I Don’t Have A Vote: The 90th Annual Oscars – Great Year for Film, Not Politics

90th Annual Oscars – A Great Year for Film, Not Politics

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The year 2017 in movies is as good of an experience as I have ever had. So good, in fact, that a fairly good Star Wars film isn’t even touching the top 10. This means that more than a few of these great films will also be passed over for Oscars. More even than usual. Still, they have come out with a decent set of nominations. By percentage as good as anything they’ve had before.

Ironically, Jimmy Kimmel has become quite the actor himself. Turning in his Johnny Carson card, he became a straight up activist in the tiring #resist movement, where people ignore the idea of thinking and instead and just complain about a man many considered a joke before he was elected.

This is not a political post. We have enough of that. I just want to say I used to watch the Kimmel show nightly, but now #resist because comedians shouldn’t cry routinely on stage. Last year I looked for Kimmel to save us from the likes of Meryl Streep. This year I hope the quality of films can be the major topic, saving us from any of the politics.

As I do every year, I celebrate the idea that I can only vote with my dollars and my text. I will give everyone my take on who I would have win the awards. Less often this year, it will be someone who isn’t on the board, and that is okay. This follows with who I think should win of the nominees. New this year will be the category “Don’t Belong.”

I hope you find some way to enjoy some movies that may not be mentioned at all tonight.

 

Best Film:

What an incredible year. I, Tonya, The Big Sick, IT, Dunkirk, Lady Bird, Spider-Man Homecoming, GOTG2, Beauty and the Beast, Get Out and Logan all got the highest rating. Baby Driver and Wonder, though neither perfect, I liked even more than some of those.

Of these Lady Bird is the film that rises to the top. It’s a combination of things that makes it so. Mostly, it’s that Greta Gerwig understands several of the little things that go to make up a life. It can be sweet, even when it hurts just to breathe. Ronan is fast becoming the best actor of our time and Metcalf and Letts provide an unflinchingly real depiction of parenthood.

Of the nominees:

Lady Bird in a tight race. Get Out is an equally amazing film debut for Peele. I think both of them will be around for a long time. Dunkirk is a great film, but how many WWII films will we see in this category? Well, there’s also the Darkest Hour.

Don’t belong:

Call Me by Your Name isn’t even the best film in the niche category. It’s actually a long form version of near pedophilia, which for some reason the Academy wants to celebrate. God’s Own Country would more closely qualify as art. Even with a great title, it’s more Jail Bait than Oscar Bait. The Post was strictly released to get Spielberg, Streep and Hanks within spitting distance of the awards. It’s a story that was done better the first time in All The President’s Men. Three Billboards is the closest to an average film, with as many flaws as positives. So it’s likely to win

 

 

Best Director:

This is another win for Gerwig. Her lens is so kind, it captures the delightful, the wicked, the mundane and the tragic without manipulation. She’s got incredible skill and an understanding that a good, emotionally gripping story is not borne from sentimentality alone.

Of the nominees:

Gerwig and Jordan Peele will be in this category several more times in the coming years, if I have my way. But then, Jeff Nichols would already have at least one of these if that were the case. Nolan is a master, but as good as this is, this isn’t even his best film.

Doesn’t belong:

PT Anderson gets by on the grace of working on Daniel Day Lewis’ supposed last film. It’s such a slow film, I am sure it will go in his collection of films that no one watched more than once, if at all.

 

Best Actor:

The best performance this year is a tight one for me. Hugh Jackman had a great year, with The Greatest Showman and Logan. On the latter film, he does the near impossible in creating an unbreakable character who is finally driven to the point of breaking. His work with Stewart is some of the best of both of their careers. He should have been rewarded for this.

Of the nominees:

Oldman is the best of this field, though Kaluuya is very good as a man whose reality cracks over a wild weekend with “enlightened” folks.

Doesn’t belong:

Chalamet is there for some genuinely strange reasons, especially considering the #metoo movement.

Best Actress:

Ronan is great in a good category. She understands more about her characters than most method actors. She’s on a roll after last year’s Brooklyn.

Of the nominees:

Ronan is likely to lose this category. If she does, I hope it’s to Hawkins with her remarkable turn in The Shape of Water. I would even take Robbie. She’s incredible in a role that defines “Thankless.”

Doesn’t belong:

Streep. Enough already. She’s a middle-aged woman in the 70’s who looks tense while deciding to reveal Republicans are bad. What a stretch.

Best Supporting Actor:

Patrick Stewart, and it isn’t even close. His senile Charles Xavier reverberates with such sad power, the memory is hard to shake. Comic book film acting rarely gets this kind of good.

Of the nominees:

Woody Harrelson is excellent in Three Billboards… . He really steals the show. This would be a great time to acknowledge his performance. They won’t though. Rockwell is good, but he’s really the worst in this category.

Doesn’t belong:

I can’t say there are any that shouldn’t be here.

Best Supporting Actress:

Laurie Metcalf as the overworked, overstressed and totally in touch mother in Lady Bird is the kind of performance that everyone who saw on Roseanne for so many years. She deserves this.

Of the nominees:

This may be the best category overall. There are so many great performances here. I still like Metcalf overall, but Janney or Manville could win and it wouldn’t feel like a cheat. Spencer is even great here.

Doesn’t belong:

They all deserve to be here.

Best Original Screenplay:

This is a tight race for me. The Big Sick is the best comedy of the year, and the best romance. Get Out is a once in a generation thriller. Lady Bird is the best movie of the year by a (beautiful) nose. I have to go with Get Out for the win here. It’s as well written a mandate about liberals taking their position as enlightenment as I have seen.

Of the nominees:

If any of the three I mentioned win, I am cool.

Doesn’t belong:

Three Billboards… is a British man’s approximation of what middle America. He’s wrong.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Logan is incredibly powerful in its ability to show hope in the light of gruesome reality. It’s literally this year’s version of the little girl handing a flower to Frankenstein. Only this time, it’s the ones with pitchforks wanting to kill the little girl.

Of the nominees:

Logan, followed not so closely by Molly’s Game.

Doesn’t belong:

Call Me By Your Name. It’s just creepy, even if it has a great title.

Best Cinematography:

Another great category. I loved Blade Runner, but I think the best technical proficiency exhibited in every respect this year was with Baby Driver. Bill Pope’s camera work synched perfectly with the superb sound editing for the best overall viewing experience.

Of the nominees:

Deakins, just barely over van Hoytema for Dunkirk. Let’s not forget Lausten with the Shape of Water, though.

Doesn’t belong:

Darkest Hour was fine, but there is really nothing I remember about that film outside of Oldman’s performance.

 

Sound / Film Editing:

Both categories belong hands down to Baby Driver. Regardless of who else is nominated. This film is incredibly rewatchable and it’s all because of the most skillful editing I have ever seen outside of The Empire Strikes Back.

Of the nominees:

Baby Driver

Doesn’t belong:

Anything besides Baby Driver.

I didn’t watch any of the animated features this year. I will spare you my opinion that Pixar should win again.

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