Fresh off the back of last year’s 4/1 winning tip for Best Picture we’re about to tackle the establishment once more and get you some value at the Oscars. Hey, they’ve enough money, so it’s about time we share the wealth.
Green Book won last year partly in response to #OscarsSoWhite (or at least so goes the “narrative”), and in truth, the Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali film did more wrong than it did right.
You see, the reason only obsessive E! watchers care about the Academy Awards outside the states of California and New York is that the films in question aren’t ever duly rewarded for their art. Instead, they’re held up as a zeitgeist of the Hollywood mood at any given moment.
This year, I think traders are overlooking that narrative – or, perhaps more aptly – a counter-narrative. There are nine nominations this year – a gloriously random number that only further reinforces the point that there is zero organisation in this minefield of less-aware political opinions – and here’s your quick guide to them.
Little Women was a quick peek into the lives of the March family. It’s a remake of an adaptation and that’s already too many layers for it to fully land a blow here, but the acting was superb. With Greta Gerwig getting a snub for Best Director, it seemed likely this one’s out of its depth in the category already.
Last year was the first year a film won Best Picture without having its director nominated for their respective category since Ben Affleck and Argo in 2013.
One of the real surprises of the year was Ford v Ferrari which was called Le Mans 66 in the United States. While Christian Bale and Matt Damon teaming up shouldn’t act as a deterrent given how picky the former is with scripts, its primary focus is on a subject matter that just doesn’t translate well enough to wider audiences, nor is it metaphorical enough to be considered art.
Remember when going to the cinema was just about enjoying yourself? Me too.
— Films to Films (@FilmstoFilms_) February 2, 2020
The best acting of this entire film year, for me, was found in Marriage Story. The dynamic between Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver is gorgeous and crushing in equal measure. Of course, the issue with this is that simply not enough happens for it to stand alone. Scorsese directed a film a few years ago called ‘Silence’, which everyone thought, pre-screeners, was going to clean up. Except nothing happens in the film whatsoever. In this case, do actually judge a book by its cover.
JoJo Rabbit is about a young boy who has an imaginary friend in the form of Adolf Hitler. I loved this film. It did a lot to convey the corruption and de-corruption of a young mind in the world’s most evil period as well as displaying a future star in Roman Griffin Davis. I’m just not sure, despite it perhaps being deserving of the gong, the Academy is ready to have Adolf Hitler up on screen when the golden statue is being presented.
If you sat through The Irishman in cinemas, you probably have a considerably higher opinion of it than if you watched it at home on Netflix. In saying that, DeNiro’s CGI-laden face couldn’t hide the fact he could barely raise his leg to kick a shopkeeper when he’s meant to be in his late thirties. Not a chance is this being nominated for anything other than a farewell to Scorsese and a soft applause for the audacity the concept emits.
Incredible honor to have received 10 total nominations, including Best Picture, Martin Scorsese for Directing, and both Al Pacino and Joe Pesci for Supporting Actor. Thank you, @TheAcademy. pic.twitter.com/QpokdMZw5c
— The Irishman (@TheIrishmanFilm) January 13, 2020
Joaquin Phoenix is a 20s-on shot to win Best Actor and there’s probably a bit of value in that, to be fair. While he took all the focus, and that probably wasn’t the initial intention, Joker itself is gorgeously put together.
The narrative could have been distracting, self-serving and off the point, but it blends well with the comic lore and takes a page out of Christopher Nolan’s book in making it relatable to non-superhero fans like myself.
Parasite would be the first non-US-based film to win Best Picture since The Artist won it over a decade ago. Bong Joon-ho is well-regarded among filmmakers but now the general public get to gush over his talents.
While this probably has no hope of landing the grand prize, its inclusion may come across to some as a superficial nod to diversity – until you see the film and realise it’s certainly worthy of its place.
Meet Best Picture nominee @ParasiteMovie.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 31, 2020
That leaves us with two – with 1917 being a big-price favourite. While the set design is the best I’ve ever seen, various scenes brought out Argo-levels of anxiety in me and the editing of shots from Sam Mendes to make it look like a continuous glance into the past are stunning, it still upholds a boring narrative in that one man has to find his brother.
This could have stood up without cliché, but it chose not to.
For that reason, I’m happy to put up ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (11/2) as my selection for Best Picture. I didn’t like a lot of Tarantino’s work, but I could have watched this a thousand times over.
#ForYourConsideration in all categories, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor. #OnceUponATimeInHollywood, nominated for 10 Academy Awards, is now playing. #Oscars pic.twitter.com/ihFxdA1Zq2
— Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (@OnceInHollywood) February 4, 2020
It’s got Wes Anderson levels of colour, and a level of obsession only Tarantino himself can provide. And what’s more Hollywood than a big three-hour-long love letter to itself?
It’s got marquee actors and actresses, a director Hollywood loves more than it loves itself – and genuine substance to be among the best.
They don’t need two chances to put the word Hollywood up in lights when given the option.