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Oscars 2022 Predictions: Best Picture and Director (Part 21)

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    Michael Windfeldt
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    #1204657665

    Licorice Pizza will get some nominations but it won’t win. The problems with the film will be important to enough voters to prevent it from WINNING. It will get less than the (almost always) requisite 6 nominations (The Departed was the last time a film got fewer than 6 nominations (5) and won BP and it was ages before that one where a film got less than 6 and won). The age difference and the insensitivity to Asians will be a factor. It has passion among those who love it, yes, but it isn’t universally liked.

    I havn’t seen LP yet so I can’t possibly talk about winning chances, but I think it’s waay too early to say that LP can’t win.
    As for the European membership of the academy I don’t think it will prevent them from voting on LP.

    FYC:
    Best Picture: Licorice Pizza, West Side Story, Dune.

    Best Director: PTA, Denis Villeneuve

    Best Original Screenplay: Licorice Pizza.

    Best Actress: Alana Haim

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    Cosmia
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    #1204657672

    Grandma needs to just be her age. This look is embarrassing for a 70 year old woman. Just be old ya know.

    Sixty, not seventy.

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    kaziz
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    #1204657933

    Disclaimer: Not about awards. I don’t feel bad for such a long post lol because I like taking things seriously, and you’ll skip it anyway, but it’s a response to Jacob’s awesome & thoughtful post so just skip it if you don’t want to discuss West Side Story on a story level bc this is not about awards chances.

    Also, I’m responding to this kaziz because I disagree with this, but I think it’s an amazing discussion to be had…

    HEY sweets. I’ve been formulating my thoughts lol (yes I know. It’s so rare that I don’t respond with an essay immediately LOL). I’m reading a LOT of takes. Apart from the one above in the NYT, there’s also Richard Brody’s in the New Yorker. I don’t fully agree with any of the articles (I get why you feel the one I posted is lacking, but I also think my take will be too “woke” [ugh hate that word] for you, but that’s A-OK because I love discussing stuff with you & I know there’s no real ego here). There’s also a huge difficulty here in that I’m basically going to argue that it could not have been done, which negates the film’s existence — and that’s not really a fair critique, I know. I recognize that it’s fair for people to respond with “you can’t argue it shouldn’t exist, you should argue on the merits of whether it does what it wants to.” But through doing the 2nd, I end up with the 1st. Gosh I’m not gonna articulate this well but I’ll try. Let’s just say this is a very hard one.

    Mostly, what I’m wrestling with is 2 things: fantasy and authenticity. I’ll say this: the NYT critique is… not my critique per se because a musical is a peculiar thing. The musical is mostly (often) a fantasy, because people obviously do not break out into song in “real life”, and so there’s always a delicate balancing act between fantasy and breaking the spell for reality (La La Land does this at the very end to great effect, and before Mia gets her audition. Tick, tick, boom also kiiiiinda does this but it’s a very different kind of musical, it’s a meta-musical that’s essentially the BTS of a musical, as Richard Brody says). But yeah my criterion is definitely not sympathizing or agreeing or liking the protagonist or whatever. Tony and Maria have never been the most likable characters lol, and with Ansel Elgort that was clearly not gonna happen.

    That being said, I do understand why the NYT article has issues with the musical or Spielberg’s strange comments about how it relates to stuff at the border (equating Puerto Rico and Mexico/rest of Latin America is a little silly because PR is a colony and other countries are not). I think this West Side Story is very Spielberg-ian in a very key way: it’s very…realist. I appreciate many things about the “updating”, while still realizing how it’s insufficient, and also how it opens itself up to a critique from the 2 Puerto Rican writers (I won’t generalize, I’m sure many many Puerto Rican people love this film). That’s why there’s a strange relationship between fantasy and authenticity for me in this film. It’s not likability (as I said, I loved watching it, but there was definitely something I still can’t quite put my finger on), it’s more about fantasy: where the original film blurs scenes and gets a little surreal, this one keeps things far more rooted. Valentina, I think, is an inspired additional character in one sense: she speaks for PR in a way that the original musical never did, because in too many ways this was always a white gaze story that didn’t center Puerto Ricans and that is what it is. On the other hand, Valentina has the added pressure (as part of an interracial couple) of being the most starkly political voice for the film, and it’s …pretty kumbaya. I love that she gets my fave song, but the fundamental problems are all still there: Maria is very much mostly unbothered by a VERY TERRIBLE thing that happens in her family, and now she’s effectively robbed of the song that stood in as the biggest “response”, and Valentina singing the song only makes it more clear how tepid the political message was (don’t fight, gang wars are bad, we should all get along). Which makes me feel like I would probably have kept that song with Maria & Tony, I wouldn’t have focused on the message as much as just the tragedy and emotion. Here’s what I’m trying to say: yhe tragedy of it IS done well, but in trying to “update” it and be so much more realist, Spielberg kind of exposes the politics of the story in a way that reminds me how little there is in there.

