Generation Film’s Official Oscar Ballot and Picks

(Update): It’s the last week up until the acclaimed ceremony of the Academy Awards begins and since it’s been such an unconventional and unpredictable year I’ve decided to make some unconventional and unpredictable changes for my final choices. Many of the last couple of award ceremonies from the Eddies to the WGAs to the BAFTAs have given me some final reflective ideas so while I’ll be changing only a few categories those choices could make all the difference between resounding success or utter failure. So look ahead to see my updated Academy Award picks with changes in the following categories: Best Director, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Animated Feature.

Finally I’ve gotten around to choosing my official Oscar predictions now that most of this unpredictable award season has concluded. The following is all 24 categories with my official pick (who will win) and if I happen to disagree with the official selection I provide you with my personal choice (who should win) along with an explanation if you’re curious. Again I welcome any input in the comments section and please provide your own selections in the comment section because I always offer a free meal/movie for whoever can beat me (hasn’t happened in a long time).

“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
“Django Unchained”
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Who will win: Argo; Who should win: Zero Dark Thirty or Argo

This has been one of the most unpredictable awards season in decades and it’s probably due to the fact that many of the films contending for Best Picture are more admirable than most in previous years. Unfortunately not a single one truly sticks out as remarkable, which is making it incredibly difficult to choose an absolute, undeniable winner this year. When I first saw Argo back in October my immediate reaction was that it was a solid film, well directed, and a genuine throwback to 70s political thrillers making it a solid, and also safe, choice for Best Picture. Because Ben Affleck was snubbed by the director members of The Academy (undeniable snub, him and Kathryn Bigelow) it has launched Argo as the underdog in the race now winning the Golden Globe, Best Cast at SAG, the PGA, the DGA, and looks like it will win the BAFTA this upcoming week. Some may bring up that Apollo 13 won every single award up to the Oscars but lost the Academy Award for Best Picture, but it just seems unlikely this year seeing all the love going to Ben Affleck and Argo. While personally I think there are better, riskier choices to acknowledge for Best Picture, such as Zero Dark Thirty, Beasts of the Southern Wild or Life of Pi, Argo pretty much beat out the leading contender Lincoln from obtaining the prize. The real surprise could be the Academy members split votes (complicated voting process) and Life of Pi could sneak in a win, but really there is no chance for any film other than Argo, Lincoln, or Life of Pi.


Michael Haneke, “Amour”
Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
David. O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Who will win: Ang Lee; Who should win: Ben Affleck or Ang Lee

The honor of Best Director will not go to the person who actually deserves it this year because he isn’t even nominated, and that’s of course Ben Affleck. After three solid pictures, including his haunting debut Gone Baby Gone, Affleck has proven himself as an actor turned director in more ways than Kevin Costner or Robert Redford had before getting the Best Director prizes they each obtained (Dances with Wolves and Ordinary People respectively). Originally I thought the Academy probably had no choice but to give it to the next obvious choice, which is Steven Spielberg for Lincoln. However, this year has been an extraordinarily anti-Spielberg year at many of the Award shows, especially considering that he was not even nominated at the BAFTAs. Ang Lee has been nominated for Best Director at every single Awards ceremony including The Golden Globes, The Directors Guild, The BAFTAs, and the Oscars and his direction of Life of Pi was astonishingly spiritual, beautiful, attainable, and was recognized with all of the technical categories from Cinematography to Visual Effects. It’s a risk to choose Ang Lee but something tells me he’s the sleeper in this category that seems a bit too strong to immediately hand it over to Steven Spielberg. While Ben Affleck was robbed this year but we look forward to seeing his directing prowess grow.

lincoln9f-1-webBEST ACTOR
Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
Denzel Washington, “Flight”

