Saturday, March 31, 2018

2018 MIAMI OPEN: Ostapenko-Stephens and Zverev-Isner Finals Predictions

The second big (non-major) event of the year is coming to and end: the Miami open. Last year Roger Federer and Johanna Konta won the tournaments. This year we will have new champions as both of these players lost relatively early, Federer to a resurgent Thanasi Kokkinakis and Konta fell to Venus Williams.

This year the women's final is between two reigning major champions : 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and 2017 US Open champ Sloane Stephens, in their first ever meeting on tour. Stephens s playing her best tennis since winning her first major title and will reach the Top 10 for the first time after beating 3-time Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals. Ostapenko has backed up her shock win of her first major at the age of 20 with play that has kept her in the Top 10 even if she doesn't defend her title in Paris. Stephens has shown that her defense can outlast big hitters and she's not afraid of going for the lines herself when it matters.

MadProfessah's prediction: Stephens.

On the men's side, Juan Martin del Potro has been by far the hottest player on the ATP tour. He beat defending champion Roger Federer in the Indian Wells final (in a 3rd set tiebreak after saving 3 match points!) and there was talk that he might achieve a rare "Sunshine Double" by winning Miami. But, amazingly, his 15-match winning streak was stopped by none other than John Isner. Isner basically beat del Potro by serving incredibly (which is typical) but he also was aggressive from the back of the court. Isner beat 2018 Australian Open finalist Marin Cilic a few rounds before as well as 2018 Australian Open semifinalist Hyeong Chung on his way to the final. Sascha Zverev finally got past his Next Gen peers Borna Coric in the quarterfinals, Nick Kyrgios in R16 and Daniil Medvedev in the 2nd round. But what probably sparked this good run was his ability to surve a grinding tussle with David Ferrer in the 3rd round. Zverev has already won 2(!) ATP Master and is not yet 21 (in contrast Del Potro won his first ATP Masters shield in Indian Wells this year). Isner has actually done quite well in the Masters, having reached 4 finals at 4 different events. I think this is a very close match (last year the two played in Miami and Zverev won 2 of 3 tie-break sets) and generally in a pick 'em situation I go with the better athlete/mover, which in this case is the 6-foot-6 20-year-old ad not the 6-foot-9 30-year-old.

MadProfessah's prediction: Zverev.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham

Sleepyhead is the first book in the DI Tom Thorne series by Mark Billingham. It is yet another British detective murder-mystery series, this time set in London, and has multiple similarities to many other British police procedurals by the likes of Ian Rankin (John Rebus), Stuart MacBride (Logan McRae), Robert Bryndza (Erica Foster), Adrian McKinty (Sean Duffy), Val McDermid (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan), Peter Robinson (Alan Banks) and Susie Steiner (Manon Bradshaw).

Of course the first thing these books have in common is the promotion system (Detective Constable, Detective Sergeant, Detective Inspector, Detective Chief Inspector, etc). Another aspect these books have in common is a protagonist who either has a colorful past or problematic character traits (and in many cases, they have both). A third common feature all of these British police procedural mystery books have is the frequent consumption of copious amounts of alcohol and tea.

Tom Thorne definitely falls into the category of a main character who has a colorful past and problematic personality. When we (the reader) meet Tom in Sleepyhead, there are cryptic references to the Calvert case, apparently an old case which clearly still haunts and troubles him. When we find out about his latest case, which involves the murder of multiple women by someone using a similar modus operandi (stalking a single woman, being invited in to their abode, injecting them with a very specialized anesthetic and then inducing a stroke, which in all but one case is fatal) we learn that Tom has a reputation for being somewhat of a lone wolf and a loose cannon. Even though Tom acts on his hunches a lot, he’s not always wrong. For example, he figures out that the victim who survived the latest attack is not a failure by the serial killer; the “locked-in” state is what the perpetrator wanted to happen. It was the losses of life that were unintentional.

