The 89th Academy Awards are tonight! After ploughing through the majority of Best Picture nominees in January, I slowed down considerably in February and it was a race to finish them all before today (I finished the last one only a an hour ago!). I feel like we were going going going in the month of February, so I am looking forward to relaxing with a glass of wine, popcorn, and some friends to watch the show tonight. Read on to see which movie I will be rooting for to win Best Picture this year.
Moonlight -- This was the first movie I watched this year that I thought, “This could be the one”. It was a beautiful story of a boy, Chiron, growing up in a rough neighborhood in Miami. The story zooms in on moments in his life that made him who he is as an adult. Much like real life, these points in time weren’t all obviously defining moments. Some of them were smaller, seemingly insignificant events. We all have experiences that don’t seem like much at the time, but end up being moored in our memories with the major milestones and guide us as we figure out who we are today. At times I wanted there to be a bigger, overarching plot point; a clearer direction of what the movie was about. But then I realized that it was a movie about a person’s life, and that sometimes a person’s life doesn’t have a clear direction or point. Sometimes the purpose of our lives is to just live them the best way we know how.
Would I watch it again: yes
Fences -- First I want to mention that I would be surprised if either Viola Davis or Denzel Washington didn’t win for their stellar performances in Fences. I found myself identifying with both of their characters, and I am not sure I have ever identified with both of the lead characters before. It takes place in the 50’s in Pittsburgh and showed a glimpse into the relationship and family of Troy and Rose Maxon. The story interested me, however I was distracted by the fact that there was only one scene location in the whole movie, their house. It is adapted from a play and it was filmed in a way that reflected that. If an event occurred outside of the house, we didn’t see it. We only learned about it when the characters were back at the house talking about it. This way of shooting the movie combined with the play-like dialogue of long monologues made mostly by Troy, made the movie feel very claustrophobic to me. I wanted to explore more of the world they lived in. I wanted to see the events that they were describing. It was a unique viewing experience, but I think I would have preferred seeing it on a stage as an actual play.
Would I watch it again: no
Hacksaw Ridge -- Honestly, I was a bit surprised when I saw that Hacksaw Ridge had been nominated for an Oscar. The trailer looked like just another movie about war and it didn’t seem special to me. And while the heroic story of Desmond Doss sounded incredible, I didn’t have any particular desire to see it unfold in a movie directed by Mel Gibson. So naturally I was also surprised when I found myself actually enjoying the movie. At times I thought Gibson went over the top with the gore, but Doss’ story was so astounding that it made up for seeing one too many limbs blown off. The movie included so many of Doss’ heroic moments that I would never have thought that they edited out a bunch of his heroism, but they did. After watching the movie I read up on Doss and was left even more amazed at his courage and selflessness.
Would I watch it again: No, but only because it was too gory for me.
Hell or High Water -- A gritty and savage story of two brothers trying to right the wrongs done to their family by richer and more powerful people. It had moments of tenderness, some humor and just the right amount of action and gore to be believable but not over the top. Stories that make me wonder how far I might bend the law to help myself and my family have always intrigued me and this one had me doing just that. On top of the “makes you wonder” story line, I was also taken by how beautifully the film was shot. Vast fields, endless horizons, dusty roads connecting run-down towns. Everything about the cinematography put me right inside a dirty, sweaty summer in down-on-its-luck West Texas. Hell or High Water made me think for a minute about whether my initial choice for Best Picture was right. In the end, I decided it was, but this movie was a very close second.
Would I watch it again: Hell yes!
And now for the moment I think only my sister-in-law has been waiting for (haha), the winner of Best Picture (according to me) goes to…..drum roll please….Arrival! It was challenging and thought provoking and I still find myself thinking about it weeks after I watched it.
Who do you think will win Best Picture?