Best Picture Candidate #6: Roma

Early 1970s Mexico is the setting for Alfonso Cuarón’s latest beautifully crafted piece of cinema, a film has been predominantly released to the growing home streaming market instead of traditional screenings in cinemas and movie theatres. It’s a new view of the direction cinema could increasingly be moving towards, and for cinephiles and cineastes alike, it’s a direction that impacts on what cinema should be, and how it should be viewed for maximum appreciation. Nevertheless, Roma does represent a breakthrough in the discussion that foreign cinema should receive greater consideration and representation in the Best Picture categories. Continue reading

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Best Picture Candidate #5: Green Book

The issue of race and civil rights in American history has long served as a cautionary and challenging subject for filmmakers. There has been a large output of films and documentaries released that seek to educate us on and remind us of the mindless and dangerous groupthink that racism is born out of and the power it has to corrupt people into creating the kinds of segregation society that plagued American history into the very recent past, and from which offshoots and legacies remain into the modern day. Continue reading

Best Picture Candidate #4: The Favourite

The stories of intrigue, gossip and illicit information from the royal court are something that sell newspapers, magazines and fill internet column space these days. But scandal, love interests and surreptitious ménages à trois are no modern phenomenon, they’re as old as the concept of royal families. Queen Anne was no different, and Yorgos Lanthimos takes his idiosyncratic style to the story of Anne and her female confidantes/lovers. With a wonderful co-lead of three actresses – Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz & Emma Stone – operating at the peak of their respective acting talents, this fascinating insight into Anne’s royal court is built on solid foundations. Continue reading

Best Picture Candidate #3: Bohemian Rhapsody

“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” when considering Bohemian Rhapsody’s inclusion in the Best Picture running, this hypothetical question from the self-same song seems a valid one. A film that is, at best, an ok biopic with a strong lead performance is far from worthy of being in the discussion, but then again, the Academy has been guilty of a fair number of collective lapses of consciousness when compiling their contenders lists over the years. Does anyone remember Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’s nomination in 2012 or American Sniper in 2015? Come to think of it, does anyone even remember Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close? Continue reading

Best Picture Candidate #2: Black Panther

Ryan Coogler has already established himself as one of the most exciting and vibrant new directorial voices in recent years, and having been brought into the cinematic behemoth that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) a recipe was written for the creation of one of the most striking and stylistically refreshing additions to Marvel’s ever expanding lexicon of films. Reconnecting the Coogler and Michael B. Jordan partnership – a pairing that worked so successfully in Fruitvale Station (2013) and Creed (2015) – to produce a film built on solid foundations, the effect is that Black Panther has become a genuinely boundary breaking blockbuster. A cast that features Chadwick Boseman, Daniel Kaluuya, Forest Whitaker, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright and Angela Bassett is a cast with a dynamic voice in black cinema and its ability to hold its hard earned blockbuster status with this bold collective has the potential to become part of a far reaching brave new world both cinematically and socially. Continue reading

Best Picture Candidate #1: BlacKkKlansman


It’s taken 30+ years, but Spike Lee is finally getting the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ acknowledgment for his directing. Since truly hitting the scene with his acerbic representation of racial tensions in a New York neighbourhood, in the striking critical success, Do The Right Thing (1989), Spike Lee has become a powerful voice in Black cinema. Into a modern American climate that seems to be sliding back towards the voice of an increasingly vocal xenophobic and bigoted minority, his latest film, BlacKkKlansman is an almost absurdist comedy drama based on true events, following an infiltration of the notorious American hate group, the Klu Klux Klan. Continue reading

2019: The Year of the Worst Best Picture?

Oscars 2019

Who’s getting their hands on these?

So the contenders are in, and the news has been met with at best a collective sigh, and at worst a healthy dose of disappointment. The Academy are allowed to choose 10 contenders for the Best Picture category but this year they have elected – as they often do – to not choose a full roster, instead selecting 8 films. The principle issue is that of all the films they could have chosen for their premiere award, they have been pretty uninspired. There are always films that are snubbed or overlooked, but this year there are a number of brilliant films that have been seemingly dismissed, in favour of at least a few fairly average ones at best. Continue reading