Forum Replies Created
October 21, 2020 at 5:43 pm #1203795242
I’ve watched a few 2020 films in the past week that don’t have individual threads and don’t specifically fall into any of the Oscar category-specific threads, so I’m putting my thoughts down here. In the past few days, I’ve watched “Nine Days,” “Black Bear” and “Minari.”
I was absolutely blown away by “Nine Days,” from concept to vision. The screenplay is incredibly tight, revealing the scope of this story bit by bit and keeping you fully entranced in the arc of these characters. Edson Oda’s screenplay and direction are both just marvelous and I can’t imagine what he’s going to follow up this film, his first directorial effort, with. The cast is really great. Winston Duke is a quiet, commanding presence as the main character and you build this respect and admiration for him as the film crescendoes. Zazie Beetz is such a delightful presence and in some ways the audience surrogate, and I felt she truly fell into this role whole-heartedly. Benedict Wong, Bill Skarsgard, Tony Hale and Arianna Ortiz also give really great and committed performances, but I have to single out David Rysdahl, an actor I was unfamiliar with and whose role is not necessarily meant to be a standout, but who absolutely bowled me over when he was on screen. The score is outstanding. This film is bursting with a lot of new and burgeoning talent, and I hope this film gets the platform it deserves when it is officially released.
“Black Bear” is a curious case of a film where I admired its two halves but ultimately did not understand the narrative purpose of breaking up the story in the way it does. I’m trying to be vague since there are people who haven’t seen it, but the upside is that the trio of main actors, particularly Aubrey Plaza, get a lot to play with. Plaza is bonkers in this role. Her performance starts from a place of familiarity and comfortability if you’ve seen her previous work, but then she goes to places I honestly didn’t know she was capable of. She gets to do everything and it’s a jaw-dropping performance. The film itself is entertaining, though ultimately leaves a bit more explanation desired, but it is certainly stands out from the crowd.
Finally, I really loved “Minari” and found the triumph of it quietly building its small world to be captivating. Lee Isaac Chung is clearly telling a very personal story, and while the film kicks off with putting the main story interest in Steven Yeun’s character, it slowly gives control over to Alan Kim and, most importantly, his relationship with the sensational Youn Yuh-Jung. Her performance is the thing I’m thinking about most a day later. She is hilarious and warm and insightful and heartbreaking, and the grandmother character is in many ways similar (but brilliant in its own way) to Nai Nai in “The Farewell.” I loved Zhao Shuzhen and I love Youn Yuh-Jung. Yeun is also great, as is Han Ye-ri. The story unfolds in some surprising but beautiful ways, and the story is aided by a beautiful score and cinematography.October 21, 2020 at 12:24 pm #1203794138
I have Boseman replacing Lindo at Globes and Baron Cohen at SAG, but it is a toss up at Oscars for me. I still think Baron Cohen could (and should) go Supporting, which would clear things up. I think Netflix will put their weight behind Boseman over Lindo and Baron Cohen and since SBC’s movie is likely stronger overall, I’m sticking with him.
As for the win, a predicted sweep in Supporting is definitely not guaranteed but let’s wait and see.October 21, 2020 at 11:58 am #1203794068
Boseman is going lead.October 21, 2020 at 11:58 am #1203794062
Boseman is going lead.October 20, 2020 at 10:45 am #1203791407
Is Cristin Millioti not being campaigned for Comedy/Musical Actress? I think “Palm Springs” and Andy Samberg are pretty good bets at getting into Picture and Actor, and Millioti could easily be along for the ride.
I’ve also put Murray in my Comedy/Musical Actor AND Supporting Actor predictions because I think he’s getting nominated, but they’ll just have to pick where to campaign him. I could see him going Lead at Globes and Supporting elsewhere due to the barren field.October 20, 2020 at 3:16 am #1203790580
There is virtually no buzz around this show, but I have been really enjoying it and think it is definitely HBO’s best scripted offering in this back half of 2020 so far. Once the show settled into its tone, it bought the character development to the forefront and the directorial choices and overwhelming tone of the show became second nature. I know this is a miniseries and the show hasn’t been highly viewed, but I could easily see this becoming a traditional drama series depending on how this season wraps up. Luca Guadagnino’s direction has only become more assured, and the fourth episode was probably the series highlight. The performances have been very good. Jack Dylan Grazer is often walking a tightrope and he usually succeeds, and given that this is an unlikeable and challenging role, and given what he is capable of in more mainstream fare, it is exciting to see him flex his creative muscles and prove that he could be a talent that sticks around. I think Jordan Kristine Seamon is electric. There is something about her eyes that is so expressive and heartbreaking, and she sells every inch of her story. The supporting cast has all been very good and in particular, I’m finding Chloe Sevigny to be an icy delight and Tom Mercier to be a really endearing presence. It has definitely been a nice early fall treat, even if the conversation around it has been a bit muted.October 16, 2020 at 4:37 pm #1203783357
Let me start by saying that the general negativity on this board isn’t shocking, but continues to be dismaying. Every year, more voices are added to this forum that drown out positive, constructive criticism and conversation about the awards race and the contenders in favor of troll language, popularizing hating something based only on reputation, and general negativity toward every film that is deemed a contender. It quite frankly has sucked the fun out of following the awards race and being a member of this website.
