Good morning people and welcome to Oscar Day! For those of you that have jobs or children or lives, or both for that matter … you may be thinking –
Well that’s simple – I do! Me … the person you need for your pub quiz team, who knows just about everything about celebrity and pop culture. Just because this is also sometimes known as –
“Nothing interesting happens in my life and my kids have rejected me from their social media accounts so I can’t get any gossip there, so I have to amuse myself somehow!!!”
My favourite looks from the Red Carpet:
About here I got visitors and phone calls and what was to be posted before the show will now be published as an after the event.
For the first time in a long time, I have actually seen most of the Oscar nominated movies and have watched copious YouTube clips of the actors and directors talking about their process in making their particular films.
How, you may be thinking, could you afford the price of movie theatre tickets to be able to see most of the current crop? Well, I have discovered the gem in the west that is Cineplex Redbank Plaza. With only a 15 minute drive from home, comfortable seating, easy parking and cheap online booking, there is nothing but win win! When I say cheap I really mean CHEAP!!!! I, as a pensioner, only pay $4.50 or $6:50 for a Gold Class version with none of the hidden costs. This coupled with my new love of streaming means I have seen 6 of the 9 movies nominated for Best Picture.
Those I have seen are:
- Hacksaw Ridge starring Andrew Garfield and directed by Mel Gibson
- La La Land starring Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling and directed by Damien Chazelle
- Manchester By The Sea starring Casey Affleck and directed by Kenneth Lonergan
- Hidden Figures starring Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer & Janelle Monae and directed by Theodore Melfi
- Lion starring Nicole Kidman & Dev Patel and directed by Garth Davies
- Moonlight starring Mahershala Ali & Naomie Harris and directed by Barry Jenkins
Those I haven’t seen are :
- Arrival starring Amy Adams & Jeremy Renner and directed by Denis Villeneuve
- Fences starring Viola Davis & Denzel Washington, also directed by Denzel Washington
- Hell or High Water starring Chris Pine & Jeff Bridges and directed by David McKenzie
Other movies I have seen that have other nominations are:
- Loving – Ruth Negga nominated for best actress
- Nocturnal Animals – Michael Shannon nominated for supporting actor
- Jackie – Natalie Portman nominated for best actress
- Florence Foster Jones – Meryl Streep nominated for best actress
I do not intend to go through nomination by nomination but rather just give my opinions on certain things and why I feel the way I do. In my opinion, overall it is a strong and diverse group of films this year. There hasn’t really been one that I have seen that I hated but rather some that I loved more than others.
What can I say about La La Land? I loved this movie but then I grew up on old song & dance movies on Sunday arvo television. It is just that – an old style song and dance movie, so don’t go to see it if you don’t like musicals. Some won’t be happy with the ending but I thought the ending was perfect. It deserved it’s 14 nominations but I believe it’s success was due to many different factors. It was different, it was colourful and uplifting, it was nostalgic towards days gone by. I was happy with Emma Stone winning Best Actress but I also would have been happy for Meryl Streep to win for Florence Foster Jones. My first choice would have been Ruth Negga in Loving, who played her role of the black wife to a white man, when it was still illegal in the state that they lived, with grace and gentleness and such a mixture of strength with just a touch of fragility. She is a brilliant young actress to keep a look out for in the future.
Damien Chazelle became the youngest ever person to win Best Director at the Oscars for La La Land, but my heart was with Mel Gibson for this one. In fact, Hacksaw Ridge was my pick for the film of the year. Not to be glib because I loved the eventual winner, Moonlight and I say eventual winner due to the total ballsup when Faye Dunaway & Warren Beatty were given the wrong envelope and announced La La Land as the winner! After 3 thank you speeches, a man with a headset arrived on stage, to explain the mistake and La La Landers had to hand over their trophies to the Moonlighters! How awkward and I guess someone will lose a job over the mess. One off the best things to come out of the shambles that occurred after the announcement was this tweet ….
