Ah, Oscar voting season has finally begun for the ceremony and whatever is still in the minds of those voters in the industry at this point is probably what’s going to find its way to those ballots and eventually to being an announced nominee come the 24th of January. It makes it just the slightest bit too late to express my own dark horse ideas of what should be nominated in the categories, but it’s not like any Academy members read this blog and this kind of wishful thinking is just as fun as it is harmful for my esteem.
So for your consideration for the Oscars, I’m gonna try to pick movies that I know have had some discussion but aren’t very strong contenders at this point…
VISUAL EFFECTS: Deepwater Horizon
I never in my life expected a day would come when I would suggest a Peter Berg movie to be nominated, but dammit if that isn’t a really physically surrounding mountain of effects in portraying the infamous explosion and oil spill. Like, the rest of the movie may be a dud just like the rest of that hack’s work, but the effects here are chaotic and full of mayhem and the result is a fire that feels like a complete danger even when the characters are cliche-o-mat extensions.
In any case, I’m sure Patriots Day will put me right back on hating that fool.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Roger Deakins – Hail, Caesar!
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jess Gonchor – Hail, Caesar!
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Mary Zophres – Hail, Caesar!
The lukewarm reaction to one of the densest films the Coens have given us (and unlike A Serious Man and Barton Fink, unpacking all the things the movie is about – like Hollywood, communism, Catholicism, etc. – doesn’t feel like a chore at all. It’s a lot of fun to dig deeper into this film!) is flat-0ut unfair. This movie deserves more praise for juggling so many dishes and dropping none, but I concede that it might not be some people’s thing so whatever. You can be wrong.
You are REALLY wrong to say this movie, in all of its happy homage to the studio system and 1950s Hollywood, is not absolutely positively gorgeous. Even if all you say is “well it’s just old Hollywood vignettes”, they’re stunning toybox vignettes that want to show off their stars’ skills in accents, stuntwork, dancing, and still give tribute to the glorious lie of cinema. Get out my face if you hate this.
BEST ORIGINAl SCREENPLAY: Maren Ade – Toni Erdmann
People rallying over The Handmaiden (for Adapted Screenplay) and I think it’s the wrong Foreign-Language film. Erdmann is the one that doesn’t seem to lose itself in the third act. Now, I know it’s silly to look at the script for a movie that’s nearly three hours and commend it for its patience with its characters and sitting to watch them react and grow as respondents to one another, but the story of Winfried and Ines’ struggles to be father and daughter is sweeter and more touching than I expected of a German film without losing the realism behind and that’s to say nothing of its successes in convincing even when Ines tries to be different, she’s still Winfried’s daughter simply based on the way she speaks and does things. Plus, it’s hilarious. This movie is laugh-out-loud funny to me and I think that’s a real plus for comedy.
I can at least be satisfied knowing it’s absolutely going to win the Foreign-Language Picture Oscar.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Whit Stillman – Love & Friendship
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Tom Bennett – Love & Friendship
BEST ACTRESS: Kate Beckinsale – Love & Friendship
Anybody who has seen the movie or is remotely familiar with Stillman or Jane Austen knows how this is a no-brainer. Stillman was BORN to make an Austen film, he was practically making metropolitan Austen films until this point. Beckinsale was BORN to play a wickedly manipulative socialite woman in Austen fashion (+10 for having like thuh baist chemistry with Chloe Sevigny) and Tom Bennett needs to have his own show playing Sir James Martin, because his imbecility is a complete riot.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Janelle Monae – Hidden Figures
So, like, if you’re gonna nominate this super-meh Oscarbait for Best Picture (and it looks like they might), you may as well nominate the very best part of it because I swear to God, Janelle Monae will become a movie star with or without good material (but thankfully Moonlight WAS good material, though Monae has much she can show off with this role).
BEST ACTOR: Trevante Rhodes – Moonlight
I don’t wanna hear it about “Oh he’s only there for 1/3 of the movie”. He’s a co-lead with the other actors for Chiron. Nah, Rhodes does not only deserve the nomination, he deserves the Gold. Embody two performances we see before his (putting pressure on him), while personifying tropes of black masculinity, while subtly communicating a vulnerability and uncertainty underneath all that while keeping in mind Black has to react to seeing Kevin again.
All on this… no-name never-heard-his-name actor? This is some demanding work and Rhodes ACES IT. FUCKING ACES IT. The man should be a fucking movie star by this sort of performance and I really hope it.
BEST DIRECTOR: Pablo Larrain
BEST PICTURE: Jackie
Remember when this movie felt for a comfortable bit like it would be a contender for both awards? And then it suddenly slowly faded out awards conversation except for the obvious one that gives the unfortunate look of Osca– well, I mean, it IS Oscarbait and there’s no going around that. And yes, obviously a goal of the movie (that it looks like it’ll achieve) is to get Portman a second Oscar. BUT… there’s more to it than that. Larrain and company have given us an abstract and disorienting presentation of violent grief and how it affects the memory and psychology. It’s a more impressive portrayal of immediate trauma than the same year’s Sully, by far. It just seems like one great big block of somebody’s mind trying to convince herself her husband’s brains are not on her, that she still has a home somewhere, and that she is more than just a shell of history. It’s the anti-thesis to Hamilton‘s “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”. And… I’m sorry did people just decide not to watch this? It’s incredible and deserves more love than its not getting.