Oscars 2019: #OscarSoTruthiness

Three of our editors (Katherine, Navani, and Jason) got together to discuss this year’s batch of Oscar films, and take issues with their liberties with time, and the truth, Jason really does not like Queen’s playing around with their musical timelines, Katherine takes Yiorgos to task for his weirdness, Navani loves music, Jason loves hashtags (too much — in 2019?!) — but we all really love Roma

AcademyBlekPanther.png

Navani:
So where to begin, I have a question. I’m thrilled to see Black Panther be nominated but have heard some mixed reviews from other ppl about a super hero movie being nominated

Jason:
That was actually going to be my first question too…well, after the whole hosting sitch

Navani:
Like maybe it’s just some sort of affirmative action move from the Academy
what are your thoughts? Like it’s their response to #oscarssowhite. Some backlash

Jason:
I’ve another theory — that it’s so hard to get African-American themed movies made, especially superhero movies, that to get them made they have to be 3 times better than the parallel movie that’s primarily caucasian #3xAntMan

Navani:
Hahaha

Jason:
Ha, also, is there ever NOT a backlash when non-whites get anything…it gets tiresome…and I’m so white #Jasonsowhite

Navani:
Yes so true. I agree. Well my feeling was that it was not about the theme of the movie more so than what it stood for in terms of representation, it’s groundbreaking to see a black superhero movie, so that’s why it’s notable, and you can’t ignore the success of it.

Jason:
Also, with half the movies released being Marvel’s This or Marvel’s That, it feels as much like when Beauty & the Beast finally got animated back on the Oscar map

AcademyBeaut

Navani:
So, if it was some political move who cares I’ll take it!

Jason:
Exactly (on the can’t ignore AND the political!)

Navani:
But I do see overall themes of representation in the noms.

Katherine:
Hiiii sorry.

Jason:
Nah, good timing and HI!

Navani:
And in terms of host, I heard somewhere there was an idea to have the cast of The Good Place host. What happened to that? That was creative.

Katherine:
I think that stuff is all rumors.

Jason:
we’re pretty much on first topic — vaguely representation, Marvel nominated, MAGAidiots backlash, is Black Panther worthy, that sort of thing.

Navani:
I knew no one was going to want to do it after Kevin Hart. It’s like sloppy seconds
and who would want to be associated with the drama.

AcademyHart

Katherine:
I don’t think anyone has been ASKED.

Jason:
Yeah, unless Billy Crystal was asked, as he’d do anything, Oscar-wise anyway.

Navani:
Is that why they got Ellen to ask Kevin again? lol — and he’s like no thanks!
I thought Billy Crystal had hosted the most Oscars but turns out it was Bob Hope.

AcademyHope.png

Jason:
Didn’t Hart kind of pull out before anyone had the chance to remove him or am I remembering wrong? Also, Navani coming correct with the historical knowledge!

Navani:
Yup, that’s correct, he stepped down because they were like if you don’t apologize you can’t do it yadda, and he’s like cool I’ll just call your bluff now — beat you to the punch

Katherine:
He gave a half ass apology.

Jason:
I tuned out a bit b/c the whole thing made me weirdly nauseous. I generally like Kevin Hart, but it almost felt like he was backing out of a chore to avoid apologizing.

Katherine:
Same.

Navani:
So then Ellen saying I got the Academy to agree to let you do it now was weird.

Jason:
As if he were so married to the most homophobic aspects of his act that he decided to die on the weirdest hill … and I can’t even wrap my head around the Ellen part.
Did she add any caveat that he would apologize?

Navani:
No, he gave his spiel.

AcademyEllen

Jason:
So, no host, what do you think they do? And with the lack of host, how did they ever justify a lack of time to do the actual job of the show — handing out awards?

Katherine:
I’m worried it’s a disembodied voice.

Jason:
Ha…Watson might be available. He’s a genius!

Navani:
So, yeah, why would they need to air less categories then? Not sure why that became a thing.

Katherine:
OOOOOH I DON’T KNOW. But they’re on again. I assumed they think we don’t care? And that’s kind of true but KATHERINE AND JASON CARE.

