It’s Academy Award time!

Wife M and I have been our annual hobby of watching all the Oscar Nominated films.  Below is this year’s nominees, as copy-and-pasted from Huffington Post.  So far, my votes:

  • Moonlight, Best Picture
  • La La Land, Best Director (I can’t imagine pulling off a musical, plus cinematography)
  • Trevante Rhodes, Best Actor, Moonlight, Not nominated but I don’t care.

Best Picture
”Hacksaw Ridge”
”Hell or High Water” – Loved this! Held my interest, great performances, great theme.
”Hidden Figures”
”La La Land” – Loved this!  Touching, stars were great, beautiful cinematography.
”Manchester By the Sea”
”Moonlight” – My choice. Great performances, theme, symbols; touching story.

Best Director

Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”
Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”  Great!
Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”  Great!

Best Actress

Emma Stone, “La La Land” Great!
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”

Best Actor

Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, La La Land” Great!
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis, “Fences”
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight” Great!  Couldn’t believe it was same Miss Penny.
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges,”Hell or High Water” Great
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Best Adapted Screenplay

”Hidden Figures”
”Moonlight”  Great!

Best Original Screenplay

“Hell or High Water” Great
”La La Land” Great
”The Lobster”
”Manchester by the Sea”
”20th Century Women”

Best Foreign Language Film

“Land of Mine,” Martin Zandvliet, Denmark
”A Man Called Ove,” Hannes Holm,  Sweden
”The Salesman,”  Asghar Farhadi, Iran
”Tanna,” Bentley Dean, Martin Butler, Australia,
”Toni Erdmann,” Maren Ade, Germany

Best Documentary Feature

“Fire at Sea”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“Life, Animated”
“O.J.: Made in America”

Best Animated Feature

“Kubo and the Two Strings”
”My Life as a Zucchini”
”The Red Turtle”

Best Film Editing

”Hacksaw Ridge”
”Hell or High Water”
”La La Land”  Thought this was great. Some beautiful dissolves.
”Moonlight” Great

Best Original Song

 “Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land Beautiful
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
“City of Stars,” La La LAnd Beautiful
“The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana

Best Original Score

”La La Land”

Best Cinematography

“Arrival,” Bradford Young
”La La Land,” Linus Sandgren  Wow!!!
”Lion,” Grieg Fraser
”Moonlight,” James Laxton Wonderful, but La La Land was one of the best I’ve seen.

Best Costume Design

”Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
”Florence Foster Jenkins”
”La La Land”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“A Man Called Ove”
”Star Trek Beyond”
”Suicide Squad”

Best Production Design

”Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
”Hail, Caesar!”
”La La Land”

Best Sound Editing

”Deepwater Horizon”
”Hacksaw Ridge”
”La La Land”

Best Sound Mixing

”Hacksaw Ridge”
”La La Land”
”Rogue One”
”13  Hours”

Best Visual Effects

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
”The Jungle Book”
”Doctor Strange”
”Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them”
”The BFG”
”Kubo and the Two Strings”
”A Monster Calls”

Best Short Film, Live Action

“Ennemis Intérieurs”
”La Femme et le TGV”
”Silent Nights”

Best Short Film, Animated

“Blind Vaysha”
”Borrowed Time”
”Pear Cider and Cigarettes”

Best Documentary, Short Subject

”4.1 Miles”
”Joe’s Violin”
”Watani: My Homeland”
”The White Helmets”

It’s Academy Award time!

Loved”Hell or High Water”

Wife M and I watched “Hell or High Water.”  I loved it.

On its own, it was an attention-holding story.  I worried about the two boys (whether they’d get caught when they were trying to take care of their family), the two rangers (when the one was just a few months from retiring I had a suspicious there would be a potentially-tragic showdown) and the people along the way.  I was rooting for the boys to pull themselves out of debt, but also for the likable police officers (who reminded me of the two DEA agents in “Breaking Bad” and/or the two Sheriffs in “No Country For Old Men”).

It also had many great social comments.  It mentions poverty (“like a disease”) and small towns dying and humans being controlled by the bank.  There was definitely a point that a bank could take advantage of an impoverished old woman and that is legal, but two men robbing that same bank to protect the old woman’s land was not.  Or that it was humorous for the Ranger that the waitress was upset she’d lost her $200 tip to evidence, even after she’d made the comment she was trying to keep a roof over her family’s heads.  Also, in old Westerns you got the sense that American towns were on the path towards growth and prosperity, but in this “modern western” you got the sense that American towns were decrepit and dying.

We live in an age where exploding wage inequality will mean the vast majority of Americans will not have the money to cover illness and old age, and so will do things like take reverse mortgages for pennies on the dollar to cover those costs, which means the wealthy (who give the money for these reverse mortgages) will continue to take a larger share of the pie (e.g. houses for pennies on the dollar) all the while justifying this.  (This was actually one of the root causes of The French Revolution – the wealthy were foreclosing on the poor, who were struggling to cover the rising costs).  It’s not fair and is a huge flaw in the system, and the movie points all this out very well.

I’d love to watch this movie again.  I was too busy enjoying the story and noticing the social commentary to look for other things (symbols, etc.).


Loved”Hell or High Water”