And the Cleaner Wins It!
Review byMike Kemble
So the 91st Academy Awards has come and gone, with the ceremony held on Sunday 24 February (early hours on Monday morning for us on this side of the Atlantic), and thankfully things managed to pass without too much shock or upset. Which is definitely a good thing in what seems to be an ever-present process of gaffe and error at some stage in proceedings. Perhaps things had already come to pass from the Kevin Hart fall-out, centred around his homophobic twitter musings, which obviously resurfaced as soon as it was announced that he’d be hosting the evening. The Academy felt it warranted an apology of sorts, yet none was forthcoming and so this year we were strangely host-less. So surely on the night things would run smoothly and they absolutely did in the main, with the evenings proceedings going to plan, even if things were a little staid in parts.
As ever with the Oscars, there were a few surprises in store for those of us watching, but nothing too dramatic as a whole. The biggest was most probably the award for Best Picture to Green Book. The film, which tells the story of the bond between an African-American musician and a white bloke from the Bronx as they confront racism head-on, is well acted by Mehershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen respectively, but the film lacks depth and in competition with the likes of Roma it really shouldn’t have stood a chance. Incidentally, the Academy did get some things right, with Roma coming away with Best Foreign Film and the Best Director award to Alfonso Cuarón. My own favourite film of the year was Cold War, directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, and while Roma provides more than an adequate match, it’s a shame the film came away empty handed. A great decision should be acknowledged for the dizzyingly inspired Best Documentary winner Free Solo, which gives us a very close-up account of Alex Honnold as he climbs a 3,000 foot rock face in Yosemite without ropes. Lady Ga Ga was always a shoe-in for the Best Original Song category for Shallow, and her duet with Bradley Cooper was a highlight of the evening. The best moment for me however, was Olivia Colman’s Best Actress acceptance speech for her portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite. A fun and innovative film, with a strong cast including Colman, who was probably not expecting to win if truth be told. But her down-to-earth and pleasingly endearing tone brought a gloss of light-hearted humour and joy to proceedings that came from the heart. Not bad for someone who used by a cleaner is it?
Films to watch over the coming months….
What They Had (1st March): This family drama from first-time writer and director Elizabeth Chomko, stars Hilary Swank returning home to support her parents through the demands of old age, and accepting things may never be what they once were for everyone concerned.
Happy As Lazzaro (15th March): This warm-hearted story is born out of an unexpected friendship that pulls you through a period of important growth between the two central protagonists, Lazaro and Tancredi, in what is a beautifully conceived celebration of life and love.
Captive State (29th March): This tense sci-fi suspense thriller is set in Chicago almost ten years after an occupation by an extra-terrestrial force, and the conflict that has developed during this time.
Eighth Grade (19th April): Bo Burnham writes and directs this coming-of-age drama centred around thirteen-year-old Kayla, and her path through the adolescent maze between middle-school and high-school.
Avengers: Endgame (26th April): After events of Avengers: Infinity War, the universe is in ruins, but can the Avengers assemble once more to combat Thanos and bring restorative order to the plant? You betcha!
See you next time!