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I gave up watching the Oscars long before the hosts weren’t funny or Hollywood royalty could storm the stage and slap the host. I stopped watching before there were quotas by race and sex, and gender assignment by surgery. I stopped watching before the lectures by Michael Moore or standing ovations for a child rapist. I stopped watching before Hollywood actors swarmed around a physically disgusting sweaty sexual predator, knowing that he was a sexual predator because they all were willing to give him tribute and throw their dignity into the flames rather than act with honor and punch him in the nose.
No, I gave up watching because there are ten thousand other things I would rather do with my time than watch a cast of people with massive egos and massive bank accounts (unless they invested in SVB) lecture me about ethics, and right and wrong.
The Oscars has always been three hours or more of self-congratulatory back-patting and cheek and butt-kissing, but when I had a modicum interest the hosts were generally fun and funny, and the films were usually watchable. The 10 films nominated for Best Picture take up two pages. I didn’t even know which films were nominated before starting this column. I’ve seen three: Top Gun: Maverick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Elvis.
All Quiet on the Western Front is a retelling of the German novel Nothing New in the West. It’s haunting. It’s hard to watch a movie like that and not wonder why Germans wanted to fight another world war 21 years later. It’s well done, but there are too many straight white people in the film to win – but it’s anti-war, so it still has a shot.
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a weird film about “multi-universes.” It’s mostly CG effects with its protagonist apparently inhabiting multiple lives in an effort to save the universe. I watched the whole trailer. I didn’t see a point or a plot, but lots of stuff gets blown up. But here’s the good news and why it’s likely nominated for Best Picture: the protagonist is an old Asian woman.
The Banshees of Inisherin. The trailer was fun. Two Irish guys who grew up together – one doesn’t want to talk to the other guy. No reason, just doesn’t like the other guy “no more.” It looks to be a film rich in story, with good acting and compelling dialogue. It’s probably the best “story” on the list, but it won’t win. It stars two white men. It doesn’t have a whiff of special effects. It’s just a good film with a compelling story. Nope – It won’t win.
The Triangle of Sadness is about a boatload of pretentious, awful white rich people. The ship goes down in a storm. I think most of the crew and most or some of the awful white rich people survive, so that’s a minus. But one of the ship’s toilets backs up and flows over some rich white people while the ship is sinking, so there’s that. Oh, and as a further plus for the nomination, the film begins with gay men models doing a gay men model thing, so they got the “we must have gays” requirement in the film out of the way early. It might win simply because it looks ridiculous and rich white people get their “comeuppance” and die.
The Fabelmans is Steven Speilberg doing a Speilberg of Steven Speilberg. It might win because Hollywood loves Steven Speilberg doing Steven Speilberg.
Avatar: The Way of Water is James Cameron redoing Avatar, but this time it’s wet. I’m not sure if it rips off more western movies like Dances with Wolves but I have no interest in even watching the trailer. Maybe it will win. I don’t care.
Elvis was fun, I thought. My wife didn’t like it. It’s about a white dude exploited by a fat white dude so maybe it has a chance.
T?r is about a massively successful gay woman, so right off the bat it going to be in the top three. T?r is a world-renowned symphony director. She has mental demons and fights them to create music – her music. It’s kinda interesting. I watched the trailer; it moved me to put it on the watch when it hits the Netflix list. It might win.
Woman Talking is “based on a novel” which was based on some facts. It’s about Mennonite women in a small group in a remote compound in Bolivia who are drugged and raped by the men in the group. So, the story is an indictment of religion, men are terrible, women band together to save themselves from the men, and the movie has a transgender dude, so covers most of the required hot points. It has to be the front-runner for Best Picture.
Top Gun: Maverick is a feel-good film with pride for America, pride for men, and pride for our military. it’s a stick in the eye of Iran too. It has a decent story and lots of fun flying and action and things being blown up, mostly Iranian stuff. It won’t win. Not a chance, but it rounds out the list. If I hadn’t already seen it I would have after reading an article by a guy at MSNBC. He hated it. Called it insidious. If you haven’t seen it, you’ll like it.
If you watch the Oscars, report back here with the results. I’ll check in later after I finish washing my socks.