The Two Popes. Photo José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
Film Critic José Alberto Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
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Monday, January 13, 2020

JOKER DOMINATES THE OSCAR NOMINATIONS 2020

osé Alberto Hermosillo

"Little Women" will faceoff the Big Men at the 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday, January 9th, 2020.
OSCAR NOMINATIONS
Oscar Nominations 2020
This year, the stories reflected in the Best Picture category are mostly male-driven works directed by men. Those titles include, "Joker," "1917," "Ford v Ferrari," "Jojo Rabbit," "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood," "The Irishman," but "Marriage Story" and "Parasite" are more gender-balanced projects. "Little Women" looks up for more gender equality in every sense.

Most of the films qualifying in the main categories were screened in theaters in Los Angeles and New York in 2019. Looking back, the year 2019 will be remembered as one of the most uneven years in recent history. Optimistically thinking, with more productions directed by women and other communities, we will start seeing the #OscarsSoWhite like something from the past.

Many new Hollywood productions are oriented to close "the gender gap." The producers are also looking up for more "diversity and inclusion."

In the mid-time, we can relax, sit back and enjoy the admirable works that so many talented people in the industry brought us and who deserve recognition by the members of the Academy.
The big favorite is "Joker" with more nominations, 11; "1917" and "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" have 10, and "Little Women" has 8.

"Parasite" with six nods is the 11th non-English Best Picture nominee. Therefore, it did not break the record of more nominations for a foreign film like "Roma" had last year with 10 or "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" also with 10 nominations for a non-English film in the year 2000.

"Pain and Glory" has two, Antonio Banderas for the best actor and Spain for the best international feature.

"Honeyland" from North Macedonia opened in theaters mid-July, and it has two nominations, for best international feature film and for best documentary feature.

Once again, no women were nominated for the best director, but more women were nominated in other essential categories as best picture producers, writers, and music composers.
Parasite cast and creo on Oscar Night
Parasite cast and crew on Oscar Night. Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2019


Nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards
OSCARS 2020

Performance by an actor in a leading role
  • Antonio Banderas in “Pain and Glory
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in “Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood”
  • Adam Driver in “Marriage Story”
  • Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker” (WINNER)
  • Jonathan Pryce in “The Two Popes” 
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
  • Tom Hanks in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
  • Anthony Hopkins in “The Two Popes”
  • Al Pacino in “The Irishman”
  • Joe Pesci in “The Irishman”
  • Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood” (WINNER)



