It’s this time of the year again! My favourite award show, which motivates me to watch many films in a short time. I’ve never managed to watch all of the films nominated for ‘best picture’, I was, however, really close this year. I’ve watched 5 out of 9 and I got to say this was certainly not a wasted time. Like every year I write my predictions and later maybe live commentary (if I had the strength, after all the show starts at 2 a.m. of my local time…). I want to comment on some films too, so spoiler alert!
To start with, this year’s nominated films are all really good. They are quite different in topics, mood and purpose, but they are quite nice to watch – some once, some many times. Among the films I know I will watch often is La La Land – if you look at it objectively, it’s actually a quite mediocre romcom-musical with too much sweetness in it; yet is has somehow that makes you keep watching it and also wanting to watch it again immediately after it ends. Also the songs stay with you – maybe they are the key to this film’s success? No idea, but it’s a modern fairy-tale saying you should always follow your dreams and that’s also something we missed in out cinemas for at least couple of years.
Second film I consider the best was Manchester by the Sea. Remember this ranking is my own opinion – I understand that probably the film I write about below is in many ways better or more suitable for mass audiences, but drama is one of my favourite genres. Very sad Uncle Lee, an acting masterpiece by Casey Affleck, is trying his best to fit in a new role, but fails, as it often happens in life. One of the reason I value this film so much is the lack of classical happy ending. They rarely happen in reality and this film plot seems more plausible to happen to someone we know.
Third film, which I predict will get the ‘best picture’ statue, is Hacksaw Ridge. Part of me really wants this film to have this Oscar, because it is really a beautifully made film. Authentic story, great main character, the nonsense and brutality of war – it’s all where is should be. Even though war films are my second least favourite genre to watch (right after horrors), I loved this one. Mel Gibson really deserved to be recognised for it, as it’s not only entertaining, but also makes you think – that’s what you should be looking in a good film and you certainly find it here.
Next one is Hidden Figures, a nice story about three black women who helped NASA send people to space. The best part of it for me is how the segregation is shown. Not intensively, not harshly, but normally. We can see how easy it was for white people to believe and maintain their status quo as dominant race, how they could show their disrespect not only in big issues like sitting place in a bus or separate bathroom, but even smaller things, like a separate coffee pot. This was exactly how I imagine the segregation was shown in everyday life of average men. Apart from that the film is entertaining and makes you learn a thing or two about science, which is always a good thing. ;)
Last, but not least, Hell or High Waters, last film from the main contest I’ve watched. I… did not like it that much. Chris Pine had probably the best role of his life so far, but apart from that this film is to me just the next one-shot story that I won’t come back to ever again. I must say though, I’m not a fan of westerns, bank robberies and chasing criminals. The views in the film are really good, but that’s all I liked. I honestly doubt it gets a single Oscar.
Looking at all films nominated in all categories, I’ve also watched Florence Foster Jenkins, which was quite funny, but made me sad after the end. I’ve started to wonder if it’s morally good to lie to someone for their whole life to save them from pain, knowing that person already feels a lot of it. I could not find the answer to that question so far. Also, no award here as well.
A film I really liked with only one nomination is Nocturnal Animals. I doubt it wins, but the film is really worth watching. It’s rather dark and, well, heavy, certainly to watch once. But they are films that, I think, are meant to only be seen once, such as Requiem for a Dream. This is similar in the mood, although the story is entirely different.
I’ve watch also Suicide Squad, nominated for Makeup and Hairstyling. I really hope it wins, as I’m not a fan of Star Trek. :P From the Visual Effects category I’ve watched Rogue One and Doctor Strange and I would like Marvel to finally get some statues. Doctor Strange is like a more vast-audience-Inception and the effects are really spectacular there. In Rogue One we couldn’t see anything we haven’t already seen in previous Star Wars films.
I’ve also watched the short films and short animated films – you can find them online, some on Youtube, some on different websites. The one animated shorts that was especially worth mentioning is Borrowed Time, it was really good and I think it wins this year.
That’s all I’ve managed to watch before today. Next week, regardless of the results, I intend to watch Arrival, Lion and Moonlight. I will not watch Fences though, something’s really irritating me in this film after seeing the trailer and watching some spoiler-free reviews. If you think it’s worth seeing though, let me know (with arguments please!). :) All I can do now is pick my nominees and have some sleep before the gala. You’ll find them below. Share your picks and let me know which films you found as good as I did! :)
I’ve got 12/19 right!
Best Picture – Hacksaw Ridge
Actor in a Leading Role – Casey Affleck
Actress in a Leading Role – Natalie Portman (it’s a blind shot, but Americans love when people play famous Americans…)
Actor in a Supporting Role – Mahershala Ali (based on other awards and reviews)
Actress in a Supporting Role – Viola Davis (like above, but I would give it to Michelle Williams)
Animated Feature Film – Zootopia (guessing)
Cinematography – La La Land
Costume Design – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Directing – Hacksaw Ridge
Film Editing – La La Land
Makeup and Hairstyling – Suicide Squad
Music, Original Score – La La Land
Music, Original Song – La La Land, City of Stars
Short Film, Animated – Borrowed Time
Sound Editing – Hacksaw Ridge
Sound Mixing – Hacksaw Ridge
Visual Effects – Doctor Strange
Writing, Adapted Screenplay – Moonlight
Writing, Original Screenplay – Manchester by the Sea (fingers crossed!)