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    The Oscars 2023 are shaping up to be the same we see every year – legacy directors are rewarded – and also a little something different. Many actresses under discussion for awards are women of color, though the acting category remains overwhelmingly white. With Everything everywhere all at once, a truly bizarre but moving film, racking up awards and nominations like the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards, we might be starting to see a change. My only wish is for the Academy to look into this even more and name other equally deserving, but less obvious choices. Of course, this is from someone whose favorite movie is Scream.

    Better picture-Everything everywhere all at once

    I tend to dislike most movies that get nominated for Best Picture. I can often see their merit and understand why people, especially those steeped in an Old Hollywood style of thinking, appreciate them. It’s there that Everything everywhere all at once arrives: finally, a Best Picture nominee that stirred strong emotions in me. Through a story about the multiverse, The Daniels have created a film that best portrays the intergenerational trauma in immigrant families. It’s fun, the costumes are beautiful, and if you have even a little complicated relationship with your parents, you’re practically guaranteed to cry. WAPP gave me hope that even popular and critically acclaimed movies could be weird and different and feel like my own experience.

    Best Actress—Regina Hall (Honk for Jesus. Save your soul.)

    Jessica Chastain won this Oscar last year for her portrayal of Tammy Faye in The life of Tammy Faye, a film that was both a celebration of Faye’s life and a critique of evangelical institutions. Honk for Jesus is a similar movie, except it’s a satire, which allows it to go beyond in a way a biopic couldn’t – and Hall leans into all of that. She puts herself down for her husband, she shows off her fancy clothes, she stands by his side after his infidelity (with young men) and she dresses up as a mime to get people to come to her church. The question of the whole movie is, Why doesn’t she just leave him? You’ll have to wait until the end for a masterful closing/ending monologue from Hall to find out the answer.

    Best Actor—Paul Mescal (After Sun)

    Since bursting onto the stage with her Emmy-nominated role in normal people, Paul Mescal starred in four films, three of which were directed by women, including two directorial debuts (feminist king?). One of these two is After Sun, a moving portrait of fatherhood, mental illness and bereavement. Mescal may be best known to Gen-Z as the boyfriend of Phoebe Bridgers, but he’s proven time and time again to be one of the best actors of his generation. While many male performances are considered good when the character is screaming or acting unhinged, Mescal is one of those actors who does his best in quiet moments. The way he portrays, often silently, the despair facing the young father he plays will make you hardly believe the actor is only twenty-six. His character is deeply troubled, and Mescal is able to inhabit that feeling even with a sigh and a wayward gaze. Mescal lost the Emmy for normal peoplebut the Academy can catch up with him (and me) by rightfully giving him the Best Actor win.

    Best Documentary—Last return flight

    Most documentaries deal with major issues of the time in which they are made. Another film shortlisted this year focused on the high rates of maternal mortality among black women. It was amazing too, but my favorite type of documentary has always been about someone living their life. That’s what Last flight HomIt’s on point, except it ends with a man committing suicide by physician-assisted suicide. Much of the documentary focuses on everyone in his life saying goodbye to him as he lies in a bed in his living room, unable to move much. It is as devastating as it is beautiful. I feel grateful and somewhat intrusive that I got to watch it, but it helped me continue to understand what it means to love another person.

    Best Director—Charlotte Wells (After Sun)

    In recent years, we’ve seen a number of stunning female films nominated for Best Director. Greta Gerwig was nominated for Ladybug, which is a great entry into the genre of slightly unbalanced girls who come of age and fight with her mother. Emerald Fennel was nominated for Promising young woman, which in my opinion left something to be desired in its version of feminism and revenge. Charlotte Well’s After Sun is on a whole other level as a start. He has some amazingly beautiful shots, including the best final shot of the year, according to Slate. Wells films from unique angles, using a television to reflect the barrier between father and daughter (they appear to be communicating with each other and through the television rather than speaking to each other directly) and a crossfade to show how much the character of Paul Mescal haunted is. If there was any justice in the world, this would have been Wells’ category to lose.

    Best Visual Effects—Top Gun: Maverick

    Some people think that Top Gun: Maverick should win Best Picture. I am not one of those people. It’s a good movie, fitting the role of “summertime blockbuster that most people can have at least a good time watching while sheltering from the heat” (with overt military propaganda tones to next to your popcorn). I looked at it and was sated. However, I think a movie that wins Best Picture should make a little more sense than “fighter pilots are cool, and killing as many enemy soldiers as possible is a good thing.” That being said, it more than deserves a Best Visual Effects nomination. Congratulations Tom.

    Best Original Screenplay —Barbaric and others

    The winner of this category has been hit or miss for decades. You have incredibly interesting movies that define a generation like Juno and get out. Then you also have some of the worst movies of the year, like green book, winning the prize. In my opinion, this is the category of somewhat bizarre films. Granted, they won’t win Best Picture, but the least you can do is acknowledge their uniqueness. My picks for what should have been nominated this year are Barbaric, No, After that, Body Body Body and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (yes, a sequel to a spin-off movie Shrek following). Take Barbaric, a movie that completely subverts what you’d expect it to be based on the first 30 minutes. This plays on your preconceptions about men in our society, but ultimately ensures that the person who survives isn’t who you thought they would be. It also tackles intense themes of sexual assault without needing to go into visual detail, which is often the madness of many horror movies. It’s good storytelling, clear and simple, that keeps you on the edge of your seat. A film worthy of being seen in theaters and of a nomination.

    What shouldn’t have been nominated—triangle of sadness (Best Picture)

    We get it, everyone hates the rich/wants to eat them. But it has not always been so. It’s only since Bong Joon-ho made Oscar history in 2020 with the Best Picture win for his social satire. Parasite that many have tried to do something similar. For most of the past 20 years, class-conscious movies weren’t the kind to get awards. Instead, the nominees leaned more towards films about class excess, such as the wolf of Wall Street. Unfortunately, no one is trying to post the latest Parasite can do it just like Bong, including the 2022 Palme d’Or winner, triangle of sadness. I had the day off and went to a screening on Thursday at 2 p.m. Triangle in an audience of me and three others, all decades older than me. Afterwards, I found myself in the bathroom with a woman who was in the same row. We chatted as we washed our hands and walked out. I told him he had won the highest honor at Cannes. She was visibly upset by this news and strongly disagreed with the choice. Almost as much as I disagreed with the extended vomiting and diarrhea sequence in the film. Sometimes filmmakers associate being over the top with being good, which isn’t always the case.

    Babylon

    You got me! I didn’t actually see Babylon. I just think he shouldn’t be nominated because Hollywood needs to acknowledge the accusations made against Brad Pitt by his ex-wife and children. rather than entrusting him with offbeat roles!

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