Wouldn’t you know it, just as Cream goes and posts its review this morning for fantasy film The Shape of Water, we then read it is up for an astonishingly high number of Oscar nominations.
But why would a film about romance between a woman and a monster scoop 13 nominations across the board, including nods for Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Acting?
Perhaps Hollywood could be sensing it’s all too soon to be celebrating films that have any semblance of traditional boy-meets-girl relationships, given that over the past six months it has had to contend with shame (due to all those allegations of sexual misconduct within the fraternity), paranoia (due to all those allegations of sexual misconduct within the fraternity), dissonance (due to all those allegations of sexual misconduct within the fraternity), and re-examination of itself (yes, due to all those allegations of sexual misconduct within the fraternity).
What better way, then, to shift the focus from tragic human relationships than to highlight a film about a romance between a woman and a beast. No one can post blame on a made-up monster, right? But then, you could say the film industry at large was taking a giant step backwards… After all, that ‘Beauty & The Beast’ bullshit is part of the reason it’s gotten itself into this misogynist mess.
Just to recap on the other films that have done quite well with nominations: horror flick Get Out is up for four awards (Best Picture, Actor, Director and Original Screenplay), heavy true crime flick with an unfortunate long name Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has earnt seven nominations (for all of the above plus Best Original Music Score and Best Editing), and war movie Dunkirk is also up for eight grabs of a golden statuette.
But it’s all the fuss that is being made over the films that didn’t garner nominations that has us worried, mainly because punters are fussing over films that, quite frankly, sucked. Here are a few of the movies people have been saying should have been nominated, and why we think they could have stayed on the cutting room floor…
Why everyone is making a big deal about Wonder Woman being “shut out” by the Academy, we’re not so sure. After all, when was the last time we saw a superhero/comic book film up for an Oscar? That stuff just isn’t serious or stuffy enough for them codgers up there in that old-school Academy. Superlative box office sales aside, Wonder Woman was pretty much your run-of-the-mill comic book action movie. Just because it was the first full-length live feature about a female member of the Justice League doesn’t mean we all have to patronise its subject matter. Which brings us to…
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
It’s a film about tennis. More specifically about a head-to-head match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in 1973. We’ll let that all sink in for a minute. A film about tennis. Billie Jean King. 1973. So much has happened in the world of sports and women’s empowerment over the last four decades that a movie that celebrates some racquet bearer’s conquest ain’t exactly going to get us excited. In the current social climate where women are speaking up loudly than before about the harassment they’ve had to endure for, well, forever, a story about a champion female tennis player in geeky specs just doesn’t quite cut the mustard in the WhoGivesAFuckery stakes. Battle of the Sexes was snubbed because it was a boring-as-batshit biopic, quite frankly. Again, just because a film has some kind of feminist bent to it, that doesn’t mean the Academy should all be ooh-ing and aah-ing over it.
THE DISASTER ARTIST
Don’t get us wrong, we loved this movie, despite all the hoopla surrounding James Franco’s alleged sexual misconduct since. Indeed, it is because of those allegations (from at least five women so far) that it comes as no surprise Franco isn’t up for any best actor or director awards. But then, beyond all the bad stuff, let’s see this film for what it really is: a pretty good movie about a really bad movie. And any decent director with a ton of money should be able to pull that one off quite easily – without the need of Academy praise.
So The Post hasn’t exactly missed out on major recognition so far. It is tipped for Best Picture and Best Actress (Meryl Streep) but many punters are wondering why Steven Spielberg hasn’t been nominated for Best Director and why Tom Hanks hasn’t nabbed a nod for Best Actor. Maybe the directing wasn’t all that, and maybe Hanks’ acting couldn’t compete with his sad’n’serious Forrest Gump / Philadelphia past? Or maybe, just maybe, some folks in the Academy voting board know something about these dudes that we don’t yet, and don’t want to be left with egg on their faces when the shit gets real.
So, it’s sure to be a strange one, the 2018 Oscars ceremony. Being the 90th Anniversary of the Academy Awards, it’s going to be a difficult milestone to celebrate for all those penguin-suited and frocked-up celebrities. Just watch how nervous most of the men will be in just about anything they say or do.
Heck, it might even be difficult for us mere viewers to watch. Cringe-worthy even. Lisa Andrews & Antonino Tati
The 90th Academy Awards will be held on March 4, 2018.