The Gaffe Heard Round the World
Well, as usual, the Oscars just concluded and I'm tired. But I wouldn't have it any other way writing this post. I love doing it in my current loopy and slightly depressed post-Oscar state. (Depressed because writing this post is like closure on the year for me, and I feel like I've come to the end of a long journey reviewing film for 2016. Not depressed because of who won or who didn't win because at the end of the day.....who cares, really.) Anyway, let's get the elephant in the room out of the way right off the bat: the moment everyone will remember for 2017's Oscars is when La La Land's name was erroneously called for Best Picture. I'm sure we'll hear plenty more about that as time goes on, so I will just address how much I appreciated the class of the La La Land crew for not only being willing to hand over their awards to Moonlight, but they were actually eager to. It felt like the moment Adele beat out Queen Bey at the Grammys a few weeks back. They showed no negativity to getting on the stage just to realize they were on there by mistake, and the look on Barry Jenkins face when he realized that his film actually won the award made me a little emotional. I love Barry Jenkins, and while you all know what took home my Best Film of 2016, I have no problem with the Academy handing their award to Moonlight. Any other year I would've been right there with them, and I know years down the road Moonlight will be the film that everyone remembers, so I'm totally content with that choice. To be fair, I've only agreed with the Academy's choice once over the past ten years, so there's that. And we ALL know between Enter the Movies and the Academy Awards which award is more coveted. Uhhhhhhhh Enter the Movies. Obviously.
Anyway, where I disagree with the Academy, however, is in some of the more technical categories. The fact that Suicide Squad can now say "Academy Award Winner Suicide Squad" is pretty hilarious. Also Hacksaw Ridge for Best Film Editing? Really? La La Land and Moonlight must've split that vote, but you thought Hacksaw Ridge was number three on that list? Over Arrival and Hell or High Water? C'mon man. The biggest controversy for me, though, is in the Best Actor category. Anyone who read my Biggest Controversies of 2016 list will know why, but for those who didn't.....Casey Affleck winning Best Actor shows us that, for all the progress we've made for diversity in Hollywood, there's still a long way to go. Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation was shunned by the Academy when allegations of rape surfaced against him, and yet when similar allegations rose against Affleck.....he wins Best Actor. Now please, tell me that those allegations don't go ignored by the Academy if Casey Affleck was black. Go on. I'll wait.
I know we should take the wins where we can get them. After all Denzel Washington is the white man's black person, so it isn't like there was some super glamorous replacement in the running for Best Actor. (Makes me wonder if the story would've been different had Dev Patel been in that category where he should have been instead of Best Supporting Actor) And I'd say the defeat of La La Land at the hands of Moonlight is a pretty terrific feat and ABSOLUTELY a result of the diversification of the Academy, so I'm very excited to see where this diversification leads us next year. And there were some terrific feel-good wins in the lesser categories, including The Salesman winning Best Foreign film and The White Helmets winning Documentary Short. Both films were directly impacted by the orange menace's travel ban, with director Asghar Farhadi from The Salesman boycotting the Oscars because of it and the cinematographer for The White Helmets, Khaled Khatib, actually being denied entry to the United States by, well, the United States.That second one in particular was an unscripted moment for the Academy-while Farhadi made his boycott of the Oscars known far in advance during the voting period, so voting for The Salesman was an easy protest vote to Twump by the group, Khatib's issues came just a day before the event itself, long after the votes were cast. Also touching was Mahershala Ali becoming the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar, and Viola Davis becoming the first African American actor to hit the acting trifecta-acting wins from the Tonys, Emmys, and Oscars.
Anyway, speaking of unscripted moments, let's talk about Jimmy Kimmel! The host of this year's Oscars was.....fine. On the one hand, he had a few good gags. His ongoing beef with Matt Damon continued to be hilarious, highlighted by my favorite moment of the entire night-playing Matt Damon off the stage as he was presenting an award. He also took a few good jabs at Donald Trump, and threw in bits from his late night show, like a "Mean Tweets: Oscars Edition" bit. In other words, he, like James Corden at the Grammys, was up there just to plug his own late night show, he just did it a bit more subtly than Corden did. He also had a few misses. His "food raining down from the sky" bits were humorous, but not particularly memorable. But his totally not staged gag with the tour bus? C'mon, man. That was easily the weakest moment of the night, as everyone knew that those people would've had to have been screened EXTENSIVELY before they strolled into the Dolby Theater. That moment was right there with Neil Patrick Harris's bit about "successfully" predicting the Oscar picks when he hosted. Chances are those "random people" were just members of the seat filler corps that make the house look full every year. Or they were people that had been sitting out in the crowd on the Red Carpet beforehand. All that is my way of saying.....Jimmy Kimmel was fine, but LAWD next year can we PLEASE not have a late night talk show personality host the Oscars? Please?
