But I still have opinions about this year’s Best Picture nominees. I’m talking about the Academy Awards, of course. Feel free to stop reading now if you don’t care about any of this.
I won’t say too much about the whole #OscarsSoWhite thing, except this: it’s Hollywood, man. It’s always been white. You know, like most of mainstream America. Being angry about injustice is fine, but I’ve gotten over my anger and am now looking for ways to actually make things better. Yelling at people isn’t really the best way to change their minds about anything.
Anyway. Let’s talk about the eight Best Picture nominees. In alphabetical order:
Actually, let’s not talk about that one. Because reasons. Moving on:
DeeAnn and I saw this with our good friend Matt at the lovely St. Johns Theater. I enjoyed it for what it was: a moderately pretentious exercise in omphaloskepsis (SEE WHAT I DID THERE) featuring some great performances, technical flair, and a somewhat unsatisfying, “literary” ending. I mean, I understand what the filmmakers were going for. I just didn’t dig it as much as some other folks did. Diff’rent strokes and all that.
Yeah, it’s a stunt, but it’s a very impressive one. And even if people haven’t seen the movie, they’ve certainly heard about how it took twelve years to make. I expect it’ll be a talky indie like all of Linklater’s stuff, which probably works against it; Oscar voters tend to like stuff with a little flash and fanfare. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they chose to reward the effort here.
Haven’t seen this one either. Expect it’ll be like all of Wes Anderson’s stuff: quirky and twee. Long shot for Best Picture.
We saw this with our friend Karl during last year’s #XmasMovieThon, and it was very good, despite a few patches of lazy writing (I mean did they really need to hammer this exact line three times) and playing fast and loose with actual history (as all biopics do; not a complaint, just an observation). I suppose I’m partial to stories about intelligent people solving hard problems—what some might call puzzles—but still. I’d call this one the frontrunner.
Haven’t seen it yet, but IMHO it’s pretty ridiculous that anyone has rustled up controversy around this film. See above (and below) for how movies are not journalism. There’s a federal holiday and a road in every major American city named after this man, for fuck’s sake. Get over it.
Haven’t seen this one, either, but again, I don’t expect it to be a precise and accurate accounting of Stephen Hawking’s life. (DeeAnn thinks it’s weird that they made a biopic about someone who’s still alive, but that’s nothing new.) Judging from the marketing, though, I suspect it’s too “soft” and/or esoteric to win, especially against Imitation Game, which also features a genius Brit protagonist, and—let’s not mince words here—is literally Gay Benedict Cumberbatch Fighting Nazis. Would you bet against that?
Missed this one in theaters. Yeah, I’m sure it’s good, but Best-Picture-good? I’d put money on Grand Budapest Hotel before this one, simply on apparent scope. Small stories don’t win big at the Oscars. Would peg this one for Supporting Actor (J.K. Simmons doing that thing he does), maybe Film Editing or Adapted Screenplay (Damien Chazelle, who also directed the movie), and possibly Sound Mixing. It is about drumming, after all.