This Sunday will be my most favorite Sunday of all the Sundays this year–aside from graduation that is.
It’s the 92nd Oscars, ya’ll.
A lot can be said about the value we as a society put on events that are judged subjectively, but there’s always been a certain aura around the Oscars. It has a way of being able to put names and projects in the spotlight that we may or may not be familiar with and say, “Hey! Look at this. This thing/person/work is important and now you all will look at this thing/person/work as such.”
The Oscars are my Super Bowl. Beyond the spectacles of glamorous celebrities, hosting bids, political jabs, or mishaps, this night boils down to one thing: honoring great films and the people that make them.
I will say I could–and probably will–write an entire article on how the Academy has perpetually failed to recognize all the talent that comes within a year (Greta Gerwig’s direction for Little Women; Awkwafina’s performance in The Farewell; Adam Sandler actually making a great film, Uncut Gems; need I go on?). But for now, I want to focus on a few things we should all be psyched for come Sunday. Here are my recommendations on what to look out for at the Academy Awards:
Best Original Music Score – Hildur Guðnadóttir, Joker
This Icelandic composer is set to make history this weekend. Guðnadóttir’s creeping and haunting score for Todd Phillips’ Joker is expected to get the golden statue for Best Score, making her the first woman in 19 years to win the category and only third in history to do so.
It was actually Guðnadóttir’s score that helped inspire Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker performance in one of the film’s most iconic scenes shown below:
“It was completely unreal to see the physical embodiment of that music,” she said in response to seeing a rough cut of the scene. “His hand gestures were the same types of movements that I felt when I wrote the music. It was one of the strongest collaborative moments I’ve ever experienced.”
Best Supporting Actor – Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
I’m particularly excited about this one. Well, probably me and every other straight-woman in America.
Brad has NEVER won an Academy Award for acting. He’s kind of become Hollywood’s new Leo in that regard, so if his Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild Award sweeps have told us anything, it’s that this one is in the bag.
Pitt’s portrayal of Cliff Booth in Tarantino’s film-turned-love-letter to 1960s Hollywood has been maybe one of my favorite supporting characters I’ve seen since I watched Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
He smokes acid, thinks the Manson Family is overrated, doesn’t care who Bruce Lee is, and best of all, eats Kraft Mac and Cheese straight out of the saucepan. A real man, guys. I’ll be happy to see this speech, to say the least.
Best Animated Feature – Missing Link
You guys. It’s not Disney. It’s not Pixar. That’s it. That’s what makes this category interesting this time around.
From the same studios that made Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings, this movie already won Best Animated Picture at the Golden Globes in January–pushing out Frozen II AND Toy Story 4 AND The Lion King.
Best Foreign Language Film // Best Picture – Parasite
I’m excited about this for many reasons, but primarily over the fact that this is a consecutive year the Academy is nominating a foreign film for Best Picture. After the success of Roma, it seems that it’s becoming increasingly more possible to get the money of mainstream studios to back non-English stories and storytellers.
Parasite is the most nominated film this award season–outside of the Oscars–and has already won over 113 different achievements. That thing I was saying earlier about how the Oscars can say “Look at this important thing!”? Well, here it is. This movie is important.
I have yet to see it myself, but it’s been described to me as a dark-comedic-thriller-drama with political undertones. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by that?
Said best by its director Bong Joon-ho at the Golden Globes below, Parasite is making big waves to move barriers. I’m pumped.
Best Cinematography – Roger Deakins, 1917
This category is never a complete shoo-in I feel just because movies are so…beautiful? The look of the film is the first thing we notice and can be the glue throughout an entire story that is so essential that, when done exceptionally, it can become its own character.
1917 is its cinematography. Mentioned in my last blog post, this entire story takes place over 24-hours and in a 120-minute period contains only 34 seamless cuts, making the entire movie feel like one, long, amazing scene.
It’s ambitious, and it succeeds.
Cinematographer Roger Deakins has worked on several other well-known dramas including A Beautiful Mind, Fargo, Shawshank Redemption, and Skyfall to name a few. He won his first Oscar for working on Blade Runner 2049 and it’s safe to say that 1917 will be his second.
While some of these are ~safe~ predictions, I know that Oscar night always finds a way to surprise, and even upset, cinephiles. Either way, catch me on Sunday night aggressively shushing my friends who couldn’t care less and are just hoping that both teams have fun.
I know I will be.