Predictable, Boring, and Montages everywhere
As usual, these thoughts come to you immediately following the Oscars, and are being written from a bedroom of my brother's condo in Las Vegas. Definitely some interesting scenery over here tonight....
Well, Oscar season has come and gone. We're at the end of the journey for 2017's year in film, and this year the journey itself ended up being far better than the destination. While I never expected anything to top last year's Oscars, this year's felt very safe and predictable, as almost every favorite took home their respective categories. Don't get me wrong: I loved The Shape of Water. It was in my top films of the year. But winning over films like Get Out and Lady Bird and Call Me by Your Name and Phantom Thread (though I'll admit that last one is there solely because it's my personal top film of 2017).....really? That's what we're going to go with? The Shape of Water? OSCAR. That's really going to be 2017's poster child film? Is that right? Ugh.... There's very little doubt in my mind that 20 years from now we'll look back at this year's Oscars and do nothing but scratch our heads. The Academy had a real chance to show that they were changing through and through by giving this award to something like Get Out, and it let it slip out of its fingers. Hey: at least it wasn't Three Billboards, right? Don't look at Oscar....he's still mad The Greatest Showman didn't get a Best Picture nod. Ha.
I almost feel bad that I'm dissing The Shape of Water so much. It's an amazing film, don't get me wrong! But.....it just hits all the right notes for the traditional Academy voter, and for a group that is trying to convince people that it's not just a bunch of old white dudes that are out-of-touch with society, handing Best Picture to that film will not go about solving those issues. Is it a more interesting choice than usual? Sure. But we had a very unique list of nominees this year with a lot of films that broke new ground, so within this list outside of the obvious Oscar-bait of something like Darkest Hour, picking something like The Shape of Water feels like a "crowd-pleasing" choice. However, compared to some of the other awards given out, Best Picture seems saint-like. There were two TERRIBLE and out-of-touch decisions made by the Academy Oscar Sunday that were incredibly frustrating, especially in the wake of the #TimesUp movement: Gary Oldman and Kobe Bryant. Two men accused of SEXUAL ASSAULT in some shape or form can now proudly say they've won an Oscar in the height of what's supposed to be a new era. While Dear Basketball was almost laughed at by critics for being nothing but an ego-stroking animated short, the major star power behind it still allowed it to topple the Pixar dynasty and win best animated short, despite Kobe's sketchy past. And Best Actor. UGH Best Actor! WTF are you doing, Oscar?? All the great names in that category, and still you give it to freaking Gary Oldman for his quintessential Oscar-bait performance, all while ignoring his equally sketchy past? Give me a break, guys. That's like Bruno Mars winning Album of the Year at the GRAMMYs over the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Lorde. Oh waaaaaaaait......
I'm also a little frustrated that Lady Bird, the symbolic representation of the #TimesUp movement, walked away empty-handed but I couldn't really figure out a way to incorporate that into the previous paragraph so here's me complaining about it now.
That said, there were some bright spots. Frances McDormand EASILY won the night with her powerful acceptance speech. She wasn't my choice for the category, but asking the women of the audience to stand and be recognized and get their projects financed was extremely powerful. (Equally powerful? How few actually stood) It was the highlight of the night for sure. And, once again, the "In Memoriam" was terrific, and Eddie Veddar's cover of Tom Petty's "Room at the Top" certainly gave me some chills. (Pay attention, GRAMMYs) The original songs were all pretty darn good. Sufjan Stevens easily won the night here with his chilling rendition of "Mystery of Love." Though of COURSE his song got cut for time while "This is Me" got to do whatever the F it wanted. Figures. Mary J. Blige and Andra Day were awesome, too. I just wish Common didn't have to rap over Andra Day. Yes, I appreciate his relevant cultural messages, but he is SO pretentious. Day is singing her heart out and then Common has to come in and be all like LOOK AT ME. WHEE. I laughed at Jimmy Kimmel's bit in heading over to the Chinese Theater, (that dude mispronouncing Tiffany Haddish's name was the best part of it) but a LOT of people on social media were rolling their eyes there, so that joke didn't land with most. I can understand why: the Oscars went almost 40 minutes over time, so having a long joke like that didn't help things.