As for everything else, it was....fine. The Moana performance was the lowlight of the musical performances for me, (that Lin-Manuel intro felt very tacked on) but overall outside of Justin Timberlake all of the performances weren't particularly memorable. I already can't remember Sting's song, and La La Land's montage would've been significantly better had Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling joined John Legend at one point during it. Also the speeches were shockingly contained. This may be the biggest surprise of this year's Oscars. While it was a pretty good night for liberals outside of Casey Affleck's win, there was no Meryl Streep or David K. Harbour (Stranger Things) kind of moment. I really thought that someone was going to provide that soundbite that everyone would play for weeks and months to come, but the most "soundbite" political moment came when Jimmy Kimmel Tweeted at Donald Trump during the broadcast. The speech of the hour, in my opinion, belonged to Viola Davis, who delivered an emotional speech as she accepted her first Academy Award. Emma Stone was a close second, but that may only be because I am partial to Emma Stone. I was hoping for a better speech from Damien Chazelle (if the speeches from those who did win in technical categories for La La Land told me anything, it's that that crew REVERES Chazelle) but hey. Dude is still the youngest director to ever win an Oscar so that's pretty cool.
What else? I can't think of anything, so that's it! That's all I got. At the end of the day.....I think I liked 2016's Academy Awards more than this year's. While the picks for winners showed that the Academy is starting to step outside its comfort zone, I was still pretty infuriated by some of the choices, most notably Casey Affleck for Best Actor. And, while there were quite a few great moments, (I just glanced over it but that opening with Justin Timberlake was pretty awesome) there seemed to always be a frustrating moment to go along with it. That freaking tourist gag. Really? "Hey, we just parked this bus right outside and no one noticed the Red Carpet or anything!" But it was still an overall good night for the Academy. Even though it will be highlighted by the gaffe to end all gaffes, their pick of Moonlight for Best Picture is a pretty telling sign that the persona that the Academy is just a bunch of rich old white dudes may finally be coming to an end. No doubt their diversification efforts are paying off.
My Number: 7/10 Good
Well, that's it. That wraps up Enter the Movies coverage of 2016 for film. Overall? I'd say we had a good run, 2016. The year was certainly not as good as 2015 was, but we did see a couple of strong films come out of this year. Films like Arrival, Moonlight, and La La Land are why I love doing this, and walking into that theater giddy with high expectations then having those expectations met or even exceeded? That feeling will never get old. While the same post-Oscar depression is already sinking in as I slowly realize another year is done, I can't help but be uplifted by what 2017 has in store. With new films coming from the likes of Edgar Wright and Paul Thomas Anderson on the horizon, I can't help but be excited for what's in store. But all of that is for tomorrow. As for now....it's very, VERY late over here, and my pillow is desperately calling for me. I think it's time for me to answer the call. Thanks so much for reading, everyone! I love all of you, and I'll see you next time here on Enter the Movies. DEUCES!
By: Joseph Kathmann with a special contribution in animated features section from Peter Kosanovich
It's the most wonderful time of the year! It's Oscar season! 2016 was a tale of two season. The first half of the year was marred with disappointment, with films like X-Men: Apocalypse, Independence Day: Resurgence, and others proving to be lackluster. To say the least. But then in the second half the tides turned. We had great films like Hidden Figures, 20th Century Women, and Moonlight drop, and suddenly we found ourselves in the middle of a pretty amazing Oscar season. However, one film stood above the rest, and it will become quickly apparent by who is favorited to make a legitimate run at the most Oscar wins ever what film that is. So buckle up, and let's me help you become an expert on everything you need to know about the upcoming Academy Awards!
The format is the same as it always has been. (Can't believe this is year four, by the way) I'll go in reverse alphabetical order through the nominations, and in each category I'll have my pick (who deserves it) for the academy as well as who's the favorite. My "who's the favorite" category is based off Vegas odds found at this site and it should be noted that over the last three years these guys have had a ridiculously high success rate. Soooooo they're probably right. Let's go!