Who will win: Daniel-Day Lewis; Who should win: Joaquin Phoenix or Hugh Jackman

One of the few of the locked categories is Best Actor because Daniel Day-Lewis always seems to charm and astonish us all with his virtuoso performances. There’s no denying he will take home the prize after getting the Golden Globe, the SAG, and most likely the BAFTA this next weekend. However, while it was a remarkable and transformable performance (no one else could have done it) it’s just unfortunate that two other phenomenal performances are getting looked over for worthy recognition, especially Joaquin Phoenix. Phoenix was unrecognizable in persona and had incredibly subtle changes in facial expressions as well as physical movements. Subtlety is never recognized by the Academy (example: last year Gary Oldman in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) so usually the louder the performance the more likely it will get the award. Hugh Jackman had a rivaling performance in loudness in Les Miserables and it’s a shame there were no dancing, singing presidents for him to portray to guarantee the prize. Daniel Day-Lewis will get the Oscar but it isn’t an unobjectionable win like it was for his previous wins for There Will Be Blood and My Left Foot.


Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
Quvenzhane Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

Who will win: Emmanuelle Riva; Who should win: Jessica Chastain or Emmanuelle Riva

It seemed as though Jennifer Lawrence would be the for sure choice for ballot success this year after her win at the SAG awards but it’s important to note that last year the SAG winner Viola Davis did not carry that success to the Academy Awards. After Emmanuelle Riva’s win at the BAFTAs it struck me that people are definitely taking into consideration not only her age as the oldest nominee in the category but also for the moving portrayal of a stroke victim slowly dying of age deterioration. This is a performance of subject matter that is relevant to a league of voters whose median age is 62 so while it’s risky to choose a foreign performance that is up against two commendable American performances. While my personal preference would be to honor Jessica Chastain’s incredibly internal and subtle performance in Zero Dark Thirty I’m going to choose Emmanuelle Riva to win simply because it all adds up to being sympathetic for Oscar votes and since Amour was nominated for more than just Best Foreign Film the Academy definitely wants to give it some other recognition (can’t win director or picture, maybe original screenplay might be it but I doubt it).

Alan Arkin, “Argo”
Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

Who will win: Tommy Lee Jones; Who should win: Phillip Seymour Hoffman or Christoph Waltz

Probably the strongest in the acting categories every year and this year is no exception. Every single one of these performances is truly worth award recognition from Robert De Niro’s blend of emotionality and physical nuance to Christoph Waltz’s exceptionally charming and load carrying performance. Since Tommy Lee Jones won the SAG award for his humorous and emotional portrayal of Thaddeus Stevens in Lincoln it’s probably a lock that he’ll take home the Oscar. However, if I were voting in this category it would go to Phillip Seymour Hoffman because his powerful, schizophrenic, and shifting performance in The Master was truly a Master Class in acting. It’s arguable that he basically was a lead in the film but as the supporting/mirrored catalyst for Joaquin Phoenix he was truly remarkable. Christoph Waltz won the Golden Globe and since he basically carried Django Unchained on his shoulders alone he would be a worthy recipient.

Amy Adams, “The Master”
Sally Field, “Lincoln”
Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”
Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”
Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Who will win: Anne Hathaway; Who should win: Anne Hathaway or Sally Field

There isn’t any competition in this category since Anne Hathaway will take the prize for Best Supporting Actress. It’s undeniable that she delivered an incredibly emotional and gritty take on Fantine in Les Miserables and the mere fact that she did “I Dreamed a Dream” in one take is awe-inspiring. Arguments could be made that she’s barely in the film but ever since Judi Dench won Best Supporting Actress for a 10 minute spot in Shakespeare in Love that has shattered any time objection arguments. Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln was equally noteworthy and it’s shame that this veteran actress who fought so hard to get that role won’t be recognized but that’s the fate of most nominated in all of these fields. While the other three women in this category were quite good they didn’t inspire as much as either Anne Hathaway or Sally Field.


