Read Part 1 here
Envelopes are being opened, hideous dresses hit red carpets, and dreadful awards banter drives us all to thoughts of self-harm and the sweet release of death, so you know what that means: it’s awards season. And no single award has Hollywood (and Tumblr activists) more abuzz than the 88th annual Academy Awards. 57 different films received nominations across 24 categories, and many more were snubbed. 2015 proved to be a great year for science fiction, with films like Ex Machina, The Martian, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Mad Max: Fury Road being recognized; it also proved to be a banner year for new blood, with a slew of new first-time nominees including Brie Larson, Adam McKay and Alicia Vikander; and of course, 2015 turned out to be yet another great year for not being a minority (for more on that, just…be on the internet for more than 5 minutes).
So, with all these nominees, who could possibly find the time to see them all? Who’s to say these films are even worth watching? Well, lucky for you, dear reader, my life is an empty void during which the misery only subsides when slipping into a celluloid somnolence; and I wanna pass the savings onto you!
That’s right, I can tell you what to see, what to skip, and what was snubbed so you can head into your Oscar party with your head held high for the right reasons, instead of pridefully blathering on about how “I haven’t even seen, like, a single movie that they’re talking about” (because that’s a bad thing, that’s not a thing to be proud of. It’s like going to a Super Bowl Party and saying “The Broncos and the Seahawks? I’ve never even heard of these teams. And what’s a field goal? This is stupid.” Unless somebody asks if you know how it feels to strangle a drifter solely for carnal pleasure, you should never be proud to not know something).
So from here on out, from now until the big day, you can check in here every week at Pop Culturally Insensitive as we take a look at several of the Academy’s categories, rank the nominees, and talk about if any should have been swapped out so you’ll know what’s actually worth seeing before the big night.
This week we take a look at some of the crucial and often under-appreciated categories of filmmaking, instrumental to making what you actually see in the cinema enjoyable and, ideally, memorable. We’re going to take a look at the nominees for Production Design, Costume Design, and Cinematography as well as the nominees for Best Supporting Actor, one of the year’s most contentious and controversial categories.
Best Production Design
1) Mad Max: Fury Road
Of course, there are going to be some naysayers right off the bat who’ll say “What design? It’s all just sand.” It’s true, the film lacks the lavish palaces of a Great Gatsby or an Alice in Wonderland, but the world crafted within the Wasteland is so grand, so detailed, meticulous and corybantic as to be almost unparalleled in its audaciously dirty grandeur. The Road Warrior redefined “post-apocalyptic” and it’s style had been aped so often since as to be entered into the cinematic vernacular, so how could this follow-up measure up? By going bigger, by digging deeper, by crafting a world that’s simultaneously believable and a spectacle. It’s impossible not to marvel at the sheer imagination that went into the minute moments of Immortal Joe’s palace, the brilliantly burned carcasses of cars that howled across a Wasteland that, while nothing like the famous one described by T.S. Elliot years ago, is just as vivid, as powerful, and as memorable.
2) The Martian
From one desert landscape to another, the inventive work done for Ridley Scott’s not-too-distant-future narrative is almost as captivating, though what it lacks in carboy-burning-splendor it makes up for in awe-inspiring landscapes and utterly believable futuristic designs. Too often science fiction envisions spacecrafts and equipment through a lens of hopeful wonderment, but taking a queue from Kubrick’s meticulous attempt at honest prognostication, and aided by source material both vividly described and heavily researched, every piece of tech and patch of planet shown is so easily believable that the layman (re: myself) has no idea what actually currently exists and what was dreamed up for the sake of the story. Too often science fiction uses suspension of disbelief as a crutch to take outlandish leaps into flights of fancy, but the design work on The Martian makes sure to keep things grounded so the film can truly soar.
