Category Archives: Features

Fun movies articles, lists as long as your attention span, and opinions so big, you just have to comment on them.

7 Great Films Written By Women

Women! We love women. We especially love women behind the camera. Ladies telling stories, promoting their talents, bringing stories to the big screen. There is nothing better than a woman screenwriter.

So  we’re taking a look at some fantastic films written by female screenwriters.

Sense and Sensibility (1995) – Emma Thompson

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We may know Thompson as an incredible actress, but she is also an Academy Award winning screenwriter.  Her adaptation of Jane Austen’s terrific drama, revolving around betrothed sisters, and secret loves, is considered one of the best period dramas of all time, reinforcing Austen’s elements of feminist satire Directed by Ang Lee, Thompson too stars as the beloved Elinor and with a young Kate Winslet blossoming to a steadfast actress, Sense and Sensibility is a terrific, enjoyable, and deep movie helped by Thompson’s flare for writing.

Persepolis (2013) – Marjane Satrapi

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Recently directing black comedy Ryan Reynolds led film The Voices, Satrapi’s best known work is for the adult animation Persepolis, based on her autobiographical novel of the same name. Co-written and co-directed  with Vincent Paronnaud ,the film revolves around a young girl coming of age during the Iranian Revolution. Winning the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, the movie is both an exhilarating and thrilling yet harrowing and anguish filled, a triumphant movie.

The Limehouse Golem (2017) – Jane Goldman

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Though Jane Goldman’s work consists off Kick-Ass, Stardust, and Kingsman, I have a soft spot for the recently released Victorian murder romp. Yes, there may be detractors to the movie, but the extremely entertaining flick sees Bill Nighy tackle the murky Victorian underground as a killer goes on the romp and a woman is set to hang for her murder of her husband. Full of twists and turns, this is a highly beguiling movie enriched with amusement and that cliched but still ridiculously enjoyable.  Goldman has a flare for the Victorian  macabre.

Gone Girl (2015) – Gillian Flynn

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Adapted from her own novel, Flynn proved that she had might for the big screen (and should probably do some more work for cinema) with this Academy Award nominated script. The intense mystery thriller that led to one of the greatest performance of the year by the outstanding Rosamund Pike is an insatiable and lurid film with so much darkness. The murky elements of the film, matched with the twisting mystery made it David Fincher’s finer pieces and that’s all thanks to Flynn’s script. Even with knowing the book, she revisited Amy Dunne on a big screen with such a fresh beat that even die-hard fans would be impressed.

Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)  – Caroline Thompson

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Did you know Nightmare Before Christmas was written by a woman? Did you? Because I didn’t and I am currently drinking tea from a Jack Skellington mug. I know, this is heinously amiss of me. It is the ultimate festive film revolving around the King of Halloween Town who becomes bored of his life and wishes to steal Christmas to bring some excitement back. This stop–motion epic, directed by Henry Selick and based on characters by Tim Burton, Thompson delights with this hilarious, witty, and at times deeply dark film filled to the brim with holiday cheer.

Juno (2010) – Diablo Cody

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Winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, Cody’s terrific and poignant depiction of a teen pregnancy was celebrated across the filled. This is even more amazing considering it was Cody’s debut screenplay. Launching Ellen Paige into the stratosphere, Juno was a humorous depiction of a teenager in a crisis with whip-smart dialogue and endearing, emotional moments within the comedy……home-skillet.

Singin In The Rain  (1952) – Betty Comden

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One of the most incredible and seminal musicals of all time, Singin In The Rain is an enchanting and thrilling piece directed by and starring Gene Kelly. It revolves around two men and a woman trying to make it in showbiz. Featuring some brilliant songs including the titular one and Good Morning, this is a must-see masterpiece. And it was crafted by a woman. Alongside Adolph Green, Betty Comden excelled in producing one of the most memorable and watchable musicals of all time. Part of a performance duo with Green, her work on the stage was essential to bringing Singin In The Rain to life!


What are your favourite films written by women? 

