Everything is ready for the performance to begin at the great Hollywood theater. The actors already know their roles for a play without a playwright that will probably last longer than expected and will have, as always, ups and downs in rhythm, but also laughter, emotion, tears, music, bad jokes, excessively long thanks and, we hope, some surprise. It only remains to say: ‘a lot of shit’. But first, let’s meet the protagonists.
Let’s be clear: the power of the dog It is the big favorite to win the Oscar for best film. Her twelve nominations, the bookmakers and her impeccable career in the awards season say so. The film by Jane Campion, the first woman to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes and which has two nominations for best director at the Hollywood Academy Awards, has won the Golden Globes and the Baftas and triumphed in Venice with the Silver Lion. But (and there is always a but to liven up the sarao) we are not facing the prototype of the film that usually seduces academics, accustomed to rewarding optimistic works with a message. the power of the dog it is, instead, a film of overwhelming intensity that delves into the abyssal depths of the human soul thanks to the subtlety of the staging, suggestive and sharp dialogues and brilliant performances. The director, who returns to the cinema after a very long 12-year absence, turns the western upside down creating a kind of psychological melodrama that speaks to us of masculinity as a prison and focuses on the social traumas of pedophilia. A film that makes no concessions.
The Asian brand is fashionable in Hollywood: the South Korean Bong Joon-ho triumphed with parasites in 2020 and the Chinese Chloé Zhao took the alternative last year with Nomadland, both winning the Oscars for best film and director. Now it’s Japanese Ryusuke Hamaguchi who opts for those same awards for Drive My Car, although with a different bet. This is a genuine auteur film, of humble production and feature length (close to three hours), which explores through silence and introspection the relationship between a renowned theater director involved in the staging of Uncle Vanya of Chekhov and his solicitous and taciturn chauffeur. A story full of mystery and sensitivity that probably has more options in the categories of foreign film and adapted screenplay (part of a story by Murakami).
At the beginning of the century Ridley Scott and Peter Jackson swept the Oscars with two blockbusters with author’s seal: Gladiator and The Lord of the rings, respectively. Since then, this formula that directors such as Christopher Nolan, Alfonso Cuarón or George Miller have practiced has not been very successful at the Hollywood Academy Awards. Dune is the latest example of this lineage, and one of the most successful in recent cinema. Jodorowski’s dream, which became an unspeakable nightmare in the hands of David Lynch, has been clearly materialized by Denis Villeneuve in a fast-paced adaptation of Frank Hebert’s convoluted novel. The film dazzles in a visual section of extreme coldness and impossible scales and is expected to win several technical awards. In any case, it already has the recognition of the public: it is the film that has raised the most of all the nominees (more than 400 million worldwide).
Despite the collapse of West Side Story at the box office, which has been far from reaching the 100 million it had cost, steven spielberg appears once again in some awards that historically have not treated him very well (he has only won the statuette for best film on one occasion, with Schindler’s List). However, one fact demonstrates his unparalleled teaching in Hollywood: he is the only filmmaker nominated for best director in six different decades. The Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins version of 1961 already won ten Oscars and there was probably no need to make a remake of a work that was already perfect. But Spielberg has been able to reinvent each issue, deploying all of his instincts for a sense of visual rhythm, for fluidity of movement, and for squeezing emotion out of scenes. The film is, finally, a joy that vindicates the Latin culture in the United States.
CODAby Sian Heder, has gone unnoticed in Spain (137,000 euros at the box office), but some in Hollywood see it as having the potential to cause a surprise and snatch the grand prize of the night from the power of the dog. Of course, it is a more Oscar-worthy film than Jane Campion’s (in the same sense that it was in 2018 the musty and inoffensive Green Book compared to deeper and more stylized films like Roma or The favourite), which takes advantage of all the formulas to which it adheres: indie cinema, coming of agethe drama about the disabled, the musical film, the high school comedy… The result is a feel good movie of strange visual texture in which deaf actors shine, especially a hilarious Troy Kotsur who could win the award for best supporting actor. remake of the French the belier family (Éric Lartigau, 2015), the film swept Sundance in 2020.
