Tuesday Top Ten – Actors & Actresses Still To Win An Oscar

My final Oscars-themed list is taking a look at those actors and actresses who have not yet won an Oscar, despite them having work that could very well be deemed Oscar-worthy. I mentioned on Twitter that I was surprised to discover some of these people had not won an Academy Award – there are certainly some shocks to come!
10. Johnny Depp


The man is a chameleon, and he has played some iconic characters over the years. There is no doubt over his capabilities as an actor, so he doesn’t need an Oscar to his name to remind us of how great he can be. A good job too, as despite three nominations for the prestigious awards over the years, he is yet to win anything.

9. Amy Adams


I’ll keep it brief, but Amy Adams has only gotten better as she has progressed throughout her career. The fact that she has not yet won an Oscar is beyond me, and what baffles me more is the fact that she wasn’t even nominated for her role in Arrival. The process undertaken by the people in charge of the Oscars baffles me sometimes, this being a prime example of that.

8. Matt Damon


Of all the people on this list, Matt Damon was the biggest surprise to me. Technically he has won an Oscar, but I’m talking about acting gongs here so his writing award doesn’t count. Out of his three nominations, I wish he would have won for his role as François Pienaar in Invictus – I really enjoyed that film and thought he did a terrific job as the South African rugby captain.

7. Mark Ruffalo


Another person I was a tad bitter about recently was Mark Ruffalo when he didn’t win for his role as Mike Rezendes in Spotlight. He may have been part of an ensemble in that film, but he is the person who stands out in my mind as being truly fantastic in what was a very affecting piece of cinema.

6.Samuel L. Jackson


Samuel L. Jackson is a name everybody knows. Something we’re not all that familiar with, however, is the fact that he is yet to win an Oscar. In fact, the only nomination he has ever received was for his role as Jules Winnifield in Pulp Fiction. He may be an internationally recognised actor, but not one whose work has been honoured by the Academy just yet.

5. Edward Norton


I mentioned last week that Edward Norton is someone who should’ve won an Oscar for his role in American History X. Little did I know that to this day, he is still only a nominee and not a winner of any Oscars. He is a very talented actor, and one who seems to be extremely underrated when it comes to these famous awards.

4. Jessica Chastain


She is one of my favourite actresses as she has brought to the screen a number of brilliant characters, but Jessica Chastain hasn’t won an Oscar yet either. Of the two roles she has been nominated for, I think she definitely deserved to win for her portrayal of Maya in Zero Dark Thirty, but she was equally as wonderful as Celia Foote, a very different character, in The Help too.

3. Sigourney Weaver


Sigourney Weaver was another shock for me here, because she hasn’t won an Oscar, nor has she really received that many nominations either. I was very surprised to discover that she has only ever been a nominee three times throughout her career. I’ve only seen her in one of her Oscar-nominated roles, but am in no doubt about what a significant figure she is, so this did nothing to lessen the blow.

2. Harrison Ford


He is the highest-grossing actor of all-time, and he has taken on some iconic roles in a career that only started properly in his thirties, but Harrison Ford is another well known actor that makes this list. And, much like Sigourney Weaver, he has had far less nominations than you may initially think. One nomination. That is all this man has had. Major bloody surprise if you ask me.

1. Brad Pitt


Finally we move onto Brad Pitt. Over the years he has been in some cracking films, and for his performances, he has received three nominations for. Of course, he’s never actually won for his acting. I think he was very good as Jeffrey Goines in Twelve Monkeys, and he perhaps should have won for that role.

That marks the end of this list, but also the end of this little series that took a look back at the Oscars over the years. There have been plenty of great performances and good films discussed during the course of these lists, and I’ve also been able to have bit of a moan about a few injustices that have also occurred at the different ceremonies that have taken place.

