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

17 February 2018

Oscar Nominations 2018: Part 6 of 12

Back to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, or Part 5.

1 Nomination
  • Adapted Screenplay: Scott Frank (Out of Sight) & Michael Green & James Mangold
Director: Mangold
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen, Patrick Stewart, Stephen Merchant, Boyd Holbrook, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Quincy Fouse, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Richard E. Grant

The absolute best X-men movie we've ever had. I cannot believe this got an Oscar nomination, but goddammit it deserves this. The strongest component of Logan is, of course, its script, which is smart and poignant and (actually) quite moving. But the quality that makes Logan stand out from other X-men movies specifically and other superhero movies in general is that this superhero movie is rated R. The R rating made Logan into what it is. We've never seen Wolverine's claws wreak the bloody havoc they wreak in this movie. We've never seen the pain that Logan feels, the agony he experiences as bullets rip through his flesh, before. Mangold's willingness to do this, to go there – as well as Fox's willingness to allow this – elevates the level of the film to the level of something important. This isn't a stupid action movie where no one gets hurt. In this film, people are bodies. They get wounded, they hurt, they break apart. It's not only an ethical move for a superhero movie, it also makes for great storytelling. This is one of my favorite movies of the year.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #16 out of 81

The Big Sick
1 Nomination
  • Original Screenplay: Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
Cast: Nanjiani, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Zoe Kazan, Adeel Akhtar, Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, Kurt Braunohler, David Alan Grier

This is funny and romantic and I really liked it. I am really happy it got this nomination, too, because the entire enterprise is cute and very funny. Holly Hunter is also excellent in the movie. I can recommend this to everyone. I don't think there's anyone who won't like this movie. It isn't going to win the Oscar, but this nomination is great news for Nanjiani's career.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #23 out of 81

The Florida Project
1 Nomination
  • Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe (Shadow of the Vampire, Platoon)
Director: Sean Baker
Cast: Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite, Dafoe, Christopher Rivera, Aiden Malik, Valeria Cotto, Mela Murder, Josie Olivo, Caleb Landry Jones

Ugh. I have already detailed my experience with this film, which I so wanted to be good. But The Florida Project is not good, and I have, frankly, been completely baffled by the love that so many American critics have shown this shallow, meaningless movie. Sean Baker is a filmmaker that deliberately tries to avoid saying anything, and so his movies finally provide no insight into the characters he has created. I felt this with Tangerine and it is true again with The Florida Project. I am an empathetic person, and so I find this entire enterprise incredibly frustrating. It's just all so shallow, and actually it begins to feel sort of hostile after a while. The more that I think about how The Florida Project works, the more I feel as though it is contemptuous of its intriguing characters. But I guess I am supposed to be talking about Willem Dafoe... Dafoe is excellent in this movie, and not only because he is an actor among non-actors doing excellent work (he also has a superb scene with Caleb Landry Jones, who is an actor and is also in Three Billboards). Dafoe's characterization is beautiful and humane and I would be totally pleased if he won the Oscar for this. But fuck this movie.

Will Win: N/A
Could Win: Supporting Actor
My Rating: #76 out of 81

All the Money in the World
1 Nomination
  • Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer (Beginners, The Last Station)
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg, Plummer, Romain Duris, Charlie Plummer, Timothy Hutton

This film is surprisingly slow, and I am not sure I understand what it is trying to do. I think that's because this movie isn't quite sure what it is trying to do. Is this a meditation on wealth and greed, and perhaps on how being totally greedy keeps one from having real feelings toward family or real relationships with those one supposedly loves? Or is this an action-movie-slash-heist-movie about a kidnapping and rescue. As it turns out, All the Money in the World does both of these things halfway, and doesn't do either of them very well. Michelle Williams spends the whole movie doing a kind of Natalie-Portman-in-Jackie accent that – even if it's accurate – sounds stilted and strange and made me doubt her sincerity. Mark Wahlberg is completely and totally miscast, like a bull in a strange china shop. And then there is the Kevin Spacey–Christopher Plummer debacle (or is it a saga?). Plummer is fine in the part, but the ghost of Kevin Spacey, who was fired while the movie was in post-production, haunts this whole enterprise. It would feel like more of a triumph if the movie were any good, but it's mostly not.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #68 out of 81