2017 Oscars Nominations

The Oscars are fast approaching, and for the first time in a long time I have seen more than three of the nominated films. Living in a small town, where the theatre has one screen and shows only one movie for up to four weeks is not the way to see good movies, let me tell you. But, as I said, this year I have seen a fair few of them. In fact, based on my knowledge of the whole affair, I've seen more movies this year than, likely, most of the Academy members who vote for the winners!


This year, I have seen nine Oscar nominated films, and I thought I'd talk about them a little bit.

Lion

Writing (Adapted Screenplay), Music (Original Score), Cinematography, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Picture 

At the time of writing this, I saw this movie last night, so I'm still kind of processing. However, I can say that it is incredible. Lion tells this amazing story, and it is done and put together so beautifully. Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman are great in the film, and they tell this true story perfectly. The film is filled with beautiful sights, gorgeous music, and, as I said, an amazing story. And it's a true story! I will say, too, that I love when a movie has a title that you don't really understand. The meaning of the word 'Lion' is explained in the end, but once you get involved, that title doesn't matter.You don't sit wondering why it's called Lion, you just go along for an amazing ride.
The Lobster
 Writing (Original Screenplay)

In a word: bizarre. I mean, how else would you describe a world where, if you're single for a certain amount of time, you're turned into an animal? How else would you describe a world where you need to have one thing that connects you to your partner? In the film, one character feigns heartlessness in an attempt to match the heartlessness of another character so they can be a match. The Lobster is great, especially if you like movies in the style of Wes Anderson, especially if you like movies that feel a bit more independent and odd.

La La Land
 Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Best Picture, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Film Editing, Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Writing (Original Screenplay)

La La Land is just really, really lovely. It feels like a movie from the past in the best possible way (emphasised, of course, but the CinemaScope reference at the beginning). The songs work so well with the plot, and it feels like the songs are meant to be there rather than just thrown in on top of everything else. The chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and their characters is really fantastic, as well. Overall, definitely a great film. If I were to compare it to a modern film, my first thought was The Artist, just in its pacing and the style in which it was made. But that's just me.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
 Sound Mixing, Visual Effects

The more I think about Rogue One, the more I like it. Rogue One answers so many questions about the original Star Wars film - why is the Death Star so easy to destroy? How did the Rebellion get the Death Star's plans? I mean, personally I didn't question those things, but a lot of people did! And now there are answers. But, other than being a means to A New Hope, Rogue One can definitely stand alone as its own great film. There is plenty of excitement, suspense, and everything else that you want in a Star Wars movie. And! There are no lightsabres! I like the lightsabre, but the fact that there were none escaped me until someone pointed it out a few weeks after I saw it. It was a great Star Wars movie, even without lightsabres. The characters are fantastic, and it's just a really well done film.

Hacksaw Ridge
Actor in a Leading Role, Best Picture, Directing, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing

I didn't want to like Hacksaw Ridge. I'm not a Mel Gibson fan, his professional life aside. But, I ended up really liking it. I find it hard to resist World War II movies, to be honest. And I find it hard to dislike incredible real stories. The man Andrew Garfield portrays had an amazing story, and Garfield, in my opinion, did such a great job capturing that man, that character. That said, his southern accent and goofy grin, paired with the fact that he's carrying his comrades to safety is a little bit Forrest Gump, and, therefore, it's a little difficult to see him as an other character. If you can look past Mel, I'd definitely give this movie a watch, it might surprise you.

Sully
Sound Editing

I feel like Sully might have been better enjoyed had Sully's story not been all over the place at every opportunity since it happened. I don't know if the story was as often cited internationally as it has been in North America, but it's definitely not been an untold story. That said, the movie did include some events that weren't quite as heavily reported. The hearings deciding whether or not Sully could have made it back to the airport rather than crash-landing, for example, were interesting, as were the simulations performed. I think the film also did a good job in capturing the frustration that Sully and his co-pilot must have been feeling: what does it matter if they crash-landed or if they landed on a runway when everyone survived?! It's a very infuriating thing to watch, but in a good way.

Star Trek Beyond

Makeup and Hairstyling

Star Trek is always fun. I really enjoyed seeing more Scotty in Beyond, and I like his interaction with Jaylah. I also liked seeing the dynamic between Bones and Spock. And! I liked Krall's story. Basically, I liked all of the little subplots and relationships a lot. They really made for an interesting film, plus it's Star Trek, so it's going to be entertaining. To touch on their actual nomination: the makeup really is incredible. That team transformed so many people so perfectly.

The Jungle Book
 Visual Effects

For whatever reason, I found it really lovely to see this with real-looking animals. The movie was put together really nicely, and it felt pretty authentic to the natural world (even though it's definitely not). It just had that vibe. A stand out in the movie, though, is definitely the cooperation between the elephants and Mowgli, it's just so lovely. And I loved seeing the family dynamics among Mowgli and the wolves. Overall, definitely worth a watch. It's very sweet.

Zootopia

Animated Feature Film

Zootopia (or Zootropolis) is maybe not my favourite animated movie as an adult, it just didn't have a lot going for it for me. However, it does have some really fantastic messages in it for kids, and it's got a pretty great story. It's an animated 'kids film' with an actual plot. It's a crime-solving bunny, fighting adversity in the big city which is pretty great. Also, there are some decent jokes in there.

So, yeah, those are the Oscar nominated films that I have seen this year! I feel like the Oscars, for awhile, were pretty inaccessible to a lot people, and they seem to be getting better for it, which is great. There seems to be a lot of great movies nominated that the regular person can watch - and legally at that!

Have you seen any of the nominations? What would your bet be for Best Picture?

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