3) The Revenant
Now we get into reality. I’ll confess, when it comes to the design elements of film, I’m always partial to those which require imagination more than recreation, when there’s a myriad of photographs and historical artifacts to draw from. That said, the painstaking work that went into creating the period-accurate world of The Revenant is impressive. Yes, its just as easy to deride the production design as “just woods” as it is to sell Mad Max short as “just sand”, but it is utterly astounding how alive Louisiana Territory of 1823 is, how from the film’s opening moments you feel plunged into another time, and one must praise the production designers for painstakingly and vividly crafting every set piece Alejandro asked for, including a pyramid of bones. One can hardly fault them if such obscure imagery does little to serve the film itself.
4) The Danish Girl
Yet another period piece, and while its gorgeous, lavish and somewhat detrimentally austere set pieces admittedly have more flash and elegance than anything presented in The Revenant, they also more often than not feel as though someone merely went in and threw a new coat of paint on the sets of last year’s superior Mr. Turner (for, at the end of the day, The Danish Girl feels more the story of a painter who was transgender then a transgender person who happened to paint, and one must at least give it credit there). Indeed, the art direction, while pretty, does nothing to distinguish Denmark from the murky, foggy landscapes of England or France as director Tom Hooper has presented them in his previous entries, as though in his mind all of history takes place in the same foggy London town. And though its as lusterless as the film it serves, the actual production design itself is admirable.
5) Bridge of Spies
I’ll concede my aforementioned bias towards the fantastical over the historical in production design may cause vehement disagreements towards my rankings, and therefor expounding further upon said attitude may serve as merely providing more fodder for dismissive reader commentary, but it must be said: If its easier to create based on historical evidence than to work from nothing, indeed then it must be gradually more easy to create as the film’s time period nears our own (indeed, no one today would praise Spotlight for “faithfully recreating 2001”). So recreating the 1960’s, a decade which for the production team is not only relatively recent but in fact in their lifetimes, wherein the remnants of decor are still fairly prevalent in some older households and offices, one can hardly offer too much praise in the face of some of the more gargantuan achievements in design this year. Of course, one might say, we heaped praise onto Mad Men for faithfully recreating the same era, and thats true, but given the limited amount of exteriors or even unique locations within Bridge of Spies, a movie that takes place almost entirely inside offices or prison cells, the equivalent would seemingly be if seven seasons of Mad Men never left Don’s office within Sterling Cooper, and were that the case, I would suggest praise for its recreation be as undeserved as the recognition herein bestowed upon Spies.
Swap Out Bridge of Spies for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Its surprising, given the five other nominations the film received, that Star Wars: The Force Awakens should be snubbed in the category most crucial to the franchise’ success outside of Visual Effects. Indeed, they were willing to recognize Mad Max for its imaginative and fantastical landscape, but ignored a franchise which runs on imaginative and fantastical landscapes. From variations on old themes (the desert planet Jakku, the Starkiller Base) to inventive new aliens (from the delightfully practical Babbajo and Ello Asty to the designs for the hauntingly motion capture Snoke) and of course crafting the instantly iconic BB-8, the minds behind this revitalizing reminder of the dreamscapes Star Wars can inspire onscreen and in our minds deserved some Academy recognition alongside their peers.
Best Costume Design
When your film’s predecessor serves as both a classic children’s fable revolving around couture and footwear, and also an allegory for the evolution of postwar fashion from the garish eccentricities of Elsa Schiaparelli to the now-iconic imagery of Christian Dior, you accept that fashion will be the centerpiece of your cinematic output. Kenneth Branagh does admirable work adding depth to the beloved fable, and everyone from Derek Jacobi to Cate Blanchett and Rob Stark (that’s what we’re all calling him in our heads) do great work, but this is one of the few films whose most crucial element is three-time Oscar winner and garment goddess Sandy Powell, who knocks it out of the park in terms of the sheer visual splendor that bleeds from every stitch (and when 500 hours went into crafting just Cinderella’s blue dress, that’s a shit ton of stitches). The Fairy Godmother makes Cinderella believe a single dress can change everything, and Sandy Powell makes us believe it too.