Jason:
Yeah, I don’t think anyone was complaining that there wasn’t enough awkward musical numbers or head-scratching features. It’s an award show. And yes WE DO! I was ready to march (or at least imagine a musical number where i was marching).

So, the movies — Alphabetically [ed.s note: as you’ll see that didn’t last long]

BLACK PANTHER!

AcademyBlekBanner

Katherine, I’m gonna turn to you, since Navani and I started on this already.
Wakanda Forever, Wakanda Sometimes, or Wakanda Never?

Katherine:
Forever. But they couldn’t nominate Coogler? What the fuck? Is it nominated for Best Song? Because I’d love for that to win too.

Navani:
I’m not sure

Jason:
I would hope so, as there’s lately something like three original songs a year. And it is, indeed nominated.

Navani:
Nice

Jason:
While I’m exaggerating, they did actually lower the number to three a few years ago when people were reusing the same songs for soundtracks — original movie songs were becoming a lost art. As for Coogler, directing Oscar category was just weird. Did anyone here actually see Cold War?

Katherine:
I DID

Jason:
Katherine, did Pawel deserve his somewhat surprise Oscar nomination?

Katherine:
I think Cold War is a difficult film for some people, but I think it is deserving.
I feel like they won’t give it best Foreign Film, because they’ll think it should go to Roma automatically, but I don’t like that. Roma should get everything else, and give Cold War foreign film. I think it says a lot as an allegory to America. See it!!!!!!

Navani:
How can Roma be both best Foreign Film and Best picture? That’s annoying.

Jason:
AcademyMVPIt’s kind of like in baseball where a pitcher can be MVP. in any case, it’s better than being quarantined in foreign and not getting a Best Picture nom at all.

Navani:
I’m just thrilled Spike Lee got nominated for once — feel like that was long overdue, since Malcolm X, but I doubt he will actually win.

Jason:
I would have nom’d him for Clockers and the 25th Hour, but those were lost causes.

Katherine:
Wait, so are we in agreement the Academy can only nom one black person at a time?

Navani:
Yeah Spike Lee took Ryan’s spot, basically.

AcademyCooglerLee.png

Jason:
Ha, #Oscars4White1NonWhite

Navani:
LMAO

Jason:
i mean, not “HA” but

Katherine:
Ha

Navani:
Like, OK, filled that quota — next!

Jason:
The Coogler snub would be worse (optically anyway) if Bradley Cooper had been nominated

Navani:
Yes, agree Jason, at least they didn’t go that far.

Katherine:
I just started rage screaming and it didn’t even happen.

AcademyDelToroCuaron.pngNavani:
And giving awards to the same two Mexican directors every year does not really speak to diversity within the U.S.

Katherine:
NO IT DOES NOT.

Jason:
#OscarSoMexican?

Jason:
So, that brings us to —

BlacKKKlansman

AcademyKlanBanner.png

Navani:
OK this movie I loved because it’s based on a true story, even if embellished not sure I didn’t read the book and it is still so timely for today’s times (sadly)
and I just thought it was well done in a way because it made you laugh at times, it enraged you, range of emotions.

Navani:
So I guess it also fits the trend of political-themes in the nominations

AcademyVallanceJason:
I’m pretty sure the history is pretty spot on on this one, and I generally give the moviemaker a lot of leeway, b/c it’s a movie, it’s telling a story, and I go by the Liberty Valance rule (“when the legend is more famous/better than the story, print the legend” — i’m botching that horribly) And I’m going to be a complete hypocrite when I go mental next on Bohemian for going haywire with the truth

Katherine:
I read…that it’s perhaps over crediting to the white people involved…

Jason:
…which fascinates me as Lee tore into Green Book for that very issue…

Navani:
Right that movie got most of the backlash for the white savior trope

Jason:
AcademyLee.jpgwhich I hate to say kind of tracks with Lee’s history…but I think it may have to do with the same reason you see him on the sideline at Knicks games…but then Spike Lee totally put a helping of White Guilt Porn in the center of this film.

