Stories about Oscars

Two years and two bills later, Qandeel Baloch and honour continue to turn in their graves

It has been two years since social media sensation Qandeel Baloch was brutally murdered by her brother in the name of honour on July 15, 2016. Her death – much like her life – attracted wide publicity in Pakistan and abroad. It galvanised legislators to make superficial changes to the honour killing legislation in Pakistan. In reality, these changes have had little (to no) impact on the number of honour killings in Pakistan. Six days after Qandeel’s death, a parliamentary committee approved an honour killing bill that sought to bridge the gap in the existing honour killing legislation in Pakistan. ...

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The bittersweet reality of a meth addict: Can ‘Beautiful Boy’ win Timothée Chalamet an Oscar?

Based on the harrowing memoirs of David Sheff (Steve Carell) and his son Nic Sheff (Timothée Chalamet), Beautiful Boy chronicles the bittersweet real life story of a father trying to help his troubled son overcome an addiction to methamphetamine, something that threatens to bring ruin to both their lives. The official summary describes the film as, “A heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.” Judging by the trailer and the film’s fall release date, it’s not hard to see that Beautiful Boy is intended to be an Oscar contender. But the trailer also offers ...

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Why ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ deserved to be snubbed at the Oscars

After a meandering and predictable awards season, The Shape of Water’s victory at the 2018 Academy Awards comes as both, a pleasant surprise and a relief. The former is because it is not often that genre-bending fantasy films are garlanded by the Academy, and the latter is because it breaks the clean-sweep streak of the godforsaken Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; a film that is hopelessly bad when it comes to portraying race in America. Starting with the Golden Globes in January, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri embarked on a laurel grabbing frenzy, picking up the top honours at the Golden ...

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‘Victoria and Abdul’ wittily and poignantly portrays the bond between an authoritative British queen and her Indian-Muslim munshi

Victoria and Abdul, the latest offering by director Stephen Frears, is a cautiously patterned yet realistic biographical drama about the deep friendship between the Queen of England and her Indian-Muslim servant. The story of this rather unbelievable bond is all about reminiscence and loss, making it immensely pleasing to watch a historical narrative presented with such convincing solemnity. Based on eminent author Shrabani Basu’s book of the same name, Victoria and Abdul is set in 1887 against the backdrop of the queen’s golden jubilee – the 50th year of her ascension to the throne of England. Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), ...

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Bollywood is a cartel which has been thriving on plagiarism and nepotism

I realised what a waste of time Tubelight was only after wasting nearly three hours of my life watching it. I searched for reviews of the movie to see if I was the only one who thought along such lines. While searching for video reviews on YouTube, I came across a young movie critic’s review. This review pointed out that Tubelight’s storyline was extremely similar to a Hollywood movie called Little Boy. Thus, apart from being a terrible movie, it turned out to be a distasteful copy as well. During the 40s and 50s, movies with strong scripts and innovative storylines were being produced. ...

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Blade Runner 2049: An evolved extension of the original cult classic?

Welcome back to Los Angeles (LA). The year is 2049 and LA is as grey, rainy and full of neon as it was some 30 years back. The whole landscape might have evolved, but there is no mistaking the fact that this is the same world that cinephiles fell in love with from the Blade Runner. The official trailer of Blade Runner 2049 has recently dropped and the moody and atmospheric world building is exceedingly reminiscent of its predecessor, the original 1982 Ridley Scott’s cult classic which was based on Philip Kindred Dick’s 1968 short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It’s not just the visuals; the plot ...

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Denzel Washington versus Casey Affleck: And the Oscar goes to… No!

You win some, you lose some. But there are some losses that hurt more than most. Ask Denzel Washington for instance, who had a really hard time accepting his defeat at the recent Oscars. Washington’s displeasure was pretty evident on hearing Casey Affleck’s name being announced as ‘Best Actor’, but an awkward smile was just the start. From then on, it went from bad to worse.  When the Manchester by the Sea star got on stage to give his acceptance speech for his first Oscar, the two-time Academy Award winner was unable to erase the scowl from his face. Washington then concluded his show of anger by shaking his head from ...

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Sully: Clint Eastwood can simply do no wrong

Clint Eastwood is no stranger to showing his love for American heroes, or at least people who satisfy his definition of an American hero. And that’s something that’s best reflective of the latter part of his career with films like Flags of Our Fathers (2006), J. Edgar (2011) and American Sniper (2014). And something he continues to explore with his 35th film behind the camera: Sully. Based on the remarkable true story of the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’, when on January of 2009, Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger successfully landed a US Airways plane on the Hudson River, after an influx ...

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This Independence Day, it is time to let go of Quaid’s 14 points

In 1929, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave the Muslims of India his 14 points, in response to the Nehru Report which was published in 1928 as a memorandum outlining a proposed new dominion status constitution for India. These 14 points became the cornerstone of all our SSC and HSC Pakistan Studies examinations in post-independence Pakistan and every youngster to date has read and memorised these points. However, I have always wondered why learning these points were so imperative. Are they still valid today? Surely not. They were a rebuttal to the Nehru Report, outlining what Muslims of India demanded from ...

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The dirty old men of Pakistan

In the world we live in, there is no dearth of pious men who believe that most of the world’s problems can be fixed by giving their women a little thrashing. And this business of a man’s God-given right to give a woman a little thrashing has brought together all of Pakistan’s pious men. A few weeks ago, Pakistan’s largest province passed a new law called the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act. The law institutes radical measures that say a husband can’t beat his wife, and if he does he will face criminal charges and possibly even eviction from ...

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