“Argo” (Chris Terrio)
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” (Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin)
“Life of Pi” (David Magee)
“Lincoln” (Tony Kushner)
“Silver Linings Playbook” (David O. Russell)

Who will win: Argo; Who should win: Argo or Life of Pi

It seemed that Tony Kushner’s selectively focused excerpt from a Lincoln biography entitled, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Kearns Goodwin was the favorite to take the award for Best Adapted Screenplay until Chris Terrio’s adaptation of two works including Anthony Mendez’s book “The Master of Disguise” and Joshuah Bearman’s “The Great Escape” won the WGA. Lincoln does get points for accuracy while Argo loses some for messing around with Act III but because both are worthy of winning it seems the tide and momentum is in Argo‘s favor. Also it’s worth noting that Argo was found on the up and coming industry script source Black List which means it might be recognized simply because it will represent the new standard of finding fresh talent and fresh stories in the industry. If I really was pressed on which to vote for though I would probably would have ended up voting for David Magee’s adaptation of Life of Pi since he really did encompass all the details and fantastical elements in a book that was labeled unfilmable.

zero-dark-thirty-2012-pic04BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Amour” (Michael Haneke)
“Django Unchained” (Quentin Tarantino)
“Flight” (John Gatins)
“Moonrise Kingdom” (Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola)
“Zero Dark Thirty” (Mark Boal)

Who will win: Zero Dark Thirty; Who should win: Zero Dark Thirty or Moonrise Kingdom

Best Original Screenplay is a bit more elusive this year since there is heavy speculation on two different scripts, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and Mark Boal’s Zero Dark Thirty. Both films have generated different kinds of controversy, whether it’s warranted or not, so they are both in the spotlight of the Academy edging out John Gatins’ Flight and the real worthy contender Moonrise Kingdom by auteur Wes Anderson. Based on research and reading up on other expert analysis it seems that Mark Boal will repeat his Hurt Locker win from 2009 this year for the controversial Bin Laden mythos hunt in Zero Dark Thirty. It’s probably the more deserving when compared to Quentin Tarantino’s rather unfocused but undeniably entertaining Django Unchained. We’ll just see if the Academy goes with pure entertainment or conceptually thrilling, though the favorite is Tarantino’s muddy affair. Picking Zero Dark Thirty has become a risky choice not only because it had a vile campaign against its subject matter early on in the Awards season but also because the experts are picking both Amour and Django Unchained over it to win. However, since Zero Dark Thirty just won the WGA it’s quite possible it could pull off a win so I’m sticking with it.

Amour_Bande_Annonce_Cannes_2012_Palme_d_Or.mp4_snapshot_01.17_[2012.10.18_21.18.47]BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Amour” (Austria)
“Kon-Tiki” (Norway)
“No” (Chile)
“A Royal Affair” (Denmark)
“War Witch” (Canada)

Who will win: Amour; Who should win: Amour

Finally was able to see a majority of these obscure foreign titles (did not get to see Canada’s War Witch) by searching high and low in theaters across the city even though it was a futile attempt since Amour is the obvious choice. Winner of the Palme d’Or and nominated for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director it just seems like it simply can’t go unnoticed. But what occasionally happens in this category is that the votes split and a third choice inches its way past the finish line, which has happened to Michael Haneke before with his Palme d’Or winner The White Ribbon. There are only two other titles that probably deserve a look by the Academy and that is Chile’s No starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Denmark’s A Royal Affair, the former being socio-political commentary and the latter being a beautifully personal tale. It’s unlikely that Amour will be a Pan’s Labyrinth (nominated for Original Screenplay but lost Best Foreign Film) and definitely likely it will be like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, etc. and won four of its 10 nominations).