2) Mad Max: Fury Road
Ok, ok. From the outset, I’m sure there will be some folks flipping tables about picking a film featuring mostly shirtless men and scantily clad women over some more elegant and and substantial work nominated, but ultimately when it comes to costumes, it’s about how you cover the skin, not how much skin you cover. Mad Max: Fury Road doesn’t waste time explaining every detail of its universe, rather utilizing details within its costuming to denote rank, social status, and indeed opts to inform its universe through a vast array of visual cues in lieu of the typically trite Ellen Paige-exposition machine character or opening scroll. The intimate and intricate detailing of the myriad of looks and accessories which adorn these water and silver spray addicted maniacs does more than just serve the plot, it lays out all the pieces of this massive mad world for those willing to put them together.
3) The Danish Girl
My feelings in the previous category about fantastic vs. historic remain true within this category as well, but in this case what gives The Danish Girl a leg up is that, similar to Cinderella, clothing takes a central role within the story. After all, the feel of the stocking on his leg rekindles the once dormant Lily within Einar, serving as the catalyst for all the events to follow; and while some may deride the film for focusing too much on the clothing, suggesting little difference been transgender and transvestitism, ultimately if one could keep alert and paid mind to the story being told beneath the surface of Hooper’s rather lethargic biopic (and at times, keeping alert is indeed a struggle), the clothing exists rather as an outward projection of the internal struggles going on within both Lily and Gerda as their wardrobes, and the seducing array of attire around them, attempt to make visible those oft-unspoken desires which often pull at us from within.
4) The Revenant
There isn’t much that can really be said about the period accurate but unremarkable work done in The Revenant, which outranks the other nominee solely for the painstaking effort that went into the appearance of the indigenous peoples, using small visual cues to distinguish tribes and create unique identities for them while maintaining the integrity of their actual cultures. It’s great to finally see indigenous people represented with care and accuracy, but should that really merit an Academy Award any more than giving a kid a trophy for doing his homework, when ultimately its merely them doing the work every film should do?
It’s peculiar how Sandy Powell bookends this category, and in both instances for dressing Cate Blanchett. It’s not that the costumes in Carol are disappointing or poorly made (it’s Sandy Powell, the costumes will never be bad), but as with The Revenant, they were wholly unremarkable. What I’d said about production design in regards to Bridge of Spies holds true for the costumes in Carol as well, where the distance isn’t so vast as to even necessitate recreation in some cases, and we’ve often seen the 60’s recreated in a similar fashion, with no distinction here besides color being emphasized in keeping with director Todd Haynes’ directorial preference. With a diverse array of remarkable costume work this year, its not that Carol‘s costumes are dreadful, but other films far greater deserved this recognition.
Swap Out The Revenant and Carol for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Kingsman: The Secret Service
Admittedly, I can imagine one of these seems like a no brainer, while the other seems about as out of left field as it can get. I understand, but bear with me, I’ll explain.
Obviously, the costume work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens absolutely deserved a nomination. Of course, one could argue that just as the historical films had pictures to base their work on, so to Force Awakens has the previous films, but I’d counter that what they did is all the more impressive because of the previous films. The costume team on Force Awakens had to imagine the evolution of the attire in the galaxy far, far away, extrapolating from the world of Return of the Jedi and factoring in the economic, social and societal differences that would naturally come from the fall of an Empire. The redesigned stormtroopers and Resistance uniforms, the militaristic attire of the First Order and the already iconic looks of Kylo Renn and Finn/Poe’s jacket, all crafted with attention to ideas of functionality and cultural shifts that would occur within the 30 year gap from the Battle of Endor to the aftermath of the Battle of Jakku. These lively and inventive designs broaden the scope of the Star Wars. George Lucas envisioned a used universe, Force Awakens takes it a step farther and makes it an evolving one.