Now, all of that being said, it probably sounds as if I’m lined up to give this film some glowing, gushing review and say that any criticism of its faults is unjust and incorrect. That’s not the case. I did really enjoy this movie, and there are certainly elements that have been rightly pointed out as falling flat or being disappointing, but I wouldn’t call any part of this film outright “bad.” It is a very good film, with some elements picking it up another level, and given the competition this year and the film’s central themes and relevancy to our current political and socioeconomic climate, there is no denying that this film will be relevant and remain in the awards race for the next few months.
I found, unsurprisingly, Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay to be much stronger than his direction. I would not say really that he even elevated himself over his directorial work from his debut in “Molly’s Game,” though they were both equally on the same level. What made this film feel different, of course, is that the plot is much more traditionally cinematic than his previous film, and thus carries a bit more emotional heft and narrative weight that a traditional audience can pick out. Sorkin’s direction is not bad, but it is perfectly serviceable. I think the film may have benefitted from a more visually attuned director, but it doesn’t suffer from Sorkin’s merely good direction. His screenplay has all the hallmarks of a Sorkin work, so if you love that, you’ll love it and if you hate that, you’ll hate it. You probably knew that going into the movie. I am a big Sorkin fan, so the screenplay undoubtedly worked for me, and I thought his narrative structure of working the riots into the trial had a better impact than making this a simple beginning-to-end narrative.
The editing also does a good job of keeping those multiple timelines in check and keeps the moving zipping right along. This is a two-hour Netflix film that most people will watch at home. I didn’t find myself picking up the phone or wondering how much time was left because I was engaged throughout. If there is one technical aspect of the film I didn’t like, it was the score. The music itself was not so bad, but its usage in the film made the proceedings much more overwrought than needed. There has already been a lot said about the ending, and I agree with some of those criticisms, and I think the swelling music really didn’t help the cause. I like Daniel Pemberton (his “Spider-Verse” score was my personal winner last year), but something did not click here.
Finally, the main reason for the chatter we’ll be having about this film: the performances. I came into this film having read a breadth of reactions/reviews and hearing about campaign possibilities for awards and whatnot. In reading reactions on here, it is clear that people’s personal preferences and tastes are not aligned at all. In the long run, I do wonder if that ends up hurting the film. It certainly makes predicting which performance(s) crack the awards race more interesting. I can only speak for myself. IF, and it is a big IF, they have to campaign an actor in lead, I believe it is Eddie Redmayne. While this feels as close to a true ensemble effort as you can get, you can make the argument for Redmayne: he opens the film, he closes the film, he is the center of its climax. He gets the most complete arc and (I can’t officially say, but it feels as if he) has the most screentime outside of group scenes. I know Sacha Baron Cohen has been pegged as a possible Lead contender alongside Redmayne, but his role is not quite as substantial, kind of to my surprise. The rest of the ensemble is undoubtedly supporting, and only Redmayne and Baron Cohen could reasonably be seen as lead contenders.
But let’s discuss performance quality. Overall, the ensemble is so strong from head to toe and they’ll likely be one of the best of the year. In many ways, while it is definitely an ensemble effort, there are tiers to the performances in terms of presence and impact. If your two hypothetical leads are Redmayne and Baron Cohen, I would say that Baron Cohen gives a very entertaining performance, but he did not do anything that I necessarily thought he couldn’t do. I myself have tried to argue that he can ride the “comedian going serious” route to awards success, but he never really goes fully serious. He spends most of the time being the wiseass leader who gets a few moments of introspection. Redmayne delivers a very good performance and, maybe because of what he’s done with his career since his Oscar win, I was kind of surprised by how much I liked him. I thought he was confident and played some of the screenplay’s smartest moments very well.