World Book Day: Best Films About Books

Who hasn’t grown up without books in their lives? Not filmmakers, anyway, as Hollywood has been plunging into old texts and pulling out blockbuster movies or series. In fact, it has become the staple of movie makers these days, especially with an abundance of young adult fiction getting translated into young adult movies to please the young adult audiences everywhere. Almost weekly a book becomes a film. But what about films that revolve around books; the core plot point pivoting around the pages, the stories and the characters you usually find locked up in libraries.

Films like these:

The Pagemaster  (1994)

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In nineties land, you’d think that this movie would be an instant success. It had all the right arts to make it a success; Macaulay Culkin, Whoopi Goldberg and the fail safe live action and cartoon combination. But on first release it bombed, hard. Nevertheless, thanks to repeats on television and video sales, it has become one of childhood’s much loved movies. It centres on a boy named Richard who is bored with life. In an upcoming storm, he finds shelter in a library. But a freak accident causes him to get washed into illustrations and is sent into the colourful world of fiction. Along the way, he meets Romance, Adventure and Horror, genres of books set to help him on his quest. This is a lovely little movie that heralds a lot of the great classic books, translating them well for children.

 

The NeverEnding Story (1986)

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NeverEnding Story was one of the most fantastical movies that caught wild imagination within the bustling dreams of children everywhere. The film revolves around Bastian, a shy child who is suddenly immersed into the Fantasty world of Fantasia which is plagued by The Nothing. With trusted Atreyu trying to stop the devastation, Bastian finds he is crucial to the unfolding events.  True, it had marvellously cheesy moments (Moonchild. For Christ Sake. Moonchild.) but, nevertheless, the story about escaping within a book to escape the bullies or the world around you resonates with any child and fully grown adults how found solace within the written word. But let’s not mention Artax, shall we?

 

The Princess Bride (1987)

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Possibly one of the most quotable films of all time that has acquired a large fan-base that still adores this movie now. The Princess Bride is meta as hell, a book about a book that is quite self-aware (although, not as self-aware as The Never Ending Story, moonchild). Told by Columbo’s Peter Falk to his grandson in present day eighties, it tells the medieval tale of stable boy Wesley and his love Buttercup. When Wesley disappears, murdered by the dreaded Pirate Roberts, the masked crusader comes to battle his wits against obstacles for Buttercup. It’s fairy tale with gusto, hilarity and wit. This cult classic is a treat. Altogether now; “my name is Inigo Montoya..”

 

Stranger Than Fiction (2003)

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One of the very few Will Ferrell films where he doesn’t play overdone, obnoxious and dislikeable characters, Stranger Than Fictionsees him take the quirky indie route. He stars as Harold Crick, a pretty average guy who finds one day, a voice has started to narrate his life. Feeling dismayed, he is told that he may be a character in a book and he needs to find out the ending before it is too late. Endearingly enough, this movie deals with an interesting and fun twist on the romance fare that asks writers; if you met the character of the book you’re writing, what would you do to them? It also has the best romantic scene where a baker receives a lovely array of ‘flours’ for a gift.

 

The Evil Dead

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I feel like I shouldn’t even been making you read this as we talk about that damned book in Sam Raimi’s masterpiece horror movie The Evil Dead. Frankly, I am a little bit scared writing about it. Because the insane events that happen in the middle of the forest that fateful night all come about due to some stupid teenagers and Ash Campbell reading from the evil Necronomicon Ex Mortis. The book itself is like the Devil’s personal spell book that sees demons and hell raised on Earth, causing a lot of messed up nonsense to happen to the those meddling kids (yes, that was a Scooby Doo reference about The Evil Dead.) Proof that any book with a long Latin title shouldn’t be read, The Evil Dead is one of those films that anti-reading advocators will lap up.


Happy World Book Day!
What do you think? 

6 Drool-Worthy Pancake Scenes

We’re delivering some whooping platefuls of floury, sugary lemony treats. That’s right, despite technically being a religious holiday to show the  true spirit of sacrifice, we are more excited about round treats. In our addled states as human beings, we took  Shrove Tuesday to scoff as much as you can before staving off sweets for forty days
 (ha ha ha – no).

So for Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day or whatever excuse you need to devour  floury sugary goodness tonight, let’s celebrate with looking at the best pancake scenes in cinema.

