Oh good, a topical post! I realise that the Oscars were a week and a half ago now, but I only saw the last of the nominees for best movie Oscar (that I'm going to see) last week, so really I couldn't have written this post before now. Or, I could have but it still would have been after the Oscars and also I saw three movies last week like what even is my life?
Anyway. Since I have seen, over the last couple of months (apart from Get Out which I saw last year!), 7 of the 9 best picture Oscar nominees (which must be my personal record), I thought I'd give my two cents regarding how I felt about each of them. Did The Shape of Water deserve to win? Was Phantom Thread TERRIBLE? All shall be revealed...
And so, in order of favourites, we have:
7. Phantom Thread: I hated this film so much. I hated it so much that I wrote a really angry review of it on the bus on the way home, but I could never be bothered to type it up and so here we are. Did I decide to write this post mainly so I could tell the world how much I hate Phantom Thread? Maybe a bit. I essentially have a thing where I compare ridiculously overrated things to the Emperors New Clothes (weirdly apt because this is a movie about a tailor..? I don't know, I'm probably reaching here), and I honestly believe that critics have all convinced themselves that this was good because... it's so horrible? Because they're all scared to look stupid? I don't know what it is, but this film is not good. There is no narrative, I thought the soundtrack was awful, and WTF even is this film?! I love you, Daniel Day Lewis, but why do you make me sit through movies like this? WHY?!
See Also: There Will Be Blood.
6. The Post: This movie was so dull. I can't even tell you. Meryl Streep was great as always, but in my opinion the focus of the movie was so wrong, it was weirdly lumpy and uninteresting and there was so much fake drama, and am I allowed to say I really don't like Steven Spielberg's directing? Because I really don't, especially not in this context. I think there was enough material here that this could have been a good movie if it had had a good script and better direction (because how can Meryl and Hanks go wrong?!) but unfortunately it didn't and it wasn't.
5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: I ugly cried in this movie because there's a really moving event in the first... I'm gonna say third, but apart from that I had a lot of problems with it. I think it's really a skill to make a movie about a grieving mother where none of the characters were likeable, but this film manages to do it, somehow. It's ridiculously forgiving of racism and arson and fucking throwing a human out of a window (yes, that happens) and I just... didn't really like it? I keep describing it as a nasty little film, because that's how all of the characters felt to me, and I didn't really care if any of them succeeded. Maybe that's the point, but films work a lot better for me when I have someone to root for.
Here is where I pause, because those three were the worst of it. I didn't see The Darkest Hour or Dunkirk because snore snore WWII snore, haven't we done all of that already? (I respect remembering the war etc, but, seriously, I do believe there are enough WWII films in the world already, and I don't want to watch any of them, except The Sound of Music). I'm pausing because I loved the other 4 nominees. They're all films I would watch over and over again, and two of them I have already watched twice (in the space of a week, i.e. I watched them both twice in a week). Ranking these, therefore, is fairly arbitrary, but I'll try to give some gentle reasons why I have done so.
4. The Shape of Water: I loved The Shape of Water. I have no hard feelings for it winning the Oscar, and I almost feel bad for putting it so low down, but the other films are just so good! This was completely beautiful and moving (more ugly crying), and it just looked so damn attractive. I enjoyed every second of it, and I think it's my least favourite of my favourite 4 just because I feel like in some ways it was kind of... normal. Which is a weird thing to say, but in some of the scenes, if you took out the period costumes and the beautiful staging, there's just a bad guy beating some guy up. It's gorgeous, though, and I was so surprised and pleased at how romantic it was. Am I into fish monsters too? Mebbe.
3. Get Out: THIS IS SO HARD. I guess Get Out (which I saw THREE TIMES in the cinema last year, YES I really loved it) isn't higher because it didn't make me cry- I didn't really have strong emotions for it in a gut sense, I just adored it for its storytelling and thrilling-ness and FUCK it is so good. Also terrifying- I still can't listen to Run, Rabbit because of it, and before I moved house and used to walk down my tree lined street at night, my brain liked to freak me out by singing it to me. THANKS BRAIN. Basically, Get Out got under my skin in the best way, and it's really an incredible film. I was disappointed in a lot of ways that it didn't get more recognition, awards wise, but for a horror film to get nominated at all speaks volumes about how incredible it is. I hope you've seen it by now, but fucking watch it if you haven't!
2. Lady Bird: This was the hardest choice of all. I waited for Lady Bird to come out for the longest time, I love and adore Greta Gerwig (who should have clearly won Best Director, FIGHT ME) and I fully expected it to be my favourite movie of awards season. We'll discuss why not in a minute, but firstly, Lady Bird. Oh, I loved Lady Bird. Lady Bird is a realistic teen movie (if you will), I defy teenage girls who are even a little bit interesting to watch it and not recognise themselves in Lady Bird. My friend watched this and cried, I watched this and was too happy to cry- there was just a sense of like joy bubbling in me as I watched this brilliant film being brilliant and wondered why there aren't more movies telling women's stories. Lady Bird is everything I was hoping it would be, and please watch it if you get the chance.
1. Call Me By Your Name: I wasn't expecting Call Me By Your Name at all. Firstly I wasn't expecting to see it at all, since it kept being shown at about 11am and I have a full time job, but I also wasn't expecting it to have such an effect on me. I definitely wasn't expecting a movie that I'm not sure even passes the Bechdel Test (*thinks* ok, it maaaybe does, just about) to be my favourite of Oscar season, and dare I say one of my favourite movies ever, but there we go, life is full of surprises. Call Me By Your Name really snuck up on me- about half an hour in, I wasn't sure I was exactly enjoying myself, but after a certain point I realised that I wasn't really watching a film anymore, but I was living through it. I still don't know how it was done, but my heart both soared with joy and clenched with despair during this film, and I still can't get it out of my head. And yes, there was a lot more ugly crying. I apparently can't get enough of a doomed love story, especially a gay one (see also, Brokeback Mountain) and I truly can't get enough of a movie that is shot as beautifully as this one. It took me two and a half days after seeing it before ordering the DVD, and another day before watching it, so yeah, you could say I have a little thing for it. And I really think you would too.
And that, my friends, was my Oscar season. Please do not believe that I am a majillionaire because I could afford to see all of these films, I am merely the proud holder of an Odeon Limitless card (one where you can see as many films as you want for a monthly rate- I'm sure your cinema calls it something different). I wish this was an ad, but it's not, it's more just a recommendation to get oneeee because they are amazing and mine has allowed me to see so many brilliant films that I wouldn't have been able to afford to see otherwise. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go and watch Call Me By Your Name for the 50th time *whispers* Elio, Elio, Elio, Elio...