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

07 February 2017

Oscar Noms 2017: 6 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
1 Nomination
  • Actor: Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)
Director: Matt Ross
Cast: Mortensen, George MacKay, Frank Langella, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crooks, Charlie Shotwell, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn, Ann Dowd, Trin Miller, Erin Moriarty, Missi Pyle, Elijah Stevenson, Teddy Van Ee

I am rather surprised that Matt Ross wasn't nominated in the Original Screenplay category, as well. This was one of my favorite movies of the year, though, so I will take what I can get. It is not perfect, but I didn't care about any of this movie's flaws. I was only paying attention to what I loved about it. But let's talk about Viggo Mortensen and how this is only his second nomination ever. His performances in The Road, The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring, A Dangerous Method, and A History of Violence have all had some awards buzz around them, but this is only his second Oscar nomination, despite the chatter. This is pretty stunning when you think about it. In any case, I am glad more people are talking about this movie, and I sure hope more people see it. The truth is that Captain Fantastic is an ensemble picture, and this lead performance, although it is clearly the lead of the movie, often takes a backseat to the work done by the ensemble as a whole.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #11 out of 91

Elle
1 Nomination
  • Actress: Isabelle Huppert
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Cast: Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Charles Berling, Anne Consigny, Jonas Bloquet, Christian Berkel, Judith Magre, Virginie Efira, Alice Isaaz, Raphaël Lenglet, Vimala Pons, Arthur Mazet, Lucas Prisor, Stéphane Bak

I really really liked this movie, but it is a very troubling film and I have really recommended it to no one. This is primarily because Elle is a film about rape, it is a smart film about ethics and rape and desire, and it asks the audience to do a lot of thinking. The central character is as complex as most Huppert characters; in fact this is a kind of classic Huppert performance – the kind we are used to seeing in more recent Huppert films like The Piano Teacher, Merci pour le Chocolat, and Gabrielle. It is odd, really, that this film has finally scored her her first Oscar nomination. After appearing in numerous Oscar-nominated films (from 1980-1991 that includes Heaven's Gate, Coup de Torchon, Entre Nous, and Madame Bovary), she is only now being recognized by the Academy, even though she has, since then, become an enormous star internationally (nominated for 16 César Awards). In any case, this is her first nomination and it is well deserved – especially since she was also so great this year in L'Avenir. But back to Elle for a second, just so you who haven't seen it have a bit of an idea of what this film is: Huppert's character is raped very early on in the film in a scene that is very difficult to watch. She then decides to take revenge on her rapist. She must figure out who her rapist is first, but meanwhile she is attempting to seduce her married next door neighbor (or is he attempting to seduce her?). There are also plenty of other things with which she must deal: an ungrateful son, a theatrical mother, the remarriage of her ex-husband, an affair with her best friend's husband, sexual harassment at work. This is a complex, fascinating character study that thrills with Hitchcockian levels of suspense. It is also filled with mysterious surprises until the very end.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: Actress
My Rating: #20 out of 91

Loving
1 Nomination
  • Actress: Ruth Negga
Director: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Negga, Terri Abney, Sharon Blackwood, Will Dalton, Alano Miller, Chris R. Greene, Nick Kroll, Michael Shannon, Jon Bass

I really enjoyed this movie. This is the first Oscar nomination for a Jeff Nichols movie, which I don't think I understand given his amazing output. (Nichols had two films out this year and I liked the other one even better.) But I am glad Negga is getting attention for her performance. Loving is not your typical Nichols movie, either. It has no real science fiction qualities to it, and it is not really a mystery, but it is essentially a story of the South, which is what Nichols does, and it is also – for a movie whose outcome we already know – a film absolutely chock full of suspense. This is, of course, also one of the things Nichols does really, really well, and he uses his techniques of suspense here excellently. It is worth noting, too, that Loving's script and photography are also both very good, and the film's central performance – by Joel Edgerton – was also one of the best of the year.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #26 out of 91

Nocturnal Animals
1 Nomination
  • Supporting Actor: Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road)
Director: Tom Ford
Cast: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Ellie Bamber, Armie Hammer, Andrea Riseborough, Michael Sheen, Laura Linney, Karl Glusman, Robert Aramayo, Jena Malone

I adored this movie. It is my #3 for the year. It is a really difficult film, and I understand why so many people had so much trouble with it, but I both really enjoyed the movie and thought it interrogated many interesting things. In fact, I loved it. It's creepy and mysterious and violent, but it is also sexy and unsparing and sad. Nocturnal Animals is a film about revenge, about being unfair to the people in our lives and then about suffering the consequences of that unfairness. Nocturnal is also about art or about trying to make something that expresses how the artists (or non-artist) feels. Let's just be honest and say that I have a lot of trouble articulating why I loved this movie as much as I did, but I thought it was brave and intriguing and gorgeous, while also being very difficult – which is why I've really not recommended it to anyone. As for Michael Shannon's nomination, this came as rather a big surprise to everyone, I think, but it is well deserved. Isn't it odd that Shannon now has two nominations and that they're for Revolutionary Road and this movie? So strange.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A