My pick for best picture and director (though it likely won’t win those), and original screenplay. How long has it been that any movie has tapped the cultural zeitgeist like Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”? Though others have remarked that the movie isn’t a direct reaction to Trump, considering it was written before he announced he was running for president, “Get Out” nonetheless is a reaction to what has been labelled “Trumpism,” which I think just means nativist racism. There are probably spoilers below, but if you haven’t seen this movie yet—it came out more than a year ago—go see it!
The story centers on a black man in New York City who agrees to visit the upstate home of his white girlfriend’s parents. The British actor Daniel Kaluuya gives a breakout performance as Chris. He is at once warm, easygoing, and open—traits that allow the audience to quickly take his side, especially when he asks his girlfriend if her parents know he’s black and she says no. His eyes are very expressive, from the glint of joy, to furrows of worry, and tears of terror. He carries the film, and his Oscar nomination for best actor is well deserved. Unfortunately for him, he’s going up against heavy-hitters Daniel Day Lewis and Denzel Washington, and the likely winner Gary Oldman, whose won a SAG, BAFTA, and Golden Globe for his role as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.”
The Spectrum 8 Theater in Albany on Jan, 29, 2018. (Image from Instagram)
This time of year—after the Oscar nominations are announced and before they awards are given out—is often called by those in the movie press as a bleak time for new releases. Some say this is why the Jumanji reboot has been able to be the number one movie at the box office after so many weeks after its initial release.
But, living as I do in upstate New York, I’m not where most of the movie press lives—LA and NYC. Instead, I’m where most of the movie-going public lives. That means that for us this is the time when many of the prestige movies are finally available for us to see in a nearby theater. In fact, the closest theater to where I live, which is known for running independent and foreign films (the Spectrum 8 theater in Albany) is showing seven of the nine best picture nominees (Get Out and Dunkirk already played there) and I, Tonya (which is nominated for three Oscars—actress, supporting actress, and film editing).
Are you one of those people who tries to see all the best picture nominees before the awards are given out? If the snows hold off, and thanks to my local movie theater, I just might be able to do it. Join me on my journey.
Best best picture nominee, that I’ve seen Spotlight, but I’ve only seen Spotlight, the Martian, and Mad Max: Fury Road (I liked them all)
Best Star Wars thing
Sure, the movie was fun, but the Solo Family Portrait blew me away.
Best real depiction of journalists
Spotlight has been hailed for its realistic portrayal of the process of investigative journalism. Just as important was showing actors looking like real journalists. What stood out for me was Brian D’Arcy James in Spotlight, at right, looking so much like the Times Union’s Tim O’Brien, at left.
Best nominee I’ve met
David Lang, shown below, in the elevator at the Tang Teaching Museum — photo by me. He’s nominated for his composition “Simple Song #3” from the soundtrack for “Youth.”
Best accent to listen to
Saoirse Ronan’s Irish accent rocks.
Best accent to do
Tom Hardy’s character Ivan Locke in the 2013 movie Locke: “Yes, it’s there, it’s there. It’s got everything you’re going to need in there. All the numbers, the sign offs, the road closures that you have to confirm with the police. The drawer above the blow heater.”