“This year has been all about the Reds and it has nothing to do with Warren Beatty!”
The Oscars are finally here and I couldn’t be more excited. Just like all of you, I’ve been cramming in all the last minute nominated films and I could not be more pumped up about this year’s crop. There is truly something for everyone – Action, drama, sci-fi, musicals, sports, musicals, war, and seriously – one cannot talk about the year in films without mentioning Hollywood overcoming a HUGE hurdle that most people won’t talk about: after years of neglecting nominees of color, this has been an extraordinary year for Gingers! In the span of two years it went from #OSCARSOWHITE to #OSCARSORED! Forget about Rogue One – It’s more like Rouge One this year at the movies!
Nicole Kidman in Lion – Boom! Emma Stone in La La Land – BOOM! Amy Adams in Arrival AND Nocturnal Animals – Snubbed but I’d like to give her that Boom! Isabelle Huppert in Elle – BOOM! Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea (reddish brown, but you can’t hide from me) – BOOM! Deadpool – BOOM! The Red Turtle – BOOM! The Lobster – BOOM! Poppy in Trolls – (technically pink, but we’ll give it to you) – BOOM!
I’m not gonna go on a rant because I’m not a La La Lunatic, but if you haven’t been swept up this year by the sheer scope and style of the offerings – you just might be dead inside. I actually checked to see if rigor mortis had set in on him because my brother Joey hated Manchester by the Sea. Can you imagine? The scacriledge! Casey Affleck caused me to need anti-depressants and Michelle Williams performance still haunts me months later.
This is not just to say how amazing La La Land is I La-La-Loved it and Emma Stone will rightfully dance away with her Best Actress Oscar tonight! If it was a just world, Ryan Gosling would win as well, but in a year when Casey Affleck’s pain tore me up and Denzel Washington reminded us why he’s the best working actor alive – Gosling’s nomination is a win in itself!
I would have rather Andrew Garfield had been nominated for Silence rather than Hacksaw Ridge. I might be in the minority, but I didn’t love the movie – I actually wanted to take a hacksaw to cut myself in half just to make it stop. Personal issues aside, Mel Gibson is an extremely talented director and it was well made; I just felt that it was slow and drawn out – especially when Garfield’s character was saving soldiers during the last battle on the ridge. We get it, he saved seventy five people; do we need to show twenty rescues? I felt exhausted just watching him struggle to carry those soldiers to safety.
Although I’m a big fan of his work, Andrew Garfield’s performance felt hokey and cartoonish at times. I couldn’t tell if his character was supposed to be “slow” in the beginning, but it was like there was a little something “off” about the guy. No hot nurse would have fallen in love with someone like that – they would have fallen for the cop that helped them get the restraining order. I felt the same way about Joel Edgerton in Loving; I know it’s based on a real person’s story, but was something wrong with the guy? I’m not making fun because I’ve actually been mistaken for a retarded person myself, but I couldn’t help but think – is he supposed to be handicapped? It was distracting and I almost felt like Ruth Negga’s Best Actress nomination had more to do with her keeping a straight face while her partner showed us what the love child of Forrest Gump and Sling Blade would look like!
Speaking of miscast roles, Vince Vaughn was horribly miscast as a drill sergeant in Hacksaw Ridge – I felt like at any minute he was hazing him that he might lean in Garfield’s face and whisper “Just the tip, just for a second…” After this and True Detective Season two, he really needs to just stick with comedies…
Hell or High Water; Sort of like the way I felt about Luke Wheeler on Nashville – if you don’t have something nice to say, move on! I got nothing for ya and I’m rolling on to one of the most amazing films I’ve seen all year: Jim: The James Foley Story. I haven’t seen such a powerful, grab you by the heels documentary that I absolutely loved since Searching for Sugarman and this one was a doozie. If I could tell you to seek out one film nominated this year – let this be it! No offense to OJ: Made in America or Life, Animated, but this is the Best Documentary of the year! I’m just grateful that it was nominated for Sting’s powerful song “The Empty Chair” or I might have missed it altogether.
Florence Foster Jenkins? I love her Streepness too, but I’d rather watch Jodie Foster’s last colonoscopy than ever hear about this movie again. Meryl Streep is great in everything but in a year when Annette Benning made 20th Century Women, Amy Adams had not just Arrival, but Nocturnal Animals as well, Jessica Chastain in Mrs. Sloane; it’s almost a crime to line Meryl up for this. For the first time in probably ever – the Best Actress pool was overflowing with amazing, amazing, amazing performances that there was really no way to pick five and not leave out multiple deserving, go for broke, career-best performances, but I am still shocked that Amy Adams isn’t in there. Besides Streep, I can’t think who you’d replace. Natalie Portman was Jackie Kennedy! Isabelle Huppert was crazy amazing in Elle, Ruth Negga was great and Emma, Emma, Emma – I just loved you!
You wanna talk about the year’s biggest snub? The supporting role that was inexcusably overlooked was the green dress that Amy Adams wore at the end of Nocturnal Animals! She has never looked more amazing than she has here and that green dress brought more feelings out of this writer than I should be admitting. I read that the original title of the film was Nocturnal Emissions and after seeing that dress, I can tell why.
So many other non-redhead performances were amazing this year too, but there’s just so little time to gush: Joe’s Violin, Moonlight, Jackie, Fences, A Man Called Ove, the short film Sing, Toni Erdmann (even if only for that “Greatest Love of All” scene), La Femme et le TGV, Captain Fantastic…just so much to love. Go and enjoy the Oscars. In a year when there are so many touching and powerful performances you can look at it two ways: A) be thankful that the amazing Lion, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, and Moonlight grabbed us and transported us through emotional journeys or B) scratch your head at how far we’ve fallen as a society when awful things like Passengers, Suicide Squad or Dr. Strange are Oscar nominated…I for one could have lived without finding out where Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them were!