The 89th Oscars / Academy Awards take place February 26th at La La Land’s Dolby Theatre – hosted by Win Ben Stein’s Money alum Jimmy Kimmel. I did a run-down of all the films nominated (and those justy ignored or unjustly snubbed) with our famed Director of Group Services. We struggled to fully embrace this year’s films – chalking it up to retreaded, rehashed, adapted, derivative, same old-same old garbage. And the films we liked were way too high on our lists of favorites. In a good year for films, they would be fringe top-ten flicks we had a soft-spot for.
So how did Hollywood get here? Why are superheroes, sequels, adaptations of trade fiction (Gone Train), video games (War Craft), toys (Lego Movie/Trolls) and board games (Ouija) the predominant source material? They’re running scared, afraid that original material will cost too much and pay small dividends.
However, the original scripts were my personal favorite films of the year, and should be awarded Oscars. Hell or High Water (AKA diet-version No Country For Old Men) was a solid film with the best performance coming from Mr. Ben Foster and not Jeff “Incoherent Mumble” Bridges. The Lobster was twisted, funny, and sardonic – refreshing to the bone! Colin Farrell looked extra juicy for the role, and carried a quiet sadness and irreverence that hit home. La La Land had me nearly leaving after the first 20-minutes with its Old Navy commercial opening. And despite the film congratulating itself on how wonderful LA is, the ending had power, grit, and the right balance of bittersweet emotions. Damien Chazelle penned this original before his break-out with the fantastic Whiplash. He’s 32 and should be a mainstay in the business.
My favorite film of the year shouldn’t be. It should be closer to like 5th in most years, but Manchester By the Sea is a film that delivers knock-out performances with truth, intensity, and emotional range – something that films about mourning rarely have. Casey Affleck’s character was devastated and deeply flawed, but still was able to make us smile and laugh and root for him. THE SCENE (as in that Oscar moment) takes place in a parking lot with his estranged wife played by Michelle Williams. Yes, I cried.
Oscar Predictions (The one’s people care about):
Best Actor: Casey Affleck – write it down in ink.
Best Actress: Emma Stone – ink it! If the Grim Streeper wins for a film nobody saw there will be a riot in my mind.
Best Supporting Actor: Mahersala Ali (despite unceremoniously vanishing after the film’s first act)
Best Supporting Actress: Michelle Williams (will not win, but pulling for her – she held my hand at the My Week With Marilyn premiere when I had to show her where the bathroom was. It was love.)
Best Original Screenplay: Manchester By The Sea (upset alert! Over La La)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight
Best Director: Damien Chazelle – usually goes together with Best Picture
Best Picture: La La Land – It has a zero percent chance of losing.
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For additional information on The Oscars, you can find everything you need to know over at this website: http://oscar.go.com