Its Oscar week and I have been working hard to get out and see all eight of the Best Picture nominees! I don’t think it is fair to judge them based on some shady digital download, but let me tell you, seeing eight movies at the theatre in five weeks is almost impossible to do…especially when you have to stop in the middle to see the most awesome movie of all time, Deadpool! In any case, it is time to get off the fence and make some pics!
A couple of years back, the academy decided to expand the Best Picture race from the traditional five nominees to a larger group. The goal was to give a couple of more movies the chance to shine, and take away a bit of the ‘obvious winner’ syndrome that had plagued years past. With eight movies now in the running for the top award, the field is more crowded than ever, and as only one can win, there are gonna be a lot of disappointed producers come Sunday.
For now, let’s start there, and look at some of the films that will NOT win.
Mad Max: Fury Road
First and foremost, I love that this movie was even nominated! It is so freakin’ metal that I can’t believe it made it in, and for all of the (justified) controversy surrounding the lack of racial diversity in the acting categories, it is a HUGE step forward for a movie like Mad Max: Fury Road to be up for the top award. I didn’t even think this movie was going to be a hit, and yet here we are; the movie is awesome, it already has a cult following, and its extreme production and live action stunts have become the stuff of legend…too bad it is never going to win Best Picture.
The issue here is that no matter how Mad Max: Fury Road got nominated, the people that pic the winners are waaaaaayyy too traditional to choose something that is this far on the outside. There is basically no plot to the movie, and as much as people want to (legitimately) read a feminist narrative into it, Mad Max: Fury Road is essentially a giant music video. It is amazing to watch, and the action is incredible, but when the dust settles it is destined to ride the roads of Valhalla without an Oscar.
Bridge of Spies and Brooklyn
On the other side of the coin are Bridge of Spies and Brooklyn. Unlike the Fury Road, these two nominees ARE the type films that would traditionally win; problem is, that we have seen them both before and they are not really offering anything new.
I’m always a sucker for a good Tom Hanks movie, and I really liked Bridge of Spies, but it really felt light for a Spielberg movie and seemed like it was just another chance for him to visit with his collection of WW2 vehicles and costumes. Similarly, Brooklyn was a sweet and enjoyable look at one girl’s journey emigrating from Ireland to America, but again, it felt like something we have seen before and played like a side story from the early part of Titantic. Both of these movies play it a little too safe, and as a result neither will win. Bridge of Spies is just there as a token nomination for Steven Spielberg, and Brooklyn is simply a little too ‘BBC movie of the week’ to pull off the win; both are fine films in their own right, but compared to some of the others in the field, they just don’t have what it takes to stand out. In a year where Mad Max got nominated, something as safe as these two doesn’t stand a chance!
What do you think? Did you see any of this year’s movies? There are only a couple of days left, and only two movies I haven’t written about. Check back before Sunday to see which one I pick.
Mad Max: Fury Road = 4/5
Bridge of Spies = 3.8/5
Brooklyn = 3.8/5