As for Kingsman, I’m sure there’s some serious hesitance, particularly from some corners of the internet: “You really want to give an Oscar nomination to the movie that does an anal sex joke?” “It was crude and misogynistic” Firstly, no, no it wasn’t, and second, Fifty Shades of Grey actually was, and that got nominated; if a quality of a film deserves recognition, you don’t get to disqualify it because you didn’t like a different, unrelated aspect of it. Now, as for it deserving recognition, one need only look at the history of the category: It tends to go for “pretty dresses”. Since 2000, 13 of the 15 Best Costume winners have been period pieces, and of those 8 have been female-centric. Men’s fashion is constantly sidelined in terms of Oscar recognition, with the exception of two instances of armor (Gladiator & The Return of the King) and the 1920’s (The Artist, The Great Gatsby, The Aviator) and even then in the case of the latter, one can’t help but imagine those wins had more to do with the flappers accessorizing the gentlemen’ arms than the suits which adorned it. Now, I certainly don’t wish to suggest the Oscars are sexist against men, far from it in almost all instances, and admittedly women’s fashion is on the whole more diverse and prone to more flash and extravagance than men’s; seemingly in Oscars’ eyes, a dress can be so many things, but a suit is just a suit, no more egregiously exemplified than when the Academy passed over the stellar design work on display in Tom Ford’s A Single Man (which, surprisingly, was not Ford himself, but Arianne Phillips, who I’m sure was as comfortable showing him her suit designs as you’d be pitching Stephen King your idea for a horror novel), not to mention the constant snubbing the always iconic James Bond series in this category. Well, the aforementioned Arianne Phillips was once again ignored this year for her stellar work on an action film which emphasizes “The suit is a modern gentleman’s armor”. Sleek, striking and supremely stylish, the extraordinary work done for Kingsman could spark an appetite for upscale apparel within even the most apathetic viewer, and easily deserved to be among those honored in this category.
1) The Revenant
This is a bit of a contentious pick, not because it isn’t a lock for the eventual Oscar, but because some question it’s purpose. Yes, we’ve all constantly heard how hard the film was to make, utilizing only natural lighting. That some days they could only shoot for 90 minutes before the position of the sun ruined their shot. But there’s no reason for any of this, these hardships were all self-imposed, and ultimately using only natural lighting bears no meaning to the plot, no special significance, no thematic purpose, nor any purpose at all beyond “Because we could”.
So why pick it at all? Because it’s incredible. It’s gorgeous, it’s moments of grandeur and intimacy are absolutely stunning, and the pointlessness of shooting with natural lighting for this particular story does nothing to dampen the sheer artistry and awe-inspiring craft that is the film’s natural-light cinematography (after all, the pointlessness of said cinematographic techniques falls on the director, only the quality of the actual cinematography is the work of the cinematographer themselves. They shouldn’t be faulted for Alejandro’s inexplicable choices). The work done on The Revenant shows what majesty can be crafted when bound by such strictures, and sets the stage for a more introspective director to utilize such a stunning technique to a more thematically significant effect.
2) Mad Max: Fury Road
Originally, Mad Max: Fury Road was ranked much lower. After all, its easy to sum up the other nominees outstanding quality. Carol‘s “Every frame a photography” intimacy, Sicario‘s night vision sequences, The Hateful Eight‘s revival of 70mm, and of course Revenant‘s natural light; but what made Mad Max so special? Where’s the longline that sells it? The truth is, you can’t sum up what makes Mad Max so special, so singular, with regard to almost any element of the film short of “It shouldn’t work, but it does”. Upon rematching it, basking in the desert sand color scheme, the wide shots brilliantly capturing all the chaos of a cross-wasteland chase, the maddening close-ups and beautifully backlit silhouettes, one can’t help but marvel at the sheer artistry that went into this blockbuster, planting a flag to definitively say “This is how action should be filmed”. The camera moves with the grace of a dancer, the frenetic energy of a fleeing gazelle, and the virile force of a punching lion. It’s a tour de force in the truest sense, befitting and enhancing all the madness Miller lets loose before the camera, crafting something unlike anything seen before in the franchise, or indeed perhaps in the whole of the genre.
A wide angle western, a perilous survival story, a post-apocalyptic chase and a border crossing thriller; all action packed, intense films that ask its cinematographers to capture chaos, to shoot epic showdowns, to wrangle behemoths. So how on earth did the intimate and comparatively small-stakes Carol land amongst the bloodshed? Because of its profound and masterful intimacy. The camerawork, its use of color and framing to make, as I summed up above, every single frame a photograph, the film’s look draws us in, seduces us from the first glance of that woman sitting in the hotel dining room, it pulls us so closely into the action, entices us, lures us into its tender, murky world that indeed the gargantuan perils of its fellow nominees feel but a pittance compared to the raw human drama on display.
