Annual Oscars post:
Most years I think the best picture nominees are at least okay. Not so much this year.
I hated Dunkirk. I didn’t think it earned any of its emotional notes, and depended entirely on some cultural reverence for wars nobody directly remembers. What’s more, it commits the unforgivable war movie sin of granting one side a monopoly on tragedy. Just terrible.
I had some of the same problems with Darkest Hour, which seemed like nothing but a series of biopic tropes. Phantom Thread was centered around a man obsessed with his work, and yet it never made any attempt to show what was interesting about that work. It was a film in which nothing mattered. But at least it didn’t (quite) star John Malkovich. (Oh—and the score was maddening. It made watching this film feel like being trapped in an elevator for two hours.)
I haven’t (yet) seen Call Me By Your Name.
The Post was…fine. But, like, I cared way more about whatever was happening at the Times. Meh.
Lady Bird was okay, but it just made me want to go back and rewatch Frances Ha.
I really enjoyed The Shape of Water: just a great little old-school movie that delivered what it said on the tin.
I’m sure Three Billboards has been picked apart, and it was obviously built as Oscar bait, but it still worked for me. I expect it to win.
But Get Out is my pick of 2017, and I’d have trouble coming up with anything to say about it that hasn’t already been said. I don’t recall a movie feeling so new since Pulp Fiction. It would get my vote, and maybe if the vote is split widely enough among the others it could win, but it would surprise me if a plurality of the academy were willing to pick a genre film as the best of the year.