The battle is on for Hollywood’s most coveted awards. After weeks of predictions, the Academy has finally unveiled the list of nominees who will fight for glory at the Oscars on March 4th. This year’s diverse nominations and wins during awards season gave room for debate on who would claim a spot in the final roster – except for a few exceptions: Would Greta Gerwig become the fifth woman nominated for Best Director after her snub at the Golden Globes? Would the Academy embrace Jordan Peele’s horror movie Get Out? Would the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement affect this year’s nominations? These questions have been answered and it turns out the 7.258 Academy voters had an ace up their sleeves, with surprising nominees and snubs.
Films have the power to change people’s perception of life. Cinema is considered a way to see life through somebody else’s eyes and experience things that we would not be able to experience firsthand. Short films have the same power, with the added difficulty that they have to make us feel and experience life in just a few minutes, with just a few shots, and yet they can move us and make us understand characters we hadn’t even met some 10 minutes before. They can teach us invaluable lessons so that even though we may have not lived that experience, we can relate it to our own lives, our own experiences. Stutterer, the first film by Irish writer director Benjamin Cleary and winner of the 2016 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film, tells a story that goes beyond the screen to tackle a theme at the core of our society: communication.
So it’s been a week since the Oscars and to be honest, I’m still trying to recover… In fact, I was going to write an entry on my thoughts about this awards season, but the wound is still fresh (maybe next time). So instead, here is an entry on the many records smashed this awards season because yes, it’s been a good year for movies and diversity (and when I say “smashed this awards season” what I really mean is “smashed at this year’s Academy Awards and maybe some other shows”). If you type “Oscars 2017 records” or “Golden Globes 2017 records” on Google, the headline that is invariably going to appear is “La La Land receives record-tying 14 Oscar nominations” and “La La Land wins record-breaking 7 Golden Globes”. And let’s face it, for someone like me who loves La La Land (and will continue to love it until the end of time), that is really cool. But these were not the only records broken in a year unquestionably more diverse than the previous two editions of #OscarsSoWhite. So, here are some of the records and milestones of the 2017 awards season:
In a totally unexpected turn of events, Moonlight took home the Best Picture Oscar, something no poll had predicted. In fact, it became the most confusing moment of recent award shows since presenter Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway initially announced La La Land as the winner of this category. After a few seconds of confusion (and midway through the acceptance speech), not really knowing whether the producer of the film, Jordan Horrowitz was joking when he said Moonlight had won the award, Barry Jenkins’ team was called to the stage and given the coveted prize. This wild ending will go down in Oscars history, and probably not in a good way. Warren and Dunaway were given the wrong envelope (whose fault is that), and Dunaway just announced the winner without properly reading the envelope. How could this even happen and how could it happen in the most important award of the night?
It’s finally Oscars Day, my favorite day of the year (just so that you get my excitement, it’s like my birthday and Christmas combined). Tonight all the questions we’ve been making during the awards season will be answered: how many Oscars will La La Land win? Will it break a record like at the Golden Globes? Will Barry Jenkins’ poetic masterpiece Moonlight spoil La La Land’s big night? In a previous entry, I predicted the winners of the main categories, based on articles by some of the main film outlets in the Internet, today I’m giving my final predictions in all 24 categories.
Short films are the most underrated art form there is: people don’t usually watch them (let it be live action, animation or documentary) and when they are interested in a particular one, it can be extremely difficult to find it on the Internet. As a matter of fact, since I’ve been a film student, the only people I’ve met who are interested in shorts are scholars, cinephiles and students, and even they are turning their backs on this format and try to make feature films in college (as undergraduates, can you believe it??!!). Why is that? I believe it is because short films never get the attention and appreciation they deserve, people don’t want to pay to watch them and it is very unlikely to recover the investment made to produce it. They are seen as a “lesser” production, as something reserved for festivals, but not for the mainstream public. It is like something that students made to learn their craft while hoping to eventually make movies, “real” movies. Well, I disagree: short films are made with extreme precision and craft to make you understand a story, empathize with the characters and, most importantly, make you feel something, in just a few minutes, with a limited number of scenes, characters and means. It’s all about getting to the point in a simple yet complex way, telling a story in the best way possible, without the fare and unnecessary decoration. I’m not saying in any way that making a feature film is easy, not at all, but a longer format gives storytellers more time and more scenes to make you feel everything a short film does in just a few minutes. Timecode, the winner of the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film and Oscar nominee, is the perfect example.
If the predictions are correct and La La Land wins Best Picture Oscar tomorrow, Damien Chazelle’s movie will be the 11th musical in Academy Awards history to take home the highest honor of the year. With this in mind, here are the 10 musicals that have won the Best Picture Oscar.
2016 has been a year of exceptionally great films from a wide rage of genres and origins, with completely different plots, characters and actors, in a year when diversity has been acknowledged by Academy voters. Now that the voting deadline has been reached the fate of the nine Best Picture nominees is in the hands of the accountants, and although La La Land is expected to win Best Picture by a landslide (or should I say a La La Landslide? Sorry for the pun), most of the films nominated could taken the award home any other year. So, let’s look at the 2017 nominees’ figures, from budget to Academy Award nominations, box office results and ratings.
“I believe the characters we read on the page become more real than the men who stand beside us”.
If I could sum up Jackie in a quote that would be it. A lot has been said about Jackie, mostly (not to say almost exclusively) about Natalie Portman’s flawless performance. I think Jackie is much more than that, it is an extraordinary biopic (“biopic”) about perception, image creation and the thin line between reality and fiction at a time when most of our contact with reality comes from preconstructed images from the Internet and the media.
With the Oscars just a few days away, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight has garnered unanimous critical acclaim and 8 Academy Award nominations, and though predicted to lose Best Picture Oscar to La La Land (an Academy’s favorite), it is nonetheless a must-see that would have easily won the major award any other year. Jenkins’ exquisite triptych on masculinity, sexuality, love and family is quite the perfect movie.