Tuesday Top Ten – Films That Should’ve Won These Oscars, But Didn’t

We’re now two weeks away from the big night, and this week I’m looking at films that should have won an award (or awards), but didn’t. This did start off as a ‘biggest Oscar snubs’ list, but I guess a lot of these wouldn’t count as out-and-out snubs, so I’ve kind of put my own twist on things. In no particular order…
10. Interstellar – Best Director


I was quite surprised to discover Interstellar only won one of the more minor awards at the 2015 Oscars ceremony. Christopher Nolan, despite how mind-blowingly complex his film concepts can be, is a fantastic director who has been incredibly diverse with the projects he has produced. With how well received Interstellar seemed to be, I am surprised he didn’t receive more recognition for his direction on the project. That being said, I’ve not seen Birdman, so couldn’t say 100% whether Nolan should’ve won, but I have a feeling I might be right.

9. American History X – Best Actor


This was an interesting one because I’ve seen who won the award for this year, and if you’ve seen this and Life Is Beautiful, or at least know what they’re about, you too will know why this was an interesting contest. I’ll stick with my guns though. Edward Norton was terrific as Derek Vinyard, and I was gutted after watching the film to learn that his reward for the role only went as far as his nomination. The whole film has such an impact on me, but I do think this was largely because of Norton’s performance.

8. Nightcrawler – Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay


Jake Gyllenhaal was an absolute animal when it came to his performance here. The fact he didn’t even get nominated for Best Actor here does a bit more than irritate me. Nightcrawler did get a mention for Best Original Screenplay, but did not win (hence why I’m bringing it up on this list). Please tell me the last time you saw a film with a story about the video crews for news stations, because I don’t see how the writing could have been anymore original.

7. Boyz n the Hood – Best Director


Now, I guess considering this was the first year an African-American director ever got a nomination for his work, it was a bit too much to expect him to win as well. It also didn’t help that John Singleton was pitched against The Silence Of The Lambs which swept up the Big Five that year either. The odds were certainly stacked against him. It’s a shame it was up against the films it was because Boyz n the Hood is such a hard-hitting, important film that it really did deserve to win something.

6. Sicario – Best Actress, Best Director


I thought this was one of the best films of 2015, so for it to get more or less completely snubbed for an Oscar was a shock for me, and I’ve spoken before about a couple of other awards it should’ve been in contention for. I loved Emily Blunt as Kate Macer – she was such a great character, especially in such a male-dominated cast. As for director Denis Villeneuve, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed much of his other work such as Prisoners, Enemy, and now Arrival (which he has been nominated for). I do think he should have had a nomination for his work here, but once again, that is now how things worked out.

5. Selma – Best Actor, Best Director


When this film failed to receive any of the major nominations besides Best Picture in 2015, outraged was sparked. David Oyelowo was actually amazing as Martin Luther King Jr. – if you were to only be listening to some of the speeches he made in the film, you could have mistaken him for the man himself. Ava DuVernay did a wonderful job directing this film as well, and for her to get ignored for her contribution was a travesty if you ask me.

4. 10 Cloverfield Lane – Best Actor


One person I feel was hard done by this year’s nominations was John Goodman. His portrayal of Howard in this film was not your typical John Goodman role, and part of me thinks this is why the film made such an impact on me. I’m a huge advocate for the film as it seemed to come out of nowhere, and I was always vouching for Goodman to gain some sort of recognition when it came to this time of year, but it seems that it just was not to be.

3. The Help – Best Actress, Best Picture


The Help is a film very close to my heart. It is an uplifting tale about what can be achieved when a group of people decide to join together and try to change things. Octavia Spencer was the only winner from this film, but Viola Davis was up for Best Actress and didn’t win, and the film lost out on Best Picture as well. It’s good that the nominations were there, but I wish it could have won. Also, a little side note on this film – I much preferred Emma Stone as Skeeter Phelan here as opposed to Mia in La La Land. For her not to be nominated for her work here and to very likely win the Oscar for Best Actress this year is a tad non-sensical to me.

2. Jackie Brown – Best Actress


Ermmmm, where was Pam Grier’s nomination for her acting in Jackie Brown? She was fabulous as the struggling air hostess/drug smuggler/police informant. I loved her performance, but the awards people didn’t apparently. She was such a good character and an icon for women in film if you think about it. What didn’t she do that Robert Forster did to earn his nomination for his work in the film?