Though, speaking of going over time, I get that this is the 90th Academy Awards, but did we really need 37 film montages? That really seemed excessive, and by the Best Actor/Actress montages, even I was rolling my eyes and yelling at them to get on with it. Many (myself included) just look at that as ego-stroking from the Academy, (they can hide it behind "thanking the moviegoer" all they want, but that's all it was) and making up for it by cutting off the acceptance speech of the Best Picture winner (I couldn't tell which producer that was that got cut off, but boy was he mad that he couldn't say anything worthwhile) is not the way to cut down on time. Cut off a few montages, and let the winners have their moment. (I wasn't a big fan of that Jimmy Kimmel bit about giving a jet ski to the shortest speech, either.) Though, I will say, that #TimesUp tribute was the best moment of the night that wasn't Frances McDormand. Let's get more of those interviews and fewer montages, shall we?
Let's talk about a few of the winners I was happy about. ROGER FREAKING DEAKINS. That man FINALLY won his first Oscar! Only took the legendary cinematographer 14 tries to do it, but I will not lie I stood up and cheered when his name was called. I was also really happy for James Ivory, who was behind the wonderful screenplay for Call Me by Your Name. Fun fact: James Ivory became the oldest person ever to win an Oscar when he took this award home. And, of course, I was equally happy to see Jordan Peele walk home with an Oscar for his Get Out screenplay. It is so nice that we can now say "Oscar winner Jordan Peele."
I do have to take a second and express disappointment with some of the choices in the technical categories. I was REALLY hoping that Baby Driver would topple the behemoth known as Dunkirk, but at least it lost to one of the best films ever made from a technical standpoint. I was also disappointed with the Original Score category. I loved the score to The Shape of Water, (it was a top 5 score for me) but it was nowhere near as good as Johnny Greenwood's score for Phantom Thread, as well as Hans Zimmer's score to Blade Runner 2049, represented in the category by Dunkirk. But, hey! At least "Remember Me" beat out "This is Me" for Best Original Song, so there's that, right? Finally, we have to talk about possibly the biggest disappointment of the night that isn't controversial: Visual Effects. Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME? Yes, Blade Runner 2049 had some marvelous effects. (Particularly surrounding the character Joi-her sex scene apparently took a year to produce because of the effects) But.....once again, the Planet of the Apes franchise reboot, which is pioneering the art of motion capture right now, walks away without a visual effects award for its efforts. How has that trilogy gone 0 for 3 at the Oscars?? It's mind-boggling to me. Then again I thought Dunkirk had the best visual effects of 2017, so what do I know right?
There's really not much else to say about this year's Oscars. It was just kind of there, and overall it was pretty boring. It was the lowest watched Oscars ever, and frankly I can understand why. However, I'm excited about the future of the business in Hollywood. The year's list of nominees were awesome, and they'll continue to get better. Someone like Greta Gerwig may have walked away empty-handed this year, but there's no doubt she'll be back. As will people like Timothée Chalamet, Daniel Kaluuya, Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan, Rachel Morrison, Johnny Greenwood, and Kumail Nanjiani/Emily V. Gordon. They all represent a new wave of talent in Hollywood that the industry hasn't seen in a while. They may not have had their talents recognized this year, but as time goes on this new wave that represents acceptance and diversity and bold new ideas will start to outnumber the old farts that have sat comfortably in their seats of power, voting for the easy and predictable choices for these categories, for years. There's no doubt in my mind that the east wind of new Hollywood is upon us. It's time to bundle up, Academy.
