Crash II: Miss Daisy drives YOU
January 20, 2019 1:53 PM   Subscribe

With a win at the PGA Green Book is now the lead contender for 2019's Academy Award for Best Picture. Oh dear.
posted by Artw (55 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

If ever one needs evidence that the Oscars are irrelevant, may I present...the Oscars.
posted by trackofalljades at 1:58 PM on January 20 [9 favorites]

Man, I can not give a crap about any grouch about Green Book, Rhapsody, La La, and Three Billboards.

Each portrays (to my knowledge) a significant event for those concerned in the films.
posted by FleetMind at 1:58 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]

It's a weak year, to be sure.

Not to relitigate the earlier thread, but I don't have many problems with Green Book, because to me, the complaints seem to focus much too much on how true and/or embellished it is.

But I am not very invested in it being a true-true story, especially since it seems pretty clearly to be a story told from the single perspective of a textbook unreliable narrator, and a clearly racist one at that. The main character, whose viewpoint is the only one we are given, even explains at length how he is an expert-level bullshitter. This scene is not accidental, I believe?

Everything, from Shirley's opulent feathered throne and admiration for Tony through to the precise hot dog count, seems to be pretty clearly shown through this lens.

So while they're no epics, given the field, I am fine with Green Book (or First Man, I think) as Best Picture. The others suggested so far would definitely make my face squish up unpleasantly.
posted by rokusan at 2:05 PM on January 20 [4 favorites]

It's a weak year

Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, The Favourite, The Hate U Give, Roma, Widows, Can you Ever Forgive Me, If Beale Street Could Talk? Actual Best Picture Enter The Spider-Verse?
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on January 20 [53 favorites]

I have not yet seen The Favourite, so ask me next week.

I liked Roma, quite a lot, and if it actually gets a BP nomination that would be just lovely, too, so that's three... but will it even be nominated as anything but a "foreign" film?

The others were fine, but not special for me. This seemed to be a year short on surprises, and long on paint-by-numbers filmmaking. Maybe I am jaded, but none of those other films gave me anything I didn't get from, like, the trailer for each. (Relatedly, this is the year I decided to actually, and for real, stop watching trailers.)

And though I agree Spider-Man was great, there's no way it gets nominated in anything other than animated category. The Academy is nowhere near ready for that.

I still say it's a weak year. This whole expansion to ten nominees thing is feeling a little shaky lately.
posted by rokusan at 2:17 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]

Hey, c’mon, it wasn’t too bad. Personally I liked the part where Patrick Stewart played a nazi. Bit violent though - definitely an unusual choice for the academy.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 2:34 PM on January 20 [14 favorites]

...this happened in years when the Academy went too intellectual, or too feminine

The idea of the sausage-fest that is the Academy going too feminine tickles me.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:40 PM on January 20 [14 favorites]

I laughed at that line, too, TMNL.

One of my home's movie-viewers of the female persuasion pointed out to me that this is the first year in awhile without A Big War Movie in the running.
posted by rokusan at 3:00 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]

I'm pretty sure that a groaned out loud when I first saw the trailer for Green Book. It almost looks like a fake trailer made as a parody of good intentioned white movies about black people. No one thought that a feel-good buddy picture about the Jim-Crow south might be in bad taste?
posted by octothorpe at 3:15 PM on January 20 [24 favorites]

This was a strong year for film. Artw named some good-to-great films, and certainly Paul Schrader's "First Reformed" with Ethan Hawke would be a contender in a meritocracy. In that alternate universe, Melissa McCarthy would get a Best Actress nod for "Can You Ever Forgive Me". It's mind-boggling that a small, great film like "Moonlight" won, but it's a blue-moon occurrence.

For some more candidates, see Film Comment's Best of 2018.

And here's a good explanation of why Green Book is shite.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 3:43 PM on January 20 [6 favorites]

You folks arguing about the actual best picture, do realize we're talking about the Oscars, right?
posted by evilDoug at 3:46 PM on January 20 [8 favorites]

Well, I’ll acknowledge they aren’t going anywhere near Sorry to Bother You.
posted by Artw at 3:52 PM on January 20 [23 favorites]

Best depiction of the Jim-Crow South this year was, hands down, Doctor Who.

Maybe I'm grumpy, but I generally don't see the crowdpleaser movies as Best Picture candidates. A lot of pop culture movies tend to get evaluated by their audience based on whether they had their expectations fulfilled, and not the actual quality of the movie. Black Panther is basically just The Rocketeer again (like all Marvel movies), and while it has something to say about the American black experience (as a movie set primarily in Africa with African characters?) it's not even the best movie about the American black experience this year. Into The Spiderverse's best qualities are all visual - it's well-written and a lot of fun, but it hits all the typical origin story beats.

I could actually see The Last Jedi as a Best Picture candidate, as it's a little more adventurous and nuanced than Star Wars typically is, but it's the wrong year for that.