1. Every Quentin Tarantino film ever (besides The Hateful Eight) – Best Director


I’ll keep this one short and sweet – Quentin Tarantino, much like Christopher Nolan, should’ve won a Best Director gong long before now. How it hasn’t happened yet is beyond me. I’ve always loved his films, and can think of at least two films were he definitely should have won the award. Keep on going Quentin, your day will come eventually!

There you have it, and with just one more week until the Oscar winners are announces, there is just one more of these Oscars-themed lists to go. Next week, I’m going to be looking at actors and actresses who have never won an Oscar – could be another interesting one!

Tuesday Top Ten – My All-Time Favourite Oscar Winning Performances

Another week has passed and we are one week closer to finding out the 2017 Oscars. To maintain this bit of Oscar buzz that I have going on here, this week i am taking a look back at some of my all-time favourite Oscar-winning performances. This list is a countdown, and doesn’t feature any performances from the 00’s as they were covered last week.

10. Nicolas Cage (Ben Sanderson, Leaving Las Vegas)


Perhaps Nicolas Cage’s best performance to date (and with what he has produced of late, maybe the best we’ll ever see of him) is his portrayal of Ben Sanderson, an ex-screenwriter who has lost everything and finds solace only at the bottom of the bottle. The film follows Ben as he slowly drinks himself to death. By no means is this an easy watch, but Cage makes it so that you cannot bring yourself to turn it off and escape what is a truly Oscar-worthy performance that takes a very long time to leave you once it’s finished.

9. Joe Pesci (Tommy DeVito, Goodfellas)


Arguably the greatest thing about this film is Joe Pesci’s critically-acclaimed performance as gangster Tommy DeVito. I will never forget watching the film for the first time during the school holidays a couple of summers ago. When it came to the infamous ‘Do you think I’m funny’ scene, I had the windows wide open and Pesci’s character was going hell for leather for the whole street to hear. Not only is it a tremendous performance, but it has fond memories for me of the time the postman got an insight into how I spend my days home alone.

8. Jodie Foster (Clarice Starling, The Silence Of The Lambs)


To have picked Anthony Hopkins here would have been predictable, so I’m actually going to sing the praises of Jodie Foster’s performance instead. She was wonderful as Clarice, the young FBI go-getter who gets assigned a really tough case. She was a joy to watch here, and was every bit the ideal match for Hopkins’ Hannibal – no mean feat, you could say.

7. Christoph Waltz (Dr. King Schultz, Django Unchained)


I stated that I wished I could have included this performance on my last list, but as Django Unchained came out in 2012, it was too little, too late. However, now that we’re onto all-time favourites, there’s nothing to stop me talking about Christoph Waltz’s turn as Dr. King Schultz – the bounty hunter with extreme class in Tarantino’s superb western. Every time I see Waltz’s name, I immediately pay attention because, as someone who wants to be an actress, there is always something to be learnt from him. Here I learnt that it wasn’t a fluke that he won his award for Inglorious Basterds. He is simply masterful.

6. Robert De Niro (Vito Corleone, The Godfather Part II)


I have so much admiration for Robert De Niro in this role because he took on someone who had been made famous by Marlon Brando in a previous film and then had to learn roughly half his dialogue in another language. You can’t say he didn’t earn his Oscar here. However, De Niro also managed to further remind audiences of the main theme from The Godfather – family. There are many tender moments we share with him during the film that make this and the whole trilogy so special.

5. Robin Williams (Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting)


One of the best things about this film, and there are many to choose from, is Robin Williams’ life-affirming performance as therapist Dr. Sean Maguire. Williams was so good that you just wanted to spill your guts to him after watching the film. It was a serious role, no doubt about it, but he managed to give it his own special touch that made it feel so personal.  

4. Octavia Spencer (Minny Jackson, The Help)


If you were to ask me how I would describe this performance, the word I would use would be iconic. I watched part of the film before reading the book, and when I finally read the book, all I could hear as I was working my way through the chapters was Octavia Spencer’s voice as she took on Minny echoing in my head. She was fierce as the sassy little maid, and brought a lot of humour to a film that actually covered something very serious indeed, without causing you to forget what the main point of the film was in the first place. The only shameful thing about it is that she was the only cast member to win the award she was nominated for.