My Number: 4/10
And with that, another year comes to a close. It's been a wild ride here at Enter the Movies. Overall, I felt like 2017 was the strongest year I've seen for film since I started my blog in 2013. I'll be thinking about films like Phantom Thread, I, Tonya, Dunkirk, Call Me by Your Name, and Lady Bird for years to come. As for right now, though, it's about 1:30 AM on the east coast (it doesn't sound as dramatic when I remind you that it's merely 10:30 PM in Vegas. Don't forget I write this immediately following the Oscars ceremony) so my most immediate thought is about how nice this bed I've been leaning on for the better part of 2 hours looks. So, once again, thank you SO MUCH for joining me on this wild ride, friends. Can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for us. DEUCES!
https://media.giphy.com/media/3o6Zt59VpAzKf1r7zi/giphy.gif (Greta Gerwig gif)
By: Joseph Kathmann with a special contribution in the animated features section from Peter Kosanovich
It's Oscar season! My favorite time of year, and I'm glad it's in full swing. This year's batch of Oscar nominees were a pretty solid overall list, (check out my initial reactions here) but now it's time to talk about my favorites within each category. So sit back, take notes, (least with the "who's the favorite" part....the "who deserves it" section doesn't mean much) and enjoy my complete list of predictions for the 2018 Academy Awards!
As usual, this list goes in reverse alphabetical order, (up through the acting/directing/picture awards) and each award has two picks: a "who deserves it" pick, which is my favorite in the category, and a "who's the favorite" pick, which is based off Vegas odds found at this site. Those guys out in Vegas look at who won at the awards shows preceding the Oscars and do have a pretty good success rate, so if you want to win your local Oscar pool, take a look at those. See? Being way too into this has its benefits, right?
Writing: Original Screenplay
Writing: Adapted Screenplay
Short FIlm, Live Action
Short Film, Animated
Makeup and Hairstyling
Foreign Language Film
Best Supporting Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Well, friends, there you have it! My complete predictions for this year's Academy Awards! Hope you enjoyed the ride. While I do have way more fun than I should writing these predictions, I think it's important to remember that, at the end of the day, these awards do not matter. I can barely remember who won Best Actress in 2017, (It was Emma Stone. I remembered after about 20 seconds. I know who won Best Actor because he was accused of sexual harassment and poor Brie Larson, who won for portraying an abused woman the year prior, had to hand him the award. Least Casey Affleck won't be presenting this year!) and I'll be saying the same thing next year. It's all for fun. Just.....don't give the award for Best Actor to Gary Oldman, PLEASE. Let's not go 2 straight years with giving Best Actor to men with questionable pasts, can we? Please? Thank you. Anyway, thanks for reading, guys. Y'all rock! My full recap of 2017 will continue tomorrow with my favorite movie moments of the year, so stay tuned!