Katherine:
I also feel like… he has one good work…and it’s Malcolm X. Aaaannnnd I’m sorry.

Jason:
I will go to bat for 25th Hour til my dying day (and feel a bit weird since it’s his only with a mostly white cast) … again, Clockers too

Navani:
Do the Right Thing all day — sorry not sorry!

Jason:
As for his storylines that kind of play deeply into the warmth of John David Washington’s relationship with Adam Driver and others, I kind of attribute it to ultimately he’s a traditional filmmaker and will bend towards what he thinks will draw the audience in Capra-style.

Katherine:
I need to re-watch it but yes!

Jason:
As for his criticism of Green Book — he’s a trash talker

Katherine:
Is that one next? Because I haven’t seen it … But I don’t feel good about it.

Jason:
Technically, not next, but it is now.

Green Book

AcademyGreenBanner.png

I didn’t feel good about it either and was also moved by it and loved it. It was painful being pulled in so many directions.

Navani:
After the family spoke out against it, I quietly boycotted it. Do they ever delve into the importance of the green book??

AcademyDMDJason:
It’s an extremely artfully made movie, and not quite Driving Miss Daisy as Mahershala Ali’s Don Shirley is far from a caricature and it’s a masterful performance deserving of the Oscar it may get but probably won’t because Christian Bale is very good at losing and gaining weight and disappearing into make-up (ok, that’s not fair — he really is good at disappearing into make-up and roles)

Katherine:
They won’t let him win again regardless.

Jason:
All that being said: I left feeling soooooo manipulated by this film. It was half good movie, half paint-by-numbers. In a sense I have to tip my hat to the masterful nature of a well made piece of manipulation

Katherine:
I like how fair and balanced you are. Hello! I’m TV’s Moira Rose… I’m outraged when I’m manipulated by the media. “HOW DAAAARE YOOOU?!” Oh. I’ll wait until it’s a joyful holiday and my parents MAKE ME WATCH IT because old white people.

Jason:
It’s a well-made old-school movie, but I won’t deny its problematic nature. As for the question of how it handles the history of the green book itself, that’s where it’s most (oof, I don’t want to say noble)…well, strongest. As someone who lived through the time said coming out of the screening, “I did not even know that green books were a thing”

Navani:
Well as long as it’s addressed –the importance of those books etc

Katherine:
Then it sounds like it’s a good movie but not Oscar-worthy?

Jason:
Exactly. I cried, but I didn’t feel good about it.

Navani:
Ah so the emotional value…

Jason:
Last thing i’ll say about GB: the friendship between Mortensen and Ali is earned, but, that being said I could predict almost every twist and turn of the movie, but let’s move on {said in moderator voice} to…sigh…

Bohemian Rhapsody

AcademyBohRha

So, Bohemian Rhapsody, the nominated movie which barely escaped a rotten rating from Rotten Tomatoes; it’s at 61% as of this morning.

Navani:
LMAOOO

Jason:
I believe The Reader was in the low 50s when it was nom’d. Also, there’s a great feature on their site going through every movie to win…three were in rotten, but the most recent was 1953’s Cimarron. But 10-year-old me was vindicated to see Out Of Africa at 60%

Katherine:
I can’t fucking even. I did not see it. Is the Academy old middle aged white women with knowledge of nothing? He’s not gay! He’s bi! Now it’s a family movie!

Navani:
I mean Rami Malek killed it

Katherine:
That’s fine. Terrible movies have great actors! Like Dirty Little Secret: The Jodi Arias Story.

Jason:
Ha…yes, Malek was perfect, and, ouch, nice burn there Katherine. It was more the music fan in me who was offended. They had songs released in 81 coming out before songs in 75 and THAT’S JUST NOT RIGHT!

Navani:
Ahhh, OK, so yeah that’s a big no no!

Katherine:
Here’s the thing: Sascha Baron Cohen, who was helming the whole thing, pulled out because the rest of the band wanted to subdue the story of the band AND Freddie Mercury, so it would appeal to family audiences. Which I guess means teenagers, not five year olds. Quietly stares at Joy Division. I may never be a journalist, but I must stand by my principles.