The problematic aspects of Tom’s personality reveal themselves pretty extensively as the story precedes. He quickly latches on to a theory of the case and identifies a prime suspect for which there is almost no confirming evidence, a fact none of his superior officers will let him ignore. He enters into a romantic (and sexual) relationship with a very close friend and confidant of this suspect. When the perpetrator (and target of his investigation) starts directly interacting with Tom through notes and a physical attack Tom gets himself re-assigned to another unit but continues his investigation (focused on the suspect he is convinced is guilty despite the absence of evidence). 

One notable feature of Sleepyhead is that the writing is significantly more lyrical than what is typical in the British police procedural/murder mystery genre in my experience.

In some ways I think this attention to style over substance is a problem sometimes. For example, I felt that there were several key action scenes in Sleepyhead where instead of clearly stating what action was occurring, the text actually obscured what was going on and this forced me to read the passage more than once.

Another notable feature of Sleepyhead is the inclusion of a first person perspective from one of the early victims of the perpetrator (the one who survived but now is “locked-in” her body with no control over it except for the ability to blink).

Overall, I found Sleepyhead to be quite compelling, although I was somewhat repelled by Tom Thorne’s character and often annoyed by the ornate nature of the prose at times. However, the cleverness of the plot and the deployment of the suspense and mystery elements were impressive enough that I am looking forward to exploring the rest of the books in this popular series.

Title: Sleepyhead.
Mark Billingham.
Paperback: 432 pages.
 Avon Books.
Date Published: May 1, 2003.
Date Read: March 15, 2018.

★★☆  (4.0/5.0).

OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).


Monday, March 26, 2018

EYE CANDY: Derek Tramel (reprise)

Derek Tramel has been on Eye Candy once before (October 30, 2017). He has numerous followers on Instagram and I think these pictures indicate why!

Hat/tip Pop Glitz

Sunday, March 25, 2018

2018 MIAMI OPEN: Halep, Federer, Djokovic, Wozniacki, Serena *ALL* Lose Early!

World #1's Roger Federer and Simona Halep lost back-to-back matches at the 2018 Miami Open on Saturday. Halep lost to Aggie Radwanska in 3 sets while Federer lost to Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia. Kokkinakis is currently ranked #175 in the world but has been as high as #69 and is widely considered one of the more talented Australian youngsters. Federer's loss was more significant because it means that Rafael Nadal will regain the #1 ranking when the tournament is over since Federer was not able to defend his 2017 title here.

However, the loss of the top seeds was just the latest upsets in a string of (somewhat) surprising defeats at this year's Miami Open. First 8-time champion Serena Williams was easily dismissed by 2018 Indian Wells champ Naomi Osaka in the first round, Novak Djokovic's 16-match win streak in Miami was snapped by Benoit Paire of France. Additionally, 2018 Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki lost a 3-set thriller to Monica Puig.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

TENNIS TUESDAY: Federer Has 1st 2018 Loss; Delpo Wins 1st Masters; Osaka Wins 1st Title, Will Face Serena 1R in Miami

Defying my prediction to the contrary, Naomi Osaka of Japan defeated Daria Kasatkina 6-3 6-2 to win her first WTA tour title on the big stage of the BNP Paribas Open. Both players had impressive runs to reach with final, with Osaka taking out World #1 Simona Halep, former World #1 Karolina Pliskova and 5-time major champion Maria Sharapova (in round 1!). Kasatkina took out 4 major champions in a row Venus Williams, Angelique Kerber, 2018 Aussie Open champ Caroline Wozniacki and 2017 US Open champ Sloane Stephens!

In one of the best matches of the year, Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina demonstrated his fearlessness against Roger Federer by outlasting him 6-4 6-7(8) 7-6(2). This was the 25th match the two have played and is Delpo's 7th win, which have often come in the finals of tournaments (Delpo leads 4-2). Delpo saved an amazing 3 match points (and Federer saved 2 himself) to beat the World #1 and win his first Masters series title after playing in 4 finals (interesting he lost these finals to the other members of the big 4: Nadal, Murray and Djokovic). At 7, Delpo has more wins against World #1 players than any other player who has not become World #1 themself.