Anyway, there should be room for Sorry to Bother You on that list.
posted by Merus at 3:58 PM on January 20 [4 favorites]

I know I should be hating on Green Book (which I didn't see), but I'll be in my corner resentful about A Star Is Born and hoping it doesn't win anything major. (Sorry, Lady Gaga. Not sorry, Bradley Cooper.)
posted by jeather at 4:01 PM on January 20 [4 favorites]

I have not yet seen The Favourite, so ask me next week.

Whether to not The Favourite can win BP, I have my doubts, but I am quite certain that it is one of those films which will be with you to the end of your days, and which will still be on course syllabi in fifty years.
posted by Capt. Renault at 4:31 PM on January 20 [3 favorites]

It and Roma were both serious contenders for the film that could actually win that I would actually root for till I saw Beale Street, which edged them out by being utterly fantastic. Anyway, big recommendations for all three.
posted by Artw at 4:36 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]

Even with a Crash-esque campaign, I have a hard time seeing White Academy voters understanding any art created by Boots Riley. And Barry Jenkins deserves an actual Best Picture speech.
posted by Become A Silhouette at 7:09 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Some year the writers of these kind of articles will figure out that the Oscars is just what the people who make movies think are the best movies.
posted by sideshow at 7:10 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Actual Best Picture Enter The Spider-Verse?

fwiw with the exception of my wife discussing Rhapsody this is literally the only one of these films I have overheard strangers discussing.
posted by mwhybark at 7:11 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]

I don't know if Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the best picture of the year but it was one of the few movies I've seen in a while that seemed to be pushing the art forward. The animation work in that is just astounding and much more experimental than I expected to see in such a mainstream movie.
posted by octothorpe at 7:32 PM on January 20 [5 favorites]

Annihilation would be on my BP short list There are still scenes in it that stick in my mind.
posted by FJT at 7:37 PM on January 20 [4 favorites]

Annihilation is possibly my favorite from last year. Others are: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Favorite, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Widows, Shirkers, First Man and Other Side of the Wind if that qualifies as a 2018 release. But there are so many that I need to catch up with: First Reformed, If Beale Street Could Talk, The Rider, Black KKKlansman, You Were Never Really Here, Sorry to Bother You, Minding the Gap, etc.
posted by octothorpe at 7:47 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]

Best depiction of the Jim-Crow South this year was, hands down, Doctor Who.

Huh. That was the episode that made me recognize the trope that "if it's a movie or TV show about the Civil Rights movement, then you need to use noble-sounding French horns in the score" was getting kinda overdone.

....There are noble-sounding French horns in the score in Green Book, aren't there?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:02 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]

I predict that in 100 years people will still be watching Sorry to Bother You and laughing (in fewer cases, I hope, uncomfortably.) Film and history students will be writing dissertations on Black Panther. Everything else will have been forgotten entirely.

They'll also be listening to Queen and remembering the band fondly. But, probably not the 2018 film soundtrack.
posted by eotvos at 8:22 PM on January 20 [3 favorites]

The Academy award goes to the hefty horseman penis in Sorry to Bother You.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:28 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]

I think it was a pretty mediocre year for the drama/biopic traditional oscar-bait style stuff, which includes the two in the article. First Reformed and If Beale Street Could Talk were the only two in that style that really delivered the goods.

On the other hand it was a FANTASTIC year for unorthodox. out-of-left-field genre entries - Blackkklansman, Widows, Roma, Zama, Hereditary, Annihilation, Black Panther, Into the Spiderverse. In my ideal world all these 'second tier' oscar movies would run the table with the nominations, but then I remember that the last time I watched an entire award show was when The Departed was cleaning up and I realize I'm not their target demographic.
posted by mannequito at 9:28 PM on January 20 [5 favorites]

Yeah it’s seen such a strong year that THE FIRST PURGE had a better take and case on race and violence in America then Green Book.
posted by The Whelk at 9:33 PM on January 20 [3 favorites]

Don’t forget Blindspotting. That and Sorry to Bother You are the two films I still can’t stop thinking about it.
posted by Bella Donna at 10:42 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Into the Spider-verse is going to get robbed. Best picture.
posted by Chronorin at 10:55 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]

Part of the challenge with the Oscars is that when you look at the demographics of the voters, it skews OLD. I know that they've invited all kinds of new members in lately, in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite, but you have to figure that unless you've died, there are lots of members who are just OLD, which usually means kind of conservative in their tastes, even if not conservative politically. That's why films that evoke older films often tend to win over films that are legitimately groundbreaking. Maybe all the new members will change this, but the overall conservative artistic impulse behind the Oscar votes is unquestionably connected to the age of the voting population.
posted by MythMaker at 7:22 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]

According to a 2014 survey conducted by The Los Angeles Times, Oscar voters were on average 63 years old. 76% of them were men, and 94% of them were white. Fortunately that's changed a bit in the last few years, although white men do still make up the largest proportion of voters.