Jason:
Hahahahaha. It got so ridiculous they practically claimed Queen were influenced to write “Another One Bites The Dust” by Rick James’ “Superfreak” which came out 2 years later. It was like they just didn’t care

Navani:
And I’m even surprised they talked about AIDS to be honest

Katherine:
I was going to take it too far and joke he died of the flu. He got it on the Tube.

Navani:
Most rock legend biopics ppl don’t want to reveal the ugly truths they just want to keep them nicely tied up with a bow on a pedestal so that’s not shocking to me at all

Katherine:
I know! And so that Jimi Hendrix one is awful. Meanwhile, Widows isn’t nominated for ANYTHING.

Jason:
Also, it just got absurd — he got AIDS years after Live Aid, and it shouldn’t matter, but they did it in order to amp up the maudlin factor of the band getting back together (by the way, THEY NEVER BROKE UP…they had just finished a tour) and as you kind of bring up, there’s a lot of other angles they could go where they could dramatically address the fact that he had to hide his illness

Katherine:
UGGGGGGGHHHHHHH

Navani:
AHHH — thanks I knew nothing of his timeline

AcademyHardWatch.pngJason:
Around the point of Live Aid in the movie, it started getting like a bad parody of a 30 Rock tv movie….I expected him to turn around and say “and I never even learned to read.”

Navani:
hahaaha

Jason:
For me, it kind of redeemed itself with the concert film at the end. That was well-done, but maaaaan.

Navani:
The Live Aid at least left it on a high note. I liked that part.

Jason:
Yes, that actually happened, for one. And it was perfectly filmed and a stirring ending of a movie that was so powerful it brought back a movie that I thought had become absolute parody of itself to a three star movie.

Navani:
I mean Live Aid was an epic event. And I loved that Mike Myers got to be in the film as a nod to Wayne’s World.

Jason:
Ha, yes, that was awesome (Myers). And Rami did kill it.

Navani:
Agreed … so he deserves his nom.

Jason:
I’d be fine if he wins. So, what do we have left…

The Favourite

AcademyFavBanner

I’ve loved Olivia Colman since she was doing Numberwang sketches on the Mitchell & Webb Look

Katherine:
I have a lot of feelings, one second.

Jason:
And thought she was delightful in a truly odd role — or at least it felt original to me.

Katherine:
I think the actresses are outstanding, and I thought it was lit well, but it’s a movie that’s allegedly about women (undercutting, backstabbing, straight up trying to murder one another) and they’re just manipulated by men the whole time.
The camerawork was undermined by sooooo much fish eye, soooo much unnecessary fish eye. And the story itself is made up garbage. Yes, the Queen lost that many pregnancies. Yes, her BFF was a close confidant, and yes! Another woman took that position. But the queen was also married! And everything else is made up. I think the director is weird as shit and needs to sit down. I don’t like his films, and I think he makes weird films so people will think they’re good.

Jason:
What are his other wierdnesses

Katherine:
The only movie I don’t hate is Dogtooth. There’s The Lobster. Killing of a Sacred Deer. He’s got a weird thing about sex and that’s not my problem.

Jason:
Ooof, The Lobster, I both loved and detested that film…saw it with my dad who tolerates a lot of indie excess and he could make little of it. Yeah, The Favourite definitely is weird about sex in a way that felt a bit off.

Katherine:
No, stop me, I hate this movie so much, and I need to be held back.

Jason:
It’s a funny thing, but my feelings were opposite in regards to their strength wrt The Favourite. And that may be a bigger slap to the director. I thought Colman, Stone, and Weisz were remarkable. As for the manipulation, I thought it went both ways (they all seemed slaves to their idiosyncrasies to me, but as a male, I may miss some of these things, I’m sure). However, and I don’t even say this to be wryly dismissive in a movie critic jerk way, but when it was over, my initial reaction was “that was it?”

Katherine:
To me, it was like they thought they were doing their own thing but were being pushed along in the end by Nicholas Holt.

Jason:
I will admit that I laughed a bit too hard when he pushed Emma Stone’s character into the gutter when it was really kind of a joke based on seeing a woman pushed down, so…. yeah, problems. So, 2019 #OscarsSoTruthiness?