http://www.oscars.org/sites/oscars/files/styles/news_image_default/public/jimmyannouncement_website.jpg.jpeg?itok=kxquMKR5 (Jimmy Kimmel)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMjUxMDQwNjcyNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzcwMzc0MTI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_.jpg (Get Out poster)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BNDk3NTEwNjc0MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzYxNTMwMzI@._V1_.jpg (Call Me by Your Name poster)
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https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMDI0NzU2MmItZTI5OS00OWJhLWJlNWMtNzFmNjdiZTNjYjk1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQ4MTc4OTM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,671,1000_AL_.jpg (DeKalb Elementary poster)
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https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BNzA1Njg4NzYxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODk5NjU3MzI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_.jpg (Blade Runner 2049 poster)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMWJkNzBkM2UtYWFlMC00NmEwLTgxOGUtMjVmMzYyZjgyMmEzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjM4NTM5NDY@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,677,1000_AL_.jpg (Phantom Thread poster)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMjIyNDkyMTgzMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTQwNjg2MzI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_.jpg (Darkest Hour poster)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BNGJhNWM4ZjItYWRhYS00N2UzLTg3OWItOGEzOWFmMGQ1ZjlkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTMxODk2OTU@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,677,1000_AL_.jpg (A Fantastic Woman poster)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMjQ4ODY3Njk4OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzkzMjU2NDM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,658,1000_AL_.jpg (Edith + Eddie poster)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMjQyNjUyMzkwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODkyOTg1MzI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_.jpg (Faces Places poster)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMTc2MzI2NDE0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTYwMTY5MzI@._V1_.jpg (Allison Janney in I, Tonya)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMmQzMDcwNmYtN2Y2Zi00OWNiLWEwNmQtMTA0NDAzZDQ2ZGFlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTk1MzcwNTI@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_.jpg (Richard Jenkins in The Shape of Water)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BOGM0NzE2MTUtYTk3Mi00YjhiLTgxODEtZjBlZmU1ZWIxNDk0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDg2MjUxNjM@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_.jpg (Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water)
https://s.abcnews.com/images/Entertainment/levy-gerwig-ladybird-ht-mem-180202_4x3_992.jpg (Greta Gerwig)
A really solid list with just a few faults
We are now in the height of the most wonderful time of the year, better known as Oscar season, and the Academy has finally released their much-anticipated list of nominees. While it is important to remember at the end of the day these don't matter, (the only thing that matters is Enter the Movies film awards, after all! Right? Guys?) and we just get hyped up about the Oscars for fun, I must admit: I'm pretty impressed with this year's nominees. While there are a few glaring snubs (more on those later) I think overall this is a well rounded, diverse group of nominees. Unlike with the Globes, there weren't any major categories that made me throw my arms up in the air and question everything I know about everything. (Oh ya, getting deep over here) The Shape of Water led the way with 13 nominations, which I am ok with. That film has continued to grow on me since I first saw it, and will find itself a deserving place well within my top ten best movies of 2017 list. It's a great film worthy of 13 nominees, and I hope this Oscar love boosts its sales in the process. I wasn't too thrilled that Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri received a bunch of nominations too, but I'm pretty confident that the momentum it has right now through the early part of awards season will wane as we get closer to Oscar Sunday. There have been some issues raised with this film's take on race, and for good reason. I wouldn't be too surprised if Sam freaking Rockwell wins Best Supporting Actor and that's it for the movie come Oscar Sunday. Anyway, let's talk about the winners, losers, and the more perplexing moments of this year's Oscar list!
For those that don't know, this post is just some immediate reactions to the list of nominees. Enter the Movies will continue its coverage of 2017 cinema with more film reviews in the upcoming weeks, as well as a comprehensive look back at the year for film. And look for my annual comprehensive guide to the 2018 Oscars to drop on February 25th, so stay tuned!
Big Winners: Lady Bird, Get out, Music, #MeToo
Let's start with my favorite thing about this entire list: Lady Bird. The little directorial debut from my spirit animal, Greta Gerwig, snagged five Oscar nominations, including Gerwig's (ironically) first ever Oscar nods in both directing and original screenplay. I loved this movie so much, and am beyond thrilled to see it receive some very deserving Oscar love. I'm not going to lie: I may (or may not) have let out a quick scream when I saw Gerwig's name in the Best Director category. Gerwig is an amazing individual, and she is the reason Lady Bird has been so successful. She came from some very humble beginnings in the mumblecore movement and has worked her tail off to get to where she is now, and I could not be more happy for her!
