Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Now this was a strong list!!

Early in the morning of January 23rd, as I sat in the teacher's lounge before heading to another day in the world of preschool education for three-year olds, I viewed the announcements of the Oscar nominations for the 90th Academy Awards, which will be telecast on Sunday, March 4th, on the edge of my seat per usual. Yet, this year, I often found myself wanting to jump for joy straight out of my seat as I was thrilled with the nature of the nominations which proved themselves to being more diversified and representative of the full quality of the cinematic year of 2017. Now certainly, there were some snubs that make me want to smack my head (Patty Jenkins' "Wonder Woman," I feel your pain) but mostly, I was exceedingly pleased.

First of all, the nominations of Jordan Peele's "Get Out" in the categories for Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor for Daniel Kaluuya and the grand prize of Best Picture was astounding as this ingenious film correctly touched a powerful nerve within our current and especially racially turbulent society. In ma ny ways, when I first saw the film, regardless of its critical and box office acclaim, I wondered if it would essentially just remain within a certain niche. Wondrously, it transcended its horror film genre creatively and culturally, therefore making a film that is more than worthy of awards season attention. And the fact that Peele is now the 5th African-American director to ever receive a nomination for Best Director, I must celebrate the history making achievement while also lamenting that in 90 years, only FIVE Black filmmakers have been deemed worthy by Oscar for attention?!

To that end, I have to commend and celebrate Greta Gerwig for the nominations bestowed upon her film "Lady Bird," including Best Picture. While I am considerably softer on that film than other critics and viewers, I am compelled to simultaneously congratulate her status as being the 5th female to ever be nominated for Best Director, while also lamenting that it has taken 90 years in this area as well.

Furthermore, congratulations should be delivered to Rachel Morrison for her nomination in the Best Cinematography category for Director Dee Rees' "Mudbone" (a film that surprisingly received a number of nominations but also one which I have not seen as I do not have Netflix and the film did not play theatrically in my area).  It turns out that Morrison is the first woman to be nominated in this area. Shameful as she is the very first in..can I say it again...90 YEARS...but even so, you have to begin somewhere and it is great that she is the one to break this particular glass ceiling. 

And for that matter, can someone please tell me why Patty Jenkins' "Wonder Woman" was completely snubbed? For a film that was as big of a box office and critical success as this film, especially one that has represented the comic book film genre at its absolute best while also being one of the most refreshing and audacious in such an over-crowded field. Jenkins and Wonder Woman herself Gal Gadot, more than deserved the fullness of industry attention as they made a film that was as inspiring and illuminating as it was exciting and just plain fun. To ignore it, as far as I am concerned, is an awards season cinematic crime.

Onto better things...

Seeing Co-Writers Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani's "The Big Sick" nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category nearly made me have tears of joy as I loved it so very much. To see the slew of technical nomination flow to the likes of Edgar Wright's "Baby Driver," Denis Villeneuve's "Blade Runner 2049" and certainly Rian Johnson's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" were as thrilling as they were flat out correct!! I loved seeing Denzel Washington's peerless work in Dan Gilroy's well-intentioned but lackluster "Roman J Isreal, Esq." receive more than worthy recognition. And yes, seeing Richard Jenkins' heartbreaking work in Guillermo del Toro's "The  Shape Of Water" receive recognition made my heart soar.

As for the nine Best Picture nominees, I have so far seen six of the films and without producing any spoilers, most of them appear upon my Best Of 2017 list, which I have not yet written and posted as there are still a couple more movies I wish to see. That said, I just feel that Oscar got it correct as these indeed are the films that have received the most celebratory attention throughout the year, and most of them do indeed represent their respective styles, genres and storytelling at their finest. Here, I really I have no complaints.

Where I do have complaints, however, is again, the eternally troublesome Best Director category, which always leaves deserving filmmakers out in the cold and in this case, no less than four directors. I just feel that if the film is nominated for Best Picture, that film's Director should automatically be nominated. Because really...none of these films directed themselves!

And even though I haven't posted the finished review as of yet, I just cannot believe that Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg from Luco Guadagnino's exquisite "Call Me By Your Name" were not nominated. I'll just leave that right there but just know that I. AM. STEAMED.

OK...that's really it for now and I'll begin writing and posting my Savage Scorecard series plus my Oscar predictions throughout February 2018.

Stay tuned!

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