    So, yes, you’re right that how a story is told matters. You’re also right that it shouldn’t necessarily teach us something (I used the wrong word, but I’ll try to explain).

    1. We differ here: Some stories are not worth it, and I don’t believe any story can theoretically be told well, I don’t think that’s true. Also I keep wondering: let’s say it was a rican director, and a rican writer, COULD it be better? Maybe… but I’m leaning no. See some stories really can be done better. Take The Beguiled which got flack for taking the Black slaves out simply by saying they left. WHY? WHY didn’t Sofia Coppola realize that she would only improve the story by digging into the original Black slave character? With West Side Story, it’s not formulaic, it’s the literal formula. There’s such a blank slate element to a lot of it: you know how people who hate TPOTD or Passing say the film leaves them cold emotionally? Often the opposite happens too and I personally find it more frustrating: I am not left cold emotionally while watching but that goes away quickly after the film because there’s a lacking intellectual (which is also emotional) connection I didn’t notice because the SPECTACLE and “bells and whistles” are…fantastic! So here I’m talking about the whole “learning something from it” business which leads me to…

    2. Again, “learning” is the wrong word absolutely. And this has to do with both fantasy and authenticity but through a thing West Side Story depends on: nostalgia. Let’s take Lady Bird as an example. Lady Bird is a very very…. mmm, predictable film. You can tell from the genre and the tone that she will end up just fine, and we can basically predict the ending. We can also probably deduce that it’s a mother-daughter tale from the first scene (though I didn’t get this until later). Lady Bird doesn’t teach me much actually, and I never expected it to, it definitely played NOSTALGIA for 90s childhoods like a fiddle and I loved that. What it did do was reach unexpectedly into a place in me that was already there: particularly through the place of the mother/my own mother. I knew it, it didn’t teach me anything, but it was told succinctly and beautifully that I could love the panache: for me the best art is like that, it’s not a textbook, it puts words or visuals or a story in terms that you’ve always known but found it hard to pin down and articulate (my fave writers all articulate things so I go “omg YES I recognize that feeling!!!”) West Side Story is hamstrung by embodying a formula for this reason for me: I don’t recognize any more or any less than I had in any rendition of Romeo and Juliet leaving me with only nostalgia (with one exception: Anita’s Blackness is dealt with in a verrrrry interesting way because America is a much more ambiguous song. That struck me!) I don’t think nostalgia is enough & nor is just the tragic ending we know is coming — staying in one general emotional register, or the same ones as the ones the formula has always evoked, is not good enough for me (the basic formula is timeless and that’s why it’s a genre but it’s a genre because people do interesting new things to the formula itself. This replicates the basic formula for me personally). And yeah I think this is probably the inherent challenge with remakes (I think remakes can def be great art, I love The Thing, The Fly, A Little Princess e.g.) But let’s take the other Gerwig movie: Little Women. I don’t actually love this film tbh, it’s very clumsy in its execution (particularly with Beth & young Amy, and basically everyone but Jo & adult Amy) but it’s subverted pretty radically so the ending basically breaks the 4th wall. If I’m honest, I left Little Women a little annoyed that it was a manipulative film with montage after montage (I was like: this whole damn film is just montages stitched together!) And I left West Side Story mostly happy for a good time at the theater. But in the aftermath, I kind of have to admit Little Women is better. It definitely reaches into a few things I hadn’t put into words, but the biggest achievement I’d say is that Gerwig made a 2nd film showing how she could turn even very old art into something deeply new. I don’t think Spielberg did that for me: I still see the formula, the genre itself. The things it does WELL — like Riff being an openly white supremacist essentially — I just feel like…well, I always thought that from the original. And since any and all updates feel weak to me, I’m left wondering if there was anything that could’ve been done. OR: could Spielberg have made maybe more of a fantasy out of it? I don’t know.

    Overall I do sense a lack of intellectual+emotional engagement, and ALSO I kinda love Richard Brody’s idea of the BTS of this film (the meta-musical) being the more interesting idea. When it comes to authenticity, finally, the only thing I can say is that because I do think not every story can theoretically be told well enough, In the Heights is a more authentic musical while still doing fantasy well. I don’t love the film, it’s a weaker spectacle for me, but the lowered stakes, the fact that it’s a response to West Side Story’s legacy, all that makes me feel like…mmmkay, yeah maybe that story is inherently better. I don’t think this will be satisfying to you honestly, but this last thing is very much for “woke” reasons lol that the first article picked at & I agreed with so I guess that’s all left to say lolol

    Justice for Passing, Tessa Thompson & Ruth Negga.