So how about Get Out, eh? While I wasn't as big a fan of it as others are, I'm still quite happy to see what's ultimately a slasher film run away with four Oscar nominations, including the undisputed surprise of the entire list for me: Daniel Kaluuya nominated for Best Actor. After the allegations against James Franco surfaced, I was quite happy to see Kaluuya receive a Best Actor nod over him. This is a great segue to the #MeToo movement showing up in this list of nominees.....I was quite worried that there would be a mistake somewhere in this list, whether it be the Best Director category being all men, or James Franco being nominated for Best Actor, but the Academy did an excellent job having an all-around diverse group of nominees, and removing (almost) all potential missteps within the individual categories. Hopefully that continues into the Oscar ceremony itself. Also, on this note, thank GOD Ridley Scott didn't receive a Best Director nod over someone like Greta Gerwig. I still scoff at his Golden Globes nomination over someone more deserving like her. Also, speaking of the Best Director category, we can now say "Oscar Nominated Jordan Peele" and I am VERY ok with that. I'm sure he's texting Keegan right now about it.
I also want to highlight the strong music categories this year. While The Greatest Showman's "This is Me" did receive its inevitable nomination for Original Song, (I will be sad if it wins, which it probably will because it's the most popular song on the list) I was thrilled to see Sufjan Stevens "Mystery of Love" from Call Me by Your Name make the list too. I haven't dropped the review of Call Me by Your Name yet, but this film is one of my favorites of the year and "Mystery of Love" was not just my favorite song in film from 2017, it was one of my favorite songs, period. It's a beautiful and touching song. At the very least I look forward to seeing it performed at the Oscars by Stevens! We'll also have performances from Miguel, Common, and Mary J. Blige to look forward to. Those should all be great. Also, I LOVE the Best Original Score category! About the only film with a great score they missed was Blade Runner 2049, but I am very ok with the Academy only giving Hans Zimmer one Oscar nomination. Hopefully that'll increase his chances of FINALLY snagging his first ever Oscar (somehow) for Dunkirk but if Phantom Thread or The Shape of Water get called instead I wouldn't be mad. They all feature mesmerizing scores, and highlight a very strong year for music in film.
Big Losers: Wonder Woman, Hostiles, The Best Actress Category, Ross Lynch
Hey, Academy. How's it going? I have a simple, innocent question for you: Where's Wonder Woman? Go ahead, I'll wait.....I am SHOCKED by the omission of this film that had almost as much audience buzz behind it as Get Out did. The fact that Wonder Woman did not receive a single nomination is easily the biggest loser for this year's Oscar nominees. For anything! C'mon, guys! You mean to tell me that Kong: Skull Island deserved a nomination over Wonder Woman? (More on that in a bit) I'm ok that Patty Jenkins didn't get a Best Director nomination. (Even though she contributed greatly to the film's success) Much as I would've loved to have seen her name in the category, there were just too many other great directors in 2017 for her to be on that list and not feel like there was a snub elsewhere. (Who do you remove for her? Jordan Peele? You couldn't possibly convince me Jenkins deserved to be on that list over Guillermo Del Toro or Christopher Nolan.) But between visual effects and costumes and even something like original score, (I think it's safe to say Wonder Woman's theme is pretty iconic) surely there was space for it somewhere! The Academy definitely needs to take superhero films at least a little bit more seriously.
There was another no-show I was surprised by in Hostiles, mostly because of how desperate that crew was to make it awards eligible for this year's Oscars, but I haven't seen that film yet so I can't really comment about it. But, given that it opened on about 2 screens right before December 31st to be eligible, I wouldn't be surprised if they just couldn't get the "for your consideration" screeners out to the Academy in time. But there was an easy opportunity to give a distinguished Native American actor in Wes Studi a Best Supporting Actor nomination over someone like Woody Harrelson. (Three Billboards did not deserve two supporting actor nominations)
Speaking of acting categories, let's talk about the Best Actress category. Why is Meryl Streep on this list? She's the most nominated person in history, does she really need another nomination she stands no chance of winning for a character that didn't even need to be in the movie it was in? Don't get me wrong: I love Meryl Streep. And she is Meryl Streep in The Post. She's as charismatic as ever. But Best Actress this year was stacked, and giving this final slot to someone like her took away the opportunity for far more deserving actresses to be in the category. This slot could've been given to Gal Gadot for Wonder Woman. This slot could've been given to Jessica Chastain for Molly's Game. But EASILY the biggest snub by Meryl Streep's inclusion is Vicky Krieps for her career-defining role in Phantom Thread. I'm honestly at a loss for words on this one. Krieps puts in a performance as good as Daniel Day-Lewis, who's likely the favorite to win Best Actor because it's Daniel Day-Lewis, but she doesn't even get a nomination? What's up with that? Her performance in Phantom Thread will be in my top five performances of the year, and Meryl Streep's won't even make the cut. Unfortunately though, once again, Hollywood's favorite poster child gets another head-scratching nomination instead.
