EPL's Oscar Picks 2016: Best Picture

February 28, 2016

We’re almost there.  We’ve got one final EPL Oscar to award, and it’s the big one.  The one for all the marbles, all the bragging rights, and all the EPL glory.  Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, please allow us to present the EPL Oscar for Best Picture.

The Nominees Are…

Bridge of Spies

“I think Bridge of Spies was a very underrated movie and deserves to win.”  — Bob Meyer

“Great acting and a great story!”  — Judith Damin




“I absolutely loved Brooklyn. There was something so relatable about the story, and I felt her journey to find “home” very deeply.  Saoirse Ronan  and her adorable love interest were fantastic.” — Gena Johnson

Brooklyn has more heart than any film I’ve see in years.”  — Anonymous


Mad Max: Fury Road

“There were some good films this year, but Mad Max: Fury Road was an adrenaline-fueled jolt of pure cinema and it ought to win everything.”  — Joshua Corey

Mad Max: Fury Road was amazing, and it is not the kind of movie that usually wins Best Picture.”  — Elizabeth Sanderson


big shortThe Big Short

crickets chirp…

crickets chirp…



the martianThe Martian

“A well-done, well-acted, beautiful science fiction action flick… Ooh la la!  It is a rare and beautiful thing.”  — Bridget Petrites

The Martian was fun to watch, and the Chinese saved the day.”  — Scott Kelly


the revenantThe Revenant

“The scenes in The Revenant were incredibly shot and created an intimate feeling even in vast landscapes.”  — Carley Pernokas

“The cinematography was stunning. The complexity and multidimensionality with which it portrays Native American culture has been little commented on but is commendable.”  — Hilde Kaiser



“It’s got good buzz.  Plus, it’s a smaller film and sometimes the Academy goes for that.”  — Heather Plank





Spotlight is in many ways the most ‘important’ movie nominated, highlighting a huge story.”  — Pablo Rajczyk

“I could have watched this movie for another 4 hours.  It was that good.  I was completely immersed and on the edge of my seat.”  — Heather Ross


And the EPL Oscar goes to…

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EPL's Oscar Picks 2016: Best Director

Tonight is the night for the “official” Academy Awards, but before the red carpet comes alive, we have some business to finish.  EPL Oscar business.  So, please mute E! and allow us to present our award for Best Director.

The Nominees Are…

Adam McKay, The Big Short

“I’d give Adam McKay the prize for the risks he took in subject matter and narrative technique. Who knew a story about the financial meltdown would be so interesting, funny and aggravating?  And having well-known personalities break down the 4th wall to explain financial concepts? Ballsy!”  — Hilde Kaiser

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

“A bravura, berserk and inspired work of filmmaking.  I’ve never seen anything like it and probably never will again.  The vision, movements, rhythm, and design of the film are all inspired.  It brings to life action comics in a way no movie ever has, something which Miller has said he aimed to do.”  — Jarrett Dapier

Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant

The Revenant is big, very difficult to recreate, and captured the characters’ state of mind and the challenges they faced.  Inarritu is the Best Director for pulling it off.”  — Doug Plank


Lenny Abrahamson, Room

“Lenny Abrahamson kept Room from devolving into sentimentality; horror and angst resided in the mundane, which was brilliant.”  — Lin Berryman


Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

“Of the nominated films, this story was the most engaging and well told.  McCarthy made it an excellent film, well worth my time to go out of my way to see.”  — Julianna Kahn



And the EPL Oscar goes to…

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EPL's Oscar Picks 2016: Best Actress

February 27, 2016

We’ve reached the midpoint of our EPL Oscars extravaganza and now is a perfect time for a brief intermission.  Stretch your legs, grab a beverage, and then hurry back.  Next up, we have the award for Best Actress.

The Nominees Are…

carol-cate-blanchett-01Cate Blanchett, Carol

“Cate Blanchett was just plain stellar in a stellar film that should be on the best pictures list.”  — Lin Berryman



brie larsonBrie Larson, Room

“Brie Larson’s portrayal of her character was very multidimensional – maternal, creative, depressed, petulant, angry, and ultimately resourceful and resilient.  What a ‘wow’ performance.”  — Hilde Kaiser


j lawJennifer Lawrence, Joy

“I couldn’t vote for Charlize Theron so…”  — Joshua Corey



charlotte-rampling-45-yearsCharlotte Rampling, 45 Years

“I want a classy older lady to win.  She’s an amazing actress who has somehow never won.  Also, she’s looked better on the red carpet than starlets half her age.  Have I mentioned she’s a boss older lady?”  — Bridget Petrites


Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

“Before seeing Brooklyn, I read the book and figured that there was no way I would like the movie as much as I liked the book.  Saoirse Ronan really brought the book to the screen.  She was totally believable.”  — Heather Ross


And the EPL Oscar goes to…

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EPL's Oscar Picks 2016: Best Actor

February 26, 2016

Best Supporting Actor?  Check.  Best Supporting Actress?  Check.  Now, ladies and gentlemen, please allow us to present the EPL Oscar for Best Actor.

