(D)Evaluating the nominees

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ITALIANO
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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:21 pm

This is the worst kind of Oscar year: generally bad nominees AND quite predictable outcomes. We can only hope for some surprises during the Big Night - the winner won't be great anyway, but at least we won't be bored.

BEST PICTURE
1. The Favorite - The best of the eight nominees, and the only one I could in theory nominate (only) in a very poor year. For a movie about power, it's not extremely profound. For a movie about palace intrigues, the screenplay is lively but without memorable dialogue. But with its youngish and attractive women using their bodies in order to get money and social prestige, it's the perfect (and refreshingly un-politically correct) answer to you-know-what.
2. Vice - Some on this board didn't even want to see it - they didn't want to spend money on it, yet they spent money to watch A Star is Born TWICE! This, of course, means that Vice can't be really bad. And it's not, though I admit that I've seen more biting political satires.
3. Blackkklansman - an enjoyable, funny take on a subject which isn't really enjoyable nor funny. But you feel the hand of an expert director behind it.
4. Green Book - It's as lightweight and superficial as the ideas of those who suddenly accuse it of being cliched - the good thing about entertainment is that it immediately shows how banal certain political or social attitudes are. Still, this is a reassuringly professional Hollywood product, its heart is on the right side, and it’s as smartly effective as, say, Mrs Miniver was decades ago.
5. Black Panther - I must admit that I kind-of enjoyed watching it: it was something new for me, as I never see movies like this, and my last superhero film was the first Spider Man, about 15 years ago. But as a Best Picture nominee, it's on the same level as, say, King Solomon's Mines or Three Coins in the Fountain.
6. Roma - Unlike Black Panther, this is a movie made to be on this on this list. Too obviously made to be on this list (did we really need the austere black and white cinematography?). The first foreign movie to win Best Picture should have been much better, and much more genuine, than this one.
7. Bohemian Rhapsody - A huge box-office hit, and while I don't anything against box-office hits, in this case it's clearly due to the cautious approach to an edgy, complex, somehow revolutionary human being and artist.
8. A Star is Born - a lesson on how NOT to make a movie, taken too seriously by inept film critics, though maybe the Academy in the end will see through it.

BEST DIRECTOR
1. Pawel Pawlikowski - Cold War is flawed and imperfect, but more interesting than the same director's much praised (and more conventionally "perfect") Ida. What's good in this movie is very good.
2. Yourgos Lanthimos - An inventive, original director who has worked with better material before, but can do very good things even here.
3. Spike Lee - Nice to see a director who doesn't need to be showy at any cost, yet preserves even here his own assured style.
4. Alfonso Cuaron - Nobody can't deny that he's a careful filmmaker, with a keen eye for detail and composition. Still I have rarely seen a more detatched, uninvolving autobiographical piece.
5. Adam McKay - Better as a screenwriter.

BEST ACTOR
1. Viggo Mortensen - Let's be clear: none of these five should have been nominated. But if I have to pick the best performance - not the best role, not the best-written character - I'm afraid it's this one: warm, sympathetic, never irritating despite the ethnic cliches. A good actor doing good, honest, solid work.
2. Willem Dafoe - The movie is admittedly awful, and makes one look back to the OTHER American movie on the same European genius (Vincente Minnelli's) with even more admiration and respect. The performance is a bit vague, a bit tedious, but it's not his fault.
3. Rami Malek - a very good imitation of a great singer, but still just an imitation.
4. Christian Bale - the make-up sadly limits a performance that is probably subtle but that at times looks monotonous.
5, Bradley Cooper - Bradley, be grateful to Italiano. At least he's been honest with you from the beginning.