They've made some steps to be more inclusive in the last few years but it's still pretty close to being a Fox News demographic.
posted by octothorpe at 7:32 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]

There are plenty of great films this year, but Spider-Verse, man. Have you SEEN all the Spider-People?! You should! They're right there! It's fantastic.

Sorry to Bother You also.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:44 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]

I'm on the Spider-Verse train too. And I'm not even particularly a Spider-fan. Or maybe I should say I wasn't, until I saw it. Twice.

I'd also like to throw in Leave No Trace for your consideration among the nominees in an ideal world.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:31 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]

Oh, since we're recommending films and Sorry to Bother You has been mentioned—
Steven Yeun was also in the South Korean film Burning, which I hope is picked for Best Foreign Film. Go watch it if you want a strange and intense mystery film that has stuff about Westernization, class, capitalism, and toxic masculinity.

(Also go watch it because there's only been a single comment on the post I made for Burning in Fanfare.)
posted by FJT at 1:28 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]

Just saw a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry interesting video on the 1999 Oscars and how Harvey Weinstein's heavy-handed lobbying for a Best Picture Oscar set the tone for Oscar campaigning today.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:02 PM on January 21

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse feels like it should be the winner of Best Superhero Film, a category that most definitely should've been created for 2018, what with all of the heavy-hitters that were released.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:48 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]

The nominations are:

Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
A Star Is Born
posted by octothorpe at 6:22 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]

Full list
posted by Artw at 6:43 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]

This is Spike Lee's first Best Director nomination.

Spike. Lee's. First. Best. Director. Nomination.


He got a fucking lifetime achievement Oscar three years ago.
posted by Etrigan at 6:46 AM on January 22 [7 favorites]

My roommate and I discussed the Black Panther possibility a few days ago; I had been getting the sense that there was more buzz than usual behind it, and found that it introduced some really thought-provoking moments. But my roommate was dubious; "yeah, it's fantastic and in a perfect world it should be nominated, but it's a Marvel superhero movie so it won't be."

One of my first acts upon learning the list of nominees was to text him the news. He is just as pleasantly surprised as I am.

I try to make sure I've watched all the Best Picture nominees by the time the awards go out every year; and every year, there are a couple films on my list that I consider and something in my gut just goes "Eauuugh." I ultimately skipped La La Land and Lady Bird for that reason; yeah they were nominated, but I was already pretty sure I still wasn't going to dig them, so let me let that go. I'm getting the same vibe off A Star Is Born this year, I'm afraid....

Green Book seems more like it's in the "obvious Oscar Bait" category, the kind of thing that Spielberg does, where it feels like someone just drove to Ikea and got a Malm OSKAR flatpack and assembled something in the garage.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:03 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]

Ugh, it looks like If Beale Street Could Talk is playing at exactly one theater in my city and only until the end of the week. I hate that it's so hard to see good movies when crappy ones play in every single theater. Half the time movies I want to see don't even show up in theaters here or at best are here for a single week in a tiny non-profit theater.
posted by octothorpe at 7:13 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]

.....hang on. I missed something.

Here is the list of nominees for Best Documentary.
“Free Solo,” Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” RaMell Ross
“Minding the Gap,” Bing Liu
“Of Fathers and Sons,” Talal Derki
“RBG,” Betsy West, Julie Cohen
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:01 AM on January 22 [7 favorites]

The only horses I had in the race were two idiosyncratic shortlisted films (Shirkers and Lost & Found), and neither of them made the cut.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:08 AM on January 22

I agree that Won't You Be My Neighbor was robbed. How often can a documentary bring you to tears multiple times without ever feeling fake or manipulative?
posted by octothorpe at 11:06 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]

Okay, so Roma wasn't robbed. But First Man was?

I find myself irritated in a completely different way than I expected to be irritated... but by the same amount?

posted by rokusan at 8:15 PM on January 22 someone just drove to Ikea and got a Malm OSKAR flatpack and assembled something in the garage. -- EmpressCallipygos

Forgive me, my queen, but I am stealing this one.
posted by rokusan at 8:17 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]

WRT Bohemian Rhapsody and its credited (although eventually fired) director: The Atlantic on more accusations against Bryan Singer.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:20 AM on January 23

I swear that I remember reading similar allegations against Singer at least a decade ago.
posted by octothorpe at 10:24 AM on January 23

Dude has a way of stomping through multiple levels of benefit-of-the-doubt and still getting more.
posted by Artw at 10:43 AM on January 23

Fizz put up an FPP on it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:56 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]

Just saw If Beale Street Could Talk tonight and how that doesn't deserve a nomination but f-ing Green Book does, I can't even fathom. Go see Beale Street if you can, it's just amazing.
posted by octothorpe at 7:02 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]

Absolutely seconded.
posted by Artw at 8:17 PM on January 25

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