Movies and Music
Its Oscars time AGAIN! I know you are all lactating over this years contending nominees! This might be one of the strongest races in the last decade at the Academy Awards. It also may be the most diverse year in history. The Academy, this year, has nominated its first super hero film for Best Picture. Marvel’s Black Panther ranks third for the most nominations with seven total. The cast of BP took home Best Ensemble Cast at last week’s Screen Actors Guild awards. This film is the third-highest grossing film of ALL-TIME behind 2009’s Best Picture nominee Avatar.
I personally am conflicted this year as we get closer and closer to the big night. When the award season kicked off, I was partial to A Star is Born. Directorial debut of Bradley Cooper, he also serves as the films producer, lead actor, screenplay writer, & vocals for the soundtrack. Everyone loves a remake. Good or bad, it’s a seat filler. This version of A Star is Born does NOT disappoint. The last time a rendition of ASIB was up for Best Picture at the Oscars was in 1937! Never has the title taken our little gold man home. I will say Bradley Cooper went “somewhere over the rainbow” with this adaptation in casting his leading lady. Miss Lady Gaga brings a Judy Garland-esqe essence to the screen we haven’t seen in a LONG time. Snagging not only her first Best Actress Academy Award nomination, she is also nominated for Best Song as well! An accolade never achieved by a female recording artist. The title song from the movie is called “Shallow” in which Lady Gaga herself wrote the lyrics. She and Bradley Cooper will perform the billboard hit on the Oscar stage together.
The remaining nominees for Best Picture do have one thing in common. They are all inspired by or based on true events. Looking back at Oscar archives, it is clear the Academy goes gaga over a powerful biopic.
Speaking of going “gaga” brings me back to my confliction. My personal favorite BP nom this year is Bohemian Rhapsody. It follows the life of the late great Freddie Mercury from the year 1970 to the beautiful day of Live Aid in July of 1985. BoRhap snagged a total of five nominations. Along with already winning the Golden Globe last month for Best Picture-Drama, lead actor Rami Malek took home Best Actor at both the Globes and the SAGS. I personally have never been in such awestruck as i am with Malek’s performance. Freddie Mercury and Queen as a whole stood up for each other. They were loyal. They made music from their soul. They loved to hear the fans sing back to them. It let them know we were listening. They were the champions that rocked the shit out of us. This movie truly reminds us that the show must go on.
While Black Panther, A Star is Born, and Bohemian Rhapsody are among some major Oscar buzz, there are five other films who are equally holding their own. Spike Lee’s Blackkklansman is nominated in six categories, earning Spike his first Best Director nomination to date. Last year’s recipient for Best Original Screenplay, Jordan Peele, serves as the films Producer. It stars John David Washington (son of Denzel Washington, NINE time nominee) and Adam Driver (Star Wars/Kylo-Ren). Set in 1970’s Colorado Springs, the plot follows the first African-American cop in the cities department as he sets out to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan.
Green Book like Bohemian Rhapsody is up for five nominations. It recently took home Best Picture-Comedy/Musical at the Golden Globes. Viggo Mortensen & Mahershala Ali take us back to the 1960s. African-American classical/jazz pianist Don Shirley & his driver/bodyguard Tony Vallelonga had an unlikely friendship in the height of civil rights in the south. Viggo has been nominated for three Academy Awards, losing twice while Green Book remains pending. Mahershala took home the Supporting Actor Oscar the year before last in Moonlight. Having already won the Golden Globe, Critics Choice, and Screen Actors Guild award for portraying Don Shirley, he looks to have a second coveted Oscar trophy in his possession come end of this award season.
Chiming in with Eight nominations tying to A Star is Born is Adam Mackay’s Vice. This is the uncomfortably true story of Dick Cheney and how he went from a hard-drinking, less than goal oriented, Wisconsin man to the Vice President of the United States. Academy Award winner Christian Bale transforms into Dick. Six time Oscar nominee, Amy Adams, delivers a valuable performance as his wife Lynn. Last year’s supporting actor winner, Sam Rockwell, plays George “W” Bush. Vice is a powerhouse political comedy with wildly talented actors, reminding us just how crooked a politician can be.
Wrapping up the Best Picture nominees, The Favourite and Roma lead the pact with TEN nominations. On one side, The Favourite reenacts the “special” relationship between she and her female servants. During her reign as Queen she was predominantly ill and managed to out live all eighteen of her children. On the other, Roma tells a day in the life of Mexico City in the 1970’s. It is inspired by its director Alfonso Cuaron’s upbringing. Both pictures share stunning cinematography and other technical merits. The casts are dually immaculate. Olivia Colman as Queen Anne received the Golden Globe in January. Director Alfonso Cuarón teamed up with Netflix to bring this foreign language masterpiece to the ballot. He has taken the best director achievement above and beyond in past with his Oscar winning “Gravity”. Roma will prove to be the film everyone is talking about, if they aren’t already.