Katherine:
YES

Jason:
Onto a movie that my SAG uncle called their most polarizing, but I have a sense we might be in accord based on the early side comments…

Roma

AcademyRoma.png

(or as the older, somewhat racist woman next to me at a movie screening with said uncle exclaimed “I thought it was going to be about gypsies”…oof)

Katherine:
I’m frustrated that it’s the most available film (unless you’re blind?) and people aren’t watching it.

Navani:
It’s on Netflix! — it’s so easy. So, it was sad … soooo sad!

Jason:
It was the last movie I got to that didn’t have a star being born, so I can’t judge
And I LOVE Cuaron.

Katherine:
It’s the best movie of the year.

Jason:
Agreed!

Navani:
Is it a requirement for all Best film noms to be uber sad? I think so.

Katherine:
It’s the best nominated one too. And, generally, yes, but I think it had uplifting elements, too.

Navani:
I mean I love all the points it made about classism, the riots with the govt,
and how life is just super hard — esp as a woman

Katherine:
I felt really…not joyful. Comforted? when she gets home and the other woman is like, “We’ll talk when i get back”

Navani:
Well thank God she didn’t fire her.

Katherine:
Oh, look, a movie without issues with facts.

Navani:
That was unexpected

Katherine:
I meant the two…maids.

Navani:
And all the imagery of water

Jason:
The cinematography that took in the whole background behind the action, the way it allowed that action to slowly unfold, the way it folded in elements like the Corpus Christi massacre.

Navani:
Starts off with water, cleaning the sidewalk, ends with water, on the beach, like a rebirth

Jason:
Yes, there was the gentility too, I loved the way they expressed their relationships.

Navani:
Yes, they became a family — like girl we gotta stick together cause these men here SUCK!

Jason:
They made it slowly believable that this unit would become a family. And, as we’ve mentioned manipulation…the way they set up her inaction in dangerous situations until there was a logic when she did indeed act. It’s not manipulation when it’s god damned earned; it’s just good filmmaking.

Navani:
OOOF the movies. my heart broke!

Katherine:
I felt like when the mother was shitty it was more a case of taking it out on people you can do that with (in this case get away with it). (As someone who is guilty of doing that to people she loves.)

Navani:
Like, oh, man he is not coming back?

Jason:
Exactly, she was mean to Cleo as a member of her family, as someone she loved (although at times it was akin to her children) The film had great subtle use of the love of movies too. So, is Roma a unanimous choice of the Scholars as Best Picture?

Katherine:
Yes.

Navani:
YES — as of now I vote Roma

Jason:
So, anything more on Roma?
If not, we have two more films

A Star Is Born

AcademyStar

Interestingly, its star took her name from a Queen song (and one of the first 45s i ever owned) and yet, I was not remotely excited to see it.

Navani:
It’s weird to me to have 2 music-themed films in the same category as such a music fan — even if this is not a biopic. It was not worth an Oscar nom sorry — also REALLY SAD so I’m guessing it just has some the Hollywood appeal that make it a contender. If “Shallow” wins best song I would not be mad but it’s another tormented musician trope.

Jason:
It may have also been the low expectations factor, but John Oliver even did a quick misdirection using how much everybody loved it (even the center for the Dallas Cowboys).

Navani:
And this movie didn’t even leave you on a high note in any way like the other noms
at least give the viewer something for sticking through it. Nope it was an awful ending so it just makes you mad for investing the time.

Jason:
It’s moving, but you just kind of know all the bad things that are going to be happening. It’s like, Jackson Maine is drinking a lot, gee, I hope that’s not a problem for their relationship. Ally Gaga is becoming famous — gosh, I hope he does not get jealous.

Navani:
Lady Gaga’ voice is amazing of course — and if they were going for the mental illness awareness angle that got lost somewhere

Jason:
Yeah, he just seemed alcoholic, but I’d be happy to see Gaga win, even having not seen the film….I’m a sucker for a great Oscars story and for a musician crushing as an actor

Navani:
I think it was ok as a movie but not Oscar-worthy at all, but yes she can win for best song

Katherine:
I mean, the movie never changes, but also in this one I don’t like it.
COME ON, THE OCEAN’S RIGHT HERE.