“The Pirates: Band of Misfits”
“Wreck-It Ralph”

Who will win: Brave; Who should win: Frankenweenie or ParaNorman

I’ll be the first to say that it’s been a rather uninspiring animation year and there is still no clear winner set though Wreck-it-Ralph won the PGA which means it’s probably going to win the Oscar. But despite the cuteness of the gimmick that was Wreck-it-Ralph it just didn’t hit me as a Best Animation winner, especially when three of its competitors are stop-motion animation, a much more impressive and arduous form of animation compared to digital. The latest developments in the Animation race are seeing Brave running away with a decent amount of awards at the Eddies, the BAFTAs, and even won the WGA for Best Animated Screenplay. It’s not usual that I deviate from the Producers Guild but something tells me Pixar will pull an upset because of the devotion most of these voters have with previous Pixar films. Considering the other nominees, while there were some choppy aspects to ParaNorman it’s still a far better choice to win besides the inconsistently entertaining Wreck-it-Ralph or Brave. But personally if my vote were to be considered I would be giving it to Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie because it was incredibly sweet, paid tribute to classic horror films, and had a moral message that animation films should possess.

“5 Broken Cameras”
“The Gatekeepers”
“How to Survive a Plague”
“The Invisible War”
“Searching for Sugar Man”

Who will win: Searching for Sugar Man; Who should win: The Gatekeepers

The documentary category is always intriguing and while there are some more worthwhile than others it’s still a fascinating, socially responsible category. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see Invisible War but all of the other documentaries I was able to catch various screenings throughout last year and this past month. Hands down the winner will be Searching for Sugar Man since it’s already won the PGA, the DGA, and has received vast critical acclaim and rightfully so. It’s a unique film about the power of music and how it can give strength to social movements, like how Rodriguez’s music aided the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. This means that the AIDs activism documentary How to Survive a Plague will get looked over but the real unfortunate passed by documentary will be The Gatekeepers. The Gatekeepers is a series of interviews with the former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli Security Agency, and their incredibly candid reveals of state secrets that’s both shocking and uncomfortably fascinating.

“Anna Karenina”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”

Who will win: Anna Karenina; Who should win: Anna Karenina

No matter how essential production design might be to the entire look, tone, and aesthetic of a film no one really pays attention to this award. Usually the rule is, just like with costume design, the older the better giving us three potential winners: Lincoln, Les Miserables, and Anna Karenina. The meta-theater production of Anna Karenina was astoundingly good and it’s just unfortunate that it didn’t have an equally fascinating second half to make it a true Oscar contender, so if I had the pleasure of casting a vote it would go to Joe Wright’s inconsistent beauty of a film. However, the production design for the magnificent sets of Les Miserables could gain the sympathies of Oscar voters and might take away this prize that they won’t necessarily be able to use in any marketing strategy for the DVD.

life-of-pi-movie-imageBEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Anna Karenina” (Seamus McGarvey)
“Django Unchained” (Robert Richardson)
“Life of Pi” (Claudio Miranda)
“Lincoln” (Janusz Kaminski)
“Skyfall” (Roger Deakins)

Who will win: Life of Pi; Who should win: Life of Pi or The Master

Cinematography seems to be an incredibly divisive category with movie fans, Oscar voters, and even cinematographers themselves because everyone has their own personal visual preference. Preference can only take you so far because cinematography as a visual tool to aid in the delivery of the story is what should be considered here and out of the choices given the only truly artistic complimentary cinematography would be Claudio Miranda’s 3D cinematography in Life of Pi. Arguably Anna Karenina had some remarkable tracking shots and was indeed artistically parallel to the intentions of the film but it wasn’t as consistent as Life of Pi. The only other competition would be the always fantastic visual eye of Roger Deakins for the newest bond film Skyfall. Unfortunately both Lincoln and Django Unchained weren’t up to par from what I usually expect of Best Cinematography nominees and it was criminal to see both Mihai Malaimare Jr. (The Master) and Robert D. Yeoman (Moonrise Kingdom) left off the consideration list. Still the choice is really between Life of Pi and Skyfall and the former has the better chance of winning.

anna-karenina-reviewBEST COSTUME DESIGN
“Anna Karenina”
“Les Miserables”
“Mirror Mirror”
“Snow White and the Huntsman”

Who will win: Anna Karenina; Who should win: Anna Karenina or Les Miserables

The older the better is the motto of the aesthetic awards and that usually eliminates a great deal of honorary nominees with this year being Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsmen. Both of these two movies knocked out a spot for Moonrise Kingdom which is another abysmal robbery of the Wes Anderson movie that looked and felt far more unique than those two ridiculous choices for contenders. But really it wouldn’t have mattered because this is where an over emphasis in beauty and elaborate dress gets recognized and that will be Anna Karenina’s prize for the taking. It has some minor competition from Les Miserables on the front but between the two it just seemed that there was more diversity in the costume lineup of Anna Karenina.

