Your family’s Elf DVD is worn down to the label. You can recite The Santa Clause from memory. The same list of holiday specials run on repeat every winter season. Klaus (2019), an animated Santa Claus origin story from director Sergio Pablos, is a fresh-cut Douglas fir in your living room. Lighthearted, earnest, and brimming with more holiday cheer than a warm cup of hot chocolate, Klaus is a worthy addition to the Christmas movie rotation.
Peter Jackson’s fond farewell to Middle-earth is the standard-bearer for epic-fantasy filmmaking and the best work in the director’s lauded filmography. The Return of the King is a reasonably faithful adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s final Lord of the Rings (LOTR) novel of the same name. Make no mistake: Jackson’s sign-off is indulgent, but with more than nine hours of film leading up to it, its sentimentality is earned.
More than a year out from the 93rd Oscars, the politicking and jockeying of the horse race—although I’m remiss to use another equine term—have commenced. There’s a comfortable certainty around five of the likely nominees while the remaining spots will generate award season’s tension and suspense.
On a historic night, Parasite became the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture during the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony. The accolades for director Bong Joon-ho’s rousing social critique didn’t end there; as the film won the newly minted Best International Feature Film (formerly Best Foreign Language Film), Bong received the second-ever Best Director win for a foreign-language film after Alfonso Cuarón was honored for Roma 11-and-a-half months ago, and Parasite became the sixth foreign-language film to take home Best Original Screenplay.
Bong Joon-ho’s splendid class-war thriller, Parasite, is waiting in the wings to become the Academy Awards’ first foreign-language Best Picture winner. Only one thing stands in the South Korean film’s way: the dogged, irrepressible march of history. If Bong hadn’t devised the year’s singular masterpiece, a perfect butter-and-salt blend of popcorn entertainment and shrewd cultural commentary, the betting-market favorite (and admittedly good) 1917 would be a respectable winner. With Parasite in the mix, 1917 is a tired return to the familiar.
Eleven years after Fargo, the first film Joel and Ethan Coen should’ve been awarded an Oscar for, the Coen brothers finally took home the Academy’s top prize with No Country for Old Men. An old Hollywood adage surmises that directors never win Best Picture for their best work, but the Coen brothers certainly did.
At the 2018 Oscars, a superhero movie was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor was awarded to a performer for lip-syncing Freddie Mercury songs, and Driving Miss Daisy defied the laws of time and space by winning Best Picture again. If 2019 is as anomalous as 2018, attempting to predict the field is a fool’s errand. In that case, let’s get silly with 25 of the most likely nominees of 2019.
A few years ago, I set out to watch every Best Picture winner dating back to The Godfather (1972). For some odd reason, after completing that monumental and occasionally boring task, I felt the need to become a true Oscar historian and watch them all. Forty-four movies later, I can say that I have. Essentially, I watched The Greatest Show on Earth so you wouldn’t have to. Without further ado:
With the 91st annual Academy Awards ceremony mere days away, you may be rushing to squeeze one or two more 2018 flicks into your weekend schedule. Marveling at stardom and celebrity is great, but what’s the point of watching an award ceremony if you don’t recognize any of the nominees? (Meanwhile, I’m starting to piece together why I haven’t watched the Grammys in a decade.)