Each year before the Academy Awards ceremony begins, FG sits down with an anonymous Academy member to get their (mostly) unredacted opinion on this year’s contest.
Low Dog here, enjoying another beautiful California Sunday morning with our Senior Editor and resident Oscar voter, Troll Prince The White at his (or her) favorite restaurant, Il Forno’s in Santa Monica.
Troll Prince The White — what are your picks this year and what are your thoughts on the movies and artists nominated as well as the industry in general? Take it away:
So what do we have this year?
Molested Abroad, White People Are Racist, Republicans Are Bad Because Nixon And Stuff, Honey I Fucked A Fish, English Guys Can Act… yeah, seems like a pretty routine year as far as what we are supposed to like and vote for.
Should I just change my nom de plume to “Troll Prince The Woke” and get it over with?
Can we for one year just stop with the signalling? And stop worrying about what we should nominate because of this year’s cause or last year’s grievance and just nominate the movies that tell the best stories in the best ways? Just my personal aside there.
How Americans keep going to the cinema is beyond me. Almost everything my colleagues put out these days seems to spit in the face the average nuclear family with 2.2 kids.
[name withheld by FG legal department] actually did spit in my face at The Roof On Wilshire last week.
I asked if his wife was transitioning. It was an honest question. Have you seen [name of wife withheld by FG] lately? That kind of bulk is not the result of yoga, let me tell you. Or this new thing : sleep-eating. No. it’s intentional, believe it.
I think I digressed right into a lawsuit. All right then — the movies:
Isn’t anyone concerned about this Call Me By Your Name? I haven’t seen it but I’m under the impression that this is a movie about the gay seduction of a minor on a field trip? What kind of message are we sending after #metoo and Time’s Up?
Grabbing adult pussy is bad but grabbing teenage wand is award-worthy?
And how about the fish-sex movie? What is this supposed to be an allegory for? Interracial dating? How very 1960s of you. Guess What We’re Having For Dinner?
Or do they really want us to get into the aquarium or spend a little more time around the barn? What do you think the takeaway is here?
Sorry, Guillermo, but if you want me to look at my pets that way I’m going to need your entire warehouse of $400 tequila.
Speaking of drugs and alcohol, is anyone more lost than Paul Thomas Anderson? Did he get sober or something? He used to make movies where every scene crackled, every scene was interesting, weird, edgy, they had panache.
Now everything just lays there like an old, wet dog that I’m still not interested in having sex with, Mr. Del Toro!
Did he get married? Yeah, well that explains a lot… don’t do it, fellas, it’s a creative death sentence.
Lady Bird. My god, Lady Bird. I was never a 17 year-old girl but I once was a teenager and if my life was as boring as this movie I think I would have considered suicide too. I wish this whole film was a five-minute montage. And how is it that Greta Gerwig didn’t have to blow some greasy, Producer-Pig to get her movie made?
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a decent little film. Nowhere even close to the triumph of In Bruges but still something that at least I could enjoy without being utterly aware of — and annoyed by — what the director was trying to tell me.
We used to have a thing called subtlety in this business but it seems that’s gone the way of the Dodo bird. I mean, just look at the reaction to Three Billboards from the same people who think Wakanda is in the CIA Fact Book.
They do realize this is a movie, right? And that in movies there are sometimes characters who behave badly, right?
The selectively Literalist approach to art, the world and reality is beginning to border on the dangerous. The new gulag is an imposed, artificial social pariahship and these people are the new commissars.
But in terms of the sheer quality of a film, what are we really talking about here?
Dunkirk it the only entry that’s even worthy of discussion. The lack of any central character, the total absence of dialogue for entire stretches of the movie, the switching and compressed timelines, that damn soundtrack. It’s so much more visceral than narrative.
Nolan came close to inventing a new form of filmmaking here.
I’ve seen the film five times in the theater and even though it looked like shit on digital projection it was the same experience every time.
This is a sheer stress-inducing, fear-factory.
And It would have been a sixth time but the person I was seeing the movie with had to leave about an hour in because of what can only be described as some form of PTSD.
It’s that good.
- 3 Billboards
- Phantom Thread
- Lady Bird
- Darkest Hour
If this is the Year of #Stonk Woman then where is the ambassador?
Seriously, where are the women nominees?
Are you telling me Get Out was a better directing job than Landline? Or that this animal husbandry documentary is as important to the people I work with as the disgracefully dishonest Detroit?
The lack of female representation in this year — of all years — is very, very strange.
Obviously, it’s Nolan here on my ballot. The guy is on a beach with an IMAX camera, he’s in a boat with an IMAX camera, he’s in a plane with an IMAX camera. I imagine he takes dick pics with an IMAX camera.
Where does the man even go from here? A western? The Lindbergh kidnapping? The Kronstadt rebellion? Another Batman movie?
I hope so, The Dark Knight Rises is the best big Hollywood movie of the last 20 years.
My Winner: Christopher Nolan
What is Denzel Washington doing in this movie Jeremiah Johnson, Esquire? Who is he supposed to be? Am I supposed to be interested? I turned it off after a half hour.
He just needs to stop doing this. He doesn’t have the range for it and they are never going to give you another Oscar, D. They need new blood. Get into some big action or sci-fi pictures. Make the people happy. People in China think you are handsome.
Danny [Daniel Day Lewis] is fine as always but internalized frustration is easy. I’m doing that all the time, I’m actually doing it right now. See? Easy. This is not his last acting job. No way he goes off and becomes a veterinarian or something.
Of course, Oldman. It would really be something if he won considering what he said about those who must never be mentioned in this town.
My Winner: Gary Oldman
There was this crazy son-of-a-bitch who used to hang out here who thought Sally Hawkins was the most beautiful woman in the world. Would talk about her non-stop. Every time you’d see this nudnik he was putting her on a pedestal like she’s Ava Gardener or someone. Like I said — “crazy”.
