Let the Oscar Countdown Begin!

Only three days until this year’s Academy Award ceremony, and if you haven’t seen all the movies in the overstuffed “best picture” category, there’s hardly time. This category needs to be broken up in some way so that viewers and voters are comparing apples to apples or at least to other fruit. Which is better, political commentary or pure entertainment? A film with a mega-million special effects budget or a small gem? A star-studded romp or exciting new talent? Ten choices are about twice too many. At the very least they should separate musicals from dramas, but of course that may just be my advocacy of West Side Story showing.

Let me admit up front I’ve seen only seven of the “Best Picture” nominees. No Don’t Look Up (sounded too baldly polemical), no Dune (though I loved the book), and no Drive My Car (too depressing and long). And here’s where they could pare the list further. Why is Drive My Car both a “Best Picture” and a “Best International Feature” nominee? Pick a category, please.

Tastes vary, and viewers who like one genre of movie may not resonate with another. In my pair of films in the “why was this nominated?” category, you may have a favorite Sorry! My mystery nominees are Nightmare Alley (though people tell me the 1947 original was better) and Licorice  Pizza. The corollary to the “why?” question is “why not?” Why wasn’t the awesome The Tragedy of Macbeth nominated?

One thing I’d say about all seven nominees I saw, is that the acting this past year has been great. Another thing that can be said about many of them is, they’re too long. Some judicious editing would have helped.

Here are my five top Oscar contenders, in reverse order:

Coda – one of those small sweet films that will never win, and, anyway, the plot was disappointingly predictable; loved the fish stuff
King Richard – great characters and great acting (yes! Aunjanue Ellis), and if I could ever remember how tennis matches are scored, I would have gotten more out of the looong, decisive match
West Side Story – perfection; loved that sly Riff (Mike Faist)
The Power of the Dog – a mystery; haunting music, beautiful scenery, horses!; too long
Belfast – beautiful acting, well directed, powerful historical story

Image by Gia Knight for Pixabay.

4 thoughts on “Let the Oscar Countdown Begin!

  1. I have soft spots for Coda and Belfast. I found West side story thrilling and clever, with great performances (I wanted the Joisey Girl who played Maria to get a best female acting nod).
    I would support some kind of differentiation at the top, whether it be based one budget (small, medium, and large perhaps) or genre groups. I also think this would help attract the audience the Academy is worried about losing.
    I would also suggest they consider broadcasting the “lesser Oscars” on an affiliate station (Peacock or whatever) as a lead-in to the main event.

  2. re your dismissal of Drive My Car..I gave it a try and stayed glued for the whole long tale. Acting was superb, and I appreciated the entire film.
    I tried Day of the Dog and decided I did not want to watch the type of cruelty it displayed. NO interest in another West SIde Story .Belfast should win but probably won’t. Coda lovely but not a viable contender. Loved Will Smith in his role in King Richard. Sorry to see The Tragedy of Macbeth not on the list.

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