BEST ACTRESS
1. Melissa McCarthy - An unexpectedly great turn by an actress I had never thought too highly of. I was wrong: she is very good, funny and sad often at the same times.
2. Glenn Close - Her movie isn't good - and at times it looks just like a long close-up of her face. But what an expressive face she has, and how technically expert she is at showing every single subtle emotion her character goes through. Far worse performances have won Oscars - especially recently.
3. Olivia Colman - a brilliant exercise in grotesque, but with an eye for the human side of the character. If she wins, it won't be deserved but I clearly won't complain.
4. Yalitza Aparicio - the new Jocelyne LaGarde.
5. Lady Gaga - Yalitza doesn't act, but Lady Gaga acts badly, which is worse. An amateurish, unwatchable, embarassing turn.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Richard E. Grant - Brilliant actor giving a brilliant - and truly supporting, in more ways the one - turn. An Oscar would be appropriate.
2. Mahershala Ali - Brilliant actor giving a good - but of course not really supporting - performance. But if this weren't his second Oscar, I wouldn't complain too much when he wins.
3. Sam Elliott - Let me say that this is one of the best living American actors: professional, never excessive, subtly powerful. He should have an Oscar. But not for his too short turn in this thing - though he's by far the best in it.
4. Sam Rockwell - another brilliant actor, but his (good) impression of Bush jr isn't a towering acting achievement.
5. Adam Driver - I don't remember anything about his performance. Honestly. Not even his face.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Rachel Weisz - the best written and probably more complex character in the movie, very well served by a now matue actress who can do it justice.
2. Regina King - She has a face - a real, interesting face, the kind of face a camera is happy to explore. And she's a good actress, too.
3. Emma Stone - Obviously a good actress, and probably happy to play such a nasty, mischievous character.
4. Marina de Tavira - She certainly makes her character believable and human, but as she is mostly seen from the point of view of another character, she never seems to have a scene which is really hers.
5. Amy Adams - The role doesn't allow her do too much, but a more hystrionic actress would have been completely wrong for it.

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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:44 pm

flipp525 wrote:Precious,The Handmaid’s Tale has only aired two seasons so far. The next one will be the third season.


Opps, I should have said I intend to stream the third season - don't want to wait 12 months to see it on Blu Ray. Oddly enough in plays on free-to-air TV here and then onto their streaming channels. I real ratings coup for a very cheaply run Government Broadcaster. I've been waiting for each Blu Ray release to see it but not this time (though I will buy it once it is eventually released).
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby flipp525 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:55 pm

Precious,The Handmaid’s Tale has only aired two seasons so far. The next one will be the third season.
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."

-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby Precious Doll » Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:39 am

MaxWilder wrote:
Precious Doll wrote:I probably should watch Sharp Objects, if only because I enjoyed Jean-Marc Vallée's adaptation of Big Little Lies so much but having just finished watching Cary Joji Fukunaga's mess Maniac does give me pause to any more TV for the time beginning.

I loathed Maniac. Sharp Objects is not like Maniac.


I'm going to buy Castle Rock next week so will add Sharp Objects too.

In addition that leaves me with American Horror Story Series 2 to 5 (I think) and the entire series Downtown Abbey to watch before the film is released later in the year.

Plus the third season of The Handmaiden's Tale and I'm really curious about Feud which I can stream.
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby MaxWilder » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:27 am

Precious Doll wrote:I probably should watch Sharp Objects, if only because I enjoyed Jean-Marc Vallée's adaptation of Big Little Lies so much but having just finished watching Cary Joji Fukunaga's mess Maniac does give me pause to any more TV for the time beginning.

I loathed Maniac. Sharp Objects is not like Maniac.

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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:39 am

Uri wrote:I wonder if, when it comes to Adams, there’s something of an American/non-American thing. (At first, I thought straight American thing, but no). It's the cross-race effect – you seem to be more attentive to nuances and depths I tend to rather blindly generalize, as you say. For me, she appears to be a culmination of a cliché – as wholesomely American as an apple pie. I think she’s a good actress, but I do find her lacking that required je ne sais quoi. In films such as The Master or The Fighter, when she was suggesting hidden complexities in seemingly ordinary women, she was very good. When she is called to be an upfront extraordinary one – be it the world greatest linguist or a sexy femme fatale – I tend to find myself bored.