“Argo” (William Goldenberg)
“Life of Pi” (Tim Squyres)
“Lincoln” (Michael Kahn)
“Silver Linings Playbook” (Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers)
“Zero Dark Thirty” (William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor)

Who will win: Argo; Who should win: Argo or Zero Dark Thirty

It’s always better to be a thriller or a semi-action focused film when you’re competing for Best Editing because editing is essential in delivering the uneasy or unnerving experience you’re intending. There are really only two contenders in this category and the rest are recognized accomplishments, and those two are Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. Both of these films utilized their strengths at building stories based on meticulous progression and they shared the same editor, William Goldenberg. There is another unspoken rule when it comes to who gets the Best Editing Oscar and that’s usually a film edited by one person and since William Goldenberg is up for both Argo and Zero Dark Thirty it wouldn’t be surprising if he got it for his solo work on Argo.

the-hobbit34BEST MAKEUP
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Les Miserables”

Who will win: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; Who should win: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Still amazes me that after thirty years the Academy still hasn’t expanded the Make Up nominees to five contenders, especially when something as laughable as Hitchcock gets in there. It’s really unfortunate that The Hobbit was a purely wasted opportunity to continue the populist and critical acclaim of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and it’s obvious it was incredibly lackluster from its predecessors because it only obtained two nominations. Luckily of the two it was nominated for it will take away the Makeup prize because it’s the most strenuous of the three in the category. There is definitely a minor chance that Les Miserables could run away with the award since Hairstyling is still part of the consideration but the first and third Lord of the Rings won the same award.

“Anna Karenina” (Dario Marianelli)
“Argo” (Alexandre Desplat)
“Life of Pi” (Mychael Danna)
“Lincoln” (John Williams)
“Skyfall” (Thomas Newman)

Who will win: Life of Pi; Who should win: Life of Pi

Poor Alexandre Desplat probably will not win the award despite the fact that he composed about seven scores this past year. Unfortunately Argo’s score isn’t even in the top three on the list and really only beats out the surprise nomination for Skyfall. Most of these scores were incredibly beautiful and complimentary to their films but it’s really down to Mychael Danna’s sweeping score for Life of Pi and John Williams’ toned down score for Lincoln (this is John Williams’ 48th nomination). It seems the award sympathy is drifting toward Mychael Danna after he won the Golden Globe but John Williams hasn’t won the Oscar for his prolific score writing in a very long time. The best choice would definitely be Life of Pi and that would get my vote if my arrogant self could vote for these awards.

skyfall2BEST SONG
“Before My Time” (“Chasing Ice”)
“Suddenly” (“Les Miserables”)
“Pi’s Lullaby” (“Life of Pi”
“Skyfall” (“Skyfall”)
“Everybody Needs a Best Friend” (“Ted”)

Who will win: Skyfall; Who should win: Skyfall

Not much discussion is needed for the Best Song category since the plain, obvious winner will be Adele’s theme song for Skyfall. Congratulations, Adele.

zero-dark-thirty4BEST SOUND EDITING
“Django Unchained”
“Life of Pi”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Who will win: Zero Dark Thirty; Who should win: Zero Dark Thirty or Life of Pi

Not many people really know the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing but to make it really simple, Sound Editing is the post-production process of putting all the sounds together and Sound Mixing is the live recording process of obtaining those original sounds. Or basically sound editors versus sound recordists. Sound Editing usually goes to incredibly loud or carefully planned sound layouts in a film initiating the most intense of responses and usually a film with good action sequences or complex sound edits deserves the prize. Only three movies out of the choices really stick out and those are Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty, and Life of Pi. My gut reaction is that Zero Dark Thirty will obtain the award for its unique balance of intense sounds and tense build ups though Life of Pi with its elaborate sequences could end up beating out ZDR. This is a category that is usually dominated by films like Skyfall but I’m pretty sure it won’t be taking home the award because it isn’t a typical year.