Writing: Original Screenplay
Who deserves it: La La Land
Who's the favorite: Manchester by the Sea
Starting off this list is Best Original Screenplay. It's actually one of the tightest categories for the entire Academy Awards. Initially La La Land was the favorite to win the category, but then suddenly Manchester by the Sea won the BAFTA and AACTA Award for Best Original Screenplay, and so now Vegas isn't so sure. Currently, Manchester by the Sea sits at 8/13, while La La Land is close behind at 6/5. While La La Land did win the Golden Globe for Screenplay, those BAFTA and AACTA awards make it anyone's game. However, to me La La Land is the clear best screenplay of 2016, with the second-best screenplay on the list this year being 20th Century Women, and The Lobster coming in a close third. Remember, I thought Manchester by the Sea was kind of overrated, so I'm definitely pulling for any one of those three to win over Manchester, but I am particularly pulling for La La Land because A) it was my favorite story of 2016 and B) it needs this award if it wants a chance at breaking the record for Oscars won by a film. So here's to hoping its name gets called!
Writing: Adapted Screenplay
Who deserves it: Moonlight
Who's the favorite: Moonlight
This one is about as easy as it gets. Much as I loved films like Arrival, Hidden Figures, and Lion, Moonlight's story is just too unique and too bold. Told from three points in the main character's life, Moonlight manages to not only string together 30 years worth of experiences in just a short amount of time, but also do so in a way that emotionally devastates the viewer. Oh! And it does all of this while painting a thought-provoking image of what it was like to be a young black man in the heart of the war on drugs era urban America. There's so much going on here and all of it sticks. It's a perfect film that will unfortunately lose many of its nominated Oscars to La La Land, but this is one category that it is primed to take. Vegas agrees, as right now Moonlight is going at 1/5 with the next closest being Hidden Figures at 8-1.
Who deserves it: Doctor Strange
Who's the favorite: The Jungle Book
Man if you want a case and point about how crappy this year was for the big summer blockbuster....look no further than the Best Visual Effects category. Wow! No nominations for films like Captain America, Ghostbusters, or Independence Day: Resurgence, or really any other big-budget summer blockbuster. Strong statement from the Academy. It also works as a double-edge sword as this category this year is pretty, well, hilarious. I mean Deepwater Horizon? Really? I actually thought the effects there were kind of.....bad. The Jungle Book and Rogue One were fine, but if I had to give it to one of these films I'd hand the award to Doctor Strange. More or less because of just how, well, mind-bending the effects were. I know I know I just used a marketing buzzword to describe them, but you get my point. The effects are pretty cool, and are definitely the calling card for Doctor Strange. However I really don't have any quarrel with any of these. Besides Deepwater Horizon. C'mon, guys.
Who deserves it: La La Land
Who's the favorite: La La Land
So this is one category I have tried to understand more as I've continued to review film. Sound mixing is more about the balance of what you hear versus just what you hear. (which is sound editing) As I've continued to develop as a "critic," I've become more adept at separating the two. So, this year, when it comes to sound MIXING, there is a clear winner in La La Land. The film has an incredible balance between music and other effects, and the other effects are mixed in a way that definitely adds to the overall experience. The mix here is crucial to painting a picture of this nostalgia-filled image of LA. No one else is really even close to La La Land according to our friends at Vegas as it's going at 1/8 with the next closest being Arrival at 6-1. Expect to hear La La Land's name called for this one.
Who deserves it: Hacksaw Ridge
Who's the favorite: Hacksaw Ridge
Aaaaaaand here's where the difference between Sound Mixing and Sound Editing is important. Sound editing is more about the selection of sounds, and when you look at just that aspect of the film, I do believe Hacksaw Ridge deserves it. Much as I want to see La La Land go for 12. However Vegas says this is one of the categories to watch this year (along with Best Original Screenplay) as Hacksaw Ridge is going around 1/2 while La La Land is close behind at 5/2. So keep an eye out for this one! Heck I'd say there's even a good shot at Arrival dark-horsing in the W. Which I wouldn't even be remotely upset about-it did create an entire alien language after all using only sounds.
Short Film, Live Action
Who deserves it: N/A
Who's the favorite: Ennemis Interieurs
I haven't seen any of these yet, unfortunately, so I won't add any commentary. I will just tell you right now Interieurs is going at 4/6 while Timecode is going at 5/2. These are the categories that are usually pretty up in the air in Vegas, but I'd say it will be one of those two that hears its name called at the Oscars.
Short Film, Animated
Who deserves it: N/A
Who's the favorite: Piper
Once again I haven't seen all of these yet so I'll refrain from commentary, but I will say I saw Piper and liked it a lot. The Disney/Pixar short is usually the favorite for this category, regardless of the quality of the short. So, when it delivers a good animated short? The rest of the shorts will need a Hail Mary to topple this one. Vegas seems pretty confident too: Piper is going at 1/5, while the next closest is Blind Vaysha at 9/2. Expect Piper to walk away with this one.
