The Oscars 2018 is going to take place on the 4th of March. And while there is a tendency to write the event off as silly and superfluous there is a definite appeal to it. It is the closest thing film fans have to a big game night like Superbowl or a soccer VM finale. It allows us to root on our favorites, chastise the jury for picking the wrong films and make bold predictions. It is not so much a celebration of the very best the film industry had to offer in the past year, but more a reaffirmation of what sells these days.
With that, the 2018 Oscars looks rather promising. Unlike for the past many years the Best film category does not have one clear ‘right answer’.
The nine nominees are Guillermo del Toro’s fantastical Cold War romance The Shape of Water, the satirical drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Steven Spielberg’s The Post, Daniel Day-Lewis’ reportedly last film The Phantom Thread, the gay summer romance Call Me by Your Name, the coming-of-age story Lady Bird, the horror-film about systemic racism in America Get Out, the war-film Dunkirk and the bio-pic about Winston Churchill, The Darkest Hour.
That is a lot of different genres and topics represented at the top of the race. We could start cherry picking a few favorites, but like I said this year does not really have any one film, that adheres to all of the Oscar-juries’ sentiments in the way that La La Land and Moonlight did last year. The closest we have is The Shape of Water, which has been nominated in 13 categories including the most important ones namely Best Director, Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography and Film. I would love to see del Toro win and it is an excellent, original and heartwarming film, but it would definitely be a safe choice over some of the other, more interesting candidates.
Two of those candidates have gained a lot of traction due to the directors and the political and cultural climate of today. Lady Bird and Get Out are both genre-films and while coming-of-age stories has been in the race for best picture many times before, just as recently as Boyhood, it is incredibly rare to see a horror-film in the mix. But Jordan Peele’s Get Out is not just any old horror flick. It uses the genre to give a unique account on the black experience in America and condemns the sort of liberal white Americans who claim to be progressive, but still think of black people as a commodity.
Lady Bird isn’t as politically volatile, but it does have something as rare as a female director behind the camera. Director Greta Gerwig is no stranger to making warm, flawed, relatable characters. While she didn’t direct the film Frances Ha, the lovable main character in that film is very much her brainchild and Lady Bird shows the same love towards its characters.
Perhaps more than that it’s great to see both Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig being nominated for Best director. Not only are they both debuting with their respective films, not only do they represent groups that in the past have been ignored by the Oscar-jury – this is only the fourth black director and fifth female to ever be nominated – but more importantly their films show us bold new ways in which classical genre-films can be told.
There are a couple of other smaller nominations that made me burst with joy. The heist-movie Baby Driver is not exactly my favorite Edgar Wright-film, but it is great to see it getting its dues in editing and sound editing categories, since that basically is the whole movie. It is also great to see the neo-noir inspired superhero-film Logan get a nomination for Best adapted screenplay. Superhero-films are a big deal and awarding one of them outside of the technical categories is just plain great to see.
And of course, I would not be a proper Dane if I did not highlight the Best foreign language film in which the Swedish The Square is nominated. It is a brilliant piece of satire about political correctness and the modern man, the likes of which we just do not see anymore. More importantly the actor behind the main character is Danish Claes Bang who even in his home country is not really known outside of a few television series. Here he perfectly imbodies the hypocritical, progressive artist-type with an amazing deadpan sense of humor.
That does not mean there is not a few titles that feel unfairly left out. Because there always is.
For my money, it is incredibly sad to see both Detroit and The Beguiled get completely left out of the conversation. Detroit is a historical recount of the cops who killed and maimed a group of women and black men under the Detroit riots in ’67. In the hands of Katheryn Bigelow, she manages to make one of the most effective, downright terrifying horror-films I have ever watched. Its exclusion is especially weird because Bigelow is one of the few female directors, who has had sway at the Oscars in the past. She did after all make the 2009 Oscar-winner Hurt Locker.
I talked extensively about The Beguiled already in my Best of 2017-article, but I just want to reiterate how unique and god damn beautiful that film is. Like how is it not at least nominated in Best costume design? Absolute insanity!