“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”

Who will win: Les Miserables; Who should win: Life of Pi or Les Miserables

Since Sound Mixing is all about the live sound mixers/recordists there is no competition this year since the ambitious capturing of live sound for Les Miserables was unprecedented and unique. Perhaps Life of Pi could win but it just seems unlikely based on the history of the Academy and the admiration for Tom Hooper’s creative decision and his team who successfully saw it through.

life-of-pi-teaserBEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“The Avengers”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Life of Pi”
“Snow White and the Huntsman”

Who will win: Life of Pi; Who should win: Life of Pi

The Academy is never impressed by how chaotic your Visual Effects display happens to be in your film but rather give the Best Visual Effects awards to how complimentary they are to the story. With that in mind there are really only two options to consider and those are Marvel’s The Avengers and Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. Considering the phenomenal work done on Life of Pi to bring numerous animals to life with purpose, vigor, and chemistry with living actors (or actor) it seems only right that Best Visual Effects should go to the movie that utilized them the most for purpose of story and connection.

“Adam and Dog”
“Fresh Guacamole”
“Head Over Heels”
“Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare”

Who will win: Paperman; Who should win: Paperman

Sitting through shorts can be an arduous experience that rivals any bad full length picture and luckily five chosen “best of” shorts means that it will never be too awful. This year will be different than other years for Best Animated and Best Live Action shorts because all the Academy members were mailed DVDs with all of the contenders for their viewing pleasure. This means that the previous rule only allowing members who have seen the films has greatly expanded this year making the results a bit skewed. However, after seeing all of the five animated shorts it’s safe to say that the populist contender from Disney, “Paperman,” will take home the prize. Even though “Adam and Dog” was equally sweet in a vastly different way it just doesn’t have the wide appeal that Disney often has. The only real competitor is from The Simpsons gang with “Maggie Simpson in the Longest Daycare,” but while humorous at parts it still doesn’t have the grab that “Paperman” undeniably has.

open-heart_592x299BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
“Kings Point”
“Mondays at Racine”
“Open Heart”

Who will win: Open Heart; Who should win: Inocente

The more socially in tune the documentary short the more likely it will win the prestigious award of Best Documentary Short. Unfortunately these movies were not emailed out to all the Academy members so only if you took time out of your schedule to venture to one of the select few theaters playing these movies you won’t be able to vote in the category. Not all of the movies are incredibly engaging (“Kings Point” and “Mondays at Racine” come to mind) but there are two definite leading contenders that can easily sway voters, and those are “Inocente” and “Open Heart.” “Inocente” combines illegal immigrant with homelessness with personal struggle so it’s Oscar fodder but also remarkably compelling to watch. However, it will probably be “Open Heart” that gains the most recognition since it’s about eight Rwandan children suffering from rheumatic heart disease so it’s socially conscious and culturally eye opening.

“Buzkasi Boys”
“Death of a Shadow”

Who will win: Curfew; Who should win: Curfew or Asad

This will be a different year for Best Live Action short because it was also included in the DVDs for Academy voting members greatly expanding the amount of voters who will have a say in the category. Some of them were rather a bore to sit through, such as “Henry” and “Buzkasi Boys,” but two really stuck out as intriguing in character and compelling in story. “Asad” is set in a small Somali village and focuses on the choice of a Somali boy between fishing and piracy, and it was an incredibly intimate and personable tale that has been recognized by some festivals and rightfully so. But probably the real winner will be Curfew since it’s a uniquely disturbing though life affirming focus on a man watching over his niece and happens to be suicidal.

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