It’s starting, kids.
If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now: I have no damn clue what the Oscars are going to look like this year. I’ll go into why more comprehensively in a future post (hopefully within the next 2-3 days), but suffice to say today’s nominations give us the first semblance of a foundation to build a season on.
Let’s dig right in.
- Certain Woman
- Everybody Wants Some!!
- Manchester By the Sea
Certain Women is Kelly Reichardt’s new film, and I’ll be able to see it in a week or so. I’m excited.
Everybody Wants Some!! is sort of a spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused (which I’ve never seen). I didn’t see it when it was in theaters, mostly because it looked tiresome as hell. I suppose I should check it out. (Weirdly enough, this is its only nomination.)
Manchester By the Sea is a family drama from Kenneth Lonergan. General buzz has been very strong, but my interest has remained muted – these social-realist dramas are hard for me to get excited about. I’ll let it surprise.
Moonlight is the film I’m rooting for. I’ll just post the trailer in lieu of explaining why:
I can’t wait.
Paterson is Jim Jarmusch’s new film. And it’s actually one I want to see – the title, of course, is an allusion to William Carlos Williams’ epic poem, and the protagonist (Adam Driver) is a poet. Apparently it’s really good.
Last year their nominees were Carol, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Heaven Knows What, Spotlight (which won), and Tangerine. So they did get the Oscar winner on there, though only Carol got major awards traction elsewhere.
No idea what wins. I’ll guess Manchester By the Sea.
- Hell or High Water
- Love & Friendship
- Manchester By the Sea
Hell or High Water is superbly written; it’s my #3 Original Screenplay of the year to date. So it makes sense being here.
Love & Friendship is solidly written (it’s my #5 Adapted Screenplay as of now), but it’s lesser Jane Austen and therefore lesser Whit Stillman. I’m in the minority with that opinion, however; it’s been his mostly widely-embraced film since his debut, Metropolitan.
Any of these have a shot at winning. I’ll guess Manchester By the Sea because I could see that sweeping.
Last year’s award went to Spotlight, which won pretty much everything.
- Casey Affleck, Manchester By the Sea
- Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
- Adam Driver, Paterson
- Joel Edgerton, Loving
- Craig Robinson, Morris from America
Affleck has a lot of buzz swirling around him and not an overwhelming amount of competition. I think he could win.
Bridges is good (he’s my #9 as of now), but personally, I thought Chris Pine (my #6) should’ve been nominated instead. (Also, with Writing and Actor nominations, why wasn’t this nominated for Best Feature over Everybody Wants Some!!? Especially since it was a solid late-summer sleeper hit.
Loving is, of course, about Loving v. Virginia, the case which helped bring down the anti-miscegenation laws in this country. Reviews out of Cannes were mostly very good, with particular praise going to the leads, Edgerton and Ruth Negga. So consider this a possible winner.
Morris from America is a coming-of-age film about a black American teenager who moves with his father (Robinson) to Germany. I’ve heard good things. I’d like to see it. Robinson, though, will probably have to content himself with the nomination.
Last year’s prize went to Paul Dano in Love & Mercy (great choice).
- Kate Beckinsale, Love & Friendship
- Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
- Isabelle Huppert, Elle
- Ruth Negga, Loving
- Natalie Portman, Jackie
Beckinsale is okay. She’s my #11 right now. I didn’t really that much acting from her, per se, more a witty/conniving presence. She does that well, to be fair, I just would be shocked if she won.
20th Century Women is the new Mike Mills film (he did Beginners, which was charming). I’ll likely see it. Don’t really know much about it. (I’m actually going to try and go into more films this year without preconceived notions. I find that often makes for a more rewarding experience.)
Elle is a rape-revenge thriller from Paul Verhoeven. It’s apparently incredible. And Huppert is apparently amazing in it. Honestly, I’ll root for her. I can’t wait to see this, since Verhoeven, when he’s on, is brilliant.
Jackie is a Jackie Kennedy biopic starring Natalie Portman. Which on paper doesn’t interest me that much. But the trailer and the advance word do. It’s apparently one of the most daring and innovative biopics of recent memory, and Portman is said to do an incredible job in it. Consider her a contender.
Last year they gave the award to Bel Powley for Diary of a Teenage Girl…beating out Brie Larson in Room, who actually won the Oscar! I have to agree with the Academy there; Powley was solid but Larson was amazing.
- I Am Not Your Negro
- O.J.: Made in America
Cameraperson is a cinematic memoir of cinematographer Kirsten Johnson.
I Am Not Your Negro is about James Baldwin’s involvement with the civil rights movement and his unfinished final work about three key members of it: Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X.
O.J.: Made in America is an 8-hour long ESPN documentary about O.J. Simpson.
Tower is about Charles Whitman’s 1966 shooting spree at the University of Texas – Austin (which inspired Peter Bogdanovich’s excellent Targets).
Weiner is about politician Anthony Weiner attempting to resurrect his political career by running for mayor of New York City. His defects of character destroy him a second time. It’s the only one of these I’ve seen, and it’s my #2 film of the year to date. Simply marvelous.
Last year’s award went to The Look of Silence, which along with Amy won pretty much everything last year.
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award:
- Robert Eggers, The Witch
- Anna Rose Holmer, The Fits
- Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, Swiss Army Man
- Trey Edward Shults, Krisha
- Richard Tanne, Southside with You
The Witch would fit this award perfectly. It’s a great demonstration of Robert Eggers’ potential as a director. It’s not that great in of itself (as far as I’m concerned).
The Fits sounds really interesting. I’ll see it if I get the chance. (I have this vague feeling like it played at a theater in my area for like a week, but I’m not sure.)
Big fan of Swiss Army Man. Would support this winning absolutely.
Krisha also sounds interesting (and has a gorgeous poster).
Southside with You I meant to see. It’s about Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date. I admit there’s a part of me which doesn’t quite relish the idea of an idealized portrait of a sitting President, but it’s apparently quite good.
No idea what would win. I’ll guess The Witch because it got the most attention.
- Lily Gladstone, Certain Women
- Lucas Hedges, Manchester By the Sea
- Royalty Hightower, The Fits
- Sasha Lane, American Honey
- Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch
Lane should win this. She’s really good in American Honey (I haven’t ranked it for my awards yet but I will after I see it again tomorrow), and it’s the kind of role that earns this kind of award.
Taylor-Joy is solid (#12 on my Best Actress list), but Lane is better.
Special Gotham Jury Award:
- The cast of Moonlight
This is their ensemble award. And going off this, I think that makes Moonlight one of the two major contenders for Best Feature (the other being Manchester By the Sea).
So that’s the Gotham Awards. They’ll announce their winners November 28.
Best Feature: Moonlight
I am positively shocked.
Best Writing: Moonlight
I’m a touch surprised this didn’t go to Manchester By the Sea, but whatever.
Best Male Lead: Casey Affleck, Manchester By the Sea
Also a given.
Best Female Lead: Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Fuck yeah. Technically, at the moment I only have her at #3, but I’m quite in favor of this.
Best Documentary: O.J.: Made in America
Guess I’d better prepare to devote eight hours to this.
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award: Trey Edwards Shults, Krisha
I hope I can see this soon. It’s been getting ample buzz.
Breakthrough Actor: Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch
Eh? She was fine, but looking at the competition I feel like they could’ve made a better choice.