Who deserves it: La La Land
Who's the favorite: La La Land
Getting tired of seeing this poster pop up yet? Well, I hope not, because it has a lot more. This one is pretty much a done deal. It wasn't the best year for production design outside of La La Land, so it's going at 1/20 in Vegas with the next closest being Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them at 8-1. I think it's safe to assume that Fantastic Beasts will not be winning an Oscar, so it's safe to assume that La La Land's name will be called here. And absolutely no one can argue this one.
Who deserves it: "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" (La La Land)
Who's the favorite: "City of Stars" (La La Land)
See the trend that's developing? Well, on this one I am fairly certain there's no chance of La La Land splitting the vote and allowing for something like "How Far I'll Go" from Moana to sweep in and steal it, but I do like the "Audition" from La La Land more than "City of Stars." However, the Academy very much so disagrees with me, as Stars is going at 1/6 while everything else is going at 8-1 and higher. To be fair, "City of Stars" is pretty much the manifesto of this film, as well as Hollywood's love letter to itself, so I can see why the Academy would pick it over "Audition." Just don't expect to hear anyone's name over La La Land when this award comes up.
Who deserves it: La La Land
Who's the favorite: La La Land
Hey look. Another one. And not the last. This one is one of La La Land's more heavily favored categories, as it's going at 1/10 while the next closest, Moonlight, is going at 9-1. And once again I 100% agree-while I loved Moonlight's score, there is absolutely nothing like La La Land's music. It's definitely the best part of this masterpiece.
So I wanna take a moment and talk about soon-to-be Academy Award winner Justin Hurwitz. La La Land director Damien Chazelle gets all the publicity over the fact that La La Land is only his 3rd film he's directed, but Hurwitz is having the exact same success story. He's Chazelle's personal composer, and to this point has only composed three feature-length scores. As in Chazelle's three films. Pretty amazing for someone's third score to be as intricate, complex, and dazzlingly beautiful as La La Land's. While I was stoked to see the legendary Ennio Morricone win his first (and long overdue) Oscar last year, I will be equally stoked to see Hurwitz solidify his place among the Hollywood elite with his first this early in his career. Can't wait to see what he does next!
Makeup and Hairstyling
Who deserves it: Uhhhhhhhhhh...........monkey.
Who's the favorite: Star Trek Beyond
This category honestly makes less sense to me every year. First off, why are there only three nominees? Does every other film not have any makeup or hairstyling? Because I mean heck can we talk about the hair in Hidden Figures? Or the makeup in Lights Out? And there always seems to be an applicant from left field in this category. Like remember Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa can say it has an Oscar nomination because of this category. This time around though it's pretty much the entire category, as mediocre summer blockbuster duo Star Trek Beyond and FREAKING SUICIDE SQUAD join international film A Man Called Ove to round out this weird band of misfits. That's right. Suicide Squad can now call itself "Oscar nominated" Suicide Squad. Yikes. So, I will refrain from adding a "who deserves it" and instead will just focus on who's the favorite in Vegas. Right now it's Star Trek Beyond, going at 1/3, with A Man Called Ove and Suicide Squad both going at around 5-1. However, I think A Man Called Ove wins this, simply because the Academy couldn't possibly give Star Trek Beyond an award, right? Definitely not Suicide Squad. I'd be laughing for days if Suicide Squad's name was said. We shall see. But real talk, Academy: can you PLEASE fix this category???
Foreign Language Film
Who deserves it: N/A
Who's the favorite: Toni Erdmann
As usual, since I'm not paid to do this I haven't had the time to see the foreign language films for this year. I will say, though, that Erdmann has made quite the splash around town, so I wouldn't be surprised to hear its name called. Vegas has it at 8/11 with The Salesman close behind at 11/10. This one should be good!
Who deserves it: La La Land
Who's the favorite: La La Land
They just keep coming for La La Land. This is another category where it's heavily favored-it's currently going at 1/8 while its next-closest competitor, Hacksaw Ridge, is going at 5-1. Not a chance Hacksaw Ridge beats out La La Land. Expect its name to be called and for Chazelle's personal editor, Tom Cross, to add another Oscar to his name. In all seriousness though, Chazelle is turning Hollywood on its side, and the editing is a major part of that. In fact, I would say that the editing is the largest reason for it. So expect Chazelle's films to continue to win this award until someone can do it better. Might take a while.
