The annual tradition of watching the Academy Awards Nominations by the baseball (election) widow and me is complete and this year I am going to take a different approach. Each year I normally try to predict the winner. Since I truly feel that this year is set up so “The Revenant” will win, there is no sense in me predicting a winner, because I will just be flat out wrong. Although, I do think “Spotlight” will give “The Revenant” a run for its money.
I want to be clear; I liked ALL the movies this year, which has never happened, especially when there is a Wes Anderson film nominated. Unfortunately, this year’s class of nominees is weak. All good films, but not best picture worthy. That’s why I truly think the fix is in. So let me rank my movies.
Brooklyn – I will use the cliché I don’t like most when describing the plot of this film which is “Coming of Age”. I was told it was a love story and that I wouldn’t like it. Wrong! It’s about a young Irish woman who immigrated to Brooklyn (I’m guessing that was not a spoiler) in 1952. She struggled with homesickness and dealing with the old world vs. the new world. She did meet a young man and they fell in love. But after visiting back home after losing her sister she felt more confident back home but quickly realized that her homeland was in Brooklyn. I thought this movie was great and I somewhat relate to the main character as I too visit another country to visit family and never feel at home. Saoirse Ronan delivers a great performance as main character Eilis. I did think that Emory Cohen did a little bit of overacting in the role of Brooklyn Native Tony. In other years this movie could win, but not this year.
The Big Short – This movie was great. Movies on the topic of Wall Street greed are always fascinating (Wall Street, Too Big to Fail, Margin Call, Boiler Room etc…), unfortunately they are overdone. It was a very sensitive time in our lives and we just keep hammering it home. I thought this movie was done very well, telling a story and having “guest” actors explain the difficult terminology to help people understand. The acting was great; unfortunately I thought Steve Carrell should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor and not Christian Bale. Bale was good, but Carrell knocked it out of the park and was completely out of his comfort zone. Ryan Gosling’s character could possibly have been the most annoying character this year. This was a blockbuster movie with all the star power, but not Oscar Best Picture worthy.
The Revenant – This movie was very intense and kept my attention the whole time. It was not predictable and you were not extremely disappointed with the ending, although the ending was missing something. To watch what the character of Hugh Glass had to endure (attacked by a bear, buried alive, and falling off a cliff into a tree) all before his big fight scene, you just feel for him. The Baseball Widow leaned over to me half way through the film and said “How is he not dead yet?” If Leonardo DiCaprio does not win the Oscar this time then he never will. He very rarely gives a bad performance and should finally be rewarded for it. Like I stated from the beginning I think it is set up for this movie to win. This happens every few years where a movie just goes in and cleans up. The last time that happened was 2008 and 2009 with Slumdog Millionaire and Hurt Locker respectively. The film is nominated for twelve this year and I would not be surprised if it walks away with eight or nine.
Room – This was another movie with zero expectations and almost didn’t make the watch list because when the nominations came out, it wasn’t playing anywhere. Luckily, it was re-released at Showcase North and now at West Boylston Cinema (the crown jewel of Central Mass. movie goers). I thought this movie was done brilliantly and was an emotional roller coaster. Watching the world come alive from the eyes of a five year old that was being held captive and the toll it takes on him and his mother. The mother had been abducted and held in a 10×10 Room by her captor. That led to her having a child and taking care of him while being held. I don’t want to give too much of this movie away because I think it is a must see for everyone. Brie Larson does a great job playing the mom and Jacob Tremblay was fantastic as the little boy. Totally snubbed by the Academy for Supporting Actor. Just like “Brooklyn”, any other year this movie wins, just not this year.
Spotlight – If you haven’t seen this film I will preface this by saying that it is not about the priest sex scandal. It is a movie of how the writers at the globe uncovered it. In a world where true journalism is becoming extinct this movie reminds you of true investigative journalism that this country once had. The cast for this film was fantastic. Mark Ruffalo delivers a winning performance as reporter Mike Rezendes and Rachel McAdams was just as good as Sacha Pfeiffer, both are nominated for supporting roles. What I didn’t like about this movie is that it seemed like it was repeating itself over and over, and I guess that’s the life of a reporter. There was one scene where McAdams character was interviewing accused Priest Ronald Paquin (Richard O’Rourke) which was both enlightening and disturbing at the same time. Liev Schreiber, Michael Keaton and John Slattery were also very good in this film. I think this movie has a shot at the Oscar but I am not seeing it. Maybe if I didn’t live with the constant media coverage once the story broke it would have more appeal to me.
The Martian – I had zero expectations going into this movie and I was surprisingly pleased. I was very skeptical when I read that this movie won Best Comedy at the Golden Globes. I just didn’t see it. I see this movie very comparable to the movie “Castaway” but with a little bit more dialogue. Matt Damon delivered a good performance. He made you laugh, he made you scared and he made you feel bad for him. He was stuck on Mars, how could you not feel bad for him. I did read an interesting caption on the internet before seeing this movie. It said, “Between Saving Private Ryan, Intersteller and The Martian, Hollywood has spent a lot of money trying to save Matt Damon”. Elaine Benes would not have found this movie “sponge” worthy. Get stranded again Matt, maybe it will work.
Bridge of Spies – This movie only got nominated because of the leading actor, Tom Hanks. It was an interesting story; it appealed to a stressful time in American History and told a story that a lot of people didn’t know. It was no different than “Catch me if You Can”, “The Green Mile” or “Terminal”. It was a good movie with some good acting, but not great. I thought the movie left holes in the story and I had more questions than answers when I was done watching it. Although, it did provide a good line that kept getting repeated throughout the movie by actor Mark Ryflace. Every time someone would comment on his demeanor, being nervous, scare or whatever he would reply with “Would it help?” Needless to say, a very good movie, but once again not Oscar worthy.
Mad Max: Fury Road – Yes, this movie was nominated for best picture. See what I mean? I went into this movie with zero expectations and I was pleasantly surprised. I couldn’t imagine anyone other than Mel Gibson playing Max but Tom Hardy nailed it, that’s probably why he is nominated for best supporting for another movie. Charlize Theron was pretty badass as Furiosa. But all this movie was is a car chase in the Australian Desert (Namib National Park to be exact). Great cinematography and action along with some special effects. I repeat this statement every year, if the Academy needs to reach to fill its list, then they really need to knock this category back down to five nominees. This was an entertaining film, but “wrong glass sir”
There you have 3D’s ranking of best picture nomination. I am not picking a winner (or did I do that by saying the fix is in?). This how I saw the movies to my liking. The Baseball Widow has her own list, you can read it here I really wish the Academy will stop watering down the field and go back to five nominees.
The Oscars are this Sunday at 8:00 on ABC. The winners won’t be announced until Monday.
2016 Oscars Trivia;
Two actors (1 nominated) are in two separate Best Picture nominated movies. Can you name who they are and what movie they were in? Leave your comments below.