The Nominees Are…

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

“Bryan Cranston brought Trumbo to life for me.  Although I had known the topline events, I didn’t know all the details that make a story and a person so compelling.”  — Judith Damin


Matt Damon, The Martian

“A nuanced, dramatic role that – while serious – didn’t take itself so seriously.”  — Bridget Petrites



Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

“DiCaprio became Hugh Glass.”  — Doug Plank



Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

“Jobs is an iconic American figure, and Fassbender’s performance shows his genius and nuance.”  — Pablo Rajczyk



Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

“Eddie Redmayne was INCREDIBLE in this movie.  He was able to achieve a sensitivity about this topic that made me feel he became the character.”  — Carley Pernokas


Write-In:  Michael B. Jordan, Creed

“Michael B. Jordan… was robbed of a nomination.  I find it outrageous.  He is devoted on all levels and never once breaks character, while managing to make a very difficult role appear effortless. Thrilling stuff. But, alas: #OscarsSoWhite.”  — Jarrett Dapier


And the EPL Oscar goes to…

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EPL's Oscar Picks 2016: Best Supporting Actress

February 25, 2016

Yesterday we announced the EPL Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and now it’s the ladies’ turn.  Here is the award for Best Supporting Actress.

The Nominees Are…

jenn jason leighJennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

“I don’t think she’s ever won or even been nominated.  She’s a veteran who’s been on the back burner of our collective consciousness for a long time, but Tarantino has a knack for giving forgotten actors career-reviving roles.”  — Heather Plank


rooney maraRooney Mara, Carol

“Rooney Mara became a different character than I’ve seen her play before:  a reserved, sympathetic woman just trying to find her way.  She was able to capture the essence of first love and first heartbreak all at once.”  — Carley Pernokas


mcadamsRachel McAdams, Spotlight

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aliciaAlicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

“Good work in a powerful film, and she held her own with last year’s best actor.”  — Jeff Balch



winsletKate Winslet, Steve Jobs

“Kate Winslet should actually get Best Actress but must not have met the criteria for screen time.  She was outstanding.”  — Bob Meyer



And the EPL Oscar goes to…

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EPL's Oscar Picks 2016: Best Supporting Actor

February 24, 2016

This Sunday the “official” Oscars will be presented at the 88th Academy Awards, but here on Off the Shelf, it’s time to unveil the winners of an honor arguably equal in prestige.  That’s right, Evanston movie buffs.  You’ve cast your ballots and beginning tonight, we’ll be announcing the 2016 winners of the EPL Oscars.  First up, we have the award for Best Supporting Actor.

The Nominees Are…

christian baleChristian Bale, The Big Short

“I chose Christian Bale because I absolutely love everything about him and his ridiculous talent.  I wish they would just give him the award every year, regardless of if he’s actually in any movies that season.”

— Gena Johnson

tom hardyTom Hardy, The Revenant

“Tom Hardy made you hate him as a perfect sleaze weasel.”

— Doug Plank


ruffaloMark Ruffalo, Spotlight

“Mark Ruffalo deserves it not only for his performance but for much of his under-the-radar career”

— Pablo Rajczyk


rylanceMark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

“Mark Rylance is my pick because he made a Russian spy the most lovable character in a movie that also featured Tom Hanks as an idealistic Jimmy Stewart-type lawyer, so that’s saying something!

— Hilde Kaiser

sylvester 2Sylvester Stallone, Creed

“Sylvester Stallone’s performance made the older Rocky as lovable as the up-and-coming one so many years ago; and I’m a sucker for Rocky.”

— Lin Berryman


And the EPL Oscar goes to…

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EPL Goes to the Oscars!

February 21, 2016


Calling all Evanston movie lovers and likers!  The 88th Academy Awards are less than one week away, and here on Off the Shelf, we need your help.  You see, we want to know who you think should win the big six Oscars of 2016 and why.  We’re not asking who you think WILL win but who you think SHOULD win, and please don’t worry if you haven’t seen all or even most of the nominated films.  Even if you only saw one movie, don’t be shy and please let us know what you thought by filling out our EPL Oscar Picks 2016 Survey.  After that, make sure to check back with Off the Shelf throughout this week for all the results.  Stay tuned.

Read the Book, See the Movie, Watch the Oscars!

February 6, 2009

oscarIt’s Oscar time again.  The 81st Annual Academy Awards will be held in Los Angeles on February 22, 2009. As usual, Hollywood once again went to the bookshelves this year for source material. Many of this year’s nominated films are adapted from books and stage plays, including four of the five films nominated for Best Picture. So as you head off to the theater, cast your ballots, and plan your Oscar parties, why not check out some of the books that started it all? Among the nominees are:

imp_curious_case_of_benjamin_buttonThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button was originally a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, written in 1921. It can be found in Fitzgerald’s short story collection. The film’s Oscar nominations include: Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture.


imp_doubtDoubt was a 2004 off-Broadway play by John Patrick Shanley. The film’s Oscar nominations include: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, two Best Supporting Actress nominations, and Best Adapted Screenplay.



frost-nixon-official-posterFrost/Nixon was also a play, written in 2006 by the British dramatist and screenwriter Peter Morgan. The Film’s Oscar nominations include: Best Actor, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture.



imp_reader_ver2The Reader was a 1995 novel written in German by the writer Bernhard Schlink. It has since been translated into 39 languages, and was a bestseller in Germany and the United States. The film’s Oscar nominations include: Best Actress, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture.



Revolutionary Road was the first novel by Richard Yates. It was a finalist for the  National Book Award in 1962. The film’s Oscar nominations include: Best Supporting Actor.



mainVikas Swarup is a diplomat and an author. His first novel, 2005’s Q and A was the basis for the film Slumdog Millioniaire. In addition to the film, the book has also been turned into a radio play and a stage adaptation, and has been translated into 36 languages. The film’s Oscar nominations include: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture.

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