HaWho deserves it: N/A
Who's the favorite: Extremis
I haven't seen any of these, which is a shame because Extremis is available to watch on Netflix right now, but Vegas seems pretty confident that Extremis is gonna walk away with it. It's going at 1/2, while the next closest is Joe's Violin going at 11/4. Again I don't know anything about these, but when the gap's that wide in Vegas it means 9/10 the favorite is going to win. So expect to hear Extremis called on Oscar night!
Who deserves it: N/A
Who's the favorite: O.J.: Made in America
Once again I haven't seen all of these, but O.J.: Made in America has been RAKING in awards left and right, and it's going at 1/8 out in Vegas, so you can certainly expect its name to be called come Oscar night. Which is kind of a shame because there are great names on this list like 13th and I Am Not Your Negro that would win this award in any other year. But, O.J.: Made in America happened, so tough luck for everyone else.
Who deserves it: La La Land
Who's the favorite: La La Land
This category, along with Original Screenplay, are the two categories where La La Land faces the stiffest competition according to Vegas. In Costumes, La La Land is currently going at 4/6 while Jackie is making a strong case at 6/5. Well, as much as I did like Jackie's costumes, (they were pretty much my favorite part of the film) the costumes of La La Land were something else and really added to the film. When I think of clips from the film, I envision the characters wearing whatever costumes they were wearing. Whether it's the beautiful costumes of the "Someone in the Crowd" number, or all the magnificent outfits during the opening "Another Day in Sun," or the entire "Epilogue" sequence, the costumes were pivotal to La La Land, and they were another crucial part to this story. While I wouldn't be opposed to seeing Jackie win this one, because otherwise it probably won't win any Oscars, I really don't see how La La Land doesn't win this.
Who deserves it: La La Land
Who's the favorite: La La Land
This one is pretty clear-cut. La La Land is going at 1/7, and the next closest is Lion at 7-1. I was actually a big fan of Arrival's cinematography, but it looks like it doesn't stand much of a chance at winning this because La La Land, once again, was in an entire league of its own. Just like with the costumes, the cinematography was a crucial part of La La Land, and was just utterly fantastic. I mean "Another Day in Sun" alone is worthy of an Oscar win, and that's just the first few minutes of the film. Then sequences like "Someone in the Crowd" and "Summer Montage" and "Planetarium" solidify La La Land's grasp on this award. I cannot emphasize this enough: this is the best film I have ever reviewed on Enter the Movies, and had a perfect execution of every aspect of film-making. It may be years before another film like La La Land comes along.
Since I haven't seen one of these films so far, I'd like to bring on my good friend Peter Kosanovich to talk about this year's animated features!
Who deserves it: Kubo and the Two Strings
Who's the favorite: Zootopia
Looking at animation this year, there were some absolutely phenomenal films! Disney put out two original animated films in Zootopia and Moana; Laika LLC released another highly original stop-motion feature to add to their catalog of work, Kubo and the Two Strings; Studio Ghibli co-produced the beautiful and subtle La Tortue Rouge (The Red Turtle) with the French-based studio Wild Bunch; and the French-Swiss company Gebeka Films released the small, charming, stop-motion feature Ma vie de Courgette (My Life as a Zucchini). Unfortunately My Life as a Zucchini has yet to have its US release (February 24, 2017), so I have not seen it, but do not expect it to win anyway. Similarly for The Red Turtle, which saw limited release, but being almost entirely without dialogue I do not see it pulling enough attention to win. This leaves our final three, the Disney stalwarts and the stop-motion marvel. Despite great reception, Moana has somehow managed to make itself an underdog this award season, not pulling in nearly as much attention as is often expected of a Disney Princess musical. As far as winning goes, I can see three options: Zootopia wins outright, as it is currently the frontrunner; Kubo and the Two Strings manages to ride the success of its recent BAFTA win, and the Academy awards Laika LLC the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award since it has never won in this category; or Zootopia and Kubo and the Two Strings split the vote and Moana wins from behind, the only way it stands a chance of winning. Ultimately, I see The Academy giving the statuette to Zootopia, but my personal pick for upset and film that should win is Kubo and the Two Strings.