The next tier in terms of presence and screen time would probably be Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeremy Strong, Frank Langella and Mark Rylance. It was nice to see Gordon-Levitt on screen again and I thought he did a good job with a pretty straightforward role. He didn’t get a standout moment, but he held his ground well enough among performers that were giving a little more every time they were on screen. Specifically, I’d see the three actors you could classify as “going for it” the most throughout the film were Strong, Langella and Rylance. I thought Strong was great, though I’m a huge fan in general, and his comic relief moments were some of my favorite bits of the film. Langella plays a very conventional — almost to the point of unbelievability — villain, but he does it so well. You’re seething every time his character speaks and obstructs justice in his own courtroom. Rylance perhaps gives the most well-rounded performance of the ensemble, balancing his quieter moments with outbursts and fireworks you expect to see in a Sorkin work. His might be the performance that sticks with me longest after I’ve digested this film.
The final tier of presence belongs to two roles that were quite small, but somehow made perhaps the greatest impact of the film: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Michael Keaton. I was really feeling Abdul-Mateen II’s energy to second he came on screen, and while fitting Bobby Seale into this story certainly was not flawlessly done and, by nature of the reality of this trial, abruptly cut off, his performance was commanding and electric. Similarly, I was shocked that Michael Keaton came into this film on maybe even a whole different wavelength than the obvious fireworks coming from nearly every other member of this ensemble and damn near stealing the film. I thought his performance was confident and assured, and while he was barely on screen, he felt pivotal to the film’s success.
Awards-wise, like I said earlier, the film has a clear narrative and position to take in the awards race and I don’t doubt it will make an impact. I currently have it as my predicted Best Picture winner. It could certainly happen, but I’m less sure about that now. I have Sorkin predicted for directing. I feel confident there will be at least five more worthy nominees, but he could get in strictly by virtue of his film being a top contender. He could just as easily get snubbed like a Martin McDonagh or Peter Farrelly. I have Baron Cohen in lead and Strong and Rylance in supporting. Strong isn’t happening. Baron Cohen can happen in supporting, but it becomes a much more difficult path to the nomination in lead, I think. As I said before, I think Redmayne could be the true lead of the film, if they want to campaign someone there. Ultimately, I don’t think it matters because there isn’t a performance in this film strong or substantial enough to be considered against other tried and true, full fledged lead actor performances. That being said, I can see this film getting two supporting actor nominations. If Baron Cohen goes supporting, I would feel confident in saying him and Rylance. If Baron Cohen goes lead, Rylance and Langella seems likely. Rylance and Langella could happen even if Baron Cohen is in supporting. There are a lot of options on the table, and I think we might just have to wait and see who early groups go for and where a narrative starts to gel. The easiest nomination for the film is Sorkin in screenplay, and right now, I’ll say he can contend for the win. Everyone’s most liked aspect of the film, regardless on where you land overall, will probably be the screenplay.
Overall, I liked the film, and I knew I would, but there were definitely some weak elements that held it back altogether. This film sort of confirmed my suspicions that Sorkin is a screenwriter best served by another director helping bring his vision to the screen, but as after every Sorkin work, I’m looking forward to what he does next and I’m fascinated to see how the acting awards race shakes out for this film.October 16, 2020 at 3:37 pm #1203783253
I’ll post more thoughts in my review of the film on its specific thread, but yeah… it kind of felt like Eddie Redmayne was the lead, if you had to pick one and though the film felt like more of an ensemble effort. If they’re going to push one person to Lead, it should be him. Sacha Baron Cohen has a much stronger chance at getting nominated in Supporting, though it will be quite wild to see which actor(s) the campaign focuses on given the breadth of reactions already.October 16, 2020 at 4:36 am #1203781871
