It’s that time of the year again. Oscar season! The only event on Earth that’s slightly less white than the Alabama republican primary voter base!
One note-this is the strongest field I’ve ever covered. Honestly, numbers 1-6 are all extremely worthy.
We have more ground to cover than Matt Damon in the Martian and only 180 seconds of your attention span, so let’s get on with it-the Bradmouth 2016 Three Minute Oscar Power Rankings:
Basically: The Captain from Apollo 13 has to defend a Soviet spy who is totes McGoats guilty, but just the most likable guy. Luckily a US pilot gets shot down and he gets to negotiate a swap.
For the Realz: Good movie. Spielberg is still a master with lighting and heartwarming tales. But some of the dialogue and characters felt less realistic than Nicholas Cage’s CGI’d abs from Ghostrider. One liners repeated into the ground…characters that were more caricatures in their disapproving glares and comments of Hanks super ethical attorney…this was just aiiight for me, dog.
Honorable Mention: The set designers. If I had escaped East Berlin and they took me to this set I’d probably pee my pants.
Basically: Messing with the children of Native Amercians, Grizzly Bears and bearded DiCaprios are equally bad ideas if you prefer for all of your skin to remain on your actual body.
For the Realz: So this movie gives people with easy stomachs acid reflux, people with acid reflux chest pains, and people with chest pains death. This movie is similar to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Birdman and Gravity in that there are amazing, suck you into their plight performances by the lead characters. Unfortunately for me the place plodded along like a donkey through tall mud.
During one of the many gorgeous establishing shots, I thought to myself, this is neat, like that Planet Earth series. That’s not a good sign for the pacing. And, brace yourself, DiCaprio has had much better material to work with than this. He basically just grunts and suffers for five hours. No way it’s a best actor winner. But hey, sometimes the academy just wants to right past wrongs (See-the Aviator).
Honorable Mention: As he always does, Tom Hardy stole the show, and should not lose the Oscar just cause he won’t show up for awards shows (but I bet he does-the academy needs to be loved at every encounter. Kind of like Kanye West that way.)
Basically: Will Hunting has mellowed out in his adulthood and must find a way to survive on and get off Mars.
For the Realz: Matt Damon has officially replaced Tom Hanks as the most likability actor going and proves it with Castaway in Space. The plot is tight, the wit is cheeky and you absolutely give three hells what happens to Mark Watney. Based on brilliant source material (it’s called a “book” for you non readers. Mom, I’m talking to you.), the movie sticks extremely close but does an even better job making us care out about everyone not names Mark Watney.
Honorable Mention: After Zero Dark Thirty and this, I’m starting to feel like Jessica Chastain should be president.
Basically: The Catholic Church covered up child rape and the Spotlight invest usage report unit put in front and center. (Sorry. This one will be mostly devoid of one jokes).
For the Realz: Though this movie was, at times, a little hard to follow with all the different names being thrown around, you will be astounded by the story of one of the greatest covers ups in the history of mankind, much less organized religion.
The film is a slow burn, with Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton ratcheting up the intensity and simmering outrage as each new horrific fact is uncovered. The only thing better would’ve been if they became Batman and Hulk at the end and administered vigilante justice. (Come on…I said mostly devoid…)
Honorable Mention: The Best Supporting Actor category is a killer this year, but Mark Ruffalo’s performance was holy crap awesome balls amazing.
Basically: Down on her luck Irish gal moves to the Big Apple in hopes of a better life.
For the Realz: Most of us have felt home sick at one point or another. It sucks, especially if you didn’t really dislike the place you were leaving. This movie takes the idea of homesickness, then adds three cups of romantic comedy and 2.5 cups of both tearjerking and uplifting drama.
Saoirse Ronan is finally done with crap movies like Hannah and the Host (also known as Stephanie Meyer Knows Adolescent Girls Will Pay for Anything She Writes) and does a 110% convincing job transforming her character from an uncertain homesick immigrant to a confident young woman who won’t be restrained by the binds of the past.
Honorable Mention: The scene at the dinner table with the other gals and quick-mouthed old lady are worth the price of admission alone, and the male lead, Emory Cohen, will be a name all of you know by this time in 2017.
Basically: Wall Street’s top dogs became rich off doing crazy things with crappy loans. Then we paid for them to keep their jobs once everyone defaulted on their mortgages.
For the Realz: Much like Spotlight, there will be moments in this film where you get confused. That’s just about the time they break the fourth wall and bring in Margot Robbie or Selena Gomez to explain sub prime loans or collateralized debt obligation.
Breaking the fourth wall aside, the beauty of this film is the frenetic energy it exudes. Cloaked in humor, disbelief and rage, the characters offer the most entertaining education on one of the most important and misunderstood events of our time. Oh. And we get to see an angry Michael Scott and A Beautiful Mind version of Bruce Wayne. Which is awesome.
Honorable Mention: Adam McKay, beginning with the end credits info graphics for The Other Guys and now with The Big Short, is quickly becoming one of the great commentators on the increasing economic class gap in this country. This movie should be mandated watching if you want to vote.
Basically: Haunted man with a sad past helps a she-warrior free radiation poisoned Hugh Hefner’s harem.
For the Realz: You will not think anything else while watching this movie. Not that email you forgot to return, not whether or not you need to pick up milk for the kids, not even if you remembered to pay your bookie. This movie, more a Franciso Goya painting with a hint of Baz Luhrmann than a film, has the best pacing of any movie in this category.
Campiness is avoided at all costs. Authenticity in performance, including Chalize Theron as the intimidating yet vulnerable Furiosa, is the mandate that every actor in this film holds each other accountable to. Is is a thriller that keeps the pedal to the metal? (God help me I couldn’t resist that one). Yes. But it’s also exquisitely acted, plotted and directed.
Honorable Mention: Another reason to love this movie-they hardly say anything. Their faces and actions tell the story. Kind of like how you can tell the intelligence level of people by watching them try to operate a Redbox kiosk.
Basically: Love transcends our changing perceptions of reality. (I knooooow that’s kind of heavy. Everything can’t be about the giggles folks. Okay…insert your favorite scatalogical joke here. Go on. I’m not doing it for you. But I’ll wait. Finished? Perfect!)
For the Realz: Partly a Hans Christian Andersen grim fairy tale. Partly the most basic story of how far we will go, or in this case come back, for the ones we love. This poster doesn’t do it justice.
A quiet insistent undertow whispers danger and worry at the onset of this dizzying film. You don’t even realize how much it has you until somewhere in the middle it becomes a shout and your carried out to a stormy ocean where you feel just as confused and panicked as the two lead protagonists.
An ethereal but subtle score, combined with the most honest of human reactions from those in the most terrible of circumstances, keeps you dialed in at every second. In a year of great films, this is the queen of them all. And Brie Larson is the queen of the…uhm…queen of…well she kicks major acting ass, to offer a very sophisticated opinion about it. Just watch her eyes. She commands the entire screen with just the eyes.
Honorable Mention: The young boy in this film gives a performance that is more genuine and complex than I’ve seen from any other actor or actress this year. I don’t think he is real.
Until next year (maybe Ex Machina can get a nomination then.)