Osaka's prize for winning Indian Wells? In addition to doubling her career prize money with a $1.3 million check she was drawn to face 8-time Miami Open champion Serena Williams in the first round. Serena lost to sister Venus last week, will she now lose to Osaka this week? I think she might, but my prediction mojo has been weak recently. If she does lose, I do think it will provide excellent motivation for Serena to double her efforts to reach top shape sooner rather than later.

After eking out a win against Borna Coric to reach his 17th win of 2018, Federer was not able to do so against Juan Martin del Potro despite actually playing better and having more chances to win in the final. He lost a 3rd set tiebreaker and is now a dismal 1-7 in championship-deciding tiebreaks for his career. His 5th set record is not great either. The reason for this (many believe) is that even though Federer is the greatest player of all time, he so rarely is put in positions where he has to REALLY fight in high stakes situations that he has less experience and is less suited to performing his best when it happens. Still, a 17-1 record to start 2018 must be something Federer is happy with; at age 36 he is tied with most wins on tour this year. Interestingly, Juan Martin del Potro is 17-3 for 2018 and Dominc Thiem is 17-4.

ATP RANKINGS MOVERS: DEL POTRO, ANDERSON, POUILLEFederer remains #1 despite not defending his title at Indian Wells and will need to defend his title in Miami if he is to keep the #1 ranking for the entire clay court season. Del Potro is now at World #6, Kevin Anderson is pu to World #8 and Frenchman Lucas Pouille enters the Top 10 for the first time at #10.

2017 French Open champion Jelena "Alona" Ostapenko is at #5 while Kasatkina is just outside the Top 10 at #11 (career high) and Osaka cut her ranking in half to a career high of World #22. 22-year-old  African-American Sachia Vickery ousted Garbine Mugruza before losing to Osaka and is now up to World #89.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

2018 INDIAN WELLS: Osaka-Kasatkina, Federer-Del Potro Finals

The finals of the 2018 Indian Wells are now set. The men's final is exactly what I predicted on Friday. Roger Federer versus Juan Martin del Potro.

This is their 25th meeting and Federer leads 18-6, although Del Potro famously defeated Federer in the 2009 U.S. Open final and also last year in the 2016 U.S. Open quarterfinal last year. However, Federer survived an amazing 3-set match with Borna Coric, coming back from losing the first set and being a break down in the second set and twice in the third set to win 5-7 6-4 6-4.

 MadProfessah's pick: Federer.

 The women's final is exactly the opposite of what I predicted would happen. This time youth was served, with 20-year-old Daria Kasatkina defeating Venus Williams in one of the most hard-fough 3-set matches of the year while fellow 20-year-old Naomi Osaka blitzed World #1 Simona Halep 6-3 6-0. Whoever wins this match will have the best result by a player born in 1997 on the WTA tour since Jelena Ostapenko won the French Open last year. The two have never played before but I think that Kastakina has shown more mental toughness although Osaka has the more powerful game.

MadProfessah's pick: Kasatkina.

Friday, March 16, 2018

2018 INDIAN WELLS: Semifinalists Set Halep-Osaka, Venus-Kasatkina; Federer-Coric, Raonic-Del Potro

The roster of  players in the men's and women's semifinals of the 2018 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells is now complete. The #1 seeds are still in the hunt on both sides of the draw.

On the men's side these are the matchups:

Roger Federer [1] versus Borna Coric
Juan Martin del Potro [6] versus Milos Raonic [32]

MadProfessah's pick: Federer and Del Potro.

On the women's side these re the matchups:

Simona Halep [1] versus Naomi Osaka
Venus Williams [8] versus Daria Kasatkina [20]

MadProfessah's pick: Halep and Venus Williams.

