Thursday, August 6, 2015

Oscar Watch: By The Sea (2015) and Stonewall (2015)

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another episode of my Oscar Watch. For this episode, I will go into two films that are even under my own radar, but potentially something to watch out for. The firsr film is By The Sea starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

As I said in my top 10 list of Oscar films that'll either score or miss the mark, I had my preconceptions about this one, worrying whether or not it would be a showcase for the two actors because not only does it star Hollywood's power couple, but they are both producing and Jolie is also writing and directing. So I don't know. I like how the trailer is shrouded in mystery, as well as the use of the song in the trailer. While we didn't see much of them, I also like how it co-stars Neils Arestrup from A Prophet, Laurence Anyways' Melvil Poupaud and Melanie Laurent aka Shosanna from Inglourious Basterds. All very talented actors. I am also a big fan of Pitt and Jolie. But because the material is created and financed by themselves, I worry that it'll come off as a vanity project.

The next film is Stonewall starring Jeremy Irvine, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Ron Perlman and directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, 2012, White House Down). This one is based on a true story about riots at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 caused by gays fighting against discrimination. When this trailer hit, it was hit with a lot of controversy because of how it was actually drag queens and gays of color that started the riots, but here, they have a white male protagonist that helped start the riots. I can understand why people are outraged because it seems like they are whitewashing history. But then again, this is nothing new in Hollywood. Audiences have always been hit with films that have "whitey saves all" narratives (The Help, The Blind Side, Dances With Wolves). It's not a narrative I am always fond of, I'll admit. But since when have filmmakers cared about staying true to real-life stories they tell? Regardless of its historical accuracy, I think the film looks very good. It is a complete stretch from Roland Emmerich's usual work and I appreciate that he is trying something different. Even if the inaccuracies do become distracting, it could still be a well-made film and maybe not get lost in the shuffle in the awards season. Especially since we have films like Carol, The Danish Girl, and Freeheld in the mix that are from bigger studios.

So what do you guys think? Do you think these are legitimate contenders in the Oscar race? Please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!