Performance by an actress in a leading role
  • Cynthia Erivo in “Harriet”
  • Scarlett Johansson in “Marriage Story”
  • Saoirse Ronan in “Little Women”
  • Charlize Theron in “Bombshell”
  • Renée Zellweger in “Judy” (WINNER)
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
  • Kathy Bates in “Richard Jewell”
  • Laura Dern in “Marriage Story”(WINNER)
  • Scarlett Johansson in “Jojo Rabbit”
  • Florence Pugh in “Little Women”
  • Margot Robbie in “Bombshell”
Best animated feature film of the year
  • “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis and Bonnie Arnold
  • “I Lost My Body” Jérémy Clapin and Marc du Pontavice
  • “Klaus” Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh and Marisa Román
  • “Missing Link” Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight
  • “Toy Story 4” Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera, (WINNERS)
Achievement in cinematography
  • “The Irishman” Rodrigo Prieto
  • “Joker” Lawrence Sher
  • “The Lighthouse” Jarin Blaschke
  • “1917” Roger Deakins (WINNER)
  • “Once upon a Time...in Hollywood” Robert Richardson
Achievement in costume design
  • “The Irishman” Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson
  • “Jojo Rabbit” Mayes C. Rubeo
  • “Joker” Mark Bridges
  • “Little Women” Jacqueline Durran (WINNER)
  • “Once upon a Time...in Hollywood” Arianne Phillips
Achievement in directing
  • “The Irishman” Martin Scorsese
  • “Joker” Todd Phillips
  • “1917” Sam Mendes
  • “Once upon a Time...in Hollywood” Quentin Tarantino
  • Parasite Bong Joon Ho (WINNER)
Best documentary feature
  • “American Factory” Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, and Jeff Reichert (WINNER)
  • The Cave Feras Fayyad, Kirstine Barfod, and Sigrid Dyekjær
  • “The Edge of Democracy” Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris and Tiago Pavan
  • “For Sama” Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts
  • Honeyland Ljubo Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska and Atanas Georgiev
Best documentary short subject
  • “In the Absence” Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam
  • “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl)” Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva (WINNER)
  • “Life Overtakes Me” John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson
  • “St. Louis Superman” Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
  • “Walk Run Cha-Cha” Laura Nix and Colette Sandstedt
Achievement in film editing
  • “Ford v Ferrari” Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland (WINNER)
  • “The Irishman” Thelma Schoonmaker
  • “Jojo Rabbit” Tom Eagles
  • “Joker” Jeff Groth
  • Parasite Yang Jinmo
Best international feature film of the year
Achievement in makeup and hairstyling
  • “Bombshell” Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker (WINNER)
  • “Joker” Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou
  • “Judy” Jeremy Woodhead
  • “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten and David White
  • “1917” Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis, and Rebecca Cole
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
  • “Joker” Hildur Guðnadóttir (WINNER)
  • “Little Women” Alexandre Desplat
  • “Marriage Story” Randy Newman
  • “1917” Thomas Newman
  • “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” John Williams
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
  • “I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away” from “Toy Story 4.”
    Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
  • “(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman”
    Music by Elton John; Lyric by Bernie Taupin (WINNER)
  • “I'm Standing With You” from “Breakthrough”
    Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
  • “Into The Unknown” from “Frozen II”
    Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
  • “Stand Up” from “Harriet”
    Music and Lyric by Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo 
Best motion picture of the year
  • “Ford v Ferrari” Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, and James Mangold, Producers
  • “The Irishman” Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers
  • “Jojo Rabbit” Carthew Neal, and Taika Waititi, Producers
  • “Joker” Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers
  • “Little Women” Amy Pascal, Producer
  • “Marriage Story” Noah Baumbach and David Heyman, Producers
  • “1917” Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Callum McDougall, Producers
  • “Once upon a Time...in Hollywood” David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh, and Quentin Tarantino, Producers
  • Parasite” Kwak Sin Ae and Bong Joon Ho, Producers (WINNER)
Achievement in production design
  • “The Irishman” Production Design: Bob Shaw; Set Decoration: Regina Graves
  • “Jojo Rabbit” Production Design: Ra Vincent; Set Decoration: Nora Sopková
  • “1917” Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales
  • “Once upon a Time...in Hollywood” Production Design: Barbara Ling; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh (WINNER)
  • “Parasite Production Design: Lee Ha Jun; Set Decoration: Cho Won Woo 
Best animated short film
  • “Dcera (Daughter)” Daria Kashcheeva
  • “Hair Love” Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver (WINNER)
  • “Kitbull” Rosana Sullivan and Kathryn Hendrickson
  • “Memorable” Bruno Collet and Jean-François Le Corre
  • “Sister” Siqi Song 
Best live-action short film
  • “Brotherhood” Meryam Joobeur and Maria Gracia Turgeon
  • “Nefta Football Club” Yves Piat and Damien Megherbi
  • “The Neighbors' Window” Marshall Curry (WINNER)
  • “Saria” Bryan Buckley and Matt Lefebvre
  • “A Sister” Delphine Girard
Achievement in sound editing
  • “Ford v Ferrari” Donald Sylvester
  • “Joker” Alan Robert Murray
  • “1917” Oliver Tarney and Rachael Tate (WINNER)
  • “Once upon a Time...in Hollywood” Wylie Stateman
  • “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” Matthew Wood and David Acord
Achievement in sound mixing
  • “Ad Astra” Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson and Mark Ulano
  • “Ford v Ferrari” Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Steven A. Morrow (WINNER)
  • “Joker” Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic and Tod Maitland
  • “1917” Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson
  • “Once upon a Time...in Hollywood” Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler, and Mark Ulano 
Achievement in visual effects
  • “Avengers: Endgame” Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken, and Dan Sudick
  • “The Irishman” Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser, and Stephane Grabli
  • “The Lion King” Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Elliot Newman
  • “1917” Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, and Dominic Tuohy
  • “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach and Dominic Tuohy
Adapted screenplay
  • “The Irishman” Screenplay by Steven Zaillian
  • “Jojo Rabbit” Screenplay by Taika Waititi (WINNER)
  • “Joker” Written by Todd Phillips & Scott Silver
  • “Little Women” Written for the screen by Greta Gerwig
  • “The Two Popes” Written by Anthony McCarten 
Original screenplay
  • “Knives Out” Written by Rian Johnson
  • “Marriage Story” Written by Noah Baumbach
  • “1917” Written by Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns
  • “Once upon a Time...in Hollywood” Written by Quentin Tarantino
  • Parasite” Screenplay by Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won; Story by Bong Joon Ho (WINNER).
José Alberto Hermosillo, film critic, Festival in LA ©2019
Related Articles:
NINETEEN BEST FILMS OF 2019 - FESTIVAL IN LA

IF YOU ARE READING FROM A MOBILE DEVICE, CLICK: view web version FOR OTHER COOL FEATURES SUCH AS TRANSLATE POWERED BY GOOGLE, AN INTERACTIVE FILM FESTIVAL CALENDAR, AND MORE.

José Alberto Hermosillo, film critic, Festival in LA ©2019
Festival in LA ©2020