Best Supporting Actress
Who deserves it: Nicole Kidman, Lion
Who's the favorite: Viola Davis, Fences
So this category is pretty much locked up for Viola Davis as she's going at 1/50 in Vegas. You heard that right. 1/50. Next closest is Michelle Williams, who's going at 14-1. Now let me just say that I LOVED Viola Davis's performance-it's one of the best of the year, and you can expect to see it on my Third Annual Awesome Actor Awards at the end of this week. But you can also expect to see Kidman's name in front of Davis's. I absolutely adored this grounded and emotional performance from Kidman. She was able to emotionally destroy me with just a few looks, and to me she was the central foundation in what was one of my favorite movies of the year. As much as I know she doesn't really stand a chance to win this award, it doesn't change the fact that I absolutely loved this performance. Can't wait to gloat about it some more later this week! That said, Viola Davis is definitely my second-favorite name on this list, and certainly deserves her first Oscar win so I will not complain for a second when her name is called. She's definitely more in need of an Oscar than Nicole Kidman is right now.
Best Supporting Actor
Who deserves it: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Who's the favorite: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
While I may disagree on Supporting Actress, I EASILY agree on Supporting Actor. Mahershala Ali put in EASILY the best performance from an actor this year with his portrayal as the drug dealer Juan from Moonlight. His character and Naomie Harris have one of the most emotional moments in cinema this year between the two of them, and this sequence netted both of them Oscar nominations and pretty much sealed it for Ali. It is a jaw-dropping and gut-wrenching exchange, and it's one of several great moments Ali has throughout the early stages of this film. He is incredible, and certainly deserving of this award. Vegas seems to agree with me, as Ali is currently going at 1/7 while Dev Patel is next at a distant 6-1. Expect to hear Ali's name called next Sunday!
Who deserves it: Emma Stone, La La Land
Who's the favorite: Emma Stone, La La Land
You know, I initially thought this one was gonna be a toss-up between Emma Stone and Natalie Portman for her role in Jackie, but Stone has won nearly every acting award imaginable in the lead-up to the Oscars, so she's currently going at 1/6 in Vegas, with Portman way behind her at 5-1. You know, I've been a huge fan of Emma Stone since waaaaaay back in 2009 with Zombieland. She has definitely become the biggest young actress in Hollywood, and she will likely be walking away from the Academy Awards with her first well-deserved Oscar. To me, she deserves it just for the "Audition" sequence alone, which rivals, in my opinion, the iconic "I Dreamed a Dream" segment from 2013's Les Misérables. If Anne Hathaway deserved an Oscar because of that sequence and literally only that sequence, Stone deserves one here because she has that plus an entire rest of the film. I'm not going to lie-this is my favorite performance of 2016-so I will definitely be rooting for Emma Stone come Oscar night!
Who deserves it: Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Who's the favorite: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Is it sad that I want to give this award to Garfield primarily because he was so good in Silence and should've been nominated for that? This was not a great year for the Best Actor category-which is obvious given the totally out-of-left-field nomination of Viggo Mortensen-and while Affleck is the favorite at 4/7 with Denzel Washington just behind him at 11/8 (he flew into second on this when he won the SAGs award) I will not say Affleck is deserving because of his past and I really didn't think Washington was all that great. He was basically playing himself. I did like Ryan Gosling, and I think he actually has a pretty good shot at dark-horsing this because I think he and Affleck split the vote at the SAGs to let Washington win, but at the end of the day I will say Garfield deserves it simply because of how good a year he did had. But honestly? It's anyone's game. Who knows maybe Mortensen will win just because the Academy remembered it somehow hasn't handed this great actor an Oscar yet. This is easily the most interesting category of the Oscars this year, despite its lack of truly memorable performances, but I would expect it to be a toss-up between Affleck, Washington, and Gosling. Anyone but Casey Affleck, please.....
Who deserves it: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Who's the favorite: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Could it be any other way? I'm gonna stand and cheer when Chazelle's name is finally called at the end of the night for Best Director. His meteoric rise in Hollywood will be complete. It's an incredibly deserving win as well, as he, like his film, was EASILY the best thing to happen to Hollywood in 2016. Vegas agrees, as he's going at 1/25, with the next closest being Barry Jenkins (who's awesome, by the way) at 12-1. Much as I love Barry Jenkins, this one is definitely Chazelle's to lose. It would be the upset of the century if anyone's name is called by Chazelle's.
Who deserves it: La La Land
Who's the favorite: La La Land
If you've been reading all the way to this point, well...first off, thank you, but second off, does this surprise you? It shouldn't. This would give La La Land its 11th Oscar if the Academy votes strictly by my "who deserves it" category, which they totally do. Right? But hopefully by this point you see it has a real shot at 12, and I will be so excited if it's sitting at 11 after Chazelle wins Best Director. Because right now Vegas has La La Land at 1/10 to win, with the next-closest film (Moonlight) coming in at 7-1. While we may not be sure whether La La Land is actually gonna pull out the Oscar record, one thing can be said with about as much certainty as I can say it with: La La Land is walking away with a deserving Best Picture. It will mark just the second time in the last 10 years that my top film for the year actually wins Best Picture, (Argo was the other to do it) so I'm very excited about that. There are a lot of La La Land haters out there nowadays, but you have to admit it: if a film has a lot of "haters" that means it's great enough to get people to come out against it. There were several other great films to be released in 2016, but in my opinion one film rose above the rest in a truly spectacular fashion. And that film will walk away with Best Picture come Oscar Sunday.