For the first time in the history of the Oscars, a film is eligible for the awards for best animated film, best documentary and best foreign film. A major achievement of flee, by Danish director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, a renowned documentary filmmaker who was forced to use animation when his friend Amin, an Afghan refugee, refused to appear on screen to tell the story of his life. Structured as a long flash back Based on a conversation between the director and the protagonist, and built with archival material and cartoons of two styles – clear line for events and expressionist for feelings – the film addresses both the global tragedy of the refugees and the drama intimate of a sensitive boy doomed to the worst living conditions. A worthy successor to Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008) or the lost image (Rithy Panh, 2013).
Having ten nominees for best picture and only five candidates for best director causes notable absences in the latter category. For example, that of Denis Villeneuve, despite the ten statuette options of dunesor that of Guillermo del Toro –for the dark not to go from the alley of lost souls–, which could be assumed to be more deeply rooted among the preferences of academics after its triumph in 2017 with the shape of water. Opting for the award are Jane Campion, Ryüsuke Hamaguchi, Steven Spielberg, Paul Thomas Anderson and Kenneth Brangh. The latter could well conquer metal with the emotional Belfast, another good-feeling film in which the director travels back to his childhood to narrate, to the rhythm of Van Morrison, the loss of a child’s innocence in the midst of clashes between Catholics and Protestants in the capital of Northern Ireland in the 1960s Although it would be fair for Paul Thomas Anderson, clearly the most brilliant American director of his generation, to receive his first Oscar once and for all. Reasons are not lacking to reward Licorice Pizzaa warm and somewhat bizarre coming of age in 70’s California.
the new bosses
Despite the fact that he has been trying hard for more than five years, Netflix The Oscar for best film has so far eluded him. They have produced David Fincher (Mank), Aaron Sorkin (The trial of the Chicago 7), Noah Baumbach (story of a marriage), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman) or Alfonso Cuarón (Rome) and they all stood at the gates. Will the flute sound this year with Jane Campion and the power of the dog? In any case, Reed Hastings’ company, perhaps benefited by the pandemic, is the studio with the most nominations, 27, followed by Warner Bros., which has achieved 16 for two films that were released simultaneously in theaters in the US. and on HBO Max: dunes and king richards (both opt for the award for best film). For its part, AppleTV has six nominations (three for CODA and three for Macbeth) and amazonfour (three for Being the Ricardos and one for The King of Zamunda). In total, 37 nominations for the streaming. Welcome to the age of platforms.
Adam Mckay’s satirical vision of American politics and society has managed to enter the race for the Oscar for best film on three occasions, with the big bet (2015), with the vice of power (2018) and now with don’t look up. This work, with a cast of bells commanded by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, slipped into the conversation of many family meals this Christmas thanks to a clever premiere by Netflix on its platform on December 24. Of course, many hated it and others were carried away by this disheartening vision of a present marked by the populism of important political leaders and by the distortion of reality (and of the truth) that we find in the media and on the networks. social. Irregular, excessively long, sometimes tiresome, but with great moments, this story about two astronomers who try to warn of the end of the world is as funny as it is terrifying.
The Oscars have decided to create a prize for those films that succeed at the box office but are not usually to the taste of academics. The initiative is called #OscarsFanFavorite and is associated with an award that will be physically delivered during the ceremony and voted on by the public via Twitter. After sweeping theaters – more than 1,700 million dollars worldwide, placing sixth in the ranking historical-, Spider-man: No Way Home part as a clear favourite. Disney campaigned the film to get into the major categories with little success, only getting a mention in special effects. And it is that, although the public adores them, this new episode of the spider-man is nothing more than a new twist to the magic formula of the Marvel universe.