Honourable Mentions:  Michael Douglas’ breakfast heist in Falling Down

Elf (2003)

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Elf quickly came into our hearts and launched Will Ferrell into superstardom alongside his Anchorman role. The film is now part of our Christmas diet as we munch away on the sugary sweet scenes verse the sardonic society of modern day New York.  The story revolves around a human baby brought up in Santa’s Workshop by a group of squeaky voiced elves. Unfortunately, when Buddy grows up to be an adult, he no longer fits in with all that he knows – figuratively and metaphorically – he finds his real dad. So technically no pancakes are involved in Buddy’s meal but there is syrup which is a pancakes best friend. Buddy puts them it on everything. EVERYTHING. From pancakes to spaghetti, syrup is Buddy’s go to sickly sweet condiment.

And ours too Buddy. Ours too.

Practical Magic (1998)

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Pancakes and witches- we have such a soft spot for this nineties spell-binding movie. Starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, the film revolves around two sisters who happen to be witches. Trying to cover up a crime they’ve committed, Kidman’s Gillian concocts a syrup to drive away a handsome sheriff investigating the crime. He also has eyes for Sally and can flip pancakes just like she’d wished for as a child. Soon her children start to realise that he may be the perfect man for their mother – can they stop Gillian’s magical sauce? A sweet scene with cactus shaped pancakes!

Matilda (1996)

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This is a scene long before our beloved bookwork hero discovers she has powers; a fact that makes it all the better. She is roughly about five in this scene but is often abandoned by her family and left to fend for herself (because her family are pretty much the worst.) With that hanging over her, Matilda learnt to take care of herself very quickly and one of the things she learnt was how to make pancakes. Nom. With an epic soundtrack that always delightfully appears in nineties movies (Send Me On My way by Rusted Foot), Matilda makes some scrumdiddliumptious snacks for herself all while reading the newspaper and feeding her brain with knowledge.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

In this undated handout image courtesy Miramax and provided by the Library of Congress , Vincent, played by John Travolta, left, dismisses Jules’, played by Samuel L. Jackson, plan to "walk the earth," in a scene from the 1994 Quentin Tarrantino film, "Pulp Fiction." The library is inducting 25 films, including "Pulp Fiction," into the National Film Registry to be preserved for their cultural, historical or cinematic significance. (AP Photo/Library of Congress, Courtesy of Miramax)

Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar Winning screenplay for this movie sees a bend in time for the gangs in Los Angeles. Revolving mainly around Jules and Vincent, this broken narrative flits through deaths only to bring them back again. However, in this iconic scene, after blowing the brains off an informant (accidentally, I might add) the pair rest up in a Diner Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of bacon, while munching on pancakes and eggs, the conversation between them soon turns philosophical (as is in Tarantino-land) However, Pumpkin and Honey from before seize the restaurant causing and epic final stand-off.

The Big Lebowski (1998)

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Cult classic from the Coen Brothers is a wonderful masterpiece that has set off it’s own religion in parts of the globe. Centring on Jeff Bridges’ character The Dude, it is a case of mistaken identity that disrupts his laid back lifestyle of weed, white Russians and bowling. The main villains of the show are German nihilists lead by Peter Stormare. Believing The Dude to be a millionaire whose wife they have kidnapped, they rest after destroying his home and blackmailing the real rich guy (with the severed toe of his wife). Only, as they order famous Lingonberry pancakes, a camera pans down on the only woman there to find that she is actually the one without her baby toe. Dig in, guys!

Uncle Buck (1990)

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If  you think pancakes in movies then this is probably the scene that is going to jump into your head. John Candy stars as the titular character, a gambling man who is called up to the big boy leagues when his brother asks him to babysit his kids. And boy, does he make a mess out of it. But when it comes to pancakes, it’s a different story. Much different from the previous scene where MacCaulay Culkin innocent exclaims “he’s cooking garbage!” Uncle Buck finally puts on his adult breeches to deliver a birthday for Miles that is unlike any other. And what better way to celebrate than with a massive doze of pancakes. And by massive, we mean Buck makes bigger than your child sized pancakes drizzled in ice cream, chocolate sauce and more.

 


Happy Pancake Day!