Well, that does it! Thanks for joining me on this journey to preview this year's wonderful Oscars! My work is far from done: expect to see my Favorite Movie Moments coming up tomorrow, with Biggest Disappointments the day after that, as well as a special from my dear friend Peter Kosanovich taking a look at the best animated features had to offer throughout 2016. Then later this week I will be posting my Third Annual Awesome Actors Awards, and then will conclude the year with my Worst and Best Movies of 2016! I'll see ya next time!
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TOsrfNm8wdw/WGExf6r8VwI/AAAAAAAAGHQ/gIjd_lQcwQwHJVwha55SF9M5x9fA9wKjQCLcB/s1600/kimmel_homepage-gold_nofyc.png (Oscar banner)
https://d35fkdjhhgt99.cloudfront.net/static/use-media-items/48/47382/full-1382x2048/587a5198/1.jpeg (La La Land)
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Surprise! They do know about diversity!
It's the most wonderful time of the year. It's Oscar season! Another year has come and gone, and now it's time to look back at the best Hollywood had to offer. You know, I was struggling back in the dog days of summer. I will touch on it more as I look back on the year myself, but this year's summer blockbuster season was TERRIBLE. It shows this year, as the visual effects category, a category usually reserved for the best of the summer blockbusters, had exactly one film from the summer season in its list. And that film was the live-action The Jungle Book remake so we're not exactly in the cream of the crop there. But the weak summer blockbuster season was more than made up for in Oscar season, with some strong entries headlined, of course, by La La Land. You can check out my review of it here, where I called it the best film I have ever reviewed on this blog, and if you know me at all you'd know I'm not even remotely surprised by its record-setting 14 nominations. But let's jump into it because I'll have more on that shortly!
For those who are new to this, this post is just some thoughts on my immediate reactions to the nominees. My comprehensive guide to the 2017 Oscars, where I go through each category and talk about who I think should win and who will win based on Vegas odds, will drop February 19th, so stay tuned! I have a lot of work to do between now and then.
Big Winners: La La Land, Mel Gibson, Manchester by the Sea, Diversity
The clear and obvious winner of this year's Oscars nominee list is La La Land. It's hardly surprising-Hollywood loves a good love letter to itself-but it's also a deserving one. Very rare do you realize you are watching a cultural phenomenon in the moment. Often you realize the true impact of a film long after it's release, which has led to some pretty amazing snubs over the years. (Most famous of which would likely be How Green Was My Valley beating out The Maltese Falcon and Citizen Kane in 1942) But that's not the case this year. La La Land is an instant classic, and there's no doubt it will be looked back on as one of, if not the, top films of this decade. It's sure to win Best Picture, and will definitely have a legitimate chance to break the nearly 60 year-old record for most Oscars won by a single film. (The record is 11 wins and is held by 1969's Ben-Hur, 1997's Titanic, and 2003's Lord of the Rings: Return of the King)
Now let's talk about the not-so-obvious! First and foremost, wow did Hacksaw Ridge have a great day. The film pulled out a surprising six nominations, including a Best Director nomination for Gibson himself. It's hard for me to be excited about the prospect of Gibson being "back" in Hollywood, after all I still haven't forgotten the disgusting anti-Semitic comments he's made in the past, but it looks like Hollywood is excited about it. But we'll see if those nominations turn into actual wins for Hacksaw Ridge. I'm not holding my breath too much.
Another big winner of this year's Oscar nominees is Manchester By the Sea. Initially premiering at Sundance way back in January, I thought Manchester By the Sea was going to receive an acting nomination for Casey Affleck and that's it, but instead it pulled away with a whooping six nominations, including for Best Director and Best Picture. I haven't seen this one yet but I hope it can live up to the hype now.
Finally, the elephant in the room: after two years of repeated #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the Academy surprised even me and gave a record six nominations to people of color in the acting categories, including three in an absolutely stacked Best Supporting Actress category. The Academy even handed out its fourth ever Best Director nomination to a person of color, a well-deserving nod for Barry Jenkins's masterful work in Moonlight. Which is a must-see and my second-favorite film of the year so far, by the way. Were it not for Damien Chazelle, this would even be my favorite, but unfortunately for Moonlight and many other films this year, La La Land exists, and La La Land is primed to run the table.
