Tonight is the Oscars! To celebrate we’ve went through all the Best Picture nominees, in the vain hope we can piggyback off the Oscars and grab some hits for our website. To listen to the podcast where we discuss the Oscar nominations click HERE.
The plot is essentially Independence Day, except what might actually happen if aliens arrived (Well… kinda…). Amy Adams stars in this glorious piece of modern Sci-Fi, giving a performance which had many people wondering why she didn’t receive a solo nomination. It’s the kind of film that feels very clever when you watch it, and you feel clever too. Personally, I don’t think it’s quite as clever as most do, and the pace is slower than some people would expect (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing…) but I think it’s a great film and well deserving of it’s nomination. With the lowest odds available set at 67-1 it’ll be a surprise if it comes home with the Statuette.
The last of the nominees I got around to watching (I’ve only just got out of the cinema as I type), but boy is it good. Adapted from the play of the same name, Fences holds itself like a play, it’s unfurls itself over it’s two plus hours running time beautifully. All the scenes are all talk, all character, and each one of them hits you like a blow to the stomach. The cast are to a man, amazing. Denzel Washington controlling every word with perfection, Viola Davis hitting every note with perfection… This film isn’t for the fainthearted though, and I can imagine many not having the stomach for it’s dialogue heavy, action light, two hours, but it’s amazing.
With what is a very basic plot, and a paint-by-numbers style of story telling, it could be slightly surprising to think of Hacksaw Ridge as one of the films of the year. The film trundles along being ever so predictable, especially early on, and the story of a man being brave in war and risking his life for other is incredibly simplistic, but… some how, some way, it manages to creep into you. By the end of the film you are so deeply into it. It’s portrayal of war is both moving and harrowing, and is impactful. Andrew Garfield is nominated for Best Actor for Hacksaw Ridge in spite of a much better performance this year in Silence, but he does well here with the almost hokey plot.
Hell or High Water
Very much the outsider, Hell or High Water went under the radar of many cinema goers. Being released in August in America and September here it was way out of awards season, but there’s a reason it’s nominated. A modern Western with an amazing Nick Cave soundtrack and top performances by Jeff Bridges (nominated for Best Supporting Actor) and Chris Pine, it’s the story of sacrificing yourself for your family and it’ll strike a chord with everyone I feel. As the only nominee you can get on DVD over here, I’d heavily recommend you buy it.
Starring a top ensemble cast, led by Taraji P. Henson who finds the perfect tone, this film hit all the right spots for me. The plot expertly equates the struggles it’s main characters find in life with the struggles to get a man into space. For me it got the tone perfectly, hitting both lighter and darker notes, whilst informing the audience of a group of people I at least knew little about. It’s still in cinemas, you should catch it.
La La Land
I obviously can’t say much about La La Land that hasn’t been said elsewhere. By far the odds on favourite, there has been a minor backlash of sorts, which is inevitable for a film with it’s level of popularity for many reasons… but La La Land has seemingly struck a chord with many people for many reason. It’ll be up there as one of the biggest Oscars upsets in recent times if it were to lose now surely? We at Film Book Club clearly loved it, we had two podcast on it! And you can listen to them HERE and HERE.
A film of two films, both very distinct from each other. But both have one thing in common, great leading performances. Sunny Pawar as Young Saroo is astonishing, and a perfect example of how you can find acting talent at any age. Dev Patel, strangely put forward for Best Supporting Actor, is also great, but for me it’s all about Young Saroo. He breaks your heart. It’s a film, a film based on real life, you know they wouldn’t make it if it ended badly for him… but you worry and stress for the boy. Impactful.
Manchester By the Sea
For me if there was any competition to La La Land for Best Picture it would be from Manchester By The Sea. Films don’t usually feel as real as this, neither do the worlds created within them. Based on performance alone there’s no doubt Best Actor should go Casey Affleck. A film that becomes more and more heart wrenching, and often funnier than you’d think, I’d recommend this to anyone. If aliens came to earth (a la Arrival) and wanted an example of what a film is, you wouldn’t go wrong showing them Manchester By The Sea.
Moonlight can be so hard going. The story of a man trying to come to terms with himself and his surrounding, eventually, it feels, accepting himself and realising who he his in the end. This film is, according to bookmakers anyway, the closest another film will get to maybe pipping La La Land to the post. Told at different points in the main character’s life (much like Lion) it can take a while to put your feelings back into the character, especially in his last incarnation, luckily never too long for it to effect things too much. Like many nominees it’s hardly a happy film, but it’s end is uplifting, and you feel it’s more important than most.