3. Jared Leto (Rayon, Dallas Buyers Club)


Jared Leto has been acting for a long time, and has starred in some very heavy-going films (need I mention Requiem For A Dream?). It is with his turn as Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club however that he proved to the world what a serious and capable actor he truly is. It is a very moving performance that he provide us with here, and after undergoing such an immense physical transformation as well, he is well deserving of his win.

2 Al Pacino (Frank Slade, Scent Of A Woman)


It would have been so wrong of me not to include good old Al on this list now that I finally had the opportunity. Personally, I would have thought that he would have won more that his single Oscar for his role as Frank Slade, especially after Serpico. Alas, this remains his only win, but it is an award he won for what is perhaps my favourite role of his outside the obvious Michael Corleone. Pacino did a marvellous job playing the blind ex-army serviceman, and that speech at the end must surely have been what swung it for the board that year.

1. Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Forrest Gump)


Forrest Gump is a film that runs for nearly two and a half hours, and that is roughly the time I spent smiling when I watched it for the first time years ago. This was solely because of Tom Hanks’ wonderful performance as the big-hearted man who had led a life to look back on and marvel at. After seeing much of his other work, I still say that this is my favourite performance by Hanks, and one that was very worthy of the Oscar it won. 

That wraps up my all-time favourite Oscar-winning performances. Maybe there have been a couple of surprises for you there, but I know for sure that those of you familiar with this site by now will know there were names mentioned there that were certain to make an appearance. Who would you include amongst your favourites? Let me know – we might just get ourselves a little discussion going!

Tuesday Top Ten – Best Oscar Winning Performances Of The 00’s

Last week, we received the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards, and I think it’s fair to say there were some shocks and surprises hidden amongst them. However, I also thought that the release of the nominees up for Oscars in 2017 has created the perfect opportunity for me to have my own little awards season celebrations. To start off, I’ve compiled a collection of my favourite Oscar winning performances of the noughties. I’ve chickened out a bit as they’re in no particular order, but these are ten of the most memorable performances of the most recent decade.
10. Hilary Swank (Maggie Fitzgerald, Million Dollar Baby)


Million Dollar Baby did so well at the Oscars in the year 2000 by winning four awards including Best Picture, but I think what makes this film so memorable for me two years after first watching it is Hilary Swank’s performance as the lead character, Maggie Fitzgerald – a young woman who dreams of becoming a boxer despite the many hardships she’s faced in life. It was such a moving performance in a film that certainly isn’t one you’d watch if you needed your mood lifting, but the fact that I can remember so many different parts of her performance after all this time says something, hence why I’ve included her here.

9. Forest Whitaker (Idi Amin, The Last King Of Scotland)


To watch Forest Whitaker become this Ugandan dictator, you wouldn’t believe that he was portraying a real person. Idi Amin was a very charismatic leader that hid his agenda behind charm and magnetism, and Whitaker captured these characteristics wonderfully with this Oscar-winning performance. It was chilling to watch his transformation from the start of the film right to the end. It showed just what this Whitaker’s capabilities are as an actor, and is, again, a performance that hasn’t completely left me behind just yet.

8. Russell Crowe (Maximus, Gladiator) 


I may have chosen this performance purely because I loved the film so much, but it cannot be denied that Russell Crowe was on form as Maximus in this epic tale of revenge in Ancient Rome. It is yet another performance that I haven’t seen in some time so it is a bit fuzzy, but I do remember revelling in every moment of the film, and every second of Crowe’s performance. It is absolutely appropriate to say that this is a creation of epic proportions, with terrific contributions from everyone involved.

7. Christian Bale (Dicky Eklund, The Fighter)


I have to be honest, this list is dredging up some right blasts from the past. I think it was 2013 when I saw The Fighter, the story of Micky Ward and his rise through the ranks with the help of his brother, Dicky Eklund, played by the ever-brilliant Christian Bale. Bale finally got the recognition for his skill set that he had been deserving for at last five years before that with his Oscar win for the role. It was another performance that saw Bale undergo a significant physical transformation, although his acting alone would have been enough here.

