After three years of getting nowhere near my target of 100+ films a year at the cinema, I thought I’d start the year by making sure that I had seen all ten nominated films for the Best Picture Oscar.
When the nominations were announced on 24th January, I only had four to catch up on.
Here are my own views and ramblings on those up for the big prize in no particular order.
Everything Everywhere All at Once or to me WTF. While I am too old to really understand the current plethora of films about the multiverse, this is a very clever, entertaining, and funny film with some stand-out scenes, such as the hot dog fingers.
Top Gun: Maverick or OMG! if we are continuing with abbreviations. Are you in your late 40s or early 50s, saw the original as an excitable teenager and wanted to be a fighter pilot or drive Kelly McGillis’s car (a Porsche 356 Speedster for those that can’t remember), then this is a must-see film. The sequel is everything and more, brilliantly filmed, exhausting and breathtaking.
The Banshees of Inisherin is the biggest disappointment. It just did nothing for me. I love the director and actors, adored In Bruges, but this film didn’t resonate with me. I did love Jenny though!
The Fabelmans was a fantastic film and thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you Steven Spielberg for sharing this amazing story. Talent will always find a way.
Avatar: The Way of Water seems to have been made just for the ROI. Expect the worst and you may be pleasantly surprised. I went to see it because it needs to be seen on a big cinema screen. However, I thought it was too long and the ending is teeing up for the next instalment. As with Avatar, the CGI is impressive and, if you don’t want to go scuba diving yourself, you can immerse yourself in the film.
All Quiet on the Western Front is moving, macabre and memorable. The only film I saw on television rather than at the cinema. I do think it should really be seen on the big screen to capture the full horror and trauma of war. Could this be only the second foreign film to win best picture at the Oscars, following Parasite in 2020?
Triangle of Sadness is laugh-out-loud funny. I saw it at the Southbank as part of the BFI London Film Festival – thank you Time Out – and had the pleasure of listening to the director, Ruben Östlund, before the screening. I totally loved this film and to quote myself from Twitter ‘I laughed, I cried, and I was nearly sick’. On a sad note, Charlbi Dean, who played Yaya, tragically died at the age of 32 before the film opened worldwide. Thankfully she was able to see the film win the Palme d’Or in May.
Elvis knew how to TCB and that is exactly what Austin Butler does in this film. He fully deserved his BAFTA. The film was fabulous – Baz Luhrmann always manages to create such a spectacle – and celebrates his legendary status. Even I remember that night in August 1977, when the king died.
Tár is a different take on the norm with a female being the abuser. Cate Blanchett’s performance is the reason to see this one rather than the story itself. As was true with Gary Oldman’s Oscar-winning performance in The Darkest Hour.
Women Talking was finally released in mid-February. It is a devastating, sad, and riveting story adapted from a novel that was inspired by true events. There are great performances by the lead cast members and definitely one to watch. As with All Quiet on the Western Front, you’ll be aghast at the horrors of what human beings can do to each other.
Will the jury go for the bookies’ favourite Everything Everywhere All at Once? I’ll be watching the ceremony on Sunday, 12 March to find out which film wins this most prestigious of awards.