As some of you may remember, Paul and I go to see all the Oscar Best Picture nominees every year. I like to post my ranking of the movies before the Gay Super Bowl. I’m a bit late this year, because we just saw the last one this morning!
What expertise do I possess for publishing such a list? None. Absolutely nothing. Except we’ve been doing this for probably twenty years. And I enjoy it. And it gives me something else to share with all of you, and to chat about.
Ranked from my least favorite to my favorite, along with my inane commentary:
Marriage Story: This should not be a Best Picture nominee. It’s a mediocre film about how famous people get divorced. And why are all the women in it portrayed as so nasty? So, not my favorite.
Parasite: First, I own my bias: I’m not a subtitle fan, because I feel I miss half the movie. That’s not the fault of the movie, but it biases my judgment. That being said, the story itself is not that inspiring or engaging. The commentary on class is important and well told, however. Best foreign film, yes. Best Picture – eh.
The Irishman: Maybe I’m just bored of epic gangster movies. Because the acting was good. The story well told. But this one was much toooo long. And the varying ages of the actors throughout was not always convincing. It left me feeling like a lot of effort went into telling the same story yet again . . . with a lot of the same actors.
Joker: I said this right after I saw it: This movie is a good movie about contemporary society, and at least one way that angry white men become extremely violent white men. Phoenix is extremely good in it. But I rank it lower because it bills itself as a comic book movie – it’s supposed to be about Joker. But it ends up not being a comic book movie at all. So that annoyed me. As if it was labeled about The Joker to pull people in and did a bait and switch.
Now we get to the movies I think all deserved a Best Picture nomination. Above, maybe the last one but nothing before it. Moving forward, these movies definitively deserved the nomination.
Little Women: The story is well told, following the novel closely but giving us some updates so the Victorian moralism doesn’t choke us to death. The pace is well done and the acting all solid. The bouncing back and forth in time could get confusing, especially during the first third of the movie, but I found this one charming and a pleasure to watch with its love and connection and messaging.
Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood: I always leave a Tarantino movie thinking, he is out of his fucking mind. But his movies capture my attention. They are funny, especially when you think this is NOT funny as you laugh out loud. He comments on society, Hollywood, and humanity in crazy ways. Very good acting. Wicked and weird.
Judy: Disclaimor: Yes, I know. This movie was not nominated for Best Picture by the Academy. I write novels, so I get to change reality when I want to. Because this one deserved a Best Picture nomination. Of course Zellweger better win Best Actress or I will lose my mind tomorrow. But the movie itself told a painful story about the human condition and a gay icon in a loving way without glossing over the harsh reality. So it makes my list. Take that, Hollywood.
Ford v. Ferrari: I think the acting made this movie. It was extraordinary. The pace was extremely good, too. And not just because it’s about racing. In fact, I am not a big racing fan. If it had all been about racing, I probably would have fallen asleep. Instead it tells a gripping story with racing as the prop. It’s intense and fun and powerful.
1917: Everyone says this is the favorite to win, and I can see why. With brilliant cinematography and a moving story, you sit in your seat and from beginning to end feel captivated. It contains major surprises, emotional ups and downs, and gives one of the most realistic portrayals of World War I in a long time. That said, and this is the historian coming out in me (no pun intended), what the main character keeps surviving time after time gets to be too much, as if a Superhero took over a movie that is supposed to be realistic. Still, this was extremely well done and was narrowly beaten out in my mind.
Jojo Rabbit: I headed off to this movie holding my nose, wondering how on earth someone could make a movie about Nazis into a comedy. There is nothing funny about Hitler. And genocide. And much of Nazi Germany. But despite that being the buzz about the movie, that’s not what it does. It tells a story about the humanness in everyone. It is a growing up tale, and about the indoctrination of people into awful belief systems. And it celebrates resistance, even amid the tragedy. Original. Funny. Painful. Outstanding. Definitely my Best Picture for the year.
Which, of course, means nothing. But at least I captured your attention to the bitter end. Thanks for reading.