6. Sean Penn (Harvey Milk, Milk)


When I was working through the contenders for this list, two performances from Sean Penn were in contention – his turn as Jimmy Markum in Mystic River, and this performance as Harvey Milk, America’s first openly gay politician. I loved this very insightful biopic about Harvey’s political career, and so much of this was down to Penn’s unbelievably moving performance as the title character. I have told so many people about this film since seeing it last year as I think it is a story that more need to know about, and Penn makes the telling of it so much more impactful as well.

5. Denzel Washington (Alfonso Harris, Training Day)


It would be wrong of me not to include Denzel Washington in this list. He was another charismatic character as the dodgy detective, and what I think is so great about his performance is that you never really know what side of the law this guy is really on. Despite this though, the way Washington portrayed Harris made it hard for me to dislike him. Was he an anti-hero? Or was he the real villain? I’m not entirely sure, and I keep going back to the each time hoping to find answers to those questions, but because of how Washington plays it, I’m never quite sure.

4. Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich, Erin Brockovich)


My favourite performance by Julia Roberts was her turn as Erin Brockovich. I was forced to see the film by my mum who is a hardcore fan of the actress, and I’m so glad she made me see it. She showed every bit of determination that seeped out of every part of the real Erin Brockovich’s being and really was a joy to watch as she took on the water companies and won. For anyone who hasn’t seen the film, I would highly recommend it – it is a fascinating watch made all the more so by Roberts’ tour-de-force performance.

3. Christoph Waltz (Hans Landa, Inglorious Basterds)


A character that many have argued to be the best ever created by Quentin Tarantino is Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds. Christoph Waltz is someone I will always happily watch purely because of his performances in both the Tarantino films he has starred in, although I couldn’t pick Django Unchained over this as it was made in 2012. This was a performance with which you could just soak up every ounce of evil that radiated from the character, and I doubt many other people could tell me an actor who could have played it better.

2. Daniel Day-Lewis (Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood)


The final two films on this list went head to head in the same year. Winning Best Actor in 2008 was Daniel Day-Lewis for his portrayal of greedy oil prospector Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood. Day-Lewis is always memorable no matter what role he takes on. It is in epics like this film that I believe he is often at his best. The story that unfolded surrounding Plainview’s life would not have been anywhere near as riveting if it wasn’t for the show put on by Day-Lewis – it is a film that I think is elevated so far solely because of his work.

1. Javier Bardem (Anton Chigurh, No Country For Old Men)


Quite possibly one of my favourite performances ever in one of my all-time favourite films was given to us by Javier Bardem – one of my favourite actors (as you can see, he made bit of an impact here). No Country For Old Men won a number of Oscars in 2008, and was often pitted against the previous film I spoke about. As Anton Chigurh, super villain extraordinaire, Bardem was spectacular. His performance was talked about for months after in my house, and is still referenced at some points now. It was an award that Bardem deserved every part of, and if I had to name my number one favourite Oscar-winning performance from the noughties, this would be it.

It’s fair to say that sometimes in the past, the Academy have gotten it wrong, and I’m sure they will continue to have some outrageous slip-ups in future. I hope you will agree with me, however, that they got things right with this lot. As always, let me know what your thoughts are, and stay tuned for another Oscars run-down next Tuesday!

Tuesday Top Ten – My Favourite British Actors 

Yesterday’s review of Killer Elite and lack of any other inspiration for a Top Ten has meant that this week’s countdown is going to take a look at my favourite British actors. For the first time in a couple of weeks, I have managed to put the list in an order as well, so you’re properly spoilt with this one. Let’s get started!

10. Anthony Hopkins


Before any riots start, the only reason Anthony Hopkins only just makes this top ten is because I have only seen one film… THAT film. Yes, The Silence Of The Lambs is the film that shows Hopkins in all his glory, and proves that you don’t have to come directly from Hollywood to shake audiences for generations to come. In fact, West Glamorgan in Wales will do you just fine.

9. Dominic West


This man was a big part of my life for a very long time when I worked my way through five seasons of The Wire last year, and I thought he was great. He’s been in a few films I’ve seen since, and also that other show, The Affair, which I’m not so fond of. Nonetheless, Dominic West has proved that the northern boys can do it, although I think private education may have also helped him out a little.

