This year, I decided to watch as many Oscar nominees as possible. So far I’m dealing quite good with over half Best Picture and plenty more from other categories crossed out from the list. I decided to write a few words about each of them instead of full review of a few. Especially focusing on the categories they were nominated in.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
- Best Picture – Graham Broadbent, Martin McDonagh, Peter Czernin
- Actress In a Leading Role – Frances McDormand
- Actor In Supporting Role – Sam Rockwell
- Actor In Supporting Role – Woody Harrelson
- Original Score – Carter Burwell
- Film Editing – John Gregory
- Original Screenplay – Martin McDonagh
The most surprising film recently. By the time of Golden Globes, it was completely unknown in Poland. Only afterwards it suddenly appeared everywhere as pre-premiere screening. So typical.
Anyway, Three Billboards got plenty nominations in the main categories, especially two in Supporting Actor which is not so common. I must say, both earned without a doubt, however Rockwell stole the show completely. No wonder he received Golden Globe and I am counting on the Oscar for him as well. His Dixon is a complex stereotype. On one hand he’s a little retarded and very angry policeman, on the other – a person with principles. The way he is portrayed blew my mind. Sam makes it special and he steals every single minute. Woody on the other hand has more impact on the storyline, especially in the beginning. But his acting was so similar to what I’ve seen in True Detective, so it wasn’t as impressive as it might be.
Frances McDormand is the soul of the film. She gives it character and power. As a strong mother whose child died tragically, she is a woman so independent, she runs out of any scale. Title billboards are some sort of a symbol of not giving up and the whole story is basically about that. What I enjoyed the most is that the film is a chapter from the book of Ebbing, Missouri. But it’s neither first nor the last one. More like a piece of a story that never ends. The story of the living. It began somewhere and it ends, too, but nothing really starts and finishes at the same time.
Quite frankly, it was perfected in the smallest details. Even Tyrion Lannister (aka Peter Dinklage) and his heartbreakingly short role was just pure gold. And the dark humour is the one I enjoy.
About music – it was more of a good background than playing first fiddle. It was barely noticeable, in my opinion, however did make a good tension.
- Best Picture – Edward H. Hamm Jr., Jason Blum, Jordan Peele, Sean McKittrick
- Actor In Leading Role – Daniel Kaluuya
- Directing – Jordan Peele
- Original Screenplay – Jordan Peele
I still don’t understand this film as a nominee. Okay, the screenplay was a fresh and surprising idea. Jordan Peele outdid himself making it happen in today’s situation. I do understand that it is more important deal in receiving the nomination as a man of colour than actually the brilliance. Because for me the film itself was pretty… medicore. Neither the plot nor characters gave me any special feelings.
[SPOILER] The story was simple. He goes to meet her parents and suddenly they are worse than he expected. Oh, and there’s a huge house far away from anything, an awkward party and pretty girl. Sounds familiar? Idea with hypnosis was somewhat cool, but not really new one. Basically the key of Get Out is the racism. The main idea of white people using black people in XXI century turned into horror. Sorry for not so politically correct words, but it’s raw truth. Apart from that it is minor horror film and I don’t understand that Best Picture nomination. I was very disappointed after seeing it and now I am even more because Blade Runner was way better and it should be nominated instead.
Oscar for Daniel Kaluuya? Nope again. Speaking of acting, the background was way better. I am not even saying about the supporting roles, but Betty Gabriel, LilRey Howery or Lakeith Stanfield (who had literally two minutes onscreen) gave the whole film its thrill. Daniel himself got his moments while the hypnosis, but mostly the same things can be seen in any lame horror films about teens in scary house. Friendly reminder of some horror-crap such as The Cabin in the Woods (which also was way different, but just didn’t have this something).
Blade Runner 2049
- Original Screenplay – Alessandra Querzola, Dennis Gassner
- Visual Effects – John Nelson (I), Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert (II), Richard R. Hoover
- Cinematography – Roger Deakins
- Sound Editing – Doug Hemphill, Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett
- Sound Mixing – Mark A. Mangini, Theo Green
Let put things straight here: the sound here was fucking epic. I am completely torn between Blade Runner and Baby Driver here. And with this weird Hans Zimmer’s music, the film made a way of speaking through both sounds and visuals.