To me that would be like being attracted to Tanya from An American Tail… again, we’re back to this animal shit… fucking Del Toro put all this stuff in our brains.
Despite her plain look, Sally is a very talented actress and this wasn’t even her best picture this year; that would be Maudie, but the politics of that movie prevent it from even being spoken about.
Margo Robbie? Are we on the level here?
You can make a Meryl Streep joke now.
My Winner: Sally Hawkins
Best Supporting Actor
I’d like to see Rockwell win here. He’s an interesting guy who makes some unique choices with his career. He’s also some kind of godling to man-child fanboys, which I can’t figure out for the life of me. To me he kind of looks like a puzzled beaver. But that’s not why he loses here. Again, dummy… it’s the politics. They really hate this movie.
I say Dafoe wins this. He’s a lot like Rockwell, a smoldering intellect attached to a frightful visage. Wait, is there a visible minority nominated? No? What the hell is going on here? Then Dafoe should win this. The Florida Project is about poor people. We love them. From a comfortable distance.
My Winner: Sam Rockwell
Best Supporting Actress
I haven’t seen any of these performances all the way through.
Allison Janney was one of the main reasons I turned I, Tonya off after about 40 minutes.
It’s a one-note, “Mommy Dearest” act that had me simultaneously laughing and cringing at the way it portrays working-class people in this country. Again — Flyover America, this is how they see you… where are the pitchforks and torches?
Despite how unrepentantly exploitative Mudbound is, I’d like to see Mary J. Blige win this. She was my shit back in the day, youngin’! Remember when they used to just sing love ballads and it wasn’t this “Bling, Bling, Bang, Bang, Suck, Fuck” nonsense? Yeah, me either.
My Winner: Mary J. Blige
Best Original Screenplay
I hate everything here.
It looks like this year’s “Undeserving of a 90% TomatoMeter Score” list.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a decent enough script with one of the most genuinely shocking cinematic moments I can recall in the last 10 years. But to say it deserves an Oscar just shows us what kind of thinking is propelling the nominating process.
A completely fresh take on the medium like Dunkirk doesn’t get a nod but a woman masturbating to a Sea World exhibit is at the top everyone’s list?
How about at least nominating Rian Johnson for The Last Jedi? The way he alienated the fanbase and killed a 40-year-old franchise was truly avant garde. Real punk rock stuff there. Maximum performance art.
What? Please, it had to be intentional. No one is accidentally that stupid.
My Winner: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Adapted Screenplay
I have no idea why Logan is here and not in Original Screenplay? Because it was based on a comic book character?
The first 30 minutes of that movie has some of the best natural character stuff this year. It’s just a guy that is tired of all the bullshit that comes with being responsible. I could watch Logan, Prof X and Caliban not getting along all day.
Nothing else here jumps out at me. I gave Molly’s Game about an hour. Not a bad movie at all but once the character makes that “I started taking drugs” confessional the This-Is-A-Whitewash Alarm Bells started ringing. Whatever happened to movies where people actually enjoyed doing drugs? You know, more like real life?
My Winner: Logan
Best Foreign Language Film
I think The Square has a lot to say about how we frame things is almost more important than what we are framing. Especially in our business.
And the way A Fantastic Woman explored the intersection of — Ha! I’m just goofing.
I haven’t seen any of these movies. Read the street signs, pal. This is America. This is Hollywood. I don’t give a damn about the tracking shot in Sheltering Sky.
I guess I’m rooting for the one from Russia — Loveless — because everyone in the free world seems to be rooting against Russia these days. The 1980s called: They want their Academy Awards nomination process back.
My Winner: Loveless
I wish I had seen Dunkirk in the correct 70mm IMAX format and not on these shitty LieMax screens they have in my neighborhood. I feel like I’m really missing what was captured on film. Some of those perspective shots of the beach must be dazzling to see the way they are supposed to be seen.
So by default, Deakins gets this one. A lot of people like Bladerunner 2049 and a lot of people are frustrated with it, but it’s certainly gorgeous to look at.
My Winner: Roger A. Deakins
Best Production Design
I don’t think there was a more fully realized world this year than what we were privileged to see in Bladerunner 2049.
Comparisons to Bladerunner are unfair to me. We live in a completely different era, computers have ruined everything because you can do anything — or at least foolishly try to do anything. But the immersion is still there, this is a real place and you are visiting it.
Dunkirk is great but we’ve seen this kind of stuff in countless war films. And you could arguably say we say it done better in a recent film where the Evacuation was merely a backdrop. Now that is an incredible tracking shot.
Best Costume Design
I suppose we are all going to give this to The Phantom Thread because it’s about making costumes. It’s all very meta. We love that. It makes us look smart. Mainly to each other, but you get the idea.
For my money though, I’m going to have to go with Bladerunner 2049 all the way. That white dress on the new robot woman [Sylvia Hoeks] is… well… put it this way: my reaction in the theater was a study in anatomical hydrodynamics.
My Winner: Bladerunner 2049
Best Film Editing
Here we are again back at the altar of Nolan. Dunkirk, Dunkirk, Dunkirk. Can’t say enough about how this movie hits you with some much chaos while simultaneously holding you enraptured with anticipation.
Reminds me a lot of my second marriage to the same woman.
My Winner: Dunkirk
Best Visual Effects
Hands down, The Last Jedi wins this for making the cornerstone character of the franchise literally disappear into thin air. And then the box office returns also peaced-out.
Any connection here? Or do I just hate women, Jar Jar?
All around, just amazing work from everyone there at Lucasfilm.
Winner: The Last Jedi
Best Animated Feature
Build a fucking wall. Next issue.