Friday, January 8, 2016

Oscars 2016: How About This CCRRAAZZYY Best Picture Race?

This awards season is absolutely bonkers. But you know what?

I dig it.

I love how there is no clear frontrunner for Best Picture and we have some interesting and rather eclectic contenders. Even if critics are awarding their Best Picture prizes to Spotlight, in hindsight, it's not surprising. It's journalists awarding a movie about journalists. Big shock. If wins like Birdman over Boyhood and The King's Speech over The Social Network have taught us anything: Critics are not voters. Also, Spotlight has been underpeforming with the guilds. So, I wouldn't bet on Spotlight winning or taking it to the bank either.

Now onto the other contenders. As I mentioned, it's a pretty unique and diverse mix. Even some of the male-centered genre films, like Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, Sicario, and Ex Machina have rich, complex roles for women. They even have ethnically diverse casts as well. There is also Straight Outta Compton which is a biopic with a black-centered cast that was directed by a black man, F. Gary Gray, and even produced by the likes of Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. Also, Brooklyn is a female-centered period romance produced by women. In other words, we have some BP options with diversity in front of and behind the camera which is always nice.

The Big Short has hit almost every important guild and even though it deals with hefty subject matter, something movies that get nominated often do, it still has a comical bro-y feel. We also have a Western with The Revenant and Room, a kidnapping drama with a strong female lead performance by Brie Larson. Honestly, the only film in the mix for Best Picture that feels like typical catnip is Bridge of Spies and it wouldn't surprise me if voters went crazy for that. If they did, then hey, they could do worse (*cough*Joy*cough*Trumbo*cough*).

But I'm hoping that we see an eclectic category that mirrors the kind that would occur in the good old 70's. For example, in 1973, they had a coming-of-age hangout movie (American Graffiti), a foreign language film (Cries and Whispers), a horror film (The Exorcist), a crime caper (The Sting), and a British romantic comedy (A Touch of Class). Let's hope that come Thursday, they'll bring us back to the glory days of when a movie like The Exorcist could represent the best of cinema in its year.

I don't know what my final predictions for Best Picture, or the rest of the major categories are, yet I absolutely love that. I am still nervous about what is to come on Thursday. But let's hope for the best and prepare for the worst.