    The Power of the Dog / Jane Campion / Benedict Cumberbatch / Kristen Stewart / Kirsten Dunst / Troy Kotsur

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    deemura
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    Yeah, I think Chalamet struggled the most with assignment, and most everyone else was on point.

     

    He often does. Every actor who shares the same screen with him in dune always ends up becoming the most interesting part of their scene. Idk. I’m not buying him as a lead

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    Lucas
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    #1204658031

    If Licorice Pizza can win Screenplay, then it can win Picture, we know that’s the rule. An Editing nomination it’s also important, and surprisingly it happened in Critics Choice. We’ll see if repeats with BAFTA.

    I personally think it’ll only win Screenplay like Midnight in Paris and Her

    The Academy doesn’t care about drama or backlash. They just vote what they like. For now, Pizza is being embraced by the industry more than any other recent PTA film.

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    crabbie
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    #1204658090

    I’m not sure if Licorice Pizza can win Best Picture with just an Original Screenplay win. Previously I thought Cooper could have won in Supporting Actor to add to Licorice Pizza’s award haul, but he missed at both GG and CC. If Licorice Pizza is really a strong Best Picture contender, it should be easy for the film to bring A-list Cooper in the Supporting Actor race. If Licorice Pizza was to win Best Picture, PTA should be winning in Director as well but he also missed at the Globes. If a BP/BD split were to occur, Belfast and WSS would be the more likely movie to win Picture without winning director. Spotlight won with just Original Screenplay, but it is an anomaly.

    Michelle (Yeoh, Williams) Oscar campaign manager.

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    M
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    #1204658118

    Describing the limitations in the relationship between Alana and Gary, Anderson said: “It’s only romantic in their flirtations; it’s not romantic in any consummation of things. That would be inappropriate. You can tell there’s an incredible attraction between them, but there’s a line that can’t be crossed,” the director/writer told Variety.

    This doesn’t make it sound any less egregious lol. The idea of being romantically attracted to a minor is in itself bad.

    They could’ve just made the character 18 years old and avoid all of this. But no. Time and time again we have to flirt with the idea of an adult being romantic with a minor.

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    lorelei lor
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    #1204658133

    This doesn’t make it sound any less egregious lol. The idea of being romantically attracted to a minor is in itself bad. They could’ve just made the character 18 years old and avoid all of this. But no. Time and time again we have to flirt with the idea of an adult being romantic with a minor.

    I mean the whole movie is about this being a ‘forbidden’ love. Making him 18 would have removed the conflict.

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    Babylonian
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    #1204658181

    I mean the whole movie is about this being a ‘forbidden’ love. Making him 18 would have removed the conflict.

    A forbidden love story with a child and an adult? Yeah, this is not going to win Best Picture.

    FYC:

    Everything Everywhere All At Once in every eligible category

    Hold My Hand - Lady Gaga for Best Original Song

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    Beastialg
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    #1204658187

    I mean the whole movie is about this being a ‘forbidden’ love. Making him 18 would have removed the conflict.

    And it’s even acknowledged by the main characters that’s weird too.

    The films also happens during an unclear period of time. A year for sure, but could be more.

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    FreemanGriffin
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    #1204658239

    He often does. Every actor who shares the same screen with him in dune always ends up becoming the most interesting part of their scene. Idk. I’m not buying him as a lead

    Wow! Chalamet was the most interesting performer in Dune! I couldn’t stand any of the other males in that movie. I did enjoy all of the women – and Timothee. I found Dune half great and half terrible. Without Chalamet the film wouldn’t have worked for me. He was also the ONLY performer in The French Dispatch that I enjoyed – maybe because it was a take-off on Godard’s French men in his 1960’s films and I understood it in that way.

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    Jordan_Pack
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    This is a random opinion of mine I’m gonna share, but — It’s always interesting to me how every year, people complain about Oscar ratings declining, and then the inevitable “how to get people to watch the Oscars again” discussion begins. But, at the same time, here we are talking about a movie like The Power of the Dog having huge chances at winning Best Picture.

    You aren’t gonna get people excited about this telecast again, or the prestige of the award for that matter, by awarding critic-darling movies that unfortunately put the audience to sleep. I know this is probably regarded as a more “populist” view — but when people watch (or read the headlines the next day about the winners for that matter), it only further divides the Academy with the audience & makes them feel out of touch. To me, this is why they tried to create a Best Popular Film category, as it would allow them to continue with their “what’s allowed to be high brow & Oscar-worthy, and what’s not” status quo, while still trying to maintain relevancy with what the audience is actually watching (and enjoying). This is why certain (not gonna name) awards pundits get so frustrated nowadays, because they’re still trying to stick to that Oscar status quo — but the industry has changed, films have changed, the world we live in has changed.

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    Stefania
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    #1204658264

    it was a take-off on Godard’s French men in his 1960’s films and I understood it in that way.

    You speak my language.

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