The recent Oscar buzz around Sam Mendes’ “1917” prompted a reviewing of one of the more famous war films of the 1940’s, “Best Years of Our Lives” (1946). Myrna Loy deserved a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in this male dominated film as a much-needed representative of the women who welcomed their men home from WWII. To a lesser extent, Teresa Wright also deserved recognition, but it is Loy who helps tie the stories of three servicemen just returning home together into one powerfully moving story.
The British Academy Film Awards are somewhat of a black sheep in the trinity of lavish, self-indulgent film awards ceremonies in the early months of each new year. Their bizarre practice of pre-recording the ceremony – so the winners end up announced before it’s even televised – then editing out a bunch of the technical and ‘smaller’ awards, makes it a very lacklustre viewing experience. Though that being said, there’s a lot to say about the awards and the ceremony itself. First, and most obvious, is the sweep of “1917”. Seven wins out of nine nominations, only losing Makeup and Hair to “Bombshell” and Original Score to “Joker”. Not unexpected given the film’s staggering momentum this awards season, plus the film being British which the BAFTAs highly favour. But it’s still telling. Expect “1917” to make a similar sweep of the upcoming Academy Awards, with a near-guaranteed shot at Best Picture and Best Director, winning both of its equivalents here.
According to the website ‘Women and Hollywood’ only two percent of the top 100 films of 2019 had female cinematographers. Two whole films...Cinematography is beautiful and so necessary to film. Which is why I think it is a shame that Reed Morano has never been recognized for her work.
Hall does amazing work with this complex and easily dismissed person. She gives Chubbuck an air of confidence muddled with insecurity in several pivotal scenes. There is an authenticity to her portrayal. It is earnest, caring, and understanding. Something Chubbuck desperately needed.
Marielle Heller's "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" is a favourite among the ITOL team, I mean it landed at number 6 on our Top 50 Films of the Decade list for no reason. And, while Heller made her debut with "The Diary of a Teenage Girl", it is "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" where we see Heller shine as well as prove her capability as a director. It's also worth mentioning that Heller latest film "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" is proof that she's not just a one-hit-wonder. It's clear that this is a filmmaker that is here to stay. Despite garnering positive views and also picking up Oscar nominations for Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant and best-adapted screenplay for Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, Heller was completely ignored by the Academy for Best Director.
Every year, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) holds an annual award show honouring the best and boldest in filmmaking. And every year, there is an extensive discourse on who was snubbed or overlooked or incorrectly nominated. I have those opinions each awards season but there is one snub that still gets me: Ava DuVernay. When her film “Selma” premiered in 2014, it was staggering to see the level of detail put into every aspect of that film. The history, the acting, the cinematography, the set design, and so on. But the direction and momentum of the film rested solely with DuVernay.
Looking back on the past decade, one of the best and most overlooked leading actress performances is Gugu Mbatha-Raw in “Belle” (2013). It was a strong year for leading ladies at the Oscars, with Amy Adams, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, and Meryl Streep nominated and Cate Blanchett taking home the award. And yet, Mbatha-Raw’s performance is one of those that sticks out to me the most when reflecting on the past decade in film. She certainly deserved to be a contender, but unfortunately, though the film garnered mostly positive reviews, it simply wasn’t widely seen.
It’s almost a cliché to write a thinkpiece about the lack of diversity in the latest set of Oscar nominations. Every year, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences congratulates the best films that English-speaking cis-het white men produced in the preceding year, and also some of the bad ones too. Oh, and they’ll also throw in a meagre handful of films made by women, people of color, etc. The slate of nominees for the upcoming 2020 Academy Awards is exceptionally representative of this feet-dragging approach to representation and inclusivity.
Every year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) hosts the Golden Globes. The Golden Globes are used as a predictor for Oscar nominations. As always, there are only so many slots for each category. Not every actor, filmmaker, or movie can be nominated. But the Golden Globes typically proves to be pretty white and male dominated. This year, five male filmmakers were nominated for Best Director. Bong Joon-Ho, who directed “Parasite” (2019), is the only non-white person nominated. The other nominees, Sam Mendes, Todd Phillips, Martin Scorsese, and Quentin Tarantino are all white dudes. And, in my frank and honest and personal opinion, it is comprised of mediocre white film bros. Sue me. (Actually, please don’t. I have lots of student loans.)