The Oscars are starting very soon. My Academy vote, albeit totally unfair, is cast here. If you’ve read my reviews, thank you. It has been a fun journey. Why unfair? I have failed to reach my objective: to see all movies nominated for best picture. The Phantom Thread has been unavailable for viewing anywhere in my area or online for me this week. Call Me By Your Name , because it’s subject matter is of the least interest to me, was last on my watch list and I simply didn’t get to it. I had hoped to see The Post this weekend. Streep and Hanks? Two of Hollywoods best, together? I couldn’t find a way to make it happen. My selection is stained by their absence and it’s pissing me off.
The economics of Hollywood. How long ago was it when the Oscars moved from five nominees to this unlimited structure? This article from 2015 lays it out. No change yet, but it is / has been / will be discussed by Academy leadership. My anger, examined, comes from the belief that the expansion is NOT to enhance the award show itself. Instead, it’s to inflate box office numbers and ticket sales to suckers like me who want to see them all before watching the show. In the end, hey, I’m seeing more “good” movies and my game forces me to watch films I might not have otherwise. That’s not a punishment. Calmer now.
Based on what I’ve seen, I’ll throw in my votes for the majors here.
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
(Why in the hell was Michael Shannon not nominated? Some times the Academy really lets me down. That’s an injustice.)
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
Now, back to Best Picture.
It was easy for me to narrow the nine down to three. First, the three I didn’t see. At the very least, the Rotten Tomato ratings back my decision for the cut. Second, the movies I saw flaws in had to go. Lady Bird for lack of much in the way of an original perspective. Three Billboards for giving me an ending that made watching the entire film seem pointless (and the “ha ha I fooled you watcher” from the writer). Dunkirk for having no story and not much in the way of character.
This leaves us on Top Chef, sitting at the judges table, when we are trying to pick the winner from the remaining three chefs who’ve all given us an amazing meal. If you watch the show, you know what I mean. This dish was missing a pinch of salt. That dish might have spent sixty seconds too long over the flame. The dessert had one element too many. It’s this point where there’s no “pack your knives and go home.” Instead, there’s always “This was a really hard decision.”