As a huge “West Wing” fan, I really enjoyed this fantastic special. To see that cast, including some of those bit players, come back and be just as sharp some twenty years later is a testament to Sorkin’s writing. What I came away from most astounded by was Thomas Schlamme’s direction. The special ends up being somewhere between a table read and full blown staging of the episode, and Schlamme’s direction keeps the story engaging and grounded as he pivots to some dazzling technical choices as a means of highlighting the special nature of this staged production. Schlamme’s direction and the technical aspects including lighting, sound and production design should be commended and rewarded, in whatever manner the special is deemed eligible. I also thought of where the show might fit in awards wise while watching. I don’t know that any of the actors would necessarily land a nomination because, at the end of the day, they’re not necessarily doing that much different from their original performances (as lauded as those were). However, I kind of wouldn’t be surprised to see Sterling K. Brown gain some attention. First of all, he is the only member of this ensemble coming in fresh and I thought he did a great job of embodying the simultaneously icy and warm nature of John Spencer’s original performance. Second, he is obviously an awards favorite. I also wonder if Martin Sheen could get some attention, especially as his is one of the greatest Emmys snubs of all time, but in general, I’m only expecting technical recognition awards-wise, but would be pleasantly surprised otherwise. I thought in terms of getting people to vote, this was an effective special. If you have a proclivity to “The West Wing,” I kind of imagine you’re already deeply entrenched in the democratic process, but as Bradley Whitford said from the top, if it gets just one new voter to lend their voice in this crucial year, it is a success. And beyond that, it is a special recapturing of a spirit of television we don’t see anymore and that I will likely return to even before the election. Another binge of “The West Wing” might even be on tap.October 13, 2020 at 5:30 pm #1203776576
I know it is technically labeled a black comedy, but given how the film is being marketed and the dark subject matter, is there a chance “Promising Young Woman” is placed in Drama, not Comedy?October 12, 2020 at 5:27 am #1203772550
We don’t really have movie-specific threads, at least not yet, but I saw “The Father” this weekend and wanted to get my thoughts down, and since Hopkins will likely lead that film’s awards charge, I figured I’d write it in this thread. If I hadn’t known that there was more to this story than just a sad drama about a father and daughter dealing with his memory loss, I probably would’ve been more blown away but also confused by what is accomplished here. Given that I was told there is a bit more to it than that, I came prepared for something a little more than just a straightforward weepy movie, and I definitely got that. The structure of the story really challenges you to stay involved in the story and put your entire focus on the film for its 97 minutes. The screenplay is a feat of folding in details and letting viewers come to their own conclusions and realizations without ever giving concrete details. I’d love to see what they changed from stage to screen. The other major reason to show up is, of course, Anthony Hopkins, who gets an extremely baity role but also more than rises to the challenge. He just gets to do everything and show off every facet of his talent we’ve been watching for decades, and it all gets summed into this equally charming, heartbreaking, terrifying and raw performance. Olivia Colman (firmly supporting) is quite good as well, and honestly the entire ensemble is very good in parts of varying size. I was definitely impressed by the movie, but specifically that multi-layered screenplay and unimpeachable performance from Anthony Hopkins.October 11, 2020 at 10:04 am #1203771359
The debate sketches have been atrocious. These writers have no clue how to tackle this moment and it is such a disservice to viewers looking for an escape or for some greater commentary. Merely reciting lines verbatim from the debates or taking the top three talking points of the night and running them into the ground does not result in a good sketch. I’m really feeling no interest to watch their remaining pre-election episodes other than to support Issa Rae next week.October 9, 2020 at 8:23 am #1203768585
Anything ‘officially being released in cinemas’ isn’t even 50/50 at this point. I’m counting out everything not scheduled to be released on a streaming platform. Sucks, but that’s just where I’m at right now.
(Looking forward to that film no matter what).
The difference with “Promising Young Woman” and “News of the World” is that they fall under Universal’s VOD deal with AMC, so they technically could premiere in theaters in December and be on PVOD by January. Now of course, you are correct in assuming that theaters may not even be open in December anyway, but if they are, I imagine Universal and Focus are merely taking advantage of this new deal to support cinemas and also have their films get exposure and still factor into the Oscar race.October 9, 2020 at 4:54 am #1203768275
Honestly, I think that as long as “Borat 2” is well received and it incites some kind of cultural reaction, that only benefits SBC in getting a nod for “Chicago 7.” We know comedic actors going serious is catnip for voters, it appears he will be going lead and not getting caught up in the supporting pileup, and having those two movies in direct opposition to one another creates a narrative about his range and political activism through various genres, and in an election year, bringing it back to politics seems like a surefire way to stay in the conversation.October 8, 2020 at 11:21 am #1203767047
Promising Young Woman never had an official release date here in the states. It’ll probably fly completely under voters’ radar.
It was supposed to come out in April. It being added to the predictions center now leads me to wonder if it’ll actually be coming out this season. If that’s the case, I’m keeping an eye on it for sure.