Did They Get it Right? – Best Picture – Oscars 2018


Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
Roma
A Star Is Born
Vice

Biggest Snub:

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

My Overall Thoughts:

One of the weakest years in Oscar history since none of the films are ones that are easy to rally behind. The winners during the award season were all over the place and there was no clear frontrunner when it came Oscar night and the winner could have been just about any of them.

My Rankings:

Movies

8. ViceBale is mesmerizingly creepy in the title role and gets totally lost in the role. The story works quite well in order to give us a clear picture of how things played out over the course of his rise to power. McKay’s approach to dumbing down the story for the viewer works a bit better here than it did in The Big Short (2016), but something still is missing that would have made this film even more engaging and enjoyable.  Supporting cast work quite well in capturing some of the personalities of characters who are known to everyone due to their exposure in politics.
7. The Favourite
Very interesting and unique idea to show how politics and power could affect women in the 18th Century. The power plays by these characters work very well and they all try to find ways to outdo the others in order to keep as much control as they can on the matters of state. The cast is great and Colman, Weisz and Stone are all great here, but the story is told too much like a comedy and that takes away from being able t take things very serious like it should. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Lanthimos and his hand is much too apparent in many of the things done in this film which takes away from enjoying it even more.
6. Roma
This is a very good film especially visually, but there is way too much hype calling it one of the best films ever made. The story itself moves at a very slow pace which is tolerable if you know to expect it, but the attempt to try and imitate life with this story just doesn’t work as amazingly as predicted. From a technical perspective, this film is wondrous to watch and listen to and its easy to see how everything is carefully and expertly chosen by Cuarón. A film like this needs to actually have something happen that is interesting and despite a few great scenes it feels more like a set of vignettes where some work better than others than a masterpiece in film making and storytelling.
5. Green Book Interesting premise that works much better than I had expected it to. I had envisioned a Driving Miss Daisy (1989) for the 21st Century, but they manage to give us some great characters who are developed quite well over the course of the film. Mortensen and Ali are both superb in this film and even though it is quite clear where the story is heading, it’s still quite a pleasure watching them take the journey to that place. The story does a wonderful job transporting us back the the early 1960’s and we get to see how racial relations were viewed both in the North and the South nearly a century after the Emancipation Act. Quite enjoyable, but not one of the very best films of the year.
4. Black PantherNice addition to the MCU despite its flaws. The action is great and they do a great job with the supporting characters and the main villain yet the main character of T’Challa feels outshone by everyone else even if the film is supposedly about him. The technology and magic used by the Wakandan’s is great to watch because it shows so much about the possibilities for the future of the MCU which can combine both elements. The story itself comes across as being too formulaic for its own good and unlike some of the other recent MCU films, stays predicable the whole way through. Gets a bit too political at certain points instead of trying to just tell a great action story.
3. Bohemian RhapsodyGreat biopic that gets more and more intense as things move along. They give us an amazing portrayal of the bombastic yet lonely life of a musician who just wants to make music. Malek is amazing in the lead role and does things so perfectly throughout. The way that they recreate the music of Queen along with the way that we get to see how the band’s popularity grew over the years is so enjoyable to watch. This is not a perfect movie but it comes quite close because of the feelings that it is able to create while watching this story unfold even if one knows what eventually happens. Definitely one of the best films of 2018 even if it isn’t the best.
2. BlacKkKlansmanGreat film that works on numerous levels. The story is so unbelievable yet the fact that it’s based on truth makes it even more powerful. The film is slightly ruined by the epilogue which tuns things too political instead of letting the story itself sink in for what it’s trying to say about America and how things haven’t changed in 150 years, anyone watching it knows that the same is unfortunately true for today but there is no need to try and politicize that notion. Washington is amazing in the lead role and shows that he has what it takes to be a great actor and might even be better one day than his father.
1. A Star Is BornAmazing version of this film that works so much better than the other ones largely due to the spectacular chemistry between Cooper and Lady Gaga. We can really believe their relationship. The story works so well in the music field and even in that aspect it manages to eclipse its predecessors. The music of this film is out of this world and I’m quite shocked that they only managed to get an Oscar nomination (and eventual) win for Shallow, because some of the other songs are also very worthy and are better than some of the other nominees in the category. The story plays out really well and they do it on a way that makes it all seem quite believable and plausible the entire time. Elliott gives an amazing performance here too and was well deserving of an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his work here. This film was among the very best movies of the year and was by far the best of the 8 nominees for Best Picture, but it was released too early which hurt its chances to win more than just Best Original Song.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Not really!  GB is a good movie but NOT BP material. It was a safe choice for many voters who felt they were being righteous by voting for a film with a theme like this one even if it is far from being the best film of this year.

Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!

4 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Picture – Oscars 2018

  1. I thought Green Book was terrific, so no problem with it winning. I also very much liked The Favourite and Vice. Bohemian was good, not great. No need to recreate the entire 20 minute concert at the end. HATED Roma. BlackKklansman never worked for me tonally – not sure that Spike pulled off his juggling act – and for me – the Charlottesville footage (which he would not have made the film without) was more powerful than anything that preceeded it. I would’ve voted for A Star is Born – I’ve seen every version and Cooper did a magnificent job with this. Picture should’ve won, he should’ve won (as actor AND director) and Gaga should’ve won as well.

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  2. I think I’d disagree. I loved Green Book, and though I saw it after the Oscars aired, I was pleased it won Best Picture. It’s weird that it’s considered a politically-motivated win when it got such flak about its racial elements. I didn’t think Black Panther or Bohemian Rhapsody were necessarily BP material, but I still liked them. And I would have been fine with A Star Is Born winning BP and absolutely wish it had won the actor/director awards.

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    • Agree with you on all your points. I should actually recuse myself from any discussion of GREEN BOOK – because I was pulling for it to win (I’m not an Academy voter, but vote in the WGA) because it’s co-writer, director Peter Farrelly is an old buddy of mine (he put my name into There’s Something About Mary”) who I’ve known for decades and played with on the Writers Guild softball team (along with his brother Bobby). The backlash on his film was uncalled for and a lot of BS – especially from Spike Lee (who finally won a screenplay Oscar for BlackKklansman which I didn’t think was that great) – and I suppose a number of the newly minted voters jammed into the Academy (and IMO, many unqualified to be there – especially in the Actors Branch) still pissed about the #OscarsSoWhite campaign of a few years ago. The Oscars ARE very political – and that can’t be helped – people still vote for friends, still don’t vote for films that haven’t seen – if you read some of the ballots released anonymously in the trade papers – the reasons for voting FOR or AGAINST particular films and actors etc. maddening – to the point of thinking that these voters shouldn’t have a vote. I agree on both Bohemian and Black Panther – very good, BIG box office – well reviewed – but not sure they were BP material. These were the specific types of films (BIG B.O., well reviewed) that haven’t been nominated in the past for which the Academy expanded the BP category from 5 to 10 – and then never fill out all 10, which drives me nuts as well. Not sure where the love was for Bradley Cooper on “Star is Born”. I’ve seen it 4X and the fact that his performance was that good while directing himself!! (only one actor has directed himself to a Best Actor win in Oscar history – and that was Laurence Olivier for “Hamlet”) – and he sang and he learned to play guitar and he directed 2 others to Oscar noms as actors… c’mon, what’s the guy gotta do?

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