Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Hurray for Hollywood!

For some reason or another, I've never been that interested in watching the Academy Awards. Even when I was a regular (weekly, even) moviegoer, the Oscars always kind of left me cold. Nonetheless, I'm always interested in seeing who gets nominated, and who wins. Especially this year, when I've actually seen a few of the nominated movies and a couple of the nominated performances.

I was rooting for either Little Women or Parasite to win Best Picture, so I was happy to wake up to the news that Parasite took home the honors. I don't know quite to make of that film, but I thought it was highly original and brilliant, and I much enjoyed it. I've seen it described as a thriller, but I'm going with dark comedy. That turned exceedingly dark towards the end. So bravo to Parasite. (Interestingly, I have a good friend who is Korean-American - born in Korea but immigrated as a small child. She has NO interest in seeing Parasite. Which reminds me that an Italian-American friend of mine, who grew up in a Philadelphia neighborhood where a lot of wise guys lived, wouldn't watch The Sopranos.)

Although I was happy with Parasite being named Best Picture, I was a bit disappointed that Little Women only walked away with the girly-ish Best Costume award. Sigh.

The other films nominated for best that I actually saw were 1917 (enjoyed might be the wrong word; maybe admired) and Marriage Story (which I watched on TV, happy that I didn't pay big bucks to see it in the theater; it was okay, but not great).

Of the remaining nominees, at some point I intend to watch The Irishman, Ford v. Ferrari, and Once Upons a Time in Hollywood. My personal jury's out on whether to see JoJo Rabbit. I'm usually interested in anything to do with World War II/the Holocaust, but JoJo sounds a bit too close to Life Is Beautiful, a movie that I felt trivialized and romanticized the Holocaust, and which I heartily disliked. But my jury is honestly still out on JoJo, so I might watch it when it shows up on Netflix.

I cannot imagine the circumstances under which I would ever in a million years watch Joker - I make it a habit to just say no to anything with a clown in it -  so I'll have to take the august Academy's word that Joaquin Phoenix was great in it. I thought Jonathan Pryce was super in The Two Popes, but I really am not a fan of Adam Driver, who was nominated for Marriage Story. Perhaps he is an acquired taste, but it's one I have no intention of acquiring.

Not a big Renee Zellwegger, but I will watch Judy at some point. I was rooting for Saoirse Ronan, who I think is her generation's answer to Meryl Streep (a good thing!). But looks like "they" just wanted to snub Little Women. I will watch Harriet and, if I'm bored enough some night, do Bombshell.

I also have Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Tom Hanks was nominated for Best Supporting Actor) and Richard Jewell (Kathy Bates was nominated for Best Supporting Actress). These are two actors I'd watch in anything, even a soup commercial.

Anthony Hopkins was good as Pope Benedict in The Two Popes, but since I really don't like Pope Benedict, I was just as happy he didn't win. Florence Pugh in Little Women made me actually like and understand Amy, something that hasn't happened in the 60+ years since I first met this characters. But Florence is still young. Plenty of time.

As for the Supporting winners, although I was meh on Marriage Story, I really do like Laura Dern. As for Brad Pitt, I'll let you know once I get around to Once Upon a Time...

I love that American Factory, a documentary produced by Michelle and Barack Obama, won for Best Documentary. It was a terrific film, and it really got to the heart of what it's life in a declining industry city, where the good blue-collar jobs are increasingly being automated out of existence. Depressing. Sad. Cautionary. (This problem ain't going away.)

And although I didn't see it, what a great story that Matthew Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver won for their animated short, Hair Love. Cherry is a former NFL player who boldly predicted a couple of years ago that he was going to win an Oscar. Good for him (and her). With so many African-American kids getting hassled over their hair styles, this is a really timely topic. 

Anyway, hurray for Hollywood. Glad to have a few more movies on my watch list. Must see TV!

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