Unpopped Kernels: Begin Again (2014)

John Carney has masterminded some delicate stories and inventive musical pieces that have shot songs into our hearts, coating us with a balance of heart and despair. Working through our emotional cores through the power of song, Carney is one of Ireland’s best directors whose work with Once sent us on a soul-searching journey that has since taken to the West End and Broadway. Returning a couple of years ago with Begin Again, it was tricky to decide whether he’d capture the same magic as Once.

Instead, he created a new film filled with honesty, openness, and tunes.

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Begin Again revolves around music producer Dan and singer/song-writer Gretta who meet at the worst time in their lives. The former is an alcoholic, estranged from his family, fired from his job, and all prepared to kill himself. That is until he comes across the latter singing in a lowly pub. Gretta has just found out her boyfriend, now a famous rock star, has been cheating on her and fallen in love with someone else. When a chance meeting inspires the pair of them to produce a record together, they find a connection within the music and a chance to…begin again…

A movie that you’ll fall in love with despite rolling your shoulders so much at the premise and cast list. That being said, Begin Again is an endearing note. Though a little saccrine sweeter than Once, and therefore missing a step from the masterful iconic film, Begin Again still draws on the poignancy the two lead characters and the wholesome musical. The story is somewhat idealistic but brimming with sublime emotional arcs and a wondrous soulful journey paved by our characters and their inspiration for the music. There’s also some excellent points about the music industry (some cutting ones too) that allow this movie not to stray too.

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The small cast helmed by Kiera Knightly and Mark Ruffalo really help find Begin Again’s identity. Despite the big names, Carney still crafts this independent spirit defiantly. As Dan and Gretta, Ruffalo and Knightley explore the salvation of music as both producer and singer, using the art to work through the problems that vex them.  Knightly and Ruffalo are definitely the “lost” stars of the show but it is populated by incredible talents such as Adam Levine, James Cordon, and Hailee Steinfield who embrace the energy of the film and delicate excavate the aching, longing, and the journey one must go down – all together

Begin Again is about redemption and finding a home, not just in the adoptive city you moved to, but in the people you meet. It’s about recovery after pain and how beauty can come from suffering. Utilising the character of New York with this vibrant musical whimsy, the real crux of the tale is how Gretta and Dan help one another after each feels loss and abandoned. Having them not develop into the typical love story really hones the film in and sees humanity in its finest, propelling each other to discover the happiness they deserve with this beautiful acoustic soundtrack, brimming with the summer in the Big Apple.


Begin Again is available on Amazon Video! 

91st Academy Awards – Predictions

It’s that time of the year again where the “best” and the “brightest” of films are awarded the highest accolade in the film season. Emphasis on the air quotes. That’s right – it’s the 91st Academy Awards. Although watching it this year feels like attending a work training day with people you despise, we’re definitely going

So whilst Movies On Weekends settles in again for an all-nighter – popping energy drinks and Haribo to grumpily send memes and tweets throughout the night – we might as well fashion our own predictions for the ceremony ahead. Best Animated Short
What Should Win:
Weekends
What Will Win: Bao

Disney have a monopoly on this category because it’s probably the only short that people are forced to watch and do watch. Which is a shame because shorts are GREAT! Weekends may snatch it but it is heavily unlikely. But history has taught me well not to fall into that trap again. I don’t want to repeat The Bigger Picture upset. I just don’t.

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Best Live Action Short
What Should Win:
Mother
What Will Win: Detainment

There is a lot of controversy surrounding Detainment and that’s understandable but it is very unlikely to stop the award-winning film from winning this award. We adore Mother though so we hope it will win.

Best Documentary Short
What Should Win:
Black Sheep
What Will Win: Black Sheep

This impressive small feature has made waves already at award-season. This is a shear win……he he.

Best Original Song
What Should Win
: All The Stars
What Will Win: Shallow

There is no way that this absolute beast of a belter will fail at winning. We’ll get to see Gaga’s teary speech at last and, of course, see Coops perform all growly like. Though our heart is wrapped up in All the Stars, we certainly can’t see it outshining A Star is Born.

Best Original Score
What Should Win:
If Beale Street Could Talk
What Will Win: If Beale Street Could Talk

The Academy made a big almighty fuss about wanting to include Black Panther with introducing the now defunct category Best Popular Film. Nicolas Britell’s score for Beale Street is perhaps one of the favourites and absolutely should win here.

