In some years, I have trouble determining who will win in the Best Production Design category. There are so many different ways to design a film’s story-world, that I can get bogged down in the minutiae and get confused as to what the voters will actually like.
But this year I am much more confident. Who knows, maybe I’m getting better at this unnecessary skill of Oscar predictions.
Continue reading 2020 Oscar Predictions — Best Production Design
There is this idea in Oscar predicting that the Best Editing category is a strong predictor of Best Picture. Netting a nomination in this category is a good sign for any Best Picture hopeful. There isn’t any rhyme or reason to this correlation, as far as I know. But the numbers bear it out. Since 1980, only one film has won Best Picture without being nominated for Best Editing. That film was Birdman, a film notable for its hidden edits in an attempt to appear as though it were one shot. This sounds similar to a recent Best Picture nominee who didn’t receive a Best Editing nomination…huh. Interesting.
What is of import to this article, though, is not the Best Picture potential of 1917. It is the potential of the five nominees for Best Editing.
Continue reading 2020 Oscar Predictions — Best Editing
Twitter was ablaze the morning the Oscar nominations were announced. Joker received 11 (count ’em, 11!) nominations? No The Farewell? No Uncut Gems? No J-Lo? No Greta Gerwig for Best Director? No this. No that. Why this, but not that? There was room for X, but they choose Y? Blah-blah-blah.
The grumblings from Film Twitter is not without their merit. The Academy is known for its massive oversights year after year, and this has become particularly evident in the past few years. But there is a futile exhaustion to the Film Twitter banter, which is equal parts righteous, ironic, furious, annoyed, and contrarian. The reality is that the Academy is a somewhat arbitrary selection of industry insiders choosing what is culturally relevant. It has its limited import, but it is not worth getting up in arms about.
Continue reading 2020 Oscar Predictions — Best Picture
Earlier this year, I toyed with the idea of writing the semi-obligatory “Best of the Decade” list. What films were the best in this arbitrary chunk of time we call the 2010s? The USA Today did it. The A.V. Club did it. The New Yorker did it. Wired did it. IndieWire did it early. CineFiles should at least attempt to do it, too.
I made a list on Letterboxd. It started at around 400 films. I winnowed it down to roughly 200. I could copy those films into a traditional list. Write a pithy blurb here and there. Attach some pictures. But I hesitated. And hesitated. Tweaked a ranking here or there. Again, hesitation. Ultimately, it just didn’t happen.
The question that kept catching me, preventing me from doing any real work toward a Best of the Decade list, was: “Why bother?” This list represents Continue reading A Decade of Film in Review (Best Movies of the 2010s?)
It is that time of year again. Time to create an exceedingly subjective, by-no-means exhaustive list of the “best” movies of 2019. 2019 was a good year in film. There were plenty of strong contenders for this list (find my full ranking of 2019 films at Letterboxd). I could have stretched this list out to 30 or 40 films, but I decided to keep it short and sweet. I just crammed in as many honorable mentions as felt appropriate, instead.
You can find my candidates for worst movie of the year here.
Honorable Mentions: American Factory, Apollo 11, Arctic, Ash is Purest White, Birds of Passage, Hail Satan?, A Hidden Life, Horror Noire, Midsommar, Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, One Cut of the Dead, Rolling Thunder Revue, The Souvenir, The Vast of Night, Wild Rose
Continue reading The 20 Best Movies of 2019
Much has been made of Bong Joon-ho’s genre hybridity, or rather his “genre unto self” mythos—the director himself has referred to it as an ambiguity of genre. At the risk of belaboring this idea, Parasite is a perfect example of Bong’s ability to elude the walls of genre. The film has flashes of gritty horror and a pervading sense of Hithcockian suspense, as well as tropes of the family drama and social problem film (used in entirely unconventional ways). A premise hinging on gaslighting adds a psychological layer on top. And a somewhat bitter sense of humor provides a dark comedy element.
What makes the film so extraordinary (in part) is the ease by which these diverse genres intersect to create a Continue reading Parasite (2019) Movie Review
One man. Millions of movies.