Sunday, February 26, 2017

Oscars Lowdown 2017

It's Oscars day people! This year, only a handful of the Best Picture nominees were based on true stories throughout history. This has made my job much easier and considerably boring. Let's get to it.

A look at the fictional contenders:
Arrival: This is an alien movie I can get behind. Based on the 1998 short story "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang, this film was smart. International cooperation! Linguistics! Physics! Maths! I suppose this is as believable as it gets to an alien invasion. 4/5 stars

Fences: You need to be alert-as-fuck during this movie. The dialogue comes at you fast. Based on the 1983 play of the same name, Fences was my favorite of all the Best Picture nominees. 5/5 stars

Hell or High Water: The story was interesting enough, but overall this came off as a missed opportunity for a good film. 2/5 stars

La la Land: I mean, I liked it. It was pretty to look at. The nostalgic escapism was an Academy member's wet dream. This was a musical with mediocre voices, mediocre-er dancing, blasé choreography, and the glaring issue of a white jazz savior. Without getting too far into it, here's an excellent article from Paste that does. 3/5 stars

Manchester by the Sea: This started off as a darker version of Garden State, but came through in the end. Affleck's performance was fine but I truly do not understand all the accolades he's receiving. The Washington Post published an interesting article on Hollywood's "Boston Problem" and how Manchester by the Sea, although taking place in the vicinity of Boston, isn't defined by it, as most Boston films are. (read: The Town, The Departed, Patriot's Day, Good Will Hunting, Mystic River, and I'm going to go out on a limb and even say Ted). 3/5 stars

Moonlight: Based on Tarell Alvin McCraney's 2003 semi-autobiographical play 'In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue', Moonlight went against every preconceived notion I had of the film going into it. I'd like to watch it again for that reason alone. The last segment just seemed off. 3/5 stars

A look at the historical contenders:
Image sources: The National Archives and The Hollywood Reporter
Hacksaw Ridge: This film tells the story of Desmond Doss, a combat medic in World War II who made headlines after his refusal to carry a weapon. Doss went on to receive the Medal of Honor after carrying 75 of his wounded infantry men to safety during the Battle of Okinawa. This movie was fucking garbage. 1/5 stars

Image sources: People and IMDB

Hidden Figures: Adapted from Margot Lee Shetterly's book, Hidden Figures is based on the female African-American mathematicians at NASA who helped calculate rocket trajectories in the 1960s. Sometimes you see a preview of a movie and know that the entire film is going to offer little else besides those two minutes. This film was that. 3/5 stars

Image sources: ABC and Stark Insider

Lion: When Saroo was five years old, he mistakenly boarded a train and was carried hundreds of miles away from his hometown. It was India in the 1980s, and means of communicating were limited. Unable to locate his family, Saroo was put into an orphanage and eventually adopted by a couple in Australia. Decades later, Saroo uses new resources to locate the family he left behind. I really liked this one. 4/5 stars

And my picks:
I watched every single Best Picture, Best Actress/Actor, Best Supporting Actress/Actor movie so I'm basically an expert.

Best Picture: Fences
Best Actor: Denzel Washington in "Fences"
Best Actress: Natalie Portman in "Jackie"
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis in "Fences"
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali in "Moonlight"

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