I’ve made a concerted effort to see as many 2023 Oscar-nominated films as possible, all at the cinema. I try to see them in the movie theater because I can “give in” to the film easier, without the distraction of the phones or the cleaning that needs to be done.
If I watched it, there’s an asterisk (*) before it. And if I reviewed it, I link to it. I’m not predicting anything here, only noting my rooting interests.
Indeed, I’ll not watch the awards show on Sunday, March 12, though I may record it to watch a few highlights.
*THE FABELMANS; Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner, Producers
*TÁR; Todd Field, Alexandra Milchan, and Scott Lambert, Producers
TOP GUN: MAVERICK; Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, David Ellison, and Jerry Bruckheimer, Producers
TRIANGLE OF SADNESS; Erik Hemmendorff and Philippe Bober, Producers *WOMEN TALKING, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, and Frances McDormand, Producers
I’m rooting for EEAAO, which I found, beneath its veneer of weird, told a compelling immigrant story. My second pick would be All Quiet On The Western Front. I also liked The Fabelmans, partly because of this spoiler-laden essay in Think Christian.
Avatar would be my last pick, which among other things, was trying to be too many movies at once. Triangle of Sadness was at my local theater again early in 2023, but life got in the way; it’s playing once next week, and I may go. Also the new Top Gun is returning, which I hope to see before Sunday, March 12.
While Farrell played a convincing nice dolt, Butler embodied Elvis. But Fraser was excellent.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
*CATE BLANCHETT, Tár
ANA DE ARMAS, Blonde
ANDREA RISEBOROUGH, To Leslie
*MICHELLE WILLIAMS, The Fabelmans
*MICHELLE YEOH, Everything Everywhere All at Once
I’m pulling for Michelle, either one, though Yeoh a little more. Blanchett is always excellent. BTW, I thought the investigation of Riseborough’s campaign was a nothing burger.
Conversely, the suggestion that Danielle Deadwyler (Till) and Viola Davis (The Woman King) were subjected to misogynoir is credible. In any case, Riseborough’s surprise nom almost certainly came at the expense of Deadwyler, which Riseborough does not discount.
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
*BRENDAN GLEESON, The Banshees of Inisherin
BRIAN TYREE HENRY, Causeway
*JUDD HIRSCH, The Fabelmans
*BARRY KEOGHAN, The Banshees of Inisherin
*KE HUY QUAN, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Supporting roles are so varied. Hirsch came in for filming a few days, but Gleeson shows up throughout. Yet Ke Huy Quan will, and should win.
*JAMIE LEE CURTIS, Everything Everywhere All at Once
*STEPHANIE HSU, Everything Everywhere All at Once
I saw all of the performances in this category! And I like them all. Bassett has… presence. Hong Chau was the window to the outside world. Condon was the glue that allowed for communication between the two men. This is Curtis’ first nomination after 40 years in the business. If I had to pick one, it would be Hsu, a worthy antagonist.
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
*ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, Screenplay – Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson & Ian Stokell
GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY, Written by Rian Johnson
*LIVING, Written by Kazuo Ishiguro
TOP GUN: MAVERICK, Screenplay by Ehren Kruger and Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie; Story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks
*WOMEN TALKING, Screenplay by Sarah Polley
Women Talking, though I wish I’d seen the new Knives Out.
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
*THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, Written by Martin McDonagh
*EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, Written by Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
*THE FABELMANS, Written by Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner
*TÁR, Written by Todd Field
TRIANGLE OF SADNESS, Written by Ruben Östlund
EEAAO by the Daniels, though TÁR was interesting.
*THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, Martin McDonagh
*EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
*THE FABELMANS, Steven Spielberg
*TÁR, Todd Field
TRIANGLE OF SADNESS, Ruben Östlund
Any of the ones I saw I’d consider, though I’m leaning slightly toward Field.
Cinematography: I saw three of the five, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, ELVIS, and TÁR. I thought the former’s war motif was most striking.
Of the three films I saw in the Costume Design category, EEAAO blew me away, though BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER was very impressive, and ELVIS wasn’t shabby.
For film editing, EEAAO doesn’t work without great skill in this area. ALL QUIET is the only International Film I saw, though THE QUIET GIRL is coming to the area. Makeup and hairstyling: THE WHALE is in a strong category; I did not see THE BATMAN.
Musical score: BANSHEES; I didn’t see BABYLON. Production design: the four I saw were all good, but the second AVATAR is mesmerizing; ditto for its Visual Effects. Sound: ALL QUIET.
I’ll deal with the shorts in a separate post. I have seen none of the documentary features.
Trying to support the local cinema, my wife and I went to the Madison Theatre to watch Puss In Boots: The Last Wish. Once again, the film was NOT on the marquee but was listed online.
I had seen the first two Shrek movies, the second (2004) of which introduced our feline hero. But I had not watched the third Shrek film (2007) nor the first Puss In Boots (2011).
First, the new movie often looks marvelous. There’s an IMBd review that addresses this. It “goes full Into the Spiderverse once a fight breaks out. Glorious 12 frames per second, hyper stylized with all the filters and gimmicks necessary to elevate the big set-pieces to something truly special and memorable.” This is different from what was used in previous films.
Second, the storyline works at one level for kids – and there were about a dozen of them during that week after Christmas – and quite another for the adults.
If you saw the trailer, you know the cat has only one of his nine lives left. But if he can find the Wishing Star…
First, Puss In Boots (voiced once again by the wonderful Antonio Banderas) has to regain his mojo, helped by an unlikely cat, er, dog Perrito (Harvey Guillen). He also has to deal with rivals for the prize, including his old companion Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek).
Others seeking the Wishing Star are Goldie (Florence Pugh) and the Three Bears (Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, Samson Kayo), and the amoral Jack Horner (John Mulaney). But the greatest threat to Puss is the Wolf (Wagner Moura) and what he represents.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is visually impressive but, more surprising, quite touching in dealing with mistakes and misunderstandings made in relationships. It’s no surprise that it was nominated for various awards and 96% of the Rotten Tomatoes critics liked it.
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