8. Daniel Day-Lewis


There is so much that can be said about Daniel Day-Lewis. He is a truly magnificent actor who can seemingly take on any role and just absolutely own it. He’s the only actor have ever won three Best Actor Oscars, and each was for a role that was so very different to the last. Day-Lewis just has a way of becoming whoever he seems to set his mind to, and Old Blighty is very proud of him for that.

7. Tim Roth


Another very gifted character actor is Tim Roth. Much like Day-Lewis, he doesn’t play characters, he becomes them. He is also talented when it comes to accents, something that all British actors have be if they want success across the pond, it would appear. However, Roth’s accent was so good in Reservoir Dogs that I didn’t question it – I mean, why would you? It wasn’t until I heard his character in Pulp Fiction that I looked him up, and there was London written as his place of birth. 

6. Idris Elba


Idris Elba spent three years starring opposite West in The Wire and he was fantastic. Since then he has become a household name here in his home country after taking lead roles in the TV series Luther and a number of films. It’s kind of disheartening to think that if it hadn’t have been for The Wire, we may never have heard of Elba though, or at least not until much later, as British screens, much like last year’s Oscars, used to be quite lacking in diversity. 

5. Jason Statham


This bloke epitomises the British gangster film. Jason Statham is that man who Guy Ritchie always has in mind when he’s making a film – you only need to look at Snatch and Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels for proof. Yes, his acting can be questionable at times, but he’s been in some bloody brilliant all-out in-your-face action films and he has a special place in my heart for these reasons – plus, he’s from Derbyshire, which is pretty local to me.

4. James McAvoy


After seeing Split at the weekend, James McAvoy has quickly risen through the ranks for me. He has incredible acting skills, and has shown this on a number of occasions, not just recently. The Last King Of Scotland ring any bells? That was a while ago now, wasn’t it? I’ve always been aware of him, but he’s now well and truly in the spotlight for me. 

3. Christian Bale


It took American audiences a while to cotton on to the fact that the guy who played Batman for so long was not one of their own. This was something that Christian Bale actually tried to hide from the public, speaking with his put-on American accent in interviews. He is yet another chameleonic actor, with famous performances in The Machinist and American Psycho making up just a fraction of his filmography.

2. Tom Hardy


I think everyone loves a cheeky bit of Tom Hardy. He has been one of the top British actors in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why. During his career he has provided us with some absolutely fabulous performances in a variety of genres, and has made his mark on TV screens in the last couple of years with appearances in Peaky Blinders as Alfie Solomons. He surely will remain a favourite for years to come.

1. Clive Owen


My favourite British actor however has to be Clive Owen. I’ve loved his work since first seeing him in Children Of Men, and have watched a number of his films since (Closer and Inside Man are a couple). What makes him my favourite Brit actor is that he is about as close as you can get to a working class actor in this country, something that has become bit of a rarity lately. And, coming from Coventry, he’s another one who is reasonably local to me.

There you have it – another week, and another top ten is out the way. You had my favourite actors ages ago, and this list has brought things a little closer to home. It’s been fun for me to look through what big names have come from the British Isles over the years, and some of the iconic performances they have been responsible for. However, glancing over the names has revealed to me that it is getting tougher for aspiring actors and actresses to make a career for themselves in Britain if they’re anything below middle-class. Nonetheless, there is plenty of talent to be found here, even if you need to look a bit harder for it.

Tuesday Top Ten – TV Shows That Aired In 2016

While I may have watched more films in the cinema in 2016 than I have done any other year, I also found plenty to watch on the small screen last year as well. In no particular order, here is my rundown of my top ten TV shows that aired new episodes in 2016. Any older series that I may also have seen last year will not be featuring on this list – that’s for another day…

10. Rillington Place


This period drama that took a look at the murders committed by John Reginald Christie at 10 Rillington Place during the 1940s and 50s did really well in my book. Tim Roth was magical as the lead character, and was supported well by Samantha Morton as his wife Ethel. I really enjoyed this three-part mini-series, and would certainly recommend it to people.

9. The Night Manager


It seems a long time has passed since this TV adaptation of John Le CarrĂ©’s novel of the same name was on our screens. It provided us with Sunday night viewing that BBC1 hasn’t been able to match since it finished. Since then, the show has aired all over the world I would imagine, and has won numerous Golden Globes. I clearly wasn’t the only one impressed with this one.

