Oscars Week: Best Picture

After a long night, a night of jokes, of tears, of tributes? from Dave Grohl, and an appearance from Sacha Baron Cohen, we arrive at the most important nominee of the night, Best Picture.

There are no more jokes, there is only the envelope.

And the nominees are:

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

So out of ten possible films they chose eight, and they couldn’t include Carol? Really? It’s hard to pick one winner from the nominees deserving to win. Controversially, I think it’s absurd that The Big Short and Bridge of Spies are nominated for anything, never mind Best Picture.

I think The Revenant was a gorgeous, harrowing film, but to paraphrase Ann Hornaday, I loved The Revenant until suddenly I didn’t. The more time elapsed between myself and the viewing the less I liked it. Liking, and loving, a film, do not make a film great. (I love Superbad, but it’s not a Best Picture.) When we finally reached the end, I felt like my journey had been pointless. Maybe I’m cut out to be a real voter, because I’m happy to award Iñárritu Best Director.

And so, I award… Brooklyn. The butt of jokes for its name and its limited viewership, Brooklyn is a quiet, stunning film about finding yourself. It is the story of America, of immigration. I felt that movie so deeply. If Carol can’t win, why can’t Brooklyn?

Ditto to Katherine’s sentiment and add on no Creed??? Or any movie featuring a person of color?? tsk tsk. – Navani Otero

Make sure to check out all of our Oscars Week picks!

 

 

What to Watch: 02/27/2016

It’s the night before the Oscars, and awards shows dominate our thoughts. Luckily, there are plenty of live performances to keep us distracted til then.

JASON’S PICK:
In Performance at the White House: Ray Charles [PBS, 8p]
Stars ranging from Demi Lovato to Sam & Dave’s Sam Moore fete the late great, with Barack Obama singing along on “What’d I Say.”

NAVANI’S PICK:
Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards [OWN, 10p]
Honoring outstanding black women behind and in front of the camera. This year’s honorees include Tracee Ellis-Ross, Debbie Allen and entertainment attorney Nina Shaw.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
American Masters [PBS, 9p]
Celebrate the life and career of Fats Domino, whose first R&B chart topper in 1950, “The Fat Man,” is also considered one of the first rock ‘n’ roll songs. A rock music pioneer, and fourth grade-drop out, Fats Domino has 59 R&B and 63 pop hits, include “Ain’t That A Shame” and “Blueberry Hill.”

Oscars Week: Best Actress

Which talented woman is destined to win tomorrow? Is it Jennifer Lawrence, the only nomination for David O. Russell’s Joy? Cate Blanchett, the Meryl Streep of her era?

And the nominees for Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role are:

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

What a difficult choice. Jennifer Lawrence was excellent in Joy, a film that was, I think, underrated. I think it would be wonderful is Brie Larson won, and Charlotte Rampling is a great actress (though if she lost, we’d enjoy a sliver of schadenfreude). Saoirse Ronan is Brooklyn. She is Eilis. But… Cate Blanchett should win.

The moment she appeared on screen I stopped breathing. I fell madly, incomprehensibly in love with Carol Aird. I knew it was Blanchett, but I was nevertheless ready to give up my life in 2015 Brooklyn for 1950s Manhattan. Carol was a beautiful, moving film. I desperately want it to win every award it’s been nominated for.

Make sure to check out all of our Oscars Week picks!

Oscars Week: Best Actor

The buzz–from everyone–is that this is finally Leo’s year. It’s almost unfair to the rest of the nominees, except they didn’t wear an enormous pelt and bite into bison liver, and Leo did.

And the nominees for Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role are:

  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

…So The Revenant is the only film of these five that I’ve seen. Yet, it’s the only film of Leonardo DiCaprio’s that I’ve liked. It’s the only film that I felt like he deserved a nomination, and possibly a win. To Leo’s Crowd, who demands an Oscar, this one time, I finally declare… I agree.

I totally agree with Katherine’s sentiment. I may be biased since The Revenant is also the only film of those nominated I actually saw, but boy did it leave an impact on me. Leo’s performance cannot be contested here when he exemplifies the spirit of human resilience both on and off screen in this role. The bear may be CGI but the freezing temperatures Leo endured were not, nor the majestic scenes all filmed in natural light. He faced many physical challenges during the filming of this role so if ever he earned an Oscar win now is the time. #giveleoanoscar  – Navani Otero

Make sure to check out all of our Oscars Week picks!

What We’re Streaming: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny

maxresdefault

I remember the first time I saw Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. My mom took me to the Hoyts theater in Frederick, but didn’t tell me that it was a foreign film, and I was surprised to 1) see a foreign film in Frederick, MD (we had driven to Bethesda a few years before to see Life Is Beautiful) and 2) see a sold out crowd for a Chinese film. (We saw it in December, it was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing; it won Best Foriegn Film, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Original Score.)

I better remember the second time I saw the film. BAM showed the film as part of its All Hail the King: The Films of King Hu series in the summer of 2014, and on a hot afternoon off from work I took in the “fairy tale-like epic of warriors and thieves battling for possession of Green Destiny, a mythic 400-year-old sword,” and was delighted with the grace and power of the story, the choreographed battles, and the stories of its bad ass female leads, Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) and Jen Yu (Zhang Ziyi), a warrior and an aristocratic young woman yearning for adventure. I became obsessed with the Jade Fox, the murderess who has been training Jen Yu—because Jen Yu won’t wait complacently for her arranged marriage or the life that is waiting for her.

I might have sketched fan art for the Jade Fox.

And so I have been beside myself waiting for the film, even if its trailer isn’t promising. Yuen Woo-ping’s sequel finds Yu Shu Lien protecting the sword, again, as a warlord (Jason Scott Lee) pursues the sword in his quest for ultimate power. Yu Shu Lien is aided by Silent Wolf (Donnie Yen), and continues her streak of being a formidable opponent.

But the cinematography and affectation in the trailer are not great. The overall affect lacks the beauty, grace, and spirit of the original film. So my expectations are not high. Nevertheless, my nose will be pressed firmly against the glass of my small TV as I root for Yu Shu Lien, and wonder if any women followed the way of the Jade Fox in years past.