Two years ago I ranked the Academy Award nominees for Best Picture. Last year I guess I forgot to? Well, I’ve done it again! This is my ranking of this year’s nominations. I kept this pretty spoiler free and avoided any specific plot points.
Conventional wisdom would say that I should have put out this blog post before the Academy Awards aired (which was last night). Putting this out that day after the Oscars hopefully shows that these weren’t my predictions of who would win, it’s just how good I believe these movies are, relative to each other.
9) La La Land – I guess it’s the kind of movie a person either loves or
hates doesn’t care for. I like musicals but there’s not even that much singing after subtracting all the times the main characters just dance to songs without lyrics. I also don’t need another movie telling me about how great jazz is (see: Whiplash, same director as La La Land) or how great LA is (it’s so easy to shoot movies there).
8) Fences – This was a play before a movie and it’s easy to tell—there’s so much dialog packed into not much action. Even the baseball the main character likes to hit around for fun is tethered to a tree. I did like the acting a lot and walked out of the theater thinking Denzel Washington might win Best Actor.
7) Hacksaw Ridge – Mel Gibson loves Christianity and blood more than anyone and is on a mission (no pun intended) to prove it. As far as war movies go, I thought it told an interesting story that I feel like wouldn’t otherwise be talked of as much.
6) Hell or High Water – This was a cool film—if a little uncomfortable at times (in an engaging way), I’m guessing that’s why it didn’t have mainstream success. Jeff Bridges is always great and now I want to see Chris Pine star in a series of westerns. Plus there’s a bunch of bank robberies!
5) Arrival – I feel like I’ll get unnecessary hate on this but I liked the movie just fine. For what it’s worth, this was the only nominated film I saw before knowing which films were nominated. I’m also glad Kang and Kodos have gotten a live action movie.
4) Lion – Fascinating story. I think maybe it stuck to the true story a little too much. The beginning of the movie, when the main character is a young boy, is the most interesting part of it all. Then we get to watch him use Google Earth for what seems like an eternity. The end is touching and heartbreaking at the same time.
3) Moonlight – Perhaps the most emotionally complex movie on this list. I sat next to four girls seeing the movie together. After it ended, three of them noticed their friend on the end was crying her eyes out and commented on the fact that she was crying. She then asked the other three, “How can you not?” That being said, it can be a little frustrating watching two hours of a main character who doesn’t like to talk.
2) Manchester by the Sea – Mopey Casey Affleck mopes around. I heard the movie was depressing going into it but I think the part that is supposed to make it the most depressing comes into the movie so quickly, it’s hard to fully digest in the moment. The whole thing is sort of a slow realization of, “Oh, damn, I get it.”
1) Hidden Figures – Great, great, great, movie! Truly the only movie on this list that I had only positive things to say about. It felt real, and funny, and inspiring. The stories were true and not something I had heard about before. It felt like the Imitation Game at times but, just, better. The specifics like with things like IBM, Fortran, and uh, math, all made it interesting without being bogged down by unnecessary or manufactured drama.