“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Pre-Oscar thoughts 2019

Okay, time for my traditional pre-Oscars post. As you have probly gathered by now, I enjoy watching awards shows, I do not think they are too long, I do understand that they don’t represent the best of cinema, and that it doesn’t really matter that much, and I’m not offended if you don’t care about the Oscars. It’s fine, we all do what we want to do. And here’s my piece about my favorite movies of 2018, which only slightly overlap with the things that were nominated.

For those who are interested though I wanted to gather links of my reviews to the nominated movies along with who I’m rooting for in some (not all) of the categories and some other related thoughts.

Visual Effects:

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
“Christopher Robin”
FIRST MAN
READY PLAYER ONE
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY

I don’t really have an opinion on which deserves to win in this category, but I think it’s kinda funny that READY PLAYER ONE is an Oscar nominee. To be fair, SUICIDE SQUAD was a more hated movie nominated for an Oscar, and neither of these examples were undeserving. In this case, I think about all the detail in those VR scenes, and I still don’t know how they did that THE SHINING sequence. Was it on a set? I have no idea.

Costume Design:
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Mary Zophres
BLACK PANTHER, Ruth E. Carter
THE FAVOURITE, Sandy Powell
MARY POPPINS RETURNS, Sandy Powell
“Mary Queen of Scots,” Alexandra Byrne

I have felt since last February, and have not budged, that BLACK PANTHER better fuckin win this one. The gorgeous colors, the mix of influences from modern super hero to sci-fi futurism to Jack Kirby to African clothing and prints is a big part of what makes the movie special. To write it off as just normal super hero costuming would be incorrect, but also what is the fuckin deal that re-creating period clothing is always considered the highest achievement in costuming? With all due respect, doesn’t designing and constructing great super hero costumes involve more creativity and innovation with materials than those fancy gowns?



For that reason, I will be bummed if THE FAVOURITE wins, even though it’s a good movie. That would be some bullshit. In another year I would happily root for MARY POPPINS RETURNS. I’m thinking in particular of the sequence inside the China bowl, where their outfits have drawn-on details to make them fit the partially animated world.

Original Song:

“All The Stars” from BLACK PANTHER by Kendrick Lamar, SZA
“I’ll Fight” from “RBG” by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from MARY POPPINS RETURNS by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
“Shallow” from A STAR IS BORN by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice
“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

The Kendrick song is pretty good. The MARY POPPINS one made me cry. The BUSTER SCRUGGS one is great, and the one I most look forward to seeing performed live. But obviously “Shallow” is gonna win and it’s gonna deserve it. I love when a best original song is not only a good song on its own but a powerful part of the movie. There were many things I loved in A STAR IS BORN but every single time I think of it my mind first goes to that scene of triumph as she gets the unexpected chance to perform in a stadium and she overcomes her terror and knocks it out of the park. The song is integral to the movie, much like “Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from HUSTLE & FLOW, a great Oscar winner that is still sometimes ridiculed by members of the incorrectness community.

Original Score:

BLACKKKLANSMAN, Terence Blanchard
BLACK PANTHER, Ludwig Göransson
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, Nicholas Britell
“Isle of Dogs,” Alexandre Desplat
MARY POPPINS RETURNS, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

These are all worthy nominees, and I was very impressed by the retro-Disney sound of the MARY POPPINS RETURNS score. But I’m rooting for BLACK PANTHER. I have been a fan of Göransson’s scores since CREED, and this is a really interesting one that adds African percussion and instruments to his other textures, including some hip hop beats representing Killmonger’s Oakland upbringing. He toured Africa with Senegalese musician Baaba Maal, recording him and others to later combine with an orchestra and a choir singing in Xhosa. Whatever you think of a young Swedish film composer turned Grammy winning hip hop producer doing something like that, it sure makes for a distinct score that really works for the movie.

Sound Mixing:

BLACK PANTHER
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
FIRST MAN
ROMA
A STAR IS BORN

I don’t usually feel equipped to judge this, and these all seem to make sense, but I will say that having been lucky enough to see ROMA at the Cinerama, the sound design was next-level. I particularly remember during the chaos of the riots and the hospital sequence there were always sounds of things going on outside the frame that really added to the stress. You felt like you were in the middle of something huge focusing on only one part of it. A whole lot of work for a movie they knew most people would just watch on their shitty TVs and laptops.

Best Foreign Language Film:

“Capernaum” (Lebanon)
“Cold War” (Poland)
“Never Look Away” (Germany)
ROMA (Mexico)
“Shoplifters” (Japan)

This is hardly an impressive feat by normal critic’s standards, but this may be the first year I ever saw 3/5 of the Best Foreign Language Film nominees. Give me a sticker. I can’t imagine ROMA not winning, but COLD WAR and SHOPLIFTERS are both very good as well. Hopefully I will manage to review them before they leave my mind, but if not let it be known that expanding my horizons a little was worthwhile for me. I recommend it.

Cinematography:

“Cold War,” Lukasz Zal
THE FAVOURITE, Robbie Ryan
“Never Look Away,” Caleb Deschanel
ROMA, Alfonso Cuarón
A STAR IS BORN, Matthew Libatique

I expect ROMA to win. It would be deserving, and also kinda funny because genius d.p. Emmanuel Lubezki was supposed to do it but had to drop out and Cuaron, with no personal experience in that job, decided to do it himself. The emperor has no clothes! Nobody should hire cinematographers anymore.

It’s cool that THE FAVOURITE was nominated because 1) weird fish eye lenses and 2) I read that director Yorgos Lanthimos’s main point of reference to Ryan was the fucked up Austrian serial killer movie ANGST.

I believe Libatique was nominated once before (for BLACK SWAN), but it’s nice to see more acclaim for the guy who started on PI, continued working with Darren Aranofsky, but also Spike Lee (INSIDE MAN, MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA, CHI-RAQ) and comic book movies including IRON MAN, VENOM and of course JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS.

I think it’s cool that two of this year’s nominees are black and white. But IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK was robbed.

Original Screenplay:

THE FAVOURITE, Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
“First Reformed,” Paul Schrader
GREEN BOOK, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
ROMA, Alfonso Cuarón
VICE, Adam McKay

I don’t have a strong opinion on this, but FIRST REFORMED is great, and I will be reviewing it soon. Also, if THE FAVOURITE ends up winning that would be so cool for Davis, because it’s her first movie even though she wrote it twenty years ago!

Animated Feature:

“Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
“Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson
“Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
RALPH BREAKS [sic] THE INTERNET, Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

I saw all of these except MIRAI. I don’t even know what that’s about, and wouldn’t have heard of it if it wasn’t nominated, which is why I respect this category. There’s always one or two of those. I really enjoyed INCREDIBLES 2, and I love the stop motion animation of ISLE OF DOGS, but if SPIDER-VERSE doesn’t win that would probly be the biggest outrage of this year’s awards. It’s funny and inspiring and it speaks to many things going on in our contemporary pop culture and regular culture, but mostly I just think it’s an explosively innovative work of animation craftsmanship. One of the best movies of the year, regardless of medium.

Director:

Spike Lee, BLACKKKLANSMAN
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, THE FAVOURITE
Alfonso Cuarón, ROMA
Adam McKay, VICE

I’m assuming Cuaron will deservingly/anti-climactically win. I think McKay being nominated is straight up malpractice, as this category should be judged on the quality of directing, not the quantity. I feel weird about Lee’s nomination because I’m such a fan of his work since the beginning, spent years arguing with dumbfuck talkbackers about him, and still believe that even his worst movies are interesting, but also I think BLACKKKLANSMAN’s probly not even in his top half of movies. It kind of bums me out that the one where he finally gets credit for the first time in so many years is one with less of his style than usual and that consists largely of white actors saying racist shit to each other. I like the movie but I suspect it’s being honored more for timeliness and for the gutpunching real footage at the end than for the work as a whole. But also Spike is a unique genius and deserving of the career award, so what am I complaining about?

Lead Actor:

Christian Bale, VICE
Bradley Cooper (THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN), A STAR IS BORN
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
Viggo Mortensen, GREEN BOOK

This should actually be called best adapted actor, since they’re all playing real people if you consider Bradley Cooper (THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN) to be playing Sam Elliott. It’s interesting that four three of the five are playing famous artists, three two of them musicians. [correction: sorry, I got mixed up thinking the musician character from GREEN BOOK was nominated in this category]. I have heard some say Malek is the favo(u)rite to win. I admire his effort, but as you know if you’ve seen my review of the movie, I find much of it laughable, in part because he spends almost the entire movie distracted by the fake teeth he’s wearing that are in constant danger of falling out and ruining a take. It’s comical at times, and it goes to show that having a director on set can improve a movie. Hopefully they will do that next time.

I’m obviously rooting for Bale in what I have labelled a “supernaturally good” performance in a pretty terrible movie. If he doesn’t win that’s okay, because the movie doesn’t need to be remembered, but jesus christ is he good. We as a civilization are very lucky that he didn’t get stuck like that. We don’t need two Dick Cheneys.

Best Picture:

BLACK PANTHER
BLACKKKLANSMAN
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
THE FAVOURITE
GREEN BOOK
ROMA
A STAR IS BORN
VICE

Several years ago I started making it a point to see every best picture nominee before the ceremony. It makes it more fun to watch and most importantly it has caused me to see movies I enjoyed that I never would’ve seen otherwise, most notably LES MISERABLES (French for THE MISERABLES). This is the first year ever where I had already seen all the nominees when they were announced. Yes, thank you, thank you. I know. It is a great achievement. Thank you. Please be seated.

First of all, we should note that there are two best picture nominees from black directors. And with “Black” in the title even. I haven’t seen anyone mention that. That’s a little progress there.

But I believe nominating BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY and VICE is an embarrassment. The former, if it were to have had a director, would’ve been directed by an accused rapist who was fired for truancy. And I’m against that, but the real problem with it being nominated is that it’s the dumbest, most full of shit example of bottom-of-the-barrel cliche musician biopic crap. Sure, Queen is a good band and it’s fun to watch their songs, I don’t mean to offend the many people who enjoyed the movie, but I think most of them would agree that it doesn’t belong here.

The latter is not typical or formulaic, it is attempting to do something bold, so I rate it a little higher. But I feel like it takes so many swings, misses almost all of them, and often throws the bat and randomly hits a dude in the face and breaks his nose and the blood gets on somebody else’s shirt and it’s just a fuckin fiasco.

If A STAR IS BORN were to win that would be kinda cool, because it’s a high level of mainstream wide-audience filmmaking and literally every single person I know who’s seen it liked it alot, including grumps. It’s so very Hollywood, being the third remake of a movie about Hollywood, and the directorial debut of a movie star and all that. But it’s a good example of what Hollywood does well.

I’ve had a feeling for a while that ROMA would win, and that seems to be the conventional wisdom now, but part of me wonders if it can really overcome the amount of people who will think “well, it’s gonna win best foreign language, I can vote for a different one for best picture.” I looked it up and not only has a movie never won both categories, there has never been a foreign language film period that won best picture. So this would be quite a feat. It’s cool that a black and white, subtitled film not given a wide theatrical release has been able to break through and get as much attention as it has. And it is masterpiece level filmmaking, so it would be a well earned award.

But since seeing it win at the SAG awards I realized I really want to see BLACK PANTHER somehow pull off a win. Part of what I think is interesting about the Oscars is what they say about the aspirations of the industry and the culture at the time. After years of controversy about inclusion in front of and behind the camera, after decades of conventional wisdom about who can carry a big budget franchise or make money overseas, here is a movie with an incredible cast of black actors, a genius black director, writer, costumer, a woman cinematographer, all working in the ultimate 2018 popular idiom of the Marvel Super Hero Movie, and they made a movie that that stands out from its genre and that connected with audiences in a way that others haven’t.

I saw Matt Zoeller-Seitz compare its cultural impact to previous best picture winner TITANIC. We could also bring up RETURN OF THE KING. I think if it won it would represent both the cultural obsessions and the hopes of its year more than any of the other nominees.

Also, I agree that GREEN BOOK shouldn’t have been nominated, but if BLACK PANTHER were to win over it, the symbolism there would completely justify having nominated it.

But ROMA is a great movie. Congratulations ROMA.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 22nd, 2019 at 3:01 pm and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

54 Responses to “Pre-Oscar thoughts 2019”

  1. I don’t know but I kept hearing the Lion King for the Black Panther score. I did not think it was that memorable but musical scores kinda suck now so what the fuck do I know.

  2. Oh but I totally agree with the Black Panther costuming.

  3. “This is the first year ever where I had already seen all the nominees when they were announced. Yes, thank you, thank you. I know. It is a great achievement. Thank you. Please be seated.”

    Well, that puts you ahead of a large number of voting members for the actual awards even if only some of the stories are true so I think a standing applause is indeed justified.

  4. No thoughts on supporting acting categories?

  5. Nothing too interesting, Fred. I think Richard E. Grant would be cool, but Mahershala is good. Regina King should and will win. I don’t know why Weisz and Stone are in supporting. As for actress, I haven’t seen THE WIFE. And for some reason I thought Kidman was nominated, but I guess that was the Golden Globes or something.

  6. Even by my standards I have seen very few of this year’s Oscar contenders. In fact, I only saw BLACK PANTHER. I have the dvd of ISLE OF DOGS at home right now, so maybe I watch that tonight.

    I have to admit that the Best Picture nomination of BLACK PANTHER kinda rubs me a bit the wrong way. I agree that the movie is historically and filmhistorically relevant, but dammit, the script is such a mess, we shouldn’t reward a movie for half-assing it in the storytelling department. We always pull the “This movie isn’t THAT good” card, whenever another cookie cutter costume drama is nominated, so I don’t think we should give this one a pass for striking a nerve, simply with its themes and visual presentation.

    On the other side, it’s very unlikely that The Academy sent everybody who is able to nominate a Best Picture, which are many people with lots of different jobs and backgrounds, a note with: “Hey, if you nominate that black superhero movie, we will look cool and unracist, so if you would do this, that would be nice”. So maybe it did work better for most people than it did for me.

    Hey, at least they didn’t nominate INFINITY WAR, which was so bad that it actually killed all my excitement for the MCU!

    Don’t expect me to say anything about the German BEST FOREIGN MOVIE entry. It bombed hard over here, which became a bit of a headscratcher, judging by the amount of “Why did the excellent new movie from the director of one of the most successful German movies ever bomb in its home country” thinkpieces. But it’s 3 hours long and the trailer makes it look like the story of a guy who tries to create a painting, while his father in law says passive agressive things to him, so I can’t blame everybody for not watching it. It’s apparently about Nazis, so of course the academy loves it. Also the few people who watched it, said it’s great, so I won’t be too mean about it.

  7. So many “I” in my previous entry. I’m sounding way more egiostic when I speak English.

  8. As usual, I have no dog in this fight, as I’d rather go to the dentist than watch 90% of these movies. They could split all the awards between the gross corset movie and the condescending white savior movie and the pair of cornball musicals and I’d feel like that’s pretty much par for the course. It’ll forget these movies even exist. But before that happens, I have an old score to settle first.

    So I was all set to be like “Sure, I still think BLACK PANTHER is an utter failure at its stated goal of being an exciting action-adventure and is merely adequate at being anything else, but fine, it probably deserves the win for costumes” but then I realized, wait a minute. Does it really? One of the things that sinks the movie for me is that I never for one single second accept the reality of the Black Panther costume, which means I never accept the reality of the action scenes, which means fuck this movie, because what the’s the point of a superhero movie if the superpowered scenes suck? This is especially egregious considering the costume has been in two other movies where I didn’t have that problem. The thing had already been designed for them and they still fucked it up! I don’t know if that’s more of a special effects or a wardrobe problem in this particular case, but shouldn’t there be points off for basically ruining the suspension of disbelief? I know I’m not the only one who thought it looked like some BLADE 2 shit every time it was onscreen. Took me right out of the movie. I cannot in good conscience support rewarding a film that would force audiences to look at the tacky, rubbery monstrosity that was the scene of the two Black Panthers squaring off. Just two of the most unconvincing costumes I’ve seen in a tentpole film in ages. All the pretty patterns they put on the extras doesn’t really make up for that.

    I thought the score was wack, too, but at least I noticed that it had one. That’s something, I guess.

    So it has major weaknesses in its nominated categories, and it’s not nominated in any of the categories that we generally think make a movie great, like acting, directing, writing, cinematography, editing, etc. Usually, a Best Picture manages to rack up a few of those major categories to let us know what the criteria for its nomination was. Here I’m kind of at a loss. So what exactly makes the movie one of the best of the year again, Academy? I’m sorry to come off like some honkey crank, but this film really disappointed me and I’ve been struggling to see why it deserves all its praise. I cannot help but see its Best Picture nomination as pure condescension/clickbait. None of these other movies made a dent in the public consciousness so they had to put SOMEONE on that stage somebody might want to tune in to see.

  9. The nomination that confuses me the most A STAR IS BORN’s cinematography. That film looked like an ugly pile of poorly framed close-ups and questionable color grading.

  10. The one film I thought was closest to being Academy Award nominated worthy, it’d be Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier. I thought that back when I saw it in 2014 and I still think that now.

    Especially for this scene:

  11. One out of the MCU, I meant (oops!).

  12. So, Vern. Never mind what was nominated.
    What would you say was the ACTUAL best picture of the year?

  13. If Captain Marvel ends up being a better movie than Black Panther, should that be nominated for Best Picture?

  14. Has anybody seen Holmes and Watson? It won the Razzie but I wonder if it’s one of those rare comedies that I’m the only one that thinks is pretty hilarious.

  15. Ah, CASA DE MI PADRE syndrome. That’s not only the only Will Farrell movie I really like, it’s also the only Will Farrell movie where I am the only person I’ve ever met who’s even seen it. Everybody’s always talking about STEPBROTHERS, a movie I made it four minutes into before shutting it off (and I own it!), and then I bring up CASA DE MI PADRE and everybody just stares at me blankly. The world was apparently not ready for a Spanish-language parody of Spanish-language telenovelas starring a non-Spanish-speaking gringo, but I think it’s good shit. Ridiculous and random and surprisingly violent, with a dope soundtrack, a straight-faced approach to absurdity, and a psychedelic streak. I think maybe having to speak Spanish takes some of the edge off of Farrell’s usual “gormless man-baby in an unlikely profession” schtick, which tends to drive me nuts. If WATSON & HOLMES is half as funny, I’ll probably join you in that cult of one.

  16. I know our buddy Dan Prestwich is a fan of CASA DE MI PADRE. I kind of admire it, I guess, in the anti-comedy-as-art category. I mean, it’s a comedy, but there’s only one joke in it, and that joke is that the movie exists. But I admit that is a pretty funny joke. Better than MARS ATTACKS, anyway.

  17. My favorite was THE NIGHT COMES FOR US, but I can understand why it wouldn’t be for most humans. REVENGE is a close second. I can’t really judge for emotional content this year, because BUMBLEBEE made me cry. But ROMA and EIGHTH GRADE and MANDY and IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK and SHOPLIFTERS are all great in their own ways.

  18. Yessss.
    The Night Comes For Us was the most jaw-dropping thing I saw all year.
    And I would not have gave it a second glance, were it not for this website.
    Cheers, Vern!

  19. Ah yes, CASA DE MI PADRE. The latino BLACK DYNAMITE for people, who want to see a really funny movie, but are not allowed to laugh, because they are in a library or had face surgery or have to share a bed with their dying mother or whatever.

    In terms of underappreciated Will Ferrell flicks, I have to recommend THE HOUSE, which might be the record holder for the fastest critical re-evaluation in history. (It went from “This might be Ferrell’s worst movie” to “Hey, it’s actually really good and pretty clever, let’s put this in the center of my when-critics-are-wrong thinkpiece” within less than 6 months.)

    Now I didn’t love it. There are too many moments of endless improvisations (aka the “Apatowian fun killer”) and not every of the scripted jokes stick either, but holy shit, is this one not ashamed of going dark while looking on the surface like a typical, harmless studio comedy, and also pulls out a bunch of very welcome, although admittedly tiny and not earth shattering subversions out of its hat.

    About his SHERLOCK movie? It’s an Etan Cohen joint and he is credited as the only writer, so I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

  20. The House is a solid comedy that my wife and I really enjoy. Though our absolute favorite part of the movie comes real early on. There is the big reveal that there is going to be a waterpark built in town and the town hall meeting uses a model to showcase it. It cuts to a random townsfolk who reaction of excitement, surprise and wonder had us exclaiming it was the greatest reaction shot in film history. I’ve built it up too much but we think it’s hilarious every time.

    I have no problems with Apatowisms if they are funny but they’re not always funny. I don’t think I ever finished Funny People. I turned it off after like an hour and fortyfive minutes when I realized there was still like an hour left lol

  21. Vern, I’m on board with your problem with period dramas always being nominated for costume design. I wasn’t alive during the reign of Queen Anne, nor were all but a few of the members of the Academy (not sure if I should point out that this is a joke), so I have no idea if the costumes are accurate or good. I’m always impressed when I see a movie like It that rings true to a time period that I actually recognise. I think it would be way harder to do a convincing job of designing costumes for a period that everyone actually remembers.

  22. Vern wrote:

    I love when a best original song is not only a good song on its own but a powerful part of the movie.

    ***

    I love that as well – the first one that pops into my mind is I’m Easy, from Nashville. Also, Save Me, from Magnolia, if that counts.

  23. My name is Steven, I’m from New Jersey, I want to share my testimony on how I became a real vampire. Yes, I always wanted to become a vampire because it has always been my desire to be one. And I search links and websites, I even took the risk and search on the dark web, and I find a link of that say’s ‘Become a newborn twilight vampire’ that was pretty interesting right, I click on the link that redirects me to website which I got their email address. that moment in my life was like a dream come true, There I finally get learn more about it as well, and it was all amazing to me. I contacted them and I get instant responses, I followed the terms. I gave a try and it really works out for me, today I’m living testimony, Contact via email: stevenmine157@gmail.com , (also contact to become Twilight Vampire, Vampire ) in a space 3 days, I got a vampire blood which sends to me via courier, gives a try and share your own testimony.. thanks and good luck.

  24. Da fuck?

    I know, we shouldn’t comment on spambot posts, but we just reached peak spambot post!

    (In case Vern decides to delete it: It’s from a guy who claims to know a website that is able to turn you into a “Twilight Vampire”, which according to him is really cool!)

  25. One Oscar moment I still remember and wonder about is when screenwriter William Monaghan won for “The Departed” and the announcer said it was an adaptation of the Japanese movie “Infernal Affairs.” Seriously, how do you fuck that up?

  26. Don’t worry, you guys, I screengrabbed the vampire spam (spampire?) so we can savor this day forever.

  27. Didn’t LIFE IS BEATIFUL win best picture?

  28. I’ll never forget hearing that the after winning the Oscar William Monagham he went and became a twilight vampire.

  29. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL won best actor and best foreign film.

  30. Are you ready for the next wave of GREEN BOOK think pieces?

  31. Since I haven’t seen the film, my Green Book think piece will be mostly limited to “Hey I guess more people will be checking Deadfall out now, amirite??” But seriously, I was kinda rooting for Green Book since I knew it would make tastemaker’s heads explode and I think it’s bizarre (and sad) that a movie that seems made with good intentions has become the Donald Trump of movies to shit on, and if you like it you’re apparently a racist asshole. It looks like it’s made a decent amount of money and it’s currently #127 on IMDB’s Top Movies of All Time, which on one hand may not mean much, but also shows that it’s a crowd pleaser that I’m willing to bet most people probably would have liked had the internet not been invented to tell us we’re wrong for liking it.

    Since I’m being Mr. Contrarian tonight, I’m going to go ahead and throw this out there – I think it’s a little weird that Bohemian Rhapsody racked up 4 Oscars and none of the winners thanked the director of the movie. I mean, we all know if anyone thanked him, it would be professional suicide, but can you imagine if we lived in a crazy world where people were innocent until proven guilty and Bryan Singer was sitting at home like, “hey man, not a single damn person thanked me and I didn’t even do anything?!? Not even John Ottman who I’ve been letting score AND edit my movies since fucking PUBLIC ACCESS?!?” Yes I know he went AWOL on the movie and was apparently a giant pain to work with (and I personally don’t think Singer’s made an actual good movie since fucking X-Men 1), but I have the feeling the whole project probably wouldn’t have gotten off the ground if it wasn’t for him, right?

  32. On the other hand, it seems easy to not thank a director who disappeared for weeks at a time while you were shooting. In times of MIA-gates, what’s up with Ryan Coogler rarely popping up, especially on screen?

    I don’t think GREEN BOOK will get many thinkpieces beyond the ones it’s already gotten, at least in terms of terms. As far as I’m concerned, Wesley Morris effectively nailed the movie for what it is and what it means. I frankly suspect that if the voting were different, in terms of tiering, and so many voters didn’t hate Netflix and comic book movies then we’d have had a different winner because voters would’ve felt less obligated to defensively posture around a fairly mediocre movie.

  33. “at least in terms of insight/thoughtfulness” is what I meant to include but didn’t edit in properly.

  34. YESSS! THE UNDERDOG THAT NOBODY BELIEVED IN WON!!!!

    Just kidding. But I gotta admit, I’m surprised. Seems like Hollywood still only tolerates Netflix that much.

  35. Admittedly, I find a Green Book win pretty darkly funny. It’s all a bit Curb Your Enthusiasm theme music. But, legitimately, I think it’s ironic that people are so harshly taking issue with Green Book’s historical accuracy, which is *in dispute*, when all the Based On A True Story nominees are basically bullshit. The Favourite made up a lesbian love triangle, BlackKklansman made up foiling a terrorist plot (and Adam Driver being Jewish), Bohemian Rhapsody made up *the band breaking up and getting back together*. It just seems so weird to me to be disgusted with a “he said, she said” situation and okay with blatant lies.

  36. Does ‘The Favourite’ ever claim to be based off a true story? I don’t remember any title cards like that in the movie, and in interviews the director is very open about it being fictional or at the very least highly speculative. I don’t think it belongs along ‘BlackKklansman,’ ‘Green Book,’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in that respect, movies that do claim to be true stories. Calling bullshit on it, to me, sort of feels like calling bullshit on ‘Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.’

  37. Maybe splitting hairs, but I think ALVH having vampires in it makes it, well, obviously fictional, while The Favourite seemed to present itself as a costume drama portraying broadly what kinda sorta happened. Could be unfair, but in the subgenre of historical dramas about real people, few of them are entirely fictional and most of them seem to at least aspire to accuracy.

  38. I think the way the “true story” aspect is announced makes a difference. “Based on the incredible untold true story” has a very different ring to it that “some of this shit may have actually happened”. I don’t think THE FAVOURITE had any title card of this type, so it seems pretty honest about its historical inaccuracy.

  39. As if I couldn’t hate the fucking Oscars more, they apparently left Dick Miller off the memorial montage. If you needed any proof that these people don’t actually like movies, there it is. How can you be a movie fan and not appreciate Dick Miller’s contribution to 60 years of cinema? You can’t. You CAN be a fucking shill, though. Shills have definitely never even heard of him. He only made movies better. He never made anyone rich.

    Every year, the Oscars concoct new ways to be utterly worthless. The true value of film as an art form thunders on without them, as it always has, while these parasites flounder desperately for attention in its wake. The work stands alone. The work needs no trophy. Stop letting these Ellises control the conversation.

  40. I mean, did you see that clip of Best Editing Academy Award winner BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY going around? Shit looked like Neil Breen. Just random cuts and chops clearly trying to hide bad footage. No one would edit a well directed film this way. And bad sound too. Holy shit. Full of air like a soap opera. So obviously it won the two sound awards. These motherfuckers have no idea what they’re even voting on. Sound Editing is supposed to go for the movie with the best original foley work, essentially, so they of course they give it to the movie where the main sound effects are songs recorded decades ago. But hey, the word “sound” is right there in the description. A song is a kind of sound. There are songs in BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. Whaddaya need, a road map?

    I trust my three-year-old nephew’s taste in film more than these people’s. He’s sincere at least.

  41. I for one am super upset that one movie I didn’t want to see lost to that other movie I didn’t want to see…

    And yeah I read about Dick Miller being ignored so that’s kinda bullshit.

  42. I was convinced that Blackkklansman was going to be Spike Lee’s Departed. I thought he would get either best director or maybe the film would get best picture (with Roma taking the other award). But I guess the Academy thought giving him best adapted screenplay was enough.

    Green Book winning best picture was pretty on brand for the Oscars, but at least we had Spike Lee’s reaction, which was absolutely choice.

    And, yeah, not honoring Dick Miller in the In Memoriam was unconscionable. Also, will Stanley Donen get in next year’s ceremony? What happened with that?

  43. Just wanted to chime in on The Night Comes For Us’s awesomeness. It is really something else.

  44. [looks at internet and sees GREEN BOOK won] I think I’ll stay off social media for a while.

  45. Random takeaways after watching the show this afternoon:

    – My hair is much longer and thicker than Ludwig Göransson’s.
    – Long-haired men in Hollywood really don’t like to do anything with it. Not even a ponytail. At least no buns either.
    – BLACK PANTHER won in every category that it deserved to win in
    – Hollywood hates horror movies so much, that they don’t even give a horror movie a sound editing Oscar, although sound is the most important part of it
    – Hollywood hates popcorn movies so much, that they give the VFX Oscar to the movie that doesn’t do anything outstanding, as long as it’s a serious period drama
    – ISLE OF DOGS was robbed of its animation Oscar (Disclaimer: ISLE OF DOGS is the only nominated movie that I saw, so don’t take my word on it)

  46. Also fuck them for ignoring the existence of Dick Miller.

  47. I blame Steven the Vampire.

  48. I don’t remember a year when people weren’t upset about someone missing from the in memoriam. They skipped Tobe Hooper, for example. I am 100% there are a bunch of politics and process things to how it gets done that we are not aware of. It’s not just Dick Miller – fuckin Stanley Donen wasn’t on there. We can assume it had to do with timing, but how hard could it be to add a few seconds on? Who knows? I don’t.

    I did appreciate that this year they had something up front about not being able to include everybody and also moved through the slides much faster to presumably fit in more people.

  49. I mean, Ludwig Goransson won Grammies and an Oscar for unrelated projects this year. That’s pretty great.

  50. My hair is still better…

  51. CJ’s hair was robbed!

  52. It might be an interesting case study if the criminal allegations were the only issue with Bryan Singer (and the likelihood they are true based on a pattern of behavior with unrelated victims certainly makes it his worst offense), but as Brian B pointed out, he also didn’t finish the movie and appeared to be miserable to work with when he did bother to show up.

    I think it’s a groundbreaking moment of empowerment to say, “You don’t have to thank the ‘director’ just as a matter of course. Directors can be people you survive in spite of as much as other directors can be the singular visionary who guides the show.”

    Stanley Donan really died too recently to add to the montage at that point, but they also left off Sondra Locke.

  53. It sucks about Dick Miller but they tend to ignore guys known for a good amount of horror.

    Here is the positive. Not only did they put in James Karen but he was one of the few people that they showed a clip and it was a clip from Return of the Living Dead. So we also got the only time we’ll probably ever see Thom Matthews on the Oscar’s.

  54. The SHINING sequence in READY PLAYER ONE was apparently all digital, based on this admittedly really half-assed VFX breakdown

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