Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

20 February 2017

Oscar Noms 2017: 12 of 13

Part 1 - La La Land, Moonlight, Arrival
Part 2 - Manchester by the Sea, Hacksaw Ridge, Lion
Part 3 - Fences, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, Jackie
Part 4 - Florence Foster Jenkins, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Passengers, Rogue One
Part 5 - Deepwater Horizon, Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, A Man Called Ove
Part 6 - Captain Fantastic, Elle, Loving, Nocturnal Animals
Part 7 - The Lobster, 20th Century Women, Silence, Hail, Caesar!
Part 8 - Live-action Short Films
Part 9 - Animated Short Films
Part 10 - Toni Erdmann, The Salesman, Land of Mine, Tanna
Part 11 - Allied, The Jungle Book, Doctor Strange, 13 Hours

Part 12:

Sully
1 Nomination
  • Sound Editing
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Valerie Mahaffey, Jamey Sheridan, Mike O'Malley, Laura Linney, Holt McCallany, Anna Gunn, Delphi Harrington, Ahmed Lucan

I hated this film. But mostly it was just because this was a bad film. It is, apparently, based on a true story. A pilot loses both of his engines soon after taking off from a New York airport. He decides that he can't get back to JFK, La Guardia or Teterboro, so he will land the plane in the Hudson. He does this. But then people start questioning things: should he have landed in the Hudson? Why didn't he go back to one of the airports? Had the plane really lost both of its engines? Was the pilot drunk? Showing off? Proud? This movie shows the crash at least four times. Five? I can't remember. I have already tried to block it out. This is also the whitest movie of the year (and that includes A Man Called Ove, which takes place in Sweden). There are moments where the camera just looks over a sea of white faces. Sully is supposed to be about New Yorkers working together and uniting to solve a problem as a kind of team. But what it is really about is this older white man doing the right thing and then an insurance company (because of cynical greed) accusing him of not doing the right thing. In other words – and I don't think this is a stretch – Sully is a giant metaphor in which the old white guy knows how to take care of the people, but then instead of thanking him everyone complains and the old white guy (he's a hero after all!) could lose everything. Except that Eastwood's own metaphor doesn't work, even in the movie he directed: it's big business that is trying to crush the old white man's dreams, not other people. I disliked the politics of this movie, obviously, but more importantly I disliked the filmmaking. This movie replays the same thing over and over. There just wasn't enough plot in this tale for a full-length film.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #91 out of 95

Zootopia
1 Nomination
  • Animated Feature
Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, Shakira

This felt generic. Why does everyone like this so much? I mean, I get it: Biological justifications for racist behavior are bad. None of us has anything hard-wired into our systems. You get no argument from me there, but, like... you got anything else? I knew that already. In fairness to this film, it is designed as an allegory to teach children not to judge the kids they meet by the color of their skin, not to make snap judgments about people because of their weight, their size, their facial features, their skin color, etc. But here's the thing: is this really a problem that children have? Seems to me it's more of an issue for adults. I'm pretty sure this is still going to win when they hand out the award, though. 
Will Win: Animated Feature
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #67 out of 95

La Tortue Rouge (The Red Turtle)
1 Nomination
  • Animated Feature

This film is perfect – just perfect. It is a film without dialogue, but it tells a beautiful, fantastic story. A man is stranded on a deserted island, and he is prevented from escaping the island by a very large, red turtle. The turtle is plainly enchanted in some way, and in fact the entire film functions as a kind of dream, in which the man cannot be sure whether or not what he is seeing is real. The entire thing is gorgeous. It is worth noting, too, that Michael Dudok de Wit is the first non-Japanese director to make a film for Studio Ghibli. They chose beautifully. I adored this film. It is one of my favorite films of the whole year. (And it is in theatres now, so go catch it on the big screen.)
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #10 out of 95

Ma Vie de Courgette (My Life as a Zucchini)
1 Nomination
  • Animated Feature
Director: Claude Barras
Cast: Gaspard Schlatter, Sixtine Murat, Paulin Jaccoud, Michel Vuillermoz, Raul Ribera, Estelle Hennard, Elliot Sanchez, Lou Wick, Brigitte Rosset


This film is the only film I will not be able to see before the Academy Awards. It is a stop-motion animation movie about a little orphan named Courgette (Zucchini). It is a fairly short film (66 minutes) and it is worth noting that it was also chosen as Switzerland's offical selection for Foreign Language Picture – and that it made the 9-movie shortlist. So it was almost nominated in that category, as well.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A