On my visit to Indian Wells on Wednesday I saw both women's quarterfinals featuring Halep and Osaka and was quite impressed with both players. I think Halep likes this court a bit more and this is Osaka's first time at this stage of a big tournament. Kasatkina demolished Angie Kerber on Thursday (6-0 6-2) and can give anyone fits so I would not be surprised to see her win, but after Venus beat Serena on Monday in a solid 6-4 6-3 performance I think her confidence is sky high.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Cold Welcome (Vatta's Peace, #1) by Elizabeth Moon

This is my first book by Elizabeth Moon and I was quite impressed. 

I am aware that Cold Welcome is the first book in a new series called Vatta’s Peace featuring Moon’s popular character Kylara Vatta, who is the star of the five books which make up the Vatta’s War series. That series is also on my burgeoning TBR (to-be-read) list but I didn’t feel like making a 5-book commitment so this book seemed like a good place to start instead. One problem with this choice is that this series  (Vatta's Peace) is not finished yet since Cold Welcome is Book 1. The second book the in Vatta’s Peace series, Into The Fire, was only released very recently (February 2018).

These books are definitely space opera, with familiar elements of the genre: space travel in human-controlled vehicles (i.e. space ships), interesting technological developments (cranial implants which allow direct wireless communication with others and interfaces with computers, genotype and phenotype treatments which allow radical body changes and the ability to travel faster than light), human colonization on multiple planets and a military milieu.

In some cases, the military elements of the story are a little bit too prominent, but not as overwhelmingly familiar as I experienced in David Weber’s Honorverse series (my bigger complaint about that series is that it seemed to me that it’s basically just 18th century naval stories moved into space, with the addition of potentially sentient cats). It is very clear (from the verisimilitude of the situations in her writing and from her brief biography)  that Moon has a lot of military experience and one of the high points is seeing the internal monologue of someone who is responsible for leading a military unit and the issues and concerns that arise.

It’s also very cool to have a female protagonist in this role (of military commander) and I very much enjoyed spending time with Ky Vatta in Cold Welcome. I did find it odd that for what is ostensibly a military space opera novel we spend most of our time on a cold barren part of the planet (Milksland) instead of in space. However, the other characters in the book, her great-aunt (who is the head of the military on Slotter Key, the Vatta home planet), her sister Stella (who runs the huge Vatta interstellar shipping conglomerate) and even her erstwhile boyfriend Rafe Dunbarger are ALL far less interesting than Ky. Another curious aspect of the book is the decided lack of curiosity that Ky displays at the discovery of materials, machines and other artifacts clearly left behind by intelligent aliens. She is always very much focused on the mission of saving the troops who are trapped with her in a perilous (definitely life-threatening) situation. I am definitely looking forward to see how Moon develops the plot and reveals more aspects of Ky's character as this new series progresses.

Overall, I would recommend this book to other space opera fans, particularly those who like the work of David Weber, Peter F. Hamilton and Marko Kloos. 

Title: Cold Welcome (Vatta's Peace, #1).
Elizabeth Moon.
Paperback: 464 pages.
Date Published: April 11, 2017.
Date Read: February 20, 2018.

GOODREADS RATING: ★★  (4.0/5.0).

OVERALL GRADE: A-/B+ (3.5/4.0).

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

REPORT: Boys and Girls Equally Interested In STEM; Boys More Prepared

In a new report from ACT (yes, the organization that runs those other college readiness tests) there is a result that states that all though boys and girls have an equal interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), it turns out that boys are generally more prepared for them.

Ed Week reports:
To determine readiness, students were assigned a STEM score based on combined results from their ACT math and science tests. ACT test scores range from 1 to 36. A student earning at least the benchmark score of 26 has a 50 percent chance of earning a B or higher in first-year college STEM courses, and a 75 percent chance of earning a C or higher, according to the report. The student is also more likely to stick it out with a STEM major and earn a bachelor's degree.  
The report revealed that just 18 percent of females, compared to 24 percent of males, earned a score of 26. 
The disparity is even larger among students with an interest in STEM: 22 percent of females earned a score of 26 compared to 31 percent of males. Even more surprising, females interested in STEM were less likely than all males (including those with or without an interest in STEM) to meet or surpass that benchmark score (22 percent versus 24 percent). Meanwhile, the overall level of interest in STEM between females and males is nearly equal at 47 percent versus 50 percent, respectively.
The source of the data is from the 2 million students who took the ACT in 2017.