8. Silent Witness S19


Seeing as it’s been on our screens since 1996, I don’t think you need me to tell you too much about Silent Witness. Obviously I haven’t been watching since the very beginning (I wasn’t born then), but it is a show I’ve looked forward to seeing every year since I started watching about four or five seasons ago. I have no real explanation for why I enjoy this show so much – there are a number of reasons for why I love it as much as I do, that’s all I can say.

7. Peaky Blinders S3


I got into this show as it started it’s second season and it became a favourite straight away. The excessive violence and creative use of language are always something I enjoy seeing, but there are other things that Peaky Blinders has always had going for it. Firstly, we get to see Cillian Murphy in the lead as the delightful Tommy Shelby, and then we get a whole host of big names alongside him – Tom Hardy and Sam Neill are just a couple. The performances are brilliant, the sets are tremendous, and overall, the show is a winner from start to finish. 

6. The Five 


With a story that came from the mind of acclaimed thriller writer Harlen Coben, The Five sounded promising. This was another mini-series that was very impressive. The story was phenomenal, and I, nor anyone else who watched it with me, had a clue about who did what right until the very end. What more could you want from a crime thriller?

5. The People Vs. O.J. Simpson


I don’t really know what reception this was met with. What I do know is I was really looking forward to seeing it, and when it came to sitting down and watching it, The People Vs. O.J. Simpson went way above my expectations. Some of the performances here – specifically Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clarke, Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran – were mind-glowingly good. This one didn’t focus so much on the person who may or may not have committed the crime, but more on the drama that unfolded in the courtroom and lawyer’s offices behind the scenes. Compelling stuff!

4. Ray Donovan S4


Another show i got into as the second season began was Ray Donovan, and as I write this I am waiting to find out where season five will pick up. This most recent season of the drama that revolves around the life and work of L.A. fixer, Ray Donovan, was, in my eyes, the best to date. Ray’s work and family life clashed this time round, which raised the stakes massively and made it unbearable waiting for a new episode each week.

3. Ripper Street S4


One of my favourite shows to ever exist is Ripper Street. When BBC cancelled it after season two, I signed every petition going and even wrote a letter to the head of whatever to tell them what a terrible decision they had made, and when it was announced that the show was being decommissioned for seasons three, four and five… well, you can imagine my reaction. Season four was fantastic as always, but dealt us a blow at the end that I’m still not quite over, and I don’t think I ever will be.

2. The Missing S2


The highly anticipated second season of The Missing arrived late in 2016 and was actually far better than it’s predecessor. I hadn’t been that excited for it, but was pleasantly surprised by what was actually presented to me. The story was excellent and with some real British acting heavyweights in two of the lead roles, plus Tchèky Karyo returning as Julien Baptiste, the performances weren’t half bad either.

1. The Night Of


One of the biggest, most talked about shows from last year arrived at some point around September or October I think. The Night Of won me over when I saw the face of The Wire‘s Michael Kenneth Williams in the preview, and I’m glad I saw him then because I may otherwise not have watched the show. A perfect example of what can be achieved with solid storytelling and acting is one of the greatest compliments I could give this show, and with talks of season two starting before it had even finished this one, I am looking forward to it’s return.

So there’s my list of my top ten shows that aired in 2016. Some great newcomers, the return of old favourites and a few pleasant surprises would be a great way to describe last year’s TV for me. How about you? What are your thoughts on these shows? What would have featured on your list? As always, let me know! It’s nice hearing what you guys think.

Tuesday Top Ten – Most Anticipated Films Of 2017

My second Top Ten is taking a look at the films that have caught my attention as we come into 2017. This list comes in order of release date, and doesn’t in any way represent which films I am looking forward to more. Let’s begin, shall we?

10. La La Land (out now)


The things that I have already heard/read about this film have made me sway towards it. It hadn’t been on my radar at all, but good reviews started coming in and then I saw the trailer at the cinema before Christmas. It seems to me as though La La Land with be an uplifting musical drama that will raise spirits and, if nothing else, will probably win numerous awards for what I can only imagine will be a terrific soundtrack and score.

