Prioritize These Best Picture Nominees

Since moving to Charleston, I have to admit that one of the most random things I miss about the last place I lived is the movie theater.  I lived less than 5 minutes away from an AMC theatre that had those big comfy leather reclining seats and reserved seating!  I would basically leave my house at the time the movie was scheduled to start, get my movie snacks, and be in my favorite seat just as the previews were wrapping up.  

The theatre chain here, Regal, is nowhere near as nice but they’ve won me over with their most recent promotion.  Sponsored by Amazon Studios, the Best Picture Film Festival offered viewing of all 9 Oscar Best Picture nominees for $35 during the week leading up to the awards ceremony.  This included a discounted concession stand offer ($5 for a medium popcorn and soda) and to top it off there was only 1 preview per movie (The Wall, which does seem fairly intriguing).  

So I feel very proud in announcing I saw all 9 of the movies and even saw 1 of them twice (can you guess which one?)!  I mean, I’m pretty sure this is my first big accomplishment of 2017.  So if you watched the ceremony last night and are trying to figure out what films to now watch, then here are my recommendations:  

Hidden Figures

Representation matters.  Run to go see this movie like you need to go to the bathroom and the closest toilet is a half mile away.  This movie is uplifting and empowering and there needs to be more like it.  The soundtrack totally helps this movie and I’m not quite sure why it wasn’t nominated in the best song or score category.

Moonlight

This was my pick for Best Picture and I’m so glad that it ended up winning.  In my mind, a movie worthy of winning the Best Picture Oscar has a unique story, incredible acting by all the actors, and some artsy cinematography and this movie had all 3.  Again, representation matters. 

Arrival

A few minutes into this movie and I found myself wondering how it got nominated.  Ah yes, the science fiction entry.  It was littered with hollywood cliches but Amy Adams was phenomenal and it’s a movie that left me thinking and literally includes a spiritual-esque question as the last line. 

Hell or High Water

This movie was low on my priority list until I kept meeting people who only had positive things to say (same with Hacksaw Ridge) so I squeezed it into my oh so very busy schedule.  This is a very unique revenge story and not the old fashioned cowboy story I expected.  You could certainly multitask while watching this and not miss much of the plot…though you would miss Chris Pine’s stunning blue eyes. 

Hacksaw Ridge

This movie had a lot going against it:  a war movie, lots of blood and guts, a white man saves the day, religious undertones, oh and Mel Gibson as director.  That said, despite all of that I would still recommend it.  Andrew Garfield does such an incredible job portraying Desmond Doss that I found myself cheering for him and utterly invested in his performance in the Battle of Okinawa.  He should have won Best Actor.  

Lion

What’s crazy to me about Lion is that the real life events that inspired this film went down in 2012.  That means in 5 years, a book was written, a screenplay adapted, a movie produced and distributed, and nominated for an Oscar.  Now that's an accomplishment!  The movie itself is heart wrenching and I needed it to be over just so I could stop feeling so terrible.  I still recommend it (the scenery, the acting, little Saroo) but be prepared to feel all the feels.  

La La Land

I LOVE me a good musical and wish that real life was a musical!  Maybe my expectations were too high, but I was just not impressed.  The costumes, scenery, and dance numbers were visually stunning.  But were they singing the same song the entire way through?  I still can’t tell. 

Fences

You could tell this was a play before Denzel finished speaking his first lines.  His character was despicable and abusive.  I couldn’t deal.  I think I checked my phone at least 7 times waiting for it to be over.  I would have just left but that day I had decided to watch a double header.  However, Viola Davis certainly deserved her win for Best Supporting Actress.  Girl was crying legit real tears that her nose even starting running.  Now that's some serious acting.  Cheers to snots.  

Manchester by the Sea

Don’t waste your time.  I was really intrigued by this movie based on the trailer.  I didn’t understand why it was generating the buzz and thought there must be more to it.  There’s not.  Sure, the backstory is devastating, but Casey Affleck’s character is terrible and if the character were female she’d be one of the most annoying characters is movie history.  Michelle Williams and the boy that plays Casey’s nephew are the shining lights in this movie.  Casey should not have won an Oscar for acting the same way he does in real life.  Actually, he’s worse in real life

Trolls

Ok, so it wasn't nominated for Best Picture of even Best Animated Picture, but if you like animated movies and musicals, then this is the must see movie for you!  It’s colorful and sparkly, and has incredibly fun musical numbers (Can't Stop the Feeling is even better with context).  I was going through a very rough patch and this movie made me smile for the first time in forever.  Sorry not sorry to Moana and Zootopia.  

Quick thoughts on the Red Carpet

This year I was incredible underwhelmed with all the white and neutrals.  The details on some of the dresses were certainly exquisite but there wasn’t a Wow moment which was disappointing

I don’t like looking at fashion in terms of pitting women against each other and determining their value in terms of the label on their dress.  You'll never see me putting together a "worst dressed list".  But I do like imagining what it would be like to play dress up and wear such stunning gowns and thinking about what dress I might dare to wear. 

These are my favorites: 

One last thought...

Listen, I know the Oscars are biased in so many ways and some progress has been made and more will be made and there will be some setbacks in between, but I need to point out that by seeing all 9 best picture nominees I was able to see 4 of the 5 best actor nominees and only 1 of the best actress nominees. Movies about women are also worthy of being best pictures. We are ALL worthy.  That is all.