The Oscars – My Guesses

Nominations for the Oscars are out and, just for the hell of it, here’s my guesses as to what will win in the major categories. Just to be clear, I haven’t seen every films that’s been nominated (I still haven’t found a spare ten days to watch The Irishman for example) but that’s not going to stop me taking a punt on the following:

BEST PICTURE – 1917

I’d like Jojo Rabit to win, but I don’t think it will and, having seen 1917 on the weekend, I’ll be surprised if that doesn’t pick up the Oscar.

DIRECTING – ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

It’s Tarantino or Mendes for me, but I think Tarantino will win out.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE – JOAQUIN PHOENIX – Joker

I had big problems with Joker and honestly don’t think it’s all that, but there’s no denying that Phoeniz threw himself into the role. I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t win this.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – BRAD PITT – Once upon a Time…in Hollywood

Brad Pitt was excellent in …Hollywood, wonderfully understated and yet held the screen every time he was on it.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE – CYNTHIA ERIVO – Harriet

I haven’t seen any of the films nominated in this category so this is a total guess.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – SCARLETT JOHANSSON – Jojo Rabbit

Mainly because Jojo Rabbit was a bloody good film and Johansson deserves this for her part in it.

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY) – LITTLE WOMEN – Written for the screen by Greta Gerwig

Maybe they’ll give this to Gerwig as a sop for not being nominated for Director?

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY) – KNIVES OUT – Written by Rian Johnson

Despite my big reservations with what he did with Last Jedi, there’s no denying that Knives Out was a damn good film with an excellent script.

New Black Hammer Mini-Series

Jeff Lemire keeps expanding the BLACK HAMMER universe, this time with a four issue mini-series focusing on Colonel Weird, due out in April.

The Colonel is an Adam Strange inspired character couple with a massive dose of . . . well . . . weirdness and this promises to be a fun series, and one I will definitely be picking up.

A Quick Review Of 2019’s Comics

As I did last year, I thought I’d do a quick retrospective of some of the titles I’ve been getting over the last year, breaking it down by publisher.

Aftershock Comics continues to produce good stuff, ANIMOSITY and BABYTEETH foremost among the titles I’ve enjoyed, although the excellent A WALK THROUGH HELL was a stand-out this year, too.

OBERON was, I’m pretty sure, advertised as an ongoing but turned out to be a gorgeously illustrated five part series which seems to have disappeared with plot threads dangling. DARK ARK finished, but DARK ARK: AFTER THE FLOOD is now up and running for those of us with an interest in horror stories set post-Biblical flood.

Benitez Productions had another Lady Mechanika mini-series this year, SANGRE, which sees our steampunk cyborg heroine taking on Mexican vampires in Spain. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Dark Horse Comics, just like last year, has been BLACK HAMMER all the way; AGE OF DOOM and the crossover with the Justice League were both excellent stories, and the just-started SKULLDIGGER AND SKELETON BOY is setting up to be a grim take on the whole dark vigilante and boy sidekick – wonder who that’s meant to be?

BLACK HAMMER ’45, a World War II mini-series, is about the only one that didn’t do it for me this year, but that was more due to the art than the writing.

Once again, DC Comics took up the majority of my monthly purchases. Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run on AQUAMAN hasn’t been bad, but neither is it setting my world alight. Grant Morrison’s THE GREEN LANTERN has been entertaining even as ideas get thrown at the wall in a haphazard manner to see what sticks. HAWKMAN is a solid superhero read, THE TERRIFICS is still one of the most entertaining titles I’m getting, and I’d be enjoying SHAZAM! a bit more if it weren’t for the delays. As hoped, FREEDOM FIGHTERS turned out to be a damn fine book and I hope it’s not the only time we get to see these characters again.

The Justice League books are swamped by the interminable Year of the Villain nonsense that seems to have been running for years now; even the now rather good JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYSSEY has been caught up in it.

And, of course, there was DOOMSDAY CLOCK that finally crossed the finishing line, delivering a meta message to comics fans and creators not to stress about continuity and which Earth any particular hero is on. And it brought back not just the Justice Society (which JUSTICE LEAGUE had done a couple of months ago) but brought back the JSA, the team of original and legacy heroes that Johns had written years ago. Now we just have to wait and see what, if anything, happens with these revelations.

If Dark Horse was all about BLACK HAMMER, then Dynamite Entertainment was all about Dejah Thoris. Two miniseries featuring the Barsoomian heroine teaming up with first Vampirella and then Barbarella were both good fun, and a new DEJAH THORIS series has just started. On top of that was the ridiculously entertaining WARLORD OF MARS ATTACKS, a five issue mini-series that pitted John Carter against the Moonheads.

IDW published the last ever issues of THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, bringing to an end the story that began twenty years ago in 1999.

Was it worth it? Not sure – there seemed to be so much going on that it was frankly confusing trying to remember who was who and what their connections were to the earlier stories. It would be nice to sit down and read the whole lot through once more without years of interruptions but Cthulhu knows if I’ll ever have the time to do that.

Just like last year, Image Comics has boiled down to a single title for me, the ever excellent – both in terms of writing and especially art – BIRTHRIGHT.

A few years ago I tried branching out, moving away from DC titles, and Image were one of the first publishers that I really embraced but these last couple of years, the new titles they’re producing just haven’t grabbed me.

And then there’s Oni Press who produced THE DAMNED last year that just disappeared into nothingness, leaving me with SHADOW ROADS that hasn’t had an issue produced since June 2019.

You want some Rick and Morty comics? Oni Press is the place to go. Anything else, though, and it looks like you’re going to be disappointed.

Let’s see what 2020 brings, shall we?