I feel like I’ve lost a year somewhere along the way. After reviewing If Beale Street Could Talk last week I decided it was a good excuse to revisit Moonlight. In my head it was only last year that Barry Jenkins and his team went through the trauma of hearing the wrong film named Best Picture. Turns out 2018 happened at some point and that momentous occasion was 2 years ago. It’s weird because I loved so many films from last year that I don’t know why I can’t remember them. I guess it’s probably just old age and an awful reminder that I’m no longer the 16-year-old I continue to believe that I am. Really, I need to stop watching films like Moonlight and Boyhood because it is impossible not to feel all introspective. And we know that that’s a dodgy road to walk down. So, let’s get onto the reason we’re here. I never review Moonlight on this blog when it came out so it seems as though the time was right to rectify that.
The Oscars took place over a month ago and I’m still banging on about them. I know I know. Broken record much? But it’s one if the biggest and most controversial events in the movie lovers calendar. For the most part, this year wasn’t the most exciting. Once again, many amazing and worthy films/directors/actors were ignored and many worthy films/directors/actors got looked over for more Oscar-y films/directors/actors. I write this in the midst of Steven Spielberg’s outrageous idea to get Netflix films banned from being nominated in the future. I’d love to go into that whole argument now and rant about Spielberg’s general irrelevance these days but, as it’s my birthday, I feel like I should take the high road. So, instead let’s talk about one of the biggest surprises that came out of last Saturday that was also one of the most underwhelming. Rami Malek gave a great performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody and I think that he definitely deserved the win. However, I don’t think many were convinced he would. The Best Actor category was incredibly boring this year as there was no real stand-out. The most remarkable performance for me? Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh. It’s a shame he lost out to it but it’s an even bigger shame that his loss isn’t as a big of a deal as it should be.
Whenever anyone asked me what I thought of Vice in the last few weeks my go to answer would always be “it wasn’t as good as The Big Short“. It’s something I said because I truly thought it was my opinion. But when I looked back at my review of Adam McKay’s previous Oscar nominated film, I discovered that I’d been more scathing of it than my memory lead me to believe. I guess I do remember feeling a bit weird at the end of it because the people who gained from so much misery were being portrayed as heroic. Still, I decided it was important to rewatch The Big Short to really answer the question “is it better than Vice?” Or have I just been lying to everyone for ages? I don’t know why I’m pretending there’s any suspense here because you can see from my above rating that, yes, I preferred this film to Vice. But, why?
Boy, were there a few surprises during this weekend’s Oscars. I was tempted to write a post about it but decided it would just be another rant about how undeserving Green Book is of the Best Picture title. I mean, seriously? I know Roma is a Netflix film but how can anyone say it wasn’t the best film of this year? It’s fucking madness. Another (sort of) surprising turn of event were the winners of Best Actor and Best Actress category. I loved both Rami Malek and Olivia Colman’s performances and I know they both won at the BAFTAs but I just didn’t trust the voters to let them win. And, after finally seeing The Wife recently, I thought Glenn Close was kind of shoe-in. I mean, without wishing to spoilt the upcoming review, she was fucking breathtaking in that film. And this makes it her 7th time of being passed over. It’s insane and, if I didn’t love Colman quite so much, I’d be outraged. Just be sure that if Gaga had won I’d have genuinely flipped. I’d have demanded the Oscar be taken away and given to Close instead.
In just a few hours the 91st Academy Awards ceremony will be in full swing and the best and brightest stars in Hollywood will come together to pat themselves on their already much too celebrated backs. I can’t say I’m a big believer in the sheer amount of film awards that there are but I guess it’s all good for the industry. And it’s fun to see people get all dressed up and excited. 2019 has already been made an absolute delight because of how much of a good time Richard E. Grant is having just being nominated. Imagine what it’s going to be like if he wins? As I have done for the past few years, I managed to successfully watch all of the Best Picture nominations before the ceremony as well as a few other nominated films. I still have a few big ones to see though. A fact that might make my next task kind of difficult. I missed it last year but I’m here again to attempt to understand the Academy voters. It’s a weird year for Oscar nominations so, really, it’s kind of anyone’s game. But let’s give this a go anyway.