INDIAN WELLS 2018: Order of Play For My Visit Today

I am going to visit Indian Wells today and will be seeing some interesting matches on Stadium 1:

  • Morning Session -- 11am
  • Taylor Fritz vs Borna Coric
  • Simona Halep vs Petra Martic
  • Roger Federer vs Jeremy Chardy
  • Juan Martin del Potro vs Leonardo Mayer
  • Evening session -- 7pm: 
  • Naomi Osaka vs Karolina Pliskova
  • Marcos Baghdatis vs Milos Raonic
I'll be doing updates during the day on Instagram (@ronbuckmire) and Twitter (@madprofessah).

Monday, March 12, 2018

2018 INDIAN WELLS: Venus-Serena XXIX, Azarenka Loses To Sloane; Nole, Sascha, Grigor, Petra, Garbi All Out Early!

The 2018 Indian Wells, the first ATP Masters series event of the year, is underway. I will be attending  the tournament all day (and night) on Wednesday. Sadly, it is not clear who I will see because there have been a number of upsets early on. World #2 Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Sunshine double and will not return t the tour until the clay begins.

World #3 Grigor Dimitrov lost to a resurgent Fernando Verdasco, World #4 Sascha Zverev lost to Joao Sousa (losing 5 games in a row from up 4-1 in the 3rd!) and Novak Djokovic lost #109 Taro Daniel.  There have also been upsets on the women's side with Petra Kvitova's win streak ended at 14 with a loss to teenager Amanda Anisimova and World #3 Garbine Muguruza lost to American Sachia Vickery. 2-time Indian Wells champion Victoria Azarenka lost to Sloane Stephens in her first comeback match in nearly a year.

However, the marquee comeback was that by Serena Williams of course. With her ranking currently in the 400s having not played a serious match since winning the 2017 Australian Open, giving birth and getting married, Serena managed to win her first two matches at Indian Wells. Her reward is that she will play her sister Venus. This will be the 29th meeting  and Serena leads 17-11. It will be around 7pm tonight. I'll be watching!

EYE CANDY: Jirrell Jacobs

Jirrell Jacobs is today's Eye Candy model. There' not much information about him on the web, but he is apparently a musician.

Friday, March 09, 2018

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: 4 Out Of 5 Americans Can't Name A Living Scientist

Hmmm! A recent poll suggests that Americans are pretty clueless about famous living scientists. According to Science AF:

Of the paltry 19 percent who can actually recall a living scientist, 27 percent named Stephen Hawking, 19 percent named Neil deGrasse Tyson and 5 percent named Bill Nye.
Jane Goodall — apparently the only living female scientist the American public can remember — was mentioned by 2 percent of those surveyed.
So, for today's Celebrity Friday, I will name TEN famous living scientists:
  1. Stephen Hawking (physicist)
  2. Brian Greene (astrophysicist)
  3. Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)
  4. France Cordova (director of the NSF)
  5. Marcia McNutt (former editor-in-chief of Science, President of NAS)
  6. Bill Nye (science celebrity)
  7. Kip Thorne (astrophysicist & Nobel Laureate)
  8. Terence Tao (mathematician and Fields medalist)
  9. Ingrid Daubechies (mathematician)
  10. Jane Goodall (primatologist)

In the comments, feel free to add the names of other famous scientists a well-read person should be aware of.

