I love movies. I also love theater, live and recorded music, television, watching sunsets, my grandchildren, OK, OK, way down deep I am shallow, but I am going to talk about this year’s movies, and what I expect and wish the Academy of Motion Pictures Sciences would do.
The Academy did add a lot of members in response to the kerfuffle last year about no people of color getting nominated. We will see if that makes a difference. I am not holding my breath.
There were a lot of great and average pictures this year.
• I loved “Hidden Figures,” one of the films I think no one should miss. I can’t think of a better measure for best picture. The Academy will probably nominate it, but there is no way they will give it best picture. Octavia Spencer and Taraji Henson have a shot at supporting actress nominations, and I hope they do. I would vote for Ms. Spencer to win.
• I saw “Fences” a couple of times at Penumbra, and I think it was a masterpiece. Truly the Hamlet for post slavery black men in America. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis both deserve acting nominations, and the film deserves a best picture nomination. I think they will get it. I vote for Ms. Davis for Best Actress and I think she has a shot at Best Supporting Actress. At least I hope so.
• Wait for “La La Land” to be on free TV. It is a sweet love story, but Hollywood is just too much in love with itself. They love singing and dancing on an LA Freeway with the Hollywood hills in the background. They love beautiful people Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone. I didn’t love the movie.
• I did enjoy “Rogue 1.” What can I say? I love Star Wars. I wouldn’t give it an award, and neither should the academy.
• I could hardly sit through “Passengers.” Squirm-worthy. To say more would be spoilers. I hope it is ignored by the academy, but we will see.
• I could not sit through “Deadpool.” I am not a prude, but sheesh, I stopped watching it twice. It will probably get nominated.
• “Florence Foster Jenkins” deserves a nomination. No spoilers here, but it is both a comedy and an insightful look into the human condition. I also would support a nomination for Meryl Streep and would not be surprised to see one for Hugh Grant.
• “Hacksaw Ridge” is a good film, a good antiwar film, well done. Could get a Best Director nomination for Mel Gibson and a Best Actor nomination for Andrew Garfield.
• “Loving” was the surprise film for me. I knew next to nothing about the story and was glad to know it. I really cared about the characters. I hope they get some actor nominations. I would support a best picture nomination. I don’t think I am spoiling anything to tell you it is about the couple that brought the case to the U.S. Supreme Court that changed the interracial marriage laws around the country.
• “Twentieth Century Women” is aimed at the baby boomer generation. It was fun, but not an award winner. A good date night movie for us 60- to 70-year-olds.
• Same for “Jackie.” We all talked about what we remembered, and how much of that we thought was real or we agreed with, kind of fun. No awards from me.
• “Café Society” is another Woody Allen Film. If you like Woody Allen films, then you will like this one. I don’t. No one in his films ever seems to have to worry about the things that real people have to worry about, like how to pay the rent, or their cars not starting, or survival. They just obsess on their neuroses and their love and sex lives. I didn’t like it, but I fully expect it to get some nominations and possibly an award or two.
• I enjoyed “Paterson,” my daughter and my wife didn’t. I guess it comes down to whether you buy the relationship of the main couple or not. It’s about a poet named Paterson who drives a municipal bus in Paterson, N.J. Or possibly it’s about a bus driver in Paterson, N.J., named Paterson who is also a poet. He has a very sweet and loving relationship with his wife or a totally sexist phony artificial relationship. Anyway, see it or not. I liked it. Adam Driver is great, or maybe not.
• “Moonlight” was a sweet, disturbing and thought provoking film. It is about growing up, being different and finding support being damaged and surviving. In other words, pretty universal. I didn’t even notice it had an all black cast till I read about it later. I sure hope it gets some nominations.
• “Moana” is spectacular, should win this category, in fact should be a contender for the best picture category. Probably won’t be, though.
• “Trolls” was pretty good. My grandchildren liked it, I didn’t see all of it.
• “Kubo and the Two Strings” was another good film. Not award winning but worth a nomination.
• “Zootopia” is the favorite to win. A lot of fun, but not as good as “Moana” in my opinion but probably will get the Oscar.
Other films that are being talked about I haven’t been able to see. I just can’t see them all. I know, I know, what else do I have to do. Well SSP just doesn’t pay me enough to do this full time.
Anyway, these are ones I haven’t seen that I wish I had:
“Miss Sloane,” “The Lobster,” “War Dogs,” “Elle,” “Sing,” “Neruda,” “Nocturnal Animals,” “Hell or High Water,” “The Edge of Seventeen,” “Lion,” “My Life as a Zucchini,” “Sing Street”
By the time you read this, the nominations will have been announced. Watch as many as you can.