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My rankings of this year's Academy Award Nominated films

So as I teach in Hong Kong and the schools being shut down until March 2nd (so far) I have had a bit of time on my hands. (Hey free month of pay is not too shabby).

Some had a few problems - editing, length, etc. Some are a little less original. So here is my list from last place to first place.

9th: Marriage Story - well acted and engaging but a retread of Kramer VS Kramer.

8th: Little Women - A very well made adaptation but again this is the 6th film version? And apparently 12 made for TV versions. Some editing issues and pacing issues knocked this down a little for me.

7th: The Irishman - Also well acted and great to see the old gang together again but it's been done before and by Scorcese and done better by Scorcese in Goodfellas and Casino and the Departed.

6th: Ford V Ferrari - a Surprisingly well made Car and Sports film though it is basically SeaBiscuit but with cars instead of horses.

5th: Parasite. A film about class and visually impressive though I felt it a little too on the nose for me to place it higher up. It's a class warfare film but I had trouble caring about the plight of the impoverished Kim family and I think that we are supposed to side with them. I didn't and it's usually impossible to side with the rich Park family. So while I applaud the technical merits, the performances - I ultimately didn't find the dark comedy to land where it should. I liked it as conceptual but struggled relating to it. Though I understand why it is a heavy favorite to win best picture along with 1917

4th: 1917. This film should take home cinematography and if it wins best picture I'd be fine with that. It is best seen in theaters if you can. As good as it is I just liked the others a bit more and I find the scope of this war film just a notch down from other previous war films. It's kind of an experiential film like Gravity but I am not sure it would hold up to second or third viewings and for me I want a best picture that I can re-watch and get more than just a visceral experience from. Thus, I find it likely to be a one or two time viewing and then probably never again.

3rd: Joker. A tour de force performance should also make it a serious candidate for best film as it is also about class and a commentary on US healthcare. The Joker is what you sew when you don't believe in helping the mentally disturbed through taxes. So when the rich and greedy get their ass shot - it's hard to feel any sympathy. If you help create the Joker - then the joker will have the last laugh on you.

2nd: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I initially found this film to be a little weak for Tarantino but on a second view I really quite loved the film within a film within a film. The time period, the relationship of actor and stuntman, the misogyny of the period, the aging actor struggling to recapture his fame - the self doubt actors go through and the 60s closing out arguably from the Tate murder. This is one of DiCaprio's very best performances for me.

1st: Jojo Rabbit - The film probably least likely to be seen is a satire anti-hate anti-fascist war film about a young boy (10) who is a member of the Nazi Youth and who has Adolf Hitler as his imaginary friend played by the director and writer Taika Waititi. Meanwhile Jojo's mother is hiding a Jewish girl in the attic. This film walks some uncomfortable lines and won't work for some viewers (which means it will have a difficult chance to win best picture) but for me it lands its punchlines and its punches making it my choice for best film. It is kind of "The Producers" meets "The Diary of Ann Frank" meets "Monty Python" Having the story told from the point of view of an awkward and bullied 10 year old trying to fit in is a different take on War.

JoJo Rabbit by a hare.

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Topic - My rankings of this year's Academy Award Nominated films - RGA 06:24:40 02/07/20 (4)


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