Big Surprises: Michael Shannon, Arrival, Meryl Streep
There really aren't that many surprises to speak of this year, but there were a few that stuck out. First off, Nocturnal Animals was a film worth avoiding but director/fashion designer Tom Ford has a lot of sway in Hollywood so I figured it would get a nomination. However, I assumed that nomination would be for Aaron Taylor-Johnson so when I saw Michael Shannon's name listed instead of his I almost jumped out of my seat. I don't think either deserve a nomination, but the acting was definitely the best part of Nocturnal Animals so at least it got something here to appease Tom Ford and not something more egregious.
Another surprising film that received a lot of love from the Academy was Arrival. With six nominations, the year's strongest sci-fi film was not lost to the depths of time in what has overall been one of the most disappointing years for the genre in recent memory. I loved this film, and it will certainly be in my top 5 for the year, but I was certainly shocked to see the film got as much love from the Academy as it did.
I was also surprised to see Meryl Streep receive a nomination. There's little doubt the Academy was emboldened by her speech and a certain someone's childish response to it, and gave her this nomination out of spite, but in the process it cost two far more deserving actresses a nomination between Annette Benning for 20th Century Women and Amy Adams for Arrival. On the bright side, though, this is Streep's 20th Oscar nomination, which further increases her lead for most nominations for an actor or actress in Oscar history. So I think it's safe to say she is anything but overrated.
UPDATE 1/25: Just watched Hidden Figures, and I can safely say that Taraji P. Henson was snubbed as well. Just goes to show how strong the Best Actress category is this year!
Big Losers: 20th Century Women, Silence, The Nice Guys, Peter Berg
Overall this year's Oscar nominations are far more contained than most years. That tends to happen when six films have forty-eight nominations between them. As a result, there are a LOT of unfortunate snubs. By FAR the biggest loser this year is 20th Century Women. A film which had a lot of press going into the nominations, all 20th Century Women has to show for its hard work is a single nomination. I thought this film was in for an easy Best Actress nomination (and maybe even win, but that category is stacked this year) for Annette Benning, and a Best Picture nomination. I mean I don't know why it didn't receive one since the Academy does have ten slots to fill for Best Picture, but ever since it expanded that field from five to ten it's never had ten nominations. What's with that, Academy?
Another big loser is Silence. The latest from acclaimed director Martin Scorsese, Silence seemed to get caught in all the noise leading up to the nominations, so while it is a loser, it didn't surprise me as much as 20th Century Women's snubbing did. I haven't seen Silence yet, and I look forward to it since Scorsese is my favorite director in Hollywood right now, but after his last film (The Wolf of Wall Street) received five Oscar nominations, I was very surprised to see Silence receive only one.
Finally, you have the films that missed out on the party altogether. While everyone is talking about Deadpool's lack of love, I am far more shocked by The Nice Guys goose egg. Easily the best film of 2016 that no one saw, I thought for sure The Nice Guys was going to be this year's Grand Budapest Hotel or Mad Max and sneak in with at least a few nominations. Like screenplay, at least! But instead, nothing. And yes, it does suck that Deadpool wasn't nominated either, but c'mon. The Nice Guys was much better, and it was a made-for-Academy-voters kind of film.
Finally, also in the realm of goose eggs, is the surprising snubbing of all things Peter Berg-related. Berg had two high-flying, high-emotion films based on recent traumatic events in Deepwater Horizon and Patriot's Day, but all he has to show for his hard work is a throwaway sound editing nomination. Personally, I didn't think either of these films deserved any nominations, but I figured given the amount of money they made, the amount of stars that were in both of them, and their explosive and emotional subject material that would make them easy targets to gobble up nominations.
Well, there you have it! My first reaction to this year's Oscar nominations! Hope you enjoyed and I will be back soon with my look back at 2016 and actual preview of the upcoming Oscars. DEUCES!
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jos1JK8EgxU/VtTGDI4PquI/AAAAAAAAPLI/_4P-8ueXUbs/s1600/2017-Oscars-89th-Academy-Awards.jpg (2017 Oscars)
http://static.rogerebert.com/uploads/blog_post/primary_image/interviews/you-cant-play-a-symbol-michael-shannon-on-nocturnal-animals/primary_Michael-Shannon-2016.png (Michael Shannon)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4385888/mediaviewer/rm511639808 (20th Century Women)
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