Hat/tip to Research America.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds

This is the second book written by British space opera author Alastair Reynolds (best known for his Revelation Space series) featuring Prefect Tom Dreyfus set in the Glitter Band . The first Glitter Band book was initially called The Prefect (see my A review) but has been re-issued as Aurora Rising

A fascinating feature in the same universe as the Revelation Space books, the Glitter Band is a collection of 10,000 habitats created by humanity in the same solar system as the planet Yellowstone (which is featured in his masterpiece, Chasm City).Through the use of technology the roughly 100 million individuals that live in the Glitter Band participate in a form of ongoing, continuous electronic democracy (via electronic cranial implants), voting frequently on any and all decisions that would affect the Glitter Band as a whole.  Glitter Band citizens have a mutual agreement to be policed by a group called Panoply which is staffed by people called Prefects. There is no other centralized government and while there are local constabulary forces distributed in the Glitter Band, the primary authority tasked with preservation of Glitter Band security is Panoply. Generally, humans are able to craft their habitats and set rules and policies and practices in each habitat as they wish (with Common Articles protecting individual rights). Additionally, there is no faster than light travel and there are no aliens, although technology has advanced 

Of course the Glitter Band is a fascinating setting for all sorts of stories and in various Revelation Space books it has varied in prominence with Chasm City probably the book where it has the largest impact on the plot. In the Revelation Space trilogy the Glitter Band has failed, riven by a computer virus which destroyed implants, thus devastating the key technology on which the society was based. It’s referred to nostalgically in several of the books as a sign that the golden age of human civilization has past.

However, the stories in Aurora Rising and Elysium Fire are set in an earlier time line, when the Glitter Band is still quite intact (but perhaps not flourishing)  and it serves as a backdrop as Prefect Tom Dreyfus investigates crimes and solve mysteries. To me this is awesome because mystery and police procedurals are some of my favorite genres (along with space opera science fiction) and it is always a pleasure to see genre blending done well.

One feature of basically every book (I think) I have read by Reynolds is that there are always appear to be questions raised of self-identity and the presence of either split personalities or repressed memories is common in many of his books. So for example, person A is really person B but A may not even be aware of the fact because their memories of their existence as B have been wiped but the memories slowly resurface. Or perhaps B is deliberately hiding as A because B has committed horrific crimes or actions and wants to avoid detection by authorities or people who would seek revenge on B if they were to be found. It’s clearly a theme that Reynolds likes to explore in various ways as it recurs in almost of his books.

Another recurring idea in Reynolds's work is artificial intelligence, i.e. the notion of sentient machines. He also makes use of technology that allows a “backup copy” of a human personality to be stored and then run in virtual reality environments. These “betas” are like somewhat out-of-date shadows of the original person, but they are a way of implementing quasi-immortality. It's interesting that fellow British SF author Richard K. Morgan uses the same basic idea of human personality storage and takes it in a very different direction in the Takeshi Kovacs books which have since been adapted as the popular Altered Carbon series for Netflix.

I’m spending a fair amount of time in this review discussing various aspects of the setting of Elysium Fire because I want to make the point that the  world-building is a key highlight and central feature of the story; I have probably just scratched the surface in the depiction and description of the interesting futuristic aspects Reynolds includes in his work in general, and in these Glitter Band novels in particular. (I could totally see a TV series set in the Glitter Band, couldn't you?)

Anyway, I don’t want to leave the impression that the story or plot are weak aspects of Elysium Fire by going on and on about the setting. The plot basically involves the mysterious death of multiple citizens and Panoply's reaction to this alarming situation. The rate at which the deaths are being discovered is increasing (there’s a lovely discussion of exponential growth early on that would make any mathematics professor like myself proud) and Panoply is starting to panic as they realize that if the exponential growth rate is extrapolated in time, the entire Glitter Band civilization could collapse in hundreds of days. Tom Dreyfus and a protege of his, Thalia Ng, are tasked with tracking down leads on what could be the cause of these suspicious deaths. For the reader (who has read the other Revelation Space books) we are wondering “Is this the beginning of the end for the Glitter Band?” Especially as a certain individual named Devon Garlin takes advantage of the crisis to raise doubts about Panoply’s ability to protect Glitter Band citizens and explicitly calls for habitats to revoke Panoply’s authority and promote secession and dissolution of the Band itself.

