anonymous1980 wrote:some people have praised Jennifer Garner in it, comparing her big scene in the film to Michael Stuhlbarg's in Call Me By Your Name.
No one of sound mind would compare the two. Garner is generic; Stuhlbarg is transcendent.
Thanks as always for this, BJ. A few thoughts:
It's hard not to think of this winter/spring as more accomplished than usual -- more auteur-studded, for sure, and offering some surprise successes. Yet I'm not sure it'll contribute much to the Oscar race in the end.
Black Panther is obviously the big hopeful to date, and I fear it's going to cause me annoyance all season. Bloggers and some critics seem like they're going to heavily push the narrative BJ describes, which feels a bit like cultural bullying. I'm on record as saying I don't even think it's an exceptional Marvel movie, but many critics have given it (to my mind) inflated ratings, and that, combined with huge grosses and cultural appropriateness, make it just the kind of movie to be promoted well past its artistic value (think Mad Max: Fury Road, if it had been a bigger hit and also dovetailed into #OscarsSoWhite). One sliver of sanity: A.O. Scott listed the eight best movies so far this year, and Black Panther was not included -- so maybe there won't be as much help from the critics as I imagine.
To emphasize that I'm not an enemy of the film: I'm fine with it getting well-earned nods for costumes and production design, as well as the Marvel-standard visual effects. I just think best picture/director -- for which it will be loudly touted -- would be serious grade-inflation.
As for the analogy to Wonder Woman: haven't national politics demonstrated that it's easier for a black man than a white woman to ascend to the top? The fact that the bloggers/critics making the push are, as we've often noted here, dominantly male could make all the difference there.
After that, there's a steep drop-off in the likelihood of any film getting a best picture push. The indies are too small, the horror hits a bit too genre-y, and Isle of Dogs isn't a big enough deal (critically or commercially) to do the Up/Toy Story 3 thing. Though I am with BJ that it's very possibly our winner under animated feature -- a way for voters to finally give Wes Anderson a prize.
My antipathy for horror films -- the sheer agony they put me through in theatres -- has kept from seeing either A Quiet Place or Hereditary to date (I'm waiting for home viewing, where I can pause easily if I so desire). I have to say, even the trailers for A Quiet Place made it look like a really inventive piece of work, but, again, I'll have to wait for my own evaluation. (As for Hereditary: I have to report that a female cousin, who's a very serious film connoisseur, HATED it -- so, I'm dubious about the film's likelihood for getting a major nomination, despite the singular praise Collette's got.)
The Death of Stalin was terrific, and did enough box-office that it might have scored mention in last year's race. But I'm skeptical that 1) memories will last that long, even among the writers and 2) the adapted screenplay category will be as moribund as it was last year.
Ethan Hawke and Joaquin Phoenix were highly-enough praised that they might have slipped onto last year's best actor slate. But neither film had enough box-office impact to stick around this year, barring a truly empty competition.
Leave No Trace, as BJ notes, has got quite strong reviews, and is performing well at the start, but I'm not sure it has quite the oomph to match Winter's Bone's Oscar performance. Though it's possible some have been looking for an opportunity to cite Ben Foster.
I'm possibly the biggest fan of Ready Player One around here. I think it has easily the best visual effects I've seen so far this year, and I think production design ought to be a gimme. But it's not likely to win much in categories where Black Panther has the zeitgeist edge.
The most competitive category by far appears to be documentary feature. RBG came along and became a late-Spring indie hit (the sort no fiction film has managed to be, so far) -- but it now looks like the Mr. Rogers movie will double it. And, on top of that, Three Identical Strangers has opened to excellent notices and strong box-office. All three could get nominations, and, since each fits the profile of potential winner, it could make for a spirited race (unless the critics form their standard Unanimous Club and ruin the suspense.)
We'll next discuss all this when it's time for Venice/Telluride/Toronto.