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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



Oscar Dozen: What this reviewer said about the winners


Oscar Dozen: What this reviewer said about the winners

1.Best supporting actor

WINNER: JK Simmons for Whiplash

“J.K. Simmons (Break Point, JOBS, Dark Skies, The Words, long-running white-supremacist villain on HBO’s Oz) is devilish and supremely sadistic. He too is a musician and has been a conductor, which shows. Watch him terrify you and keep you rivetted in the second half of the film.”

2. Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

WINNER: The Grand Budapest Hotel

“Her (Tilda Swinton’s) make-up is incredible and the lipstick nothing less than 70 mm!”

3.Achievement in sound mixing

WINNER: Whiplash

“On the musical side, the film might serve as an initiation into jazz of the full-blooded orchestra type. (It served to make me more interested in the form, which I did not fancy too much).”

4.Achievement in visual effects

WINNER: Interstellar

“Breath-taking ice-scapes, dust-scapes, fire-scapes, mountain-scapes, sea-scapes, not to mention space-scapes.”

5.Best animated feature film

WINNER: Big Hero 6

“You cannot help but marvel at the technology that is, maybe, just 10 steps ahead of state-of-the-art today, and hence more credible than many alien and other CGI sci-fi flicks that tend to look eons ahead.”

6.Best production design

WINNER: The Grand Budapest Hotel

“In terms of detail, scenic splendour, costumes, make-up and free-wheeling narrative, The Grand Budapest Hotel is an exciting experience.”

7.Achievement in cinematography

WINNER: Birdman

“The long takes, simulated as a seamless continuation of previous shots, have been marvellously collated.”

8.Original screenplay

WINNER: Birdman

“Birdman was written over a period of two years, by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., Armando Bo. Every bit of the writing, planning and rehearsing has proven to be worth it for director Alejandro González Iñárittu--the Mexican maverick, who gave us Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel, and Biutiful. One can credit him with inventing a new style, a new genre. Alongside completely rational characters, he places Riggan, who has Birdman inside him and indulges in fantasy telekinesis.”

9.Adapted screenplay

WINNER: The Imitation Game

“Screenwriter Graham Moore makes his debut with this film as his first produced feature film screenplay. Yes, there is a well-researched book to base your screenplay on, and the hero of your story is a real person whose life is now well-documented. But, like the say in cricket, you still got to play the ball and place it in the right direction to score a sixer. It’s a fabulous debut, and we look forward to Moore sixers, Graham.

10.Best director

WINNER: Birdman

“Alejandro González Iñárittu--the Mexican maverick, who gave us Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel, and Biutiful. One can credit him with inventing a new style, a new genre. Watch Birdman and applaud Alejandro González Iñárritu, like you did in Babel, 2006, only more. This is a real large Bird feather in his cap.”

11. Best actor

WINNER: The Theory of Everything

“With tremendously talented Eddie Redmayne (Elizabeth: The Golden Age, My Week with Marilyn, Les Misérables and playing the inter-planetary menace in Jupiter Ascending) in the lead, the job is more than half done. Redmayne naturally gets all the audience sympathy, for his contortions, labored gait, slurring speech and academic genius, and all of it is extremely well-deserved.”

12.Best picture

WINNER: Birdman

“Watch Birdman and applaud Alejandro González Iñárritu, like you did in Babel, 2006, only more. This is a real large Bird feather in his cap.”

(These are excerpts from reviews, posted on this website. All these films earned ratings of *** to ****. Obviously, the list does not cover all the winners. Some of the films that won have not been mentioned here because they were not seen by me. A couple were not reviewed in significant detail for relevant excerpts to be included).


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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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