Speaking of snubs, let's talk about Ross Lynch for a second. I hadn't heard a peep out of the My Friend Dahmer camp this awards season, so I'm honestly not surprised the former Disney star wasn't nominated for his haunting performance as the future serial killer Jeff Dahmer, but this performance has resonated with me as much as any other performance has in 2017, and I wish someone, ANYONE, would give him an award or two for the role. It was something to behold. Oh well.....
Perplexing Moments: Best Animated Feature Category, Best Visual Effect Category, Darkest Hour Snags Six nominations?
What's going on in the animation category? I haven't seen that many animated movies in 2017 (hardly any, actually) but I'm smart enough to know that The Boss Baby does not deserve to be on this list. I laughed about it at the Globes, and I will laugh about it again here. Was the world of animation just that bad this year? It's also voiced by Alec Baldwin, who's been getting himself into trouble recently for saying some pretty stupid things. (He took to his foundation's Twitter account to defend Woody Allen last week for some strange and likely disgusting reason) But The Boss Baby, with it's lovely 52% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Alec Baldwin leading the way, can now call itself "Oscar Nominated The Boss Baby." Yikes. At least Loving Vincent, the world's first fully painted feature film, got a nomination. Hopefully it can beat out the Disney/Pixar powerhouse that represents itself as Coco and take home the Oscar, too.
SPEAKING OF crazy categories that make no sense whatsoever, and films that have no right to call themselves Oscar nominated, the Visual Effects category! Ohhhhhh the visual effects category. Kong: Skull Island is the real head-scratcher here. Even when you remove the fact that it snubbed a potential nomination for Wonder Woman, its effects weren't anything special. Why is it on this list? And why is Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 on this list over Wonder Woman? I guess the Academy will take Marvel superhero movies seriously, but not DC ones. Also. And this makes even less sense to me. Where's Dunkirk and The Shape of Water? This is dumbfounding. Not only did I assume these two films would make the cut, I assumed they would be the front-runners to win the entire category! The Shape of Water received a whooping 13 nominations and its entire premise is built around Sally Hawkins falling in love with a visual effects-created amphibious creature, but it doesn't deserve a visual effects nomination? Even if it was just some guy in a suit that could light up, then it should be in the Costume Design category over something like Beauty and The Beast. What happened there? And Dunkirk's calling card was its visual effects. How was that not nominated? I guess I just don't know visual effects when I see them.
Finally, let's talk about Darkest Hour. I'm all for Gary Oldman getting his Best Actor nomination, as well as makeup team. Those were inevitable, and I suspect the makeup team will walk home with that Oscar, too. But I was SHOCKED to see this film snag six (SIX?) Oscar nominations. (Hey! That's the score I gave the film too! Coincidence? I think NOT!) Including one for Best Picture. Seriously? Overall, the Best Picture category was pretty good this year. It often has at least one or two head-scratchers since they expanded the field to ten, but this year I couldn't believe that Darkest Hour made the cut for the category while the VASTLY more deserving I, Tonya did not. Where's its six nominations? Oh well. The Academy can't get them all right, right?
Well, there you have it! Hope you enjoyed reading my initial reactions to this year's Oscar nominees. Thanks, as always, for reading and I will be back soon with a look back at 2017 and more Oscars coverage. Sayonara!
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