Best Adapted Screenplay
What Should Win
: If Beale Street Could Talk
What Will Win: BlacKkKlansman.

Barry Jenkins’ has already won in this category award and with Beale Street having so little in ways of awards that should be a sure-hit. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut with Jenkins’ previous award win and Spike Lee’s considerable shadow, it may just go to BlacKkKlansman.

Best Original Screenplay
What Should Win:
First Reformed
What Will Win: First Reformed.

This’ll be a home run because we sure as hell won’t be happy with giving an Oscar to “dick flasher” Peter Farrelly. Paul Schrader’s film should’ve been nominated for more so the Academy will look at this as

Best Visual Effects
What Should Win:
Christopher Robin
What Will Win: Black Panther

AKA Best Popular Film. This is where the blockbusters go. It’ll be no great shock that Black Panther will win but Avengers: Infinity War could scoop the prize. We’ll also be happy to see Christopher Robin to win because they brought back Winnie the Pooh!

Best Production Design
What Should Win:
First Man
What Will Win: The Favourite

Again, period dramas have a habit of trumping anything in this category. We’ll be happy if Damien Chazelle’s space epic gets a look in though. We’d like to stress, again, that it should’ve had more nominations.

Best Sound Editing & Best Sound Mixing
What Should Win
: First Man
What Will Win: Black Panther

The Academy usually award these awards to bombastic films. Your war time epics, your Marvel films, you’re really LOUD movies. First Man deserves everything that it could get here so there is hope this aural space epic will score something. Anything. Please.

Best Make-Up & Hairstyling
What Should Win:
Border
What Will Win: Vice

Fat suits triumph always. Let us please use this moment to talk about how amazing it is that Swedish twisted fairy-tale Border has a nomination. A much deserved one because it is immense. But it might be too obscure to oust Christian Bale’s Darkest Hour.

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Best Film Editing
Who Should Win:
The Favourite
Who Will Win: Vice

Right, so a lot has been said about things that shouldn’t win awards and I think Vice is one of them. Yet it keeps on winning. If either this or Bohemian Rhapsody wins, it proves that people think good editing is erratic scene-cutting rather than subtle story-telling. Which is wrong. It’s going to frustrate you so much but look at Independent Spirit Awards, look at Joe Bini’s win. Sooth yourself.

Best Costume Design
Who Should Win:
Ruth Carter, Black Panther
Who Will Win: Sandy Powell, The Favourite

Award season love their history. Black Panther should rightfully get this award for imbuing and crafting each costume with rich African History but Sandy Powell has clout and corsets.

Best Cinematography
Who Should Win:
The Favourite
Who Will Win: Roma

Alfonso Cuaron does most things in this movie so if he doesn’t win everything then he’ll definitely win this. Robbie Ryan for The Favourite would be the dark horse.

Best Foreign Language Film
Who Should Win
: Shoplifters
Who Will Win: Roma

There isn’t much that is going to stop Roma from scooping up this award unless they’ve already given it Best Picture then any of the entries here could win the award. But it’s most likely going to Roma.

Best Documentary
Who Should Win:
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Who Will Win: Free Solo

Much like Alex Honnold, nothing is going to knock this documentary from its heights.

Best Animation
Who Should Win:
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Who Will Win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Sod off Disney! Look, the animation company have been (wrongly) on top of this list for some time and their mediocre entries Incredibles 2 and Wreck It-Ralph 2 haven’t matched the sheer energy of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. It has the audience, it has the other awards, it has the box-office, and it has the traction. This is the award we’re most looking forward too and the one we cannot wait to see.

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Best Supporting Actor
Who Should Win:
Richard E. Grant or Sam Elliot
Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali

There is something so sweet about Grant’s Oscar campaign that, despite being a world-famous actor anyway, makes us warm to him as though he were a blossoming ingénue on his first role. Although last night Grant upset the applecart with his Independent Spirit Award win for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Ali pretty much has this in the bag. Shout out to Sam Elliot though – the death of a loved one won’t make me cry as much as his car reversal does.

Best Supporting Actress
Who Should Win:
Regina King
Who Will Win: Regina King

Similarly to Ali, it feels as though the crown will go to the King. Only Rachel Weisz from The Favourite will come anywhere close to usurping Regina from her throne. The Supporting Actress category always feels the most unpredictable so anything goes here.

