For Your Consideration: Oscars 2023


Photo by Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay

Attribution: Image by mohamed_hassan from Pixabay

The Oscars. Ah yes, that award show people used to watch with fervor… Perhaps a couple of you still do? Or, maybe you’re one of the people now asking yourself, “Who still cares about the Best Actor or Actress in a Motion Picture?”
Well, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I still do. Every year, all 8,000 or so members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are mailed the “For Your Consideration” DVDs in order to vote for the Oscar winners. This year, I watched the bulk of films in the contest so you don’t have to! Are any of them good? And should you care? Well I’m here to answer those questions.
This was not a strong year for fictional feature films. The one thing all the films have in common is that they are too long. Either their runtime far exceeds my attention span, or the films themselves are slowly edited and seem to drag on. For example, three of the main contenders for Best Picture this year— Tár, The Fabelmans, and Elvis— are longer than two and half hours. Unless you’re under the age of 12 or above the age of 65, who has that kind of time?
This year is something of a potluck of genres – there is a film for every kind of story lover. There are fantastic individual performances like Cate Blanchett in TÁR or Brendan Fraser in The Whale. There is traditional storytelling in The Fabelmans and The Banshees of Inisherin, but also an exploration of the metaverse in Everything, Everywhere All At Once. For those who enjoy over-the-top musicals there is Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, and— if on-screen orgies are your thing— Damien Chazelle’s Babylon might be something for you.
If you prefer traditional storytelling, then you should watch The Fabelmans, which follows the adolescence of Hollywood director Steven Spielberg. Spielberg falls in love with film and starts making movies at a young age, but as his family life gets more complicated, his films only get better. On the other hand, if you prefer over-the-top cinema chaos and Hollywood debaucherie, then Babylon is your film this year. Remember La La Land? Well, director Damien Chazelle is back this year with even more madness. You will be shocked and amazed, loathing and loving the characters and their exploits for a very long three hours. If you can make it all the way through, well, congratulations. Now you might not understand why The Banshees of Inisherin was nominated for best picture; however, the only way to find out is to witness the complex exploration of the now-broken friendship of these two Irish lads yourself. Finally, for those of you interested in the meta-verse and parallel realities, or curious about the alternate possibilities of how your life could have turned out, I strongly recommend Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, which, by the way, Mr. Braccino calls “the best movie of the year.”
The race for best actor comes down to this: if you appreciate an actor who fully develops into a character and delivers a masterful, once-in-a-lifetime performance, you must watch The Whale. Brendan Fraser delivers a heart-wrenching performance that is guaranteed to make you cry. He is up against Austin Butler as Elvis, which was made by Baz Luhrmann, so what do you expect? The one-of-a-kind direction that he gives his actors makes them uniquely stand out amongst the rest. The way he tells the story of the infamous grandfather of rock ‘n’ roll keeps your head spinning. Elvis fan or not, you should see this spectacle on screen; it will keep you entertained.
There is another big Hollywood trend emerging, which has been very prominent among the “For Your Consideration” films this year: films featuring complicated, empowered women and their struggles. The Woman King, Woman Talking, She Said, and Tár all offer a new international perspective on the #MeToo movement. (The subject has grown so popular that many film critics around the country predict Tár to be the best picture of the year).
Last but not least, let’s talk about the movies that every high school student has seen. First up is Glass Onion featuring James Bond with a southern drawl, which is in the running for best adapted screenplay. If you’ve always been a fan of 007, you must have loved seeing Daniel Craig back in action trying to figure out who the bad guy is. It is a great family watch. Another high school pleaser? Let’s talk about The Batman, which is up for Best Visual Effects. It’s all very reflective of the current moment and done in such a flashy way. I am sure that some readers would like me to mention that heartthrob Robert Pattinson did a fantastic job adding a different spin to the age-old character. Lastly, it must be said that Top Gun: Maverick was nominated for many awards and made over a billion dollars at the box office. Many are saying that this film is single handedly saving the movie industry!
Tonight, the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts, and Sciences will host their annual Oscar Awards Ceremony. What do you enjoy watching this year, and who would you like to see win? Who do you think will win? If you are still not sure (or want to borrow the DVDs), come find me!