Uri... Don't back off :D

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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:22 am

I really don't have any strong opinions when it comes to Amy Adams. She's generally serviceable, somethings damn right annoying or phoney and she has never wowed me. Her performance in Big Eyes remains the nearest she has come to the wow factor for me. But to be fair to Adams she hasn't really made many films which appeal to my viewing sensibilities or worked with directors that I an appreciation of.

I probably should watch Sharp Objects, if only because I enjoyed Jean-Marc Vallée's adaptation of Big Little Lies so much but having just finished watching Cary Joji Fukunaga's mess Maniac does give me pause to any more TV for the time beginning. And my relentless year long 'film festival' viewing starts off again in 2 weeks time. I was going to cut back this year but I'm in a 'do it to you drop frame' of mind, so I'll see want pans out.
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby Uri » Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:11 am

I wonder if, when it comes to Adams, there’s something of an American/non-American thing. (At first, I thought straight American thing, but no). It's the cross-race effect – you seem to be more attentive to nuances and depths I tend to rather blindly generalize, as you say. For me, she appears to be a culmination of a cliché – as wholesomely American as an apple pie. I think she’s a good actress, but I do find her lacking that required je ne sais quoi. In films such as The Master or The Fighter, when she was suggesting hidden complexities in seemingly ordinary women, she was very good. When she is called to be an upfront extraordinary one – be it the world greatest linguist or a sexy femme fatale – I tend to find myself bored.

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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby flipp525 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:09 pm

I agree with Tee. What a highly generalized version of who Amy Adams is as an actress. I suggest you go back and take a look at her performance in American Hustle where she is sexy, dynamic, funny, and just very memorable. Bland, she is not.

And in Sharp Objects, I was blown away by her multi-faceted and deeply felt performance.
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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:03 pm

Wow, you guys have made me see the light. Here I thought Amy Adams was a generous, versatile, beautiful actress who always gives to the material at hand rather than showboating herself. But now I understand, all along, she's simply been generic.

I suggest you pass on your wisdom to Steven Spielberg, Mike Nichols, Paul Thomas Anderson, David O. Russell, Tim Burton, Spike Jonze and Denis Villeneuve, who've mistakenly cast her under the impression she was the best actress for the role. I'm sure they'll appreciate your expert advice.

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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:35 pm

Reza wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:Deborah Kerr stands out plenty in most of her films. She was far from bland.


I meant bland as in looks. Kerr was never known for her looks like other quintessential British screen beauties like Vivien Leigh or Jean Simmons. Her looks were more of the ordinary variety, neither plain nor stunning - a face that doesn't stand out in a crowd but blends in. But then, I guess, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I'm sure there are people who think Kerr is stunning.

Her nickname was "The English Rose" which is a compliment to her generally acknowledged beauty.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_rose_(epithet)

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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby Reza » Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:05 am

Big Magilla wrote:Deborah Kerr stands out plenty in most of her films. She was far from bland.


I meant bland as in looks. Kerr was never known for her looks like other quintessential British screen beauties like Vivien Leigh or Jean Simmons. Her looks were more of the ordinary variety, neither plain nor stunning - a face that doesn't stand out in a crowd but blends in. But then, I guess, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I'm sure there are people who think Kerr is stunning.

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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby MaxWilder » Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:23 am

Uri wrote:5. Amy Adams – D. I recently watched Sharp Objects. The best thing about it was the casting – I was very pleased they managed to find actresses to play her sisters and her character as a young girl who resemble her a lot. And then I realized – the majority of American actresses resemble her a lot.

The actress playing her sister is Australian.

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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:50 am

Deborah Kerr stands out plenty in most of her films. She was far from bland.

Amy Adams stands out, too, in most of her roles. I think the "generic essence" label would be better applied to Emma Stone in most of her roles aside from The Favourite.

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Re: (D)Evaluating the nominees

Postby Uri » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:59 am

Reza wrote: A "problem" she has in common with Deborah Kerr.


Thank you, but we'll have to disagree about Kerr - I get where you're coming from, but "bland" and "not in your face" are not the same. I love Deborah Kerr. Adams - nah.


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