But in general, the Oscars 2018 gives us a solid, varied and positive slice of what the Hollywood-industry looks like and what potential it has going forward. There are not any truly bad apples among the nominees either. Like hey, remember how Suicide Squad not only was nominated but WON an award last year? Remember how Mel Gibson’s awful World War 2 film Hacksaw Ridge was shoved in our faces only because the jury loves a good comeback story? Yeah, this year does not have that level of atrocious filmmaking on display.
2018年奧斯卡頒獎典禮將於3月4日舉行 – 即使總是有種偏向將這個節目寫得既膚淺又無聊，對於電影迷來說這個盛事卻跟足球的世界盃和橄欖球的超級盃一樣舉足輕重。它讓我們對於喜愛的電影更加忠誠、對於評審的選擇可以恣意批評及對得獎電影作大膽假設。它並不是慶祝現今電影業的傑出作品；更多於證實有什麼電影確實大賣。
這九套電影都代表了不同的題目和體裁。我們大可以選幾套喜歡的，不過正如我所說，今年沒有一套電影像去年《星聲夢裡人》和《月亮喜歡藍》一樣直擊評判的心。呼聲最高的是《忘形水》，獲得包括最佳導演、最佳編劇、最佳剪接、最佳攝影和最佳電影等13個獎項的提名。我非常樂見德爾•托羅得獎 – 那確實是一套非常出色和暖心的原創電影，相比起其他電影，這同時也是一個贏面較大的選擇。
或者更令人驚喜的是佐敦•皮爾跟葛塔•潔薇雙雙入選最佳導演 – 不單單是因為他們首次執導就獲提名，更是因為他們分別代表過往被奧斯卡評審所忽略的群組：佐敦•皮爾是史上第四位被提名的黑人導演；葛塔•潔薇則是葛塔•潔薇史上第五位被提名的女導演。更重要的是，他們的電影揭示了拍攝體裁電影的嶄新手法。
同樣幾套獲得較小獎項提名的電影讓我喜悅萬分：搶劫故事《寶貝神車手》雖然我並不是最喜歡這套由埃德加•萊特的電影，但是我卻很樂見它被提名最佳剪接和最佳音效 – 這基本就是構成這套電影的兩大元素。同時新暗黑類英雄電影《盧根》獲得最佳改編劇本提名。超級英雄電影從來都是大熱門，看到它獲得除技術類獎項外的提名真是令我非常欣慰。
作為一個丹麥人，如果我不提起最佳外語電影提名的瑞典電影《方寸見人心》就太沒有道理了。在諷刺人類嘗試「政治正確」及身為「現代人類」的方面，它非常出色，甚至現在也非常少見。更重要的是男主角是丹麥演員克萊斯•邦本人在家鄉除了幾套劇集以外並不為人熟知 – 他完美演繹虛偽，擁有激進藝術家性格同時對身邊事物毫無感情想法的幽默。
我的賭金本來想押在《底特律》跟《美麗有毒》之上，可惜希望落空。《底特律》重新演繹警察在1967年底特律暴動殘殺女人和黑人們的歷史事件 – 在凱薩琳•畢格羅手中這個事件有效地化身成為一套讓我徹底膽寒的恐怖電影。這套電影被排擠在外讓我十分驚訝，因為畢格羅可是少數曾經問鼎奧斯卡獎項的女導演之一，她的《拆彈雄心》在2009年更成了大贏家。
但是總的來說，奧斯卡2018讓我們看見荷里活工業一個實際、多元化並正面的躍進。在所有被提名電影當中沒有什麼爛電影 – 還記得去年《自殺特攻隊》不單止被提名甚至獲得獎項嗎？還記得米路•吉遜那套難看的二戰電影《鋼鋸嶺》僅僅是因為奧斯卡評審喜歡回顧電影所以被強行塞到我們面前嗎？是的，今年並沒有那麼令人作嘔的電影被提名了。