For some reason I was bored by this year’s Oscars almost before they started. Following last year’s gonzo trainwreck of an ending, and this year’s empowering Golden Globes, fatigue may have set in. Times Up? Or is it Me Too? Or Me Next? All these causes effectively canceled each other out leaving… an award show. And this year’s award show was, I thought, lackluster. Jimmy Kimmel’s hosting was ok. Not great, but not terrible. The few bits that stood out are noted below.
The Jet Ski
OK so I am a sucker for “The Price is Right.” I have fond childhood memories of staying home from school pretending to be sick, watching Bob Barker and his bevy of models. My husband and I still apply “The Price Is Right Rules” when if you go over a price estimate, you lose. So the idea to award a jet ski to the person with the shortest speech was genius. The theme music, Helen Mirren serving as the model, the ridiculousness of the prize, the whole thing was a great, great idea. Loved the Jet Ski.
Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph
I don’t even want to write about what they said, because I won’t do it justice. Watch the clip. They were, truly, hilarious. Give these women an award show to host.
This Year’s Version of “Stars – They’re Just Like Us”
Involved various celebrities going to a nearby movie theater and handing out hot dogs and candy to moviegoers enjoying an advance screening of A Wrinkle in Time. The whole thing had a merry zaniness to it, perhaps because of the night vision camera. It was a good idea to thank the people who really matter most – the movie-going public.
She is a beacon of steely resolve and a force for good in the world. She hijacked her own speech by asking all the women nominated across all the categories to stand up. Then she made a direct plea to studio executives to meet with these women and finance their projects. She cut straight to the heart of the matter – it’s about the money.
The winners were fairly predictable, and it was good to see that the awards were distributed across many films. Loved that Get Out! won for original screenplay. Dunkirk definitely deserved the technical awards it won. Most of the speeches were snoozeville, but a few – hello Kobe Bryant! – were articulate and interesting. I get that The Shape of Water was an incredibly polarizing film, having seen it with my sister-in-law who hated it, but I absolutely loved it and am glad it won.
And I loved that this year’s crop of nominated films had more diversity than the usual. Sure there were the historical films – Dunkirk, The Post, and The Darkest Hour, all of which are worth seeing. But Get Out! and Ladybird were pioneering films. My two cents on all the nominated films is below, ranked from least preferred to most preferred. One important caveat is that one of my favorite movies of the year wasn’t nominated. If you haven’t already, go see The Florida Project. It is tremendous.
9. The Phantom Thread – strangely icky and precious at the same time. But I loved Lesley Manville’s performance (the sister).
8. Dunkirk – a chronological mess. Well filmed, but confusing and completely lacking in character development. All the soldiers really did look the same.
7. Call Me By Your Name – beautiful, but glacial. Way too many shots of the ripening fruit on the apricot tree. We get it.
6. The Post – enjoyable, if a bit plodding.
5. The Darkest Hour – Gary Oldman can do no wrong. Scene on the Tube is worth the price of admission.
4. Get Out! – see it, if you haven’t.
3. Three Billboards – not as brutal as I would have thought given the topic. Frances McDormand always kills it, but Sam Rockwell does as well (for those who haven’t seen it, check out The Way Way Back).
2. Ladybird – beautiful writing, beautiful acting, and funny!
1. The Shape of Water – as noted earlier this movie is not for everybody but I adored the art direction, crazy plot and genre-mashup.