4) The Hateful Eight
When I saw The Hateful Eight, I was sure to see it in its true form, the Roadshow Edition, which promised to bring a revived sense of eventfulness a trip to the cinema had lost since the days of programs and intermissions. Only then could the refurbished cinematic technique Tarantino talked so often of be truly appreciated, as what was shot on 70mm would be projected in the same format, rather than the standard digital projection its normal theatrical release would use. I’d like to stress that indeed, the film is gorgeous to look at, its aspect ratio gives the small cabin setting a somewhat more epic feel, and the film absolutely deserves its nomination in this category. That said, for all the fanfare about the huge difference the change in aspect ration would make, and how important it was to witness the film in 70mm, one can’t help but feel the actual result is a tad underwhelming, all things considered. Indeed, the program which describes the power of 70mm felt more evocative, powerful and memorable than the actual 70mm footage on the screen.
There’s always at least one shot in every film Roger Deakins works on that screams “Just give him the god damned Oscar”. Be it Andy’s escape in The Shawshank Redemption, Bond’s arrival to the casino in Macau from Skyfall, or the titular assassination from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, there’s always that moment. In the case of Sicario, it’s when the man who works wonders with color and lighting robs himself of both, when the FBI/CIA raid of the cross-border tunnel occurs almost entirely in night vision. Deakins is constantly pushing himself, always crafting something memorable, and Sicario does earn its nomination. That said, it never quite stacks up with its other nominees, never offers may opportunities to marvel at it. It serves the film well, but its not the type of work you really want to revisit for visual sake, leaving it at the bottom of an impressive and accurate slew of nominees in this remarkably strong category.
Best Supporting Actor
1) Sylvester Stallone- Creed
I know Stallone being the sole nomination from the film only lends credence to the “Oscars are racist” campaign, but ask anyone who actually saw the film and they’ll tell you that while Jordan, the film, and particularly Coogler being passed over are egregious, had Stallone not received this nomination, it would have been downright disgraceful. In an exceptional film, Stallone stands out in a role that can’t help but call to mind Paul Newman’s Oscar-winning role in The Color of Money, and this is every bit as deserving. Stallone returned to his most revered role to muse upon mortality, to pass the torch, and to re-inpsire us all that the toughest enemy you face is in the mirror, and the toughest battle you fight is outside the ring. Recasting an iconic character is easy, but the same actor recasting that iconic character in a new light is an impressive achievement, and Stallone deserves not only the nomination, but easily earns the Oscar amongst this year’s nominees.
2) Mark Rylance- Bridge of Spies
For a lot of folks mad at the Oscars for an array of reasons, it’s likely Rylance will be a target of scorn. Where the other four nominees, and many snubbed, have huge, dynamic performances, there will be many that scoff the acclaimed stage actor “doesn’t do anything” simply because he lacks the showy kind of role his fellow nominees have. Indeed, that the role lacks any flash, any epic monologuing or passionate pleas made the casting of such a gifted and humble performer absolutely essential, as Rylance brings a vibrant, anxious and complex life to Rudolf Abel, but keeps it all behind the eyes of a unsettlingly calm, passive and unassuming figure. That his Abel can be so captivating while being so outwardly unremarkable is in itself utterly remarkable, and deserving of both the praise its received and the nomination, for which I’m sure Rylance is already prepping his next speech.
3) Mark Ruffalo- Spotlight
In the theatre, Ruffalo is impressive as the passionate journalist out to take down corruption. A few days out from the film, however, and all that remains is the funny voice, the stammering demeanor, the very theatrical “transformation” Ruffalo makes for the role, and the memory of the more subdued and impressive performances of co-stars Lieve Schrieber, John Slattery, Michael Keaton and the less meaty but all the more so engaging Brian D’Arcy James. Buffalo certainly isn’t bad, but the performance does feel a tad quirky for the sake of quirk within a film where no one else has added on affectations, and it doesn’t hold the same entrancing power in retrospect that it does in the moment.