Blade Runner 2049 was somewhat omitted. It’s way more appreciated than the first installment from 1982 but there’s a chance that the nominations are the only thing they’ll get. Sound throughout this cyberpunk future was just right and so was the whole cinematography. All the sets and visuals were so close to the original and so XXI century at the same time. Denis Villeneuve is a true visionary. Finally there’s a director who introduces sci-fi to a different level and it is quite appreciated by the Academy. His Blade Runner-ish future is both post-apocalyptic and old school.
The plot itself is trying to be both surprising and safe at the same time. I know that Blade Runner has welcomed a lot of devoted fans who wouldn’t like the continuation no matter what. But then, 2049 wasn’t actually making anything less important. It was a great tribute and expansion of the world. There were a lot of small touches for the fans and it was completely breaking the XXI century schema. Seeing so many futuristic films with laser gun fights and huge explosions, it is static and calm. The screenplay was very well thought and these 3 hours in cinema was worth it. I hope that we’ll get 4 hours director’s cut. Both film and fans diserved it.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
- Original Score – John Williams
- Visual Effects – Ben Morris (III), Michael Mulholland (I), Neal Scanlan, Chris Corbould (I)
- Sound Mixing – Matthew Wood, Ren Klyce
- Sound Editing – David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Stuart Wilson
New Star Wars was the biggest disagreement in popculture I’ve seen in a longer while. Strikethrough by the fans completely, it was well received by the critics. Oscar nominations were basically duplicated from The Force Awakeness (except Film Editing, but it was quite populated category this year). John Williams was the most obvious Oscar nominee there is. Sounds of the laser blasters, lightsabers and starships are good, but so common these days.
About the plot, The Last Jedi has too many opinions. I wrote like 4 pages of a debate about it myself and I am still not sure whether I want to post it and start that discussion. Knowing how touchy some Star Wars fans are, it might be massive. But from the technical point of view, it is a nice piece. Especially that badass fight (with red soldiers) was well cut.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
- Visual Effects – Christopher Townsend (II), Guy Williams (VII), Jonathan Fawkner, Daniel Sudick
Marvel didn’t get much this year. Having three films with so great reviews, they ended up with only one Oscar nomination with barely a chance of winning it. However I am still proud of JamesGunn and his team about this one. Because noone expected it. Thor: Ragnarok was shining the most, being super different and unexpected. With Spider-man on the other hand – because everyone loves Spidey, Guardians were somewhat forgotten.
The film was somewhat a fanfiction of the previous one. It was completely a child of James Gunn and I don’t believe Marvel Studios had much to say about it. Guardians Vol 2 has no impact on the wider MCU story and director had almost complete creativity management on his side.
Effects were indeed hard to forget. They were dealing with the Earth-like CGI and cosmic ones. Ego himself was a beauty, speaking of both the “man” and the “planet”, of course. I can’t imagine how long actors worked only with the green screen. Everything spacey had to be done by the computers, no wonder. There wasn’t much Earthly sets, which is fun. A lot of films make the universe as something very human and Gunn kinda tries to avoid it as much as possible. And don’t forget of Baby Groot. Pure damn CGI.
- Sound Editing – Julian Slater, Mary H. Ellis, Tim Cavagin
- Film Editing – Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
- Sound Mixing – Julian Slater
The best heist movie of the year for sure. Edgar Wright made a film where every single sound has its point. Music? Perfectly fit. Some may say it’s so obvious of a plot, but going past that, technical aspects are simply beautiful. Especially when you have insight how it was made.
I demand that they grab at least one Oscar. This film is worth watching at least for the editing if not the plot. The director known for his visionary behaviour, made it a small enterntainment masterpiece. I am really sad he had too many differences to do Ant-man with Marvel Studios, but I can’t disagree that a lot of his ideas were in the film anyway. Here he shows everything he’s got and created a film perfected in every way.
Ansel is slowly becoming a star. I wish him very much luck, he’s growing to be more than just a romantic interest. Well, acting in Baby Driver itself was great, actually. Jamie Foxx outdid himself as some kind of a villain, and there is the infamous Kevin Spacey who is great as always, at least on the screen.
See ya in part two