These multiple threads comprise a very complicated tale of murder, revenge and intrigue set in a society with fascinating and fantastic technology written by one of my very favorite authors writing science fiction today. I don't want to give any more of the plot away, but I can say that a major character from the first book (Aurora Rising) makes an important return appearance. It also would seem likely that it is possible we could get future books featuring Panoply and the Prefects set in the Glitter Band, either before or during its inevitable collapse.
Title: Elysium Fire.
Alastair Reynolds.
Paperback: 432 pages.
Date Published: January 23, 2018.
Date Read: March 2, 2018.

★★★★½  (4.5/5.0).

OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.83/4.0).


Monday, March 05, 2018

2018 OSCARS: The Winners

Here are the winners of the 90th Academy Awards. I correctly predicted 7 of 8 of the Top categories (hoped for the Lady Bird upset) and 17 of 24 overall.

Best Motion Picture of the Year
The Shape of Water
Achievement in Directing
The Shape of Water – Guillermo del Toro
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Allison Janney – I, Tonya
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Achievement in Cinematography
Blade Runner 2049 – Roger A. Deakins
Original Screenplay
Get Out – Jordan Peele
Adapted Screenplay
Call Me By Your Name – James Ivory
Achievement in Film Editing
Dunkirk – Lee Smith
Achievement in Music (Original Score)
The Shape of Water – Alexandre Desplat
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
A Fantastic Woman – Chile
Best Documentary Feature
"Icarus" – Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan
Achievement in Production Design
The Shape of Water Production Design: – Paul Denham Austerberry; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin
Achievement in Costume Design
Phantom Thread – Mark Bridges
Achievement in Sound Editing
Dunkirk – Richard King and Alex Gibson
Achievement in Sound Mixing
Dunkirk – Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker and Gary A. Rizzo
Achievement in Visual Effects
Blade Runner 2049 – John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover
Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Darkest Hour – Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick
Achievement in Music (Original Song)
"Remember Me" from Coco
Music and Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
Best Documentary Short Subject
"Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405" – Frank Stiefel
Best Live Action Short Film
"The Silent Child" – Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton
Best Animated Short Film
"Dear Basketball" – Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant

Friday, March 02, 2018

2018 OSCARS: My Predictions for the Top 8 Categories

Here is my prediction's post for the Top 8 categories in this year's Oscars, the 90th Annual Academy Awards. In blue are the people who I want to win, or who I would vote for (if I had an Oscar ballot) while in red are the people who I think will win. Last year I only predicted 3 of the Top  8 categories correctly (in both of the red and blue votes); Overall I did better, predicting 14 of 24 categories correctly.

Best Picture:
  • “Call Me by Your Name”
  • “Darkest Hour”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • Get Out”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “Phantom Thread”
  • “The Post”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
(The ones in bold are the Best Picture nominees I have seen as of this writing.)

WILL WIN: The Shape of Water.

  • “Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
  • “Get Out,” Jordan Peele
  • “Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
  • “Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
  • “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
WILL WIN: The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro.
SHOULD WIN: Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan.

Lead Actor:
  • Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
  • Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
  • Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
  • Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
WILL WIN: Darkest Hour, Gary Oldman.
SHOULD WIN: Call Me By Your Name, Timothée Chalamet.

Lead Actress:
  • Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
  • Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
  • Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
  • Meryl Streep, “The Post”
WILL WIN: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Frances McDormand.
SHOULD WIN: Ladybird, Saoirse Ronan.

Supporting Actor:
  • Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
  • Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
  • Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
  • Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
WILL WIN: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriSam Rockwell.
SHOULD WIN: The Shape of Water, Richard Jenkins.

Supporting Actress:
  • Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
  • Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
  • Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
  • Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
  • Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
WILL WIN: I, Tonya, Allison Janney.
SHOULD WIN: Lady BirdLaurie Metcalfe.

Adapted Screenplay:
  • “Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
  • “The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
  • “Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
  • “Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
  • “Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees
WILL WIN: Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory.
SHOULD WIN: Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory .

Original Screenplay:
  • “The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
  • “Get Out,” Jordan Peele
  • “Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
  • “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh
WILL WIN: Get Out, Jordan Peele.
SHOULD WIN: The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin