Poor, neglected Movie Blog.
I’m going to try and get this posted as quickly as possible – not because the Oscars are going to start in about three hours (because they are), but because my landlady is going to be visiting me at some point tonight for a friendly chat (that sounds ominous – my landlady and I are friends, so there’s no animosity or anything), but that’s going to take at least ninety minutes out of my evening, so. Without further ado:
Best Original Screenplay
Nominees: Hell or High Water; La La Land; The Lobster; Manchester By the Sea; 20th Century Women
Of the above list, I did not get a chance to see either 20th Century Women or The Lobster, though a DVD of the latter is currently sitting on my floor, unwatched. But at the end of the day, there are only three choices here, and two don’t count. Even though I (and a whole host of other people on the interwebs) have a host of problems with La La Land, this category isn’t really a contest. Hollywood will reward a musical about Hollywood problems in spite of all the Hollywood problems the musical has with its plot, so. La La Land will definitely pick this award up.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees: Arrival; Fences; Hidden Figures; Lion; Moonlight
Hey, I’ve seen all these! And so I can say definitively that Moonlight should win here. Unlike last year, I did not “level up” and attempt to read all of the source material for the adapted screenplays; this winter has been weird, you guys, and I haven’t finished reading a book since the beginning of January. I’m all messed up. But anyway, I don’t really have a way to say which film was the best film version of its source. But I thought Moonlight was a beautiful film. And since Hollywood won’t give it Best Picture, it should at least reward it here.
Nominees: Denis Villeneuve, Arrival; Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge; Damien Chazelle, La La Land; Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea; Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
First of all, allow me to make clear how I feel about Hacksaw Ridge:
In a perfect world, every nomination given to fuckin’ Hacksaw Ridge would be transferred to Deadpool. I’m not even kidding. This fuckin’ movie. The good news is that it won’t win a single Oscar. Maybe some of the special effects ones. But nowhere within this post is Hacksaw Ridge going to be given even the slightest of edges. Fucking Hollywood, man.
Anyway. Having got that off my chest, tonight’s winner again will be Damien Chazelle for La La Land, although if there were justice in this world, it would go to Barry Jenkins for Moonlight.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Viola Davis, Fences; Naomie Harris, Moonlight; Nicole Kidman, Lion; Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures; Michelle Williams, Manchester By the Sea
If Viola Davis does not win for Fences, it will be a horrific oversight. Unless Naomie Harris wins for Moonlight, in which case I’d be grumbly, but okay with it in the end.
(Remind me to tell y’all how I’d recast All About Eve with Viola Davis playing the great Margo Channing.)
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight; Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water; Lucas Hedges, Manchester By the Sea; Dev Patel, Lion; Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals
Does Jeff Bridges only take rusty old cowboy law enforcement type roles now? I mean, for fuck’s sake, Hell or High Water was like, the fourth role of his like this I’ve seen recently. I’m getting bored and also worried about him.
Having said that, I predict and hope that the award goes to Mahershala Ali for Moonlight: his role was only in the first third of the movie, but his character’s influence is felt throughout. I am slightly surprised that Dev Patel wasn’t nominated for Best Actor for his role in Lion; I’m not sure if it was because the structure of the film only had him in the back half, or what. Or maybe the Weinsteins decided that pushing for Best Supporting Actor would be a better chance of him winning (see last year’s similar strategy with Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl). Either way, if Dev Patel wins I’ll also be very happy. If Jeff Bridges wins, then there’s even more idiots in Hollywood than I originally thought.
Nominees: Isabelle Huppert, Elle; Ruth Negga, Loving; Natalie Portman, Jackie; Emma Stone, La La Land; Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Now, Florence Foster Jenkins is the other DVD currently laying on my floor, unwatched. Mainly because I know Meryl Streep is not going to win her next Oscar for this role. She was only nominated after her Cecil B. DeMille speech at the Golden Globes this year. I love Meryl Streep, and I think she’s an amazing woman and deserves everything she ever gets, but she will not win here.
I have not seen Loving, so I can’t comment on Ruth Negga’s chances. I liked Natalie Portman in Jackie: it made me want to pick up a biography of Jackie Kennedy so I could learn more. But I don’t think she’s going to win here.
This category comes down to two women: Isabelle Huppert for Elle, and Emma Stone for La La Land. And I think Emma Stone will win for La La Land, even though I don’t think she deserves it (for this role). But Hollywood loves rewarding young white ingenues (please recall that Jennifer Lawrence won her Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook in her role of manic pixie dream girl), not foreign career actresses that no one in Hollywood’s ever heard of, even though I think it’s the stronger performance.
Except for one thing: WHY THE FUCK WASN’T TARAJI P. HENSON NOMINATED FOR HER ROLE IN HIDDEN FIGURES
Nominees: Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea; Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge; Ryan Gosling, La La Land; Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic; Denzel Washington, Fences
Well, I know it’s not going to be Andrew Garfield. I enjoyed Captain Fantastic, but I don’t think Viggo Mortensen has enough momentum to steal from someone here. Ryan Gosling won’t win for this. I’m sorry, ladies, but he won’t. I like him, but – nope.
So that leaves us with Casey Affleck, who, as stated by John Mulaney and Nick Kroll in their opening speech at yesterday’s Independent Spirit Awards, “plays a young man from Boston living in the shadow of his older brother – what a reach!”
And look, maybe I’d be a bit more forgiving and encouraging of Casey Affleck, if it wasn’t for a series of unfortunate events that caused me to be unable to connect with his character emotionally. Long story short, Casey Affleck’s character makes a tragic mistake, and while the film shows us what that mistake was, it’s playing some music in the background. And as I’m watching this, I’m going crazy, because all I can think is, “I’ve heard this before. Where is this from?” And I’m actually writing down in my notebook (because yes, I bring a notebook to the movie theatre for Oscar!Watch, I have witnesses), “What is the song used in the fire?” when all of a sudden, it hits me, and I nearly shout out in the middle of a movie theatre, “BOB’S TURKEY BASTER!”
That sounds really weird. But then, you have probably never watched the classic episode of Bob’s Burgers entitled “Dawn of the Peck,” wherein the entire Belcher clan (save Bob) goes out to do things on Thanksgiving, leaving Bob to not cook Thanksgiving dinner. Bob stays home, puts on his lazy pants, and day drinks to Donna Summer albums. And as he goes into the kitchen to find a bottle opener, he runs into an old friend:
If I ever decide to get back into acting, I am going to perform this as my audition monologue. It hits all the emotional high points. It’s a miracle.
But it also took me completely out of Manchester By The Sea. And while I realize that’s not really Casey Affleck’s fault, I’m still going to side with the Screen Actor’s Guild awards and give Denzel Washington the pick here for Fences, because you don’t want to argue against Denzel Washington, man.
Nominees: Arrival; Fences; Hacksaw Ridge; Hell or High Water; Hidden Figures; La La Land; Lion; Manchester by the Sea; Moonlight
I’m going to knock most of the nominees out without discussion. The only three in contention are La La Land, Hidden Figures, and Moonlight.
Hidden Figures is a great movie. It tells the story of three women out of about thirty that worked for NASA in the 1960s. These African-American women broke down racial barriers, becoming the women to help push John Glenn into orbit and land Neil Armstrong on the moon. The movie is an ensemble piece, though I would push to say that Taraji P. Henson was robbed of a nomination. There is humor and drama throughout the film, and out of all the films I saw this month, it was the one that made me feel the best when I left.
Moonlight is also a great movie, telling us about young Chiron navigating the perils of growing up black and gay in a society riddled not only with toxic masculinity, but I also think this movie finally brings to light for some people how terrible society has been in providing opportunities for black people. This sounds really trite and insincere coming out of my white mouth, and I recognize that; but I saw Moonlight in a small theater in Freeport, Maine, surrounded by white people. And I heard more than a few of them commenting on the way out, “I didn’t know what to expect, but certainly not that.” This was probably the first time these entitled top-bracket earners had ever learned that, when black kids get in trouble, they get sent to jail, and when they get out of jail, their options are limited. Chiron’s only option is to start selling drugs, just like his mentor Juan. It’s terrible. But through that terribleness, Moonlight also showed that there is hope running through every character.
And then there’s La La Land, which proposes Ryan Gosling as the savior of Jazz.
Look, if I had my way, Best Picture would go to either Hidden Figures or Moonlight. If I could rig it, I’d give it to Moonlight, because it was such a good movie; an important movie, and a film that would start to open the eyes up of other people. Hidden Figures almost does the same thing, but from a different perspective. It’s also the more marketable film, so you could argue that Hidden Figures is the more accessible of the two, and therefore should win. Which is bullshit, but what do I know.
I do know that, in spite of everything, in spite of biting opening monologues and queens of the cinema railing against injustice and claiming they have voices and exposing the world to the plights of the oppressed man, the Best Picture Oscar is still going to go fucking La La Land, because there’s nothing Hollywood likes more than a story about how hard it is to be in Hollywood. Especially when it’s set to music.
Best Original Screenplay: La La Land
Best Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight
Best Director: Damien Chazelle, La La Land (but it should go to Barry Jenkins for Moonlight)
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (but it can also go to Dev Patel for Lion and I’d be happy)
Best Actress: Emma Stone, La La Land (but it should go to Isabelle Huppert for Elle; or maybe a whole bunch of write-in votes for Taraji P. Henson for Hidden Figures, but whatever)
Best Actor: Denzel Washington, Fences
Best Picture: La La Land (but it should go, in descending order, to Moonlight or Hidden Figures)
Good luck tonight, and don’t forget to find something to around 10:30 tonight to avoid watching the longest Death Reel of our lives.