Here we are. 2016. That means I go nuts and talk about movies and the best movies of the year and the worst movies the year and just, overall, this year in film.
Hooooooo boy the Oscars are here. And this year, as with every year, the nominees have their fair share of controversy. This year the acting nominees are a sea of white faces. Not a single person of color has been nominated for an acting Oscar (although one of them PLAYED a Native American this year! uh… oh jeez) and it has left audiences wondering: Why is #OscarSoWhite? (Lucifer forgive me I used a “hashtag.”) With all of the potential for people of color to be nominated this year, we are, once again, asking the same questions of the Academy.
Now, because that served as my intro, I’m just going to get right into it. In my opinion, (DISCLAIMER: These are the opinions of a straight, white, middle-class, cisgender 22 year old male, so take them at their worth. If you don’t want to read about all this drama, go ahead and skip to the picture of Tom Hardy from The Revenant) the idea of every single nominated actor being the best of the best this year and also JUST HAPPENING to be white COULD be a completely valid concept. The problem, however, is that it just isn’t true. It wasn’t true in previous years, and it is not true this year.
There were a great many non-white actors this year who deserve Oscar recognition. Some even more than some of the actors nominated. THEY INCLUDE:
Samuel L. Jackson – Hateful Eight
John Boyega – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Oscar Isaac – Ex Machina
Michael B. Jordan – Creed
Tessa Thompson – Creed
Benicio del Toro – Sicario
Jason Mitchell – Straight Outta Compton
Shameik Moore – Dope
Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation
Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation
Will Smith – Concussion
Mya Taylor – Tangerine
Just to name a few…
Now, here is where things get complicated. I think that almost all of the actors DESERVE to be nominated. I’m not going to sit here and say who should be nominated over who. And I’m not going to use “whom” because that word, like “thee” and “thou,” should be eradicated from the English lexicon. No, I’m just pointing out that the Oscar nominees this year shed light on a much larger problem in Hollywood. Better and more intelligent bloggers than myself have written much more in-depth studies dealing with these issues. I don’t consider myself an expert on sociology or the racial dynamics of Hollywood studios. I’m just giving you my layman’s observation. Feel free to banter and debate with me in the comments section or on social media.
Okay, so now despite all of that, here are the rest of my opinions of this year’s nominees.
Best Picture nominees are:
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
No major surprises here, honestly. I don’t really think I expected Bridge of Spies AND Mad Max to get nominated, but I’m happy they did. Well, I’m actually elated that they did, as they are two of my favorite movies of this year.
Now, I have yet to see Brooklyn (I’m seeing it tonight!) So I will update this list this evening. But I’m going to put my TENTATIVE order of least great to best for the Picture nominees:
Bridge of Spies
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
That’s CRAZY and I will tell you why. I LOVED Bridge of Spies. I LOVED The Martian. LOVED. BOTH of them. That’s why I’m so excited for this year. I love all the nominees for Picture. For me, there’s no losing. That’s the order in which I would like to see them win, but I’d still be pretty excited to see Bridge of Spies get it.
I do wish Hateful Eight was nominated though. But I will get to my snubs in a later post.
Now the supporting actor category, in my opinion, is a pretty tight race this year. It’s between:
Christian Bale – The Big Short
Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone – Creed
Tom Hardy – The Revenant
This is another situation where I really wouldn’t have a problem with anyone winning. Well. Christian Bale was great (and is a phenomenal actor) but there were better performances this year (see above), so maybe not totally him. Although he was still SOLID. Mark Ruffalo was excellent as well. But if Mark Rylance, Stallone, or Tom Hardy win, I’ll be happy.
Supporting actress features:
Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
Jennifer Jason Leigh – Hateful Eight
Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs
Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
Rooney Mara – Carol
Now, the first thing I would like to say is that Rooney Mara should have gotten Best Actress and Cate Blanchett should have gotten Best Supporting, because EVEN though the movie is called Carol and Cate Blanchett played Carol, Rooney Mara was the main character in that movie.
The second thing I want to say is that Alicia Vikander ABSOLUTELY deserves an Oscar nomination. For Ex Machina. While she was GOOD in The Danish Girlm The Danish Girl was not GOOD, for reasons I will get to shortly.
Honestly I mostly hope Jennifer Jason Leigh wins.
Best Actress is:
Brie Larson – Room
Cate Blanchett – Carol
Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
CONTROVERSY TIME WOO YEAH
Jennifer Lawrence is the new Meryl Streep (not saying Meryl Streep is done, she isn’t). For good reasons and bad reasons. She, like Streep, is VERY talented. But she, like Streep, seems like she will be nominated every year forever, because she is she. Joy was good. But it wasn’t Oscar-worthy (as you can see by its SINGLE nomination). Jennifer Lawrence was the best part of Joy. But, again, in my opinion, not Oscar-worthy.
I have not seen 45 Years or Brooklyn. I plan to. But it won’t matter. Brie Larson will win. And she deserves to.
Okay so Best Actor. Here’s my big issue this year. But first, the nominees:
Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Matt Damon – The Martian
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
It’s Damon or DiCaprio. Seriously. While they both deserve it, I’d rather see it go to DiCaprio. Not just because he hasn’t won one (although many times, but not all, he was not the most deserving candidate), but because his performance was incredible. I have seen some people write off his performance as grunting and growling and crawling around. Yes, obviously there was a lot of that. But the idea that that can carry and keep you invested in a long movie is amazing. I felt like I was really watching someone going through intense pain and exhaustion. Sometimes it’s more difficult to convey emotion through purely body language, and in this case, I think his performance was absolutely Oscar-worthy.
All of that being said, I would be so happy if Bryan Cranston won. He was SERIOUSLY good in Trumbo as the title character.
Also, Michael Fassbender deserves an Oscar. For Shame. For Hunger. For 12 Years a Slave. But not as much for Steve Jobs
But now, we have reached my problem.
And that problem is Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne. Eddie Redmaybe played Einar/Lili in The Danish Girl which, if you didn’t know, is about a Danish painter who came out as transgender in the 1920s. This SHOULD have been a great way to introduce transgender dysphoria to the (relatively) mainstream moviegoer whose only experiences with it are Caitlin Jenner tabloids and one character on Orange is the New Black. Unfortunately, the only consistent idea this movie features is that transwomen incessantly touch their face.
What you have here is Eddie Redmaybe mimicking women. Literally, that’s what he does. Lili is walking down the street and holding her arm out like the woman in front of her and pointing at things like the woman at the market. It’s absurd. And while that’s only one thing, it’s CONSTANT throughout the movie. There’s even a scene where she, dressed as Einar, goes to a peep show and mimics the woman performing. Like that’s femininity there. Slowly moving your hands across your face neck and chest. Yup that’s all women do.
I literally just googled “The Danish Girl” and clicked images
That’s most of the movie. Face-touching. And touching her own hands.
It also completely ignores the fact that Lili and wife Gerda Wegener were actually most likely in an open relationship and that Gerda was bisexual or a lesbian and did a ton of erotic lesbian paintings. Nope. Just shows her as a sad heterosexual wife who can’t handle the transition but gradually accepts it and hooks up with some big buff art dealer. Or something. I might have fallen asleep by the end. Really, if you’re going to make a movie about sexual identity, how can you completely gloss over the other main character’s ENTIRE SEXUAL IDENTITY?!