Best Actor
Who Should Win:
Bradley Cooper
Who Will Win: Rami Malek

Malek’s performance, like Bohemian Rhapsody, has been pretty lambasted by Twitter and online hoards but that hasn’t been enough to shake his position on top, with Malek scooping up award after award. Whilst Bale has done enough to warrant a nomination, it does feel like Cooper may be a dark hose here and, arguably, rightly so because his transformative performance is outstanding for A Star is Born.

Best Actress:
Who Should Win:
Olivia Colman/Glenn Close
Who Will Win: Glenn Close

Whilst Gaga cries on the edges of her 100 person room, it is definitely just a two horse race now. Honestly, we’d be happy for both. The Wife may not be as good a film as The Favourite, their performances are definitely on parr. Close does have an edge due to being an American actress who hasn’t won in the decades of her career. But Colman may cause upset. Because it’s Colman and she is just that good.

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Best Director
Who Should Win:
Spike Lee
Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron

Right so – Spike Lee might edge Cuaron out because he absolutely deserves the award more than anyone on the list. A win for him tonight feels like a win for his whole back catalogue and it is richly deserved. Cuaron, however, presents a juggernaut film and having a hand in every aspect of Roma could see him win the award.

Best Picture
Who Should Win
: The Favorite
Who Will Win: Roma

There’s a lot of debate on this one and, honestly, we are so unamused by this list (that could’ve really had more on it,) that we’re kinda shrugging and going “I guess” to both the Should Win and the Will Win. Favour for Roma has fallen somewhat short but imagine a Netflix backed film winning the biggest film award ever?

For more of a breakdown of predictions, head to the The Outside Centre Podcast where our editor Cookie talks about the awards.


91st Academy Awards are announced February 24th! 

Road to the Oscars: Worst Speeches

Winning an Academy Award is a great honour. The highest award bestowed from the film industry and a moment where the world is watching you. After receiving nominations, doing interviews and arriving on the night all that is left is for the winning to accept the great award and give a speech. Theses few words should immortalise you in the eyes of your peers but for some it can have the exact opposite effect.

Here are some of the worst Oscar Speeches.

Halle Berry for Monster’s Ball

Now I do like Halle Berry. I think she gave an impressive performance in Monsters Ball. She was the first woman of colour to win a leading actress Oscar but for Christ’s sake pull yourself together woman. The crying was like nothing I have ever seen before. She managed to reign it in enough to thank everyone including coloured actresses of the past that had been overlooked which is great. Sadly the gorgeous Halle will always remain in the bad Oscar speeches but look up her speech at the Razzies for Catwoman. Now that’s how you give a speech Miss Berry.

Gwyneth Paltrow for Shakespeare in Love

Another human flood gate. The tearful Paltrow ascended the stage and it was as if someone had turned on a tap. She manages to thank the entire world and its mother before leaving the stage. Not her finest moment.

Melissa Leo for The Fighter

Melissa Leo won best supporting actress for The Fighter and was presented her award by Kirk Douglas. Please don’t make me Youtube it again, its so painful. She asks Douglas to pinch her and then acts out hitting on the veteran actor. The speech gets even worse from there: The silence during her pauses is penetrating and its clear how the audience have lost interest in the wreak on stage. When it finally finishes she uses Douglas’s walking stick to hobble off the stage as if he did not actually need it.

That’ss what you get for not giving the award to Amy Adams instead.

Marlon Brando, The Godfather

Now we all admired young Brando for his unbelieveble acting abilities and his devilish good looks but the man was an arse. Crazy as a drunk badger and his method of accepting his second best actor Oscar proved this fact. He declined to attend and sent a young native American girl (who wasn’t actually native American) to accept his award in his place. Despite the best intentions to bring awareness to wrongful Native American portrayals in cinema, it would probably have been best to say it himself. Weird.

Joe Pesci for Goodfellas, 1990

Considering the character he plays in Goodfellas is such a live wire you’d expect Joe Pesci speech to be epic but instead its merely, “It’s my privilege, thank you”.


The 90th Academy Award screens February 22nd