Some words about Hacksaw Ridge. This film moved me intensely. The true story is one of love in the face of a very brutal portrayal of war. It is the story of how a young man stuck to his beliefs and became a hero. British actor, Andrew Garfield played this role with such depth and conviction. His Southern American accent was perfect and he was inspiring and totally convincing in all that he did. It is for these reasons that he was my choice for Best Actor. Mel Gibson, has made a wonderful return to “not crazy Mel” in this film It still has a religious theme running underneath the plot but it is not being thrown in your face every minute of the movie. As mentioned before, Mel uses very graphic war footage. I’m not a great lover of violence but this seemed right to me somehow. When interviewed about the portrayal of war, Gibson said that it was brutal because war was/is brutal during WWII. He said that our soldiers don’t get the credit that they should because many or most of them chose NOT to talk about it on their return from war and he thought it was time people saw the reality. I found Hacksaw Ridge to be positive and uplifting and I still think that if you have the chance to watch it, you should.
Lion is everything I want in a movie. It looked spectacular and the sights and sounds of India are truly beautiful. The child actor, Sunny Pawar, is mesmerising in the first half of the film where there is little dialogue and sub titles. I totally believed this boy and his ability to tell this epic story of family and survival. Nicole Kidman and David Wenham are strong in their roles with Kidman hitting the mark especially in her speech about adoption. It is Dev Patel that I believe this film belongs too. He is able to transform himself into the adult Saroo with the best and most natural Australian accent I have ever heard. I found myself feeling the anguish and isolation he was feeling as he searched for the family he lost at only 5 years of age. Dev, I would have loved to see win the Best Supporting Actor gong but alas not to be. Another truly uplifting film based on a real family’s story set in the bustling Indian rail system and the rugged Tasmanian countryside. The winner of the Best Supporting Actor was Mahershala Ali from Moonlight.
Moonlight is a beautiful, gritty story based on a play. It is a story of identity and fitting in. It is told in three parts of the life of a young neglected black child who just happens to be gay. It is a story told with delicacy and gentleness, which contrasts with the raw portrayal of his crack addicted mother as played by Naomie Harris. The child actors are strong and believable and the amazing adult supporting actors lead by Mahershala Ali and Harris is perfectly cast. This is a surprisingly beautiful film, somehow the way it is shot makes you feel like you are a part of the journey. I was not unhappy when it won Best Picture and again it has some actors to watch like Ali & Harris.
Hidden Figures is the next wonderful real life story that puts us into the lives and most definitely causes us to walk out in the shoes of three amazing black women, smack bang in the middle of the NASA Space Race and the Civil Rights Movement! What a blessing this tale is. Of caring, sharing and acceptance as well as the struggle to be heard and valued. The women that play the three leads, Octavia Spencer, who previously won an Oscar for her role in The Help; Taraji P Henson, well known for her role on television as Cookie in Empire and lastly singer Janelle Monáe who has had a break through acting year, with great roles in both Hidden Figures and Moonlight, are indeed a formidable trio who bring to life the story of their roles in the space race. Again, I can’t recommend it more highly.
I have purposely left Manchester By The Sea for last because it is a deeply moving story about grief and how to live with it. The characters played are thrown into a closer than usual relationship by the death of the lead characters’ brother and father. Casey Affleck is unbelievably good as the brother but it is here that I have my problem. In 2010, Affleck was accused of sexual harassment during a film shoot which he was directing. The allegations were settled out of court which to me seems like an acknowledgement of culpability. How then, can we be seen to honour a sexual offender? Hollywood seems to easily forgive and forget but I am left with a bad taste in my mouth. With this in mind, Andrew Garfield would have, in my view, been a better choice for Best Actor, rather than the winner on the day – Casey Affleck.
So there you have my way too long wrap of the 89th Academy Awards. I haven’t touched on the actual show which was entertaining from the opening number by Justin Timberlake, to the debacle at the end. I liked Jimmy Kimmel’s tone and his special touches like dropping food from the roof of the auditorium, to the visit on stage by a real tour bus full of tourists.
Here ends the awards season for 2017. I hope you take my advice and go out and watch some wonderful movies.