Jason:
Yeah, and knowing what’s probably going to happen — what’s with the fakeouts. It just felt mean.

And we have one BP left in the tank, so let’s keep Vice on our minds but…speaking of Best Actress…who saw The Wife?

AcademyGlennClose

Katherine:
Not me. It’s Too Much, Man.

Navani:
Me either, but I mean Glenn Close I love. But also will just piss me off I’m sure

Jason:
I’ve never been a fan of Glenn Close and I’m not sure why, but she was brilliant as she sort of turned the tables on Jonathan Pryce’s whiny artistically thieving author
She did simmering quite well and deserves the Oscar she appears to be destined to finally get. She was heading into Peter O’Toole/Susan Lucci territory. She’s never won. Melissa McCarthy was nominated for both an Oscar for Can You Ever Forgive Me? and a Razzie this year, and just from the Happytime Murders trailer, I suspect she deserves both nods.

Katherine:
I missed Happytime but I think I would have liked it.

AcademyGrantJason:
Happy to see Richard E. Grant finally get a nomination (deserved since The Player)

Navani:
So that leaves…

Vice

Screenshot 2019-02-24 at 9.32.40 PM

Steve Carrell was awesome as supporting actor. Also it felt like I was watching an episode of Drunk History — was that the point of it? Def creative storytelling.

Jason:
Yeah, that’s another thought on my mind…Adam McKay and Spike Lee are 40% of directing nods…both have particular styles that people are either gonna like or not like.

Navani:
Yes exactly I agree you either love the styles or hate it. It either works well or falls flat.

Jason:
Also, I’m surprised Carrell did not get nom’d for anything between that and Baby Boy…ugh, I mean Beautiful Boy

Navani:
Haha…whole diff vibe, but again, really pissed me off like when he made his DUI just disappear.

Jason:
And that’s part of my feelings about Vice is that given what’s going on today more people need to see it

Navani:
Like, OK, this is the epitome of white privilege right here between him and Bush
yes so anyone that disputes that happens it’s for them

Jason:
and that it’s so messed up that Vice’s array of awful governance might even muddy that of today’s Trump and that’s partly just the insane nature of how screwy our current President is (and the very fact that we elected America’s most absurd American President)

Navani:
Right! When Reagan said “Make America Great Again” I’m like OMG!

Jason:
I was mixed on Vice. I loved the meta and gimmicky aspects of Vice and would not want to lose them

Navani:
We’re living in a bad re-run, but now with more Trump!

Jason:
But the gimmicks also took away from some of the power of the story itself.

Navani:
Yeah, sometimes I just wanted a straight forward story. Don’t distract me with random jarring images

Jason:
And again, it’s so weird to watch this and hold the level of contempt both the Cheney and Putin Administrations deserve. The fake ending was brilliant though

Navani:
Yes, lmao– “oh he just gave up on politics” WE WISH! So sad about how his daughter turned on her sister

Jason:
That had me in tears — it worked on both counts. It underscored the fact that Cheney even sold out his family in the one aspect of his life story that is supposed to be, well, human.

Navani:
Right! Like nothing was off limits to keep power. It’s disturbing these are the people running our country and how they are groomed no matter if they deserve it or not and this cycle will continue. If Obama had a DUI, the movie would be 10 mins long.

Jason:
yeah, i also loved that it kind of humanized him in a way he probably would NOT want…that ultimately he was just an ordinary guy who had a high motor and hustled his way into the history books…that he is hardly the visionary he would most likely wish to see himself as. And the fact that these people are running the country is part of my frustration with this film (and it’s not really fair) in that Reagan/Bush/Trump all follow a pattern of non-empathetic corporations-will-save-us, autocratic-is-ok leadership so it should be more powerful, but because Trump is such a circus, it loses some of its power to shock us.

…And that’s where we dropped off. Now, let’s see how they handle host.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s