9. Manchester By The Sea (out now)


A few things caught my eye here. Firstly, I really like Casey Affleck – I thought he played a good supporting character in Good Will Hunting, plus he was terrific in Out Of The Furnace (check it out if you haven’t already). To have him as the lead here is a big draw for me. The storyline may not be the most overly original plot, but I just have a good feeling about this film given the cast and the release date. I will definitely be checking out Manchester By The Sea as soon as I get the chance.

8. Live By Night (out 13 Jan)


I’m a self-confessed history geek, but I find some periods in history more interesting than others. One of my favourite periods is the Prohibition Era in 1920s America, which is why I’m looking forward to Live By Night. Upon closer inspection, the cast also looks pretty good, with a handful of big names popping up on the quiet. It’s had mixed reviews in the U.S. where it’s already out, but I do have a soft spot for films like this. We’ll see how it goes.

7. Split (out 20 Jan)


To say I’m a bit excited about this film would be an understatement. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the trailer, or checked when it was set to come out in cinemas. James McAvoy is playing a man with 24 different personalities and is going to kidnap some girls. You all know by now how much I love a good psychopathic villain in films, and McAvoy is showing extreme promise here. The only thing that worries me slightly is M. Night Shyamalan is directing, and I haven’t been 100% wowed by his films in the past, but maybe this can change that.

6. Fences (out 10 Feb)


Another film that is set to come out that will have a lot of history behind it is Fences. Seeing Denzel Washington’s face on the poster was enough to grasp my curiosity, and when I went to find out more, I was rather pleased by what I discovered. Viola Davis will co-star alongside Washington. I loved her in The Help, and think she will be perhaps the best match for the lead actor here. Black history is another area of history that hugely interests me, so it will be good to see another film that explores that.

5. Moonlight (out 17 Feb)


We’ve had a bad deal here in England with this one I think. Moonlight has been out in America for ages, yet we still have to wait another month to see it. The wait has been hard, as I have yet to hear a bad thing about this film. People have really loved this film for it’s performances and the issues it raises. Are awards in this film’s future? By the sounds of things, I’d say so.

4. The Eyes Of My Mother (out 24 March)


This is the film I know the least about on this whole list, which holds an awful lot of excitement for me in itself. I don’t know if it’s a foreign or English speaking film, or what it is about entirely. I don’t even know any of the cast members. The Eyes Of My Mother has me going in blind (pun intended), but I really like what little information I do know about this film. I’ve become quite adventurous with horror films over the last few months or so, with my viewing of the Saw franchise and that glorious film, The Hills Have Eyes, so I know that even if I hate the film, I’ll have a grand old time with the review afterwards.

3. Free Fire (out 31 March)


If nothing else, this film will be so much fun! The idea of the plot is something that has me in much anticipation of it’s release, and then there’s also the cast has a couple of low-key huge talents dotted amongst it i.e. Brie Larson and Cillian Murphy. The film is set in 70s Boston, and focuses on the meeting of two rival gangs in a warehouse. Already I am beginning to think about what songs are going to feature in the score of this film. 

2. The Zookeeper’s Wife (out 5 May)


I love Jessica Chastain. I think she has been excellent in every film I’ve seen her in to date, which include Interstellar and The Martian, although she was only in those for relatively short amounts of time. She is set to warm hearts in (another) historical drama, The Zookeeper’s Wife, which is based on the true story of Antonina Zabinski. I think this has potential to be a wonderful family film, although I’m aware no age ratings have been released yet, so I could be completely wrong there.

1. Alien: Covenant (expected 19 May)


I have to say, the only reason I really picked Alien: Covenant was because I needed ten films and I was running it of films where the poster caught my eye – I know… It’s not the recommended way of deciding which films you’re looking forward to, but it’s worked okay for me in the past so I’ll stick with it for now. I haven’t seen a single film in the franchise yet, although I plan on changing that before this comes out, hopefully, early in the summer.

So there’s the handful of films I’m most looking forward to for at least this half of 2017. What do you think of my top ten? Would you have picked anything different? Let me know! It’s always good to talk film with you guys, so leave a comment below if you have any other suggestions you think should have made an appearance here.