A friend asked me whether I’ve seen any of this year’s academy award nominations, I almost had to say none at all but just a few days ago, I took time to watch the horror film ‘Get Out’ which was directed, produced and written by Jordan Peele.
If you don’t know who Jordan Peele is, he’s actually the comedian from the cast of Mad TV and also part of the very funny comedy series Key & Peele. That was his first directing effort and it managed to get 4 nominations in Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay (all nominated for himself) and Best Actor for Daniel Kaluuya who portrayed the main character in the movie (which Jordan didn’t act in). The movie was a surprise box office and critical success because its budget was small. I myself was surprised when I saw how good the movie was because I always associated Jordan Peele with comedy, I didn’t know he could be such a good director, and it wasn’t even for a comedy film but instead for a horror film. I would write my own review if only I had time to actually write a proper one lol. I really enjoyed the film.
With his nomination for Get Out, Jordan Peele became the fifth black filmmaker to be nominated for Best Director, as well as the first black filmmaker to receive nominations for producing, directing and writing in the same year. With his win for Best Original Screenplay, he became the first black screenwriter to win in that category.
Oh yes, I just remembered that there is another academy-nominated movie I watched which was The Greatest Showman. It was nominated for Best Original Song for its song ‘This Is Me’ which it lost to Pixar’s Coco’s ‘Remember Me’ which was written by the same songwriters who wrote Frozen’s ‘Let It Go’ which had won the award before, making this their second win. On the other hand, ‘This Is Me’ is written by the same songwriters who wrote La La Land’s ‘City of Stars’ which also won that award last year. So if ‘This Is Me’ had won instead, it would have been them who would be winning the best original song award for a second time instead of the songwriters from ‘Let It Go’ winning it a second time lol.
I don’t really read much movie reviews anymore since Roger Ebert passed away (I used to read his reviews before deciding whether to watch a movie or not).
‘The Shape of Water’ directed by Guillermo del Toro is the biggest winner with 4 awards, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Production Design. I haven’t watched ‘The Shape of Water’ yet, but I always thought that he should have won for his earlier film ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ which wasn’t even nominated for that year’s Best Picture or Best Director. That was such a great film and it was first place on a lot of critic’s best films of 2006 lists (including first place on Roger Ebert’s list). It really should have at least earned nominations for best picture and best director. Instead the win for that year 2006 for Best picture and Best director went to Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. Martin Scorsese is a great director but The Departed definitely wasn’t his greatest work, it actually was rather weak in comparison to his other works in my honest opinion. The Departed wasn’t even an original in the first place, it was just a re-make from the Hong Kong movies, I watched The Departed and I didn’t really feel it ranks anywhere near Martin Scorsese’s best works. Hugo was a much better film of his that should have been awarded Best Director instead of The Departed, especially since Hugo’s central theme was about the magic of cinema.
Ok enough about that rant, so yea I am glad Guillermo del Toro finally got a best picture and best director award. Not sure if you know this, but the three most prominent Mexican directors: Alejandro G. Iñárritu , Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón are collectively known as “The Three Amigos of Cinema”. In terms of academy award wins, they currently stand as follows:
1. Alejandro G. Iñárritu – 2 Best Director wins (Birdman and The Revenant), 1 Best Picture win (Birdman), 1 Best Original Screenplay win (Birdman) = Total 4 awards
2. Guillermo del Toro – 1 Best Director win (The Shape of water), 1 Best Picture win (The Shape of Water) = Total 2 awards
3. Alfonso Cuarón – 1 Best Director win (Gravity), 1 Best Film Editing (Gravity) = Total 2 awards
I ranked Guillermo del Toro higher than Alfonso Cuarón because I would think Best Picture is much more prestigious than Best Film Editing so that would win the tie-breaker.
I distinctly remember watching Gravity on the giant screen in Cathay cinemas’ platinum suites and it was breathtaking. The opening (lingering) shot of the Earth with the astronaut slowly coming towards the foreground from a tiny barely-seen figure in the background was truly spectacular. I was really in awe of that opening scene for a long time. Such is the magic of cinema (which by the way was what Martin Scorsese was trying to convey to the audience in ‘Hugo’). Just that one scene alone makes for great cinematography which eventually Gravity did deservedly win the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.