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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

For the record, that’s not some clever title from me, that’s just the title of the movie. And, to be fair, why wouldn’t it be? That’s what the movie’s about: three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. Maybe it’s because lately I’ve only been seeing superhero movies, which I’ve been harshly informed are “the avatar of the dearth of creativity in American capitalism” (whatever that means), but Three Billboards really surprised me… in that it wasn’t called “Ebbing, Missouri: Age of Billboards” or “Billboard Battle.”

All jokes aside, I liked this movie and I’m surprised that I did because the title is just one of a couple things that make Three Billboards seem a little “Oscar-baity” on first glance. It’s small, it’s gritty and it tackles some extremely adult themes.

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Preview: A Fantastic Woman

Directed by Sebastián Lelio, A Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantástica) depicts an enigmatic and spirited transgender heroine, Marina, who unexpectedly lost her 20-years-older lover Orlando, and recounts the struggles and the precarious circumstances that she faced after Orlando’s sudden death.

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Who Would Win a Hypothetical Best Scene Oscar?

The Oscars: an award show that expanded the number of Best Picture nominees after it snubbed a well-made, entertaining action movie, and yet still refuses to nominate well-made, entertaining action movies. I understand The Academy’s struggle, though. There are a lot of great films each year that simply need to get nominated, such as… The Flashily-Directed Movie About Actors Pursuing Their Dreams (La La Land)

The Uplifting Movie About Black People (Hidden Figures)

The Nuanced Movie About Black People (Moonlight)

The Movie That’s Not Nearly Pretentious Enough To Even Have A Chance (Hell or High Water)

The Movie About Everyday White People Wallowing In Their Own Despair (Manchester By The Sea)

The Movie Nobody Has Heard Of And Even Fewer People Have Actually Seen (Lion)

The Acting Showcase (Fences)

The War Movie (Hacksaw Ridge)

The Beautiful, Thought-Provoking Movie About Giant Squids Spraying Ink At The Actress From Enchanted Inside a 1000-Foot-Tall Hovering Black Potato (Arrival)

 

The Oscars could use a shake-up. At this time last year, I wrote an article introducing a hypothetical Oscar for Best Scene, which would allow The Academy to nominate movies that don’t exactly fit the Best Picture mold, but still have entertaining, technically impressive or inspired sequences.

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GOULDTHORPE | You Won’t Be Finding Dory at the Oscars this Year. What Does That Mean For Pixar?

After I published my article last week, I received comments from people around me: “Hey, you didn’t mention Finding Dory! What gives?” Well, I left Finding Dory off my list to talk about it more in-depth because the Academy gave it no nominations this year. Only four Pixar movies have ever been totally ignored by the Academy Awards; all of them have been in the past five years. Those films are Cars 2, Monsters University, The Good Dinosaur, and Finding Dory. See a pattern here?

Photo Courtesy of RKO Productions

WATCH ME IF YOU CAN | 25 Things You Probably didn’t Know about Citizen Kane

Even though Citizen Kane is turning 75 this year and I LOVE keeping up with the number of things on the list with their age, I realize that 75 things about Kane would be lowkey obsessive, even for me. But how else could I honor the best film of the twentieth century (and perhaps all time) without going a bit berserk? This one’s for all the Orson Welles fangirls out there. I feel your love. It won the 1941 Oscars for Best Writing for an Original Screenplay, but was nominated for ninth overall.

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You Better Make Room for This Film

I went into Room knowing nothing other than that a mother and son are stuck in a room. For some reason, I was under the incorrect impression that this was a sci-fi plot, derivative of a Twilight Zone episode I had seen years ago. I don’t think this counts as a spoiler, but Room is very much grounded in a terrifying reality. Told from the five-year-old Jack’s (Jacob Tremblay) perspective, Room tells the story of Jack and his mother, ‘Ma,’ aka Joy (Brie Larson), who are prisoners in a tiny tool shed. Joy had been kidnapped seven years earlier, at the age of seventeen.

Guest Room | Some Last Minute Best Picture Reflections

If you were to ask last November which movie was poised to win the 2015 Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards, a strong majority would subscribe to Carol as first-in-line for Oscar gold, as Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara crafted a dynamically real and voyeuristic affair. The queer-centric film was heavily lauded by critics not only for those performances, but also for its message that is breaking ground for gay rights and equality. As a result, I was left scrambling for clarification when the nominees were announced and Carol was surprisingly omitted. Thus, the question remains: who will win the ultimate award of Best Picture? If the past is indicative of anything, it is that unpredictability is inevitable.

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Guest Room | Who Would Win a Hypothetical Best Scene Award?

There’s almost nothing I love more in life than hating to love — to hate — to love to hate The Oscars. There’s nothing quite like hundreds of old rich white guys dressing up in tuxedos to award themselves little gold statues. When you consider what the Oscars are about — ranking our favorite movies of the year — they should really be a lot more fun. So let’s drop some boring categories (I’m sure everyone would be absolutely devastated if we got rid of Best Song and Best Makeup and Hairstyling), and add some fun ones, like Best Practical Effects, Best Low Budget Picture and Does Your Picture Have a Blind Man Wearing Red Pajamas and Playing a Flame-Throwing Electric Guitar on Top of a Moving Truck? I think the most interesting new category would be Best Scene.

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Guest Room | Oscar Bait Doesn’t Stick

In 2006, a film called Crash took the Oscar for Best Picture home, prompting a surge of outrage. It is now best remembered as the punch line of jokes about unwarranted Oscar-winners and is perhaps more reviled than is necessary. Is it a bad film? No. But while it is only somewhat clunky and rough around the edges, it is not — in my humble opinion — superior to Capote, Brokeback Mountain, A History of Violence and even Cinderella Man.