So, we’re here. The last film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. I was supposed to be writing this review when I got home from work yesterday but I was absolutely exhausted. I figured future Laura could deal with it tonight. Well, future Laura isn’t happy now. Especially because, after a rough day, a work friend and I were in desperate need of a drink to unwind. So, I got home late and am madly trying to finish this. Which is a shame because I still haven’t quite worked out how I feel about Green Book. It was something I was really looking forward to but didn’t really know much about. It sounded a bit like Driving Miss Daisy which didn’t appeal but, let’s be honest, Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali were enough to get me interested. Both are very interesting actors and I imaged they would work well together. But then I watched it. And I had a lot of thoughts. So many that, earlier tonight, I couldn’t explain it to my drinking buddy. God knows what that means for this post.
Fucking Bradley Cooper, man. I can’t say that I’ve ever been a massive fan but, once again, I seem to be in the minority. We’re in a situation in which the guy has been nominated for an acting Oscar 4 times. 4 times! One Best Supporting and three Best Actor. I just don’t get it. His best role to date, in my mind, is his voice performance as Rocket Raccoon. His performance in Silver Linings Playbook was messy and over-the-top. His performance in American Hustle wasn’t exactly stand-out either. Basically, I’ve just never seen him do anything that really wowed me. He’s just been lucky enough to be surrounded by better actors who make manage to disguise him. So, when I heard he was starring in and directing a remake of A Star Is Born I was hardly queuing up outside the cinema to see it. But then is got all sorts of fucking praise and attention during awards seasons. I kept putting this film off for as along as possible but I finally had to accept that I needed to watch it. So I did. And I have some thoughts.
What? A review? On a Sunday? No, you aren’t going mad. I’ve decided that, in order to get all my pre-Oscar reviews up before the big day, that I’m going to have to change my schedule for a bit. I started writing this yesterday but ended up feeling so bad that I went to bed early. But that’s not important because, at this point in my life, I have watched all of the Best Picture nominees. The only ones I want to try to watch before the ceremony, if I have the time, are The Wife and At Eternity’s Gate. But, if I don’t then I won’t do feel bad. I managed to watch the films I wanted to and well on time. Unlike last year when I was watching them up to the last-minute pretty much. I think I saw my final one the day before the ceremony. In fairness, there were 9 nominees last year. That’s a whole extra film to find the time for. It was tough! But I digress… So, I’ve seen all the nominees but I still need to review 3 of them. And, let’s not forget, the actual ceremony is on February 24th which is just over a week away. If I’m going to have the reviews up in time then I need to hurry the fuck up. Meaning the fact that I’m starting my extra reviews with a non-Best Picture film is kind of absurd… but I watched this before the other two. And I’m not really looking forward to having to write the final 2. To say I have mixed feelings about them is an under-statement.
I’m going to be honest, I’d forgotten that today was Tuesday until a few minutes ago. I was happily sorting everything out and trying to organise my shit when I realised. I needed to hurry up and write this damn review. It’s all because my shifts have changed this week so I’m all off. I keep thinking it’s Sunday or something. But it’s not and I have another Best Picture nominee to review. The BAFTAs took place on Sunday and, despite having several nominations, Vice didn’t do too well out of the ceremony. Winning an award for Best Editing, it missed out on the other 5 categories it was up for. Christian Bale looked like a real contender for Best Actor but Rami Malek beat him out. Whether that changes Bale’s chances at the Oscars remains to be seen but, if you ask me, he’s still a pretty strong possibility. Malek was great but will it speak to the Academy? Especially when Bohemian Rhapsody was so disappointing. Who can say? But, all I know is, it’s never a good idea to discount Bale whenever he drastically alters his appearance for a role. I mean the guy even went to the lengths of thickening his neck. If that’s not commitment to a character then I don’t know what is.
After last week’s disappointing Bohemian Rhapsody, I was ready for a better Best Picture nominee to review. So, I went for one that I’ve been looking forward for ages. Any story that sounds so insane yet is based on a real-life event is something you just have to watch, right? Plus, and without wanting to prove just how superficial I really am, Adam Driver is looking good in that trailer. I admit that I kind of lost interest thanks to his nipple-height trousers from that scene in The Last Jedi but the minute I saw him in a plaid shirt I was back. And it’s great that he’s been given a nomination for his role here. Hell, it’s great that this film got a Best Picture nomination. Not only because I get an excuse to watch it but also because of the lack of recognition for If Only Beale Street Could Talk. Barry Jenkins obviously killed with Moonlight but the Academy have done the least possible for his latest film. Neither the director or the film are being recognised. I know I haven’t seen it yet but everything I’ve seen leads me to believe it deserves a place. Especially now I’ve seen Bohemian Rhapsody. But we can’t have everything.