best picture

What the hell just happened?

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La La Land was just announced as the Best Picture winner only to have the entire crew of cast and producers come on stage and be interrupted to announce that Moonlight was actually the Best Picture winner. Moonlight was ABSOLUTELY the right choice, so I am thrilled that it won, the Academy got this VERY right.

I’m trying to assume that this was just an honest mistake, not a plug for controversy it talk show fodder. HOWEVER if it was orchestrated by the producers, I am IRATE. For a few reasons.

That is a TERRIBLE position to put Warren Beatty and everyone from La La Land in. They were in the middle of making their acceptance speech when they were told they didn’t win. But the more EGREGIOUS result here is that Moonlight doesn’t get it’s due. At a volatile time for race relations in America a film with a unique perspective on growing up black in a poor Miami neighborhood wins Best Picture but we have to give it to La La Land for a few minutes first!? NO ONE heard Barry Jenkins’ message when he accepted the Best Picture award because everyone was absorbed in the shock of the moment. No one will talk about the excellent film that won Best Picture tomorrow morning, it will be about the on-air mistakes made. So the Oscars have the opportunity to let a film made by people who are traditionally underrepresented in he industry take the stage and let their message be heard but now it’s clouded by this controversy.

Moonlight is a beautiful film and deserved it’s chance in the spotlight and not in the shadow of La La Land.

And the cast and crew of La La Land are insanely talented. They deserved a much more dignified loss.

I really want to believe this was an honest mistake.
But if it wasn’t… 😡

Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

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This my final Oscar prediction! Check out parts 1, 2, and 3 for my predictions in the other Oscar categories.

Best Picture
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight
moonlight7Will Win: La La Land
Could Win: Moonlight
Should Win: Moonlight
It’s taken me a long time to decide on this one, but I think this award really should go to Moonlight. Best Picture should go to the film that’s the best all-around, not one with only spectacular elements. Those elements need to weave together well and that’s exactly what Moonlight does. However, the Academy will not agree with me. La La Land is sure to win Best Picture. There’s a lot of different reasons why, but ultimately I think its a little bit about narcissism. In order to work in the arts you have to be just a little narcissistic to have the audacity to believe what you do (writing/acting/directing/cinematography) is something that other people should see. So, Hollywood loves itself and it will likely reward La La Land with Best Picture because they relate to that story.

When I first saw La La Land I was a little worried that I was going to be one of very few people that weren’t super high on this movie. However, there has been a very vocal backlash that I’m a little surprised at. La La Land isn’t a bad movie. It is a brilliantly executed film that was a little light and fluffy. Because of everything that’s gone on in the last year politically, socially, etc., La La Land seems very tone deaf. It’s hard to take an artists struggle to be recognized seriously when one of your neighbors is at risk for being deported. But that’s not La La Land‘s fault. This was a film long in the making and it probably unfairly suffers from bad timing.

The Oscars are TONIGHT on ABC at 7:30 (CT). I’ll be live tweeting during the event! Check out parts one, two and three of my predictions!

Review: Hell or High Water

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Directed by: David Mackenzie
Written by: Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges

Summary: Two brothers execute an elaborate plan to rob banks in Texas in an effort to keep the ranch their recently departed mother owned. A cop on the eve of his retirement works with his partner to catch them.

Hell or High Water snuck by everyone over the summer. I believe this was in theaters around August and just about nobody saw it, including me. (more…)

Review: Hacksaw Ridge

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Directed by: Mel Gibson
Written by: Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey

Summary: Desmond Doss enlists in the army as a conscientious objector in World War II. Despite doubt from his officers and fellow soldiers, Doss proves to be a selfless, devoted medic and saves the lives of dozens of men at Hacksaw Ridge during the Battle of Okinawa.

Hacksaw Ridge is like sandwich made with premium deli meat that is slapped between two pieces of Wonder bread. The beginning and ending of this film are just empty calories, even cringe-worthy at times. But what happens in the middle is high-quality filmmaking rich with sustenance and flavor that lingers.  (more…)

Best Picture nominees: Where are they most popular?

The New York Times just published a fascinating piece on how different counties in America have responded to each of the Best Picture nominees this year. With 2016 proving that our geographic location plays a huge part in our perceptions of the world, this approach to understanding public enthusiasm (or lack-there-of) for each nominated film is very interesting.

Personal note: I couldn’t help but notice how Dane County (Madison, Wis.) sticks out  in the map of which counties liked Moonlight. This is one of those moments where I am very proud of where I live!

Read the article
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Review: Moonlight

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Directed by: Barry Jenkins
Written by: Barry Jenkins, based on the story by Tarell Alvin McCraney
Starring: Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monaé, Naomie Harris, André Holland

Summary: Told in three parts, Moonlight follows Chiron as he endures the growing pains of growing up gay in the Miami inner city.

Moonlight is a film full of painful and sometimes uncomfortable honesty, but it is beautifully told. When I walked out of the theater after seeing Moonlight the first time I realized, I’ve never seen this story told on screen before. (more…)

Review: Hidden Figures

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Directed by: Theodore Melfi
Written by: Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly
Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons

Summary: Three black women lead a team of mathematicians in the 1960s making significant contributions to the space program and contributing to the success of groundbreaking space missions.

How has this story not been told before? and if it has, how has it not gotten more attention? Hidden Figures tells a really interesting story about a pocket of NASA history that I had no idea existed. This is the kind of fun fact that sends me on a Wikipedia spiral where I start by searching for the story of the black mathematicians at NASA and three hours later wind up reading something about Jeffrey Dahmer.

This story is really cool. But this movie is really not. (more…)

Review: Arrival

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Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Written by: Eric Heisserer, based on the story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

Summary: Linguist professor Louise Banks is brought in by the U.S. military to help communicate with aliens that have made their first contact with Earth. International tensions rise and Louise is under pressure find answers about the aliens and about herself.

I don’t know what I was expecting from Arrival but it wasn’t this. From the outside it looks like a potentially interesting movie about aliens, but it turns out to be far more complex than that. (more…)

Review: La La Land

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Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Written by: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling

Summary: Mia and Sebastian’s lives intersect as they both pursue their dreams living in Los Angeles. They fall in love amidst their successes and failures as Sebastian strives to open a jazz club and Mia works to be an actress.

On paper La La Land was made for me. It’s directed by Damien Chazelle who made Whiplash, one of my favorite movies of the last few years. I was confident that he would assemble a super talented team, so the Film Studies student in me was excited to see what he would produce. I’m a long-time fan of musical theater, both as a performer and a spectator. One of my favorite choreographers from So You Think You Can Dance was on board (Mandy Moore). I should love this movie.

But I don’t.
I’m actually not even sure I like it.
Yet, at the same time it’s also one of the most beautiful and innovative films I’ve ever seen. La La Land is impressive.
But I don’t need to see it again. (more…)

Oscar Predictions: Part 3

This concludes my three part Oscar predictions posts. Check out parts one and two for my predictions in the other Oscar categories.

Oscars_poster_2016

This post features the following categories:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Supporting Actor
  • Best Supporting Actress

(more…)