4) Christian Bale- The Big Short
Much like Mark Ruffalo, Bale doesn’t actually stand out as the best performer in his film, but in this instance he doesn’t even stand out in the moment, especially in a film where Carrell gives an absolutely Oscar-worthy performance, and Ryan Gosling captivates from his first line of dialogue. Utterly unmemorable, virtually inconsequential, Bale actually has little to do in the role, and delivers a performance that’s admittedly commendable, but hardly stacks up when compared to other performances in the film, in other films this year, or indeed in Bale’s filmography, to the point where its genuinely surprising he received the nomination at all.
5) Tom Hardy- The Revenant
I’m not sure what’s more surprising about this: that Hardy garnered a nomination, considering the huge support behind Idris Elba and the fact that it had only previously garnered one semi-major nomination (Critics Choice Award); or the fact that a man who’s been impressive in everything from Inception to This Means War was actually quite bad. All the blame for this over-the-top mix of accents and theatricality can’t be laid entirely on Hardy’s shoulders, of course; much like his absurd turn in the gradually less adored The Dark Knight Rises, he went all out with a creative choice that an astute director would have seen fit to reel back. Alejandro G. Inarritu is no such director. Indeed, even his previous entry, the somehow Best Picture winning Birdman was filled with charicature-ish performances, but given its broad comedy approach and satirical script, such absurdity worked. In this case, Hardy’s uber-villain all but twirls his mustache grumbling almost incoherently about pelts and survival, as though he were the love-child of Shane from The Walking Dead and Boomhauer from King of the Hill. There’s less comic book villainy in the actual comic book villain he played, more dimension and range in his 5 minutes of screen time in Band of Brothers. This man plays twin brothers like its two different actors, he carries a whole movie on his shoulders in a car, he made us forget about Mel Gibson in the man’s most memorable role. He’s so good every other time that it’s almost impossible to believe he’s bad in this. We all spin wheels in our head, desperately trying to excuse every cartoonish line reading, every indistinguishable line, convincing ourselves he’s good because he just has to be. It must be us misreading it, as though the sky was suddenly green one day, or our dog laid an egg; it’s our perception that’s bad, not the performance. But I assure you, my friends, its an anomaly, but its true. In this one instance, the sky is green, your dog’s a momma, and Tom Hardy really is that bad.
Swap Out Ruffalo, Bale and Hardy with Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation, Jason Mitchell for Straight Outta Compton and Kyle Chandler for Carol
So, one of these hasn’t been on any lists, the other hinged on whether the voters ever paid attention to popular culture past 1975 (and since most voters are Baby Boomers, the answer is usually no, since obviously nothing after Nixon resigned ever mattered), and one is such an obviously incredible performance that it’s genuinely offensive it didn’t get nominated, especially when the actual nominees contain two bland and one genuinely bad performance.
The painfully obvious choice is Idris Elba for his electrifying warlord in the powerful and brutal Beasts of No Nation. That Elba brings a sense of nuance to such an immature, evil and imposing figure is an artistry that calls to mind Denzel Washington’s sublime work in Training Day. The film itself wallows in the typical “poverty porn” plight of the Africans movie that preys on middle class white folk who believe the entire African continent is either Hotel Rwanda or The Lion King; but the moment Idris appears, the film is electrifying. His swagger, his fiery delivering, his intensity breathes life into the film, and seems to awaken in the piece a sense of assurance, the freedom to go hard and fast, and Elba propels the story through its two and a half hour run time so swiftly and powerfully that you feel only moments have passed, and wish there was more time to see him command the screen in spite of how repugnant his character’s actions. Quite easily the single best male performance this year was unforgivably snubbed, and anyone who’s seen even stray moments of Elba’s electrifying war lord will simply shake their heads when the nominees are read off that fateful Sunday night.
Another role sadly snubbed this year is the dead-on portrayal of famed raper Eazy-E by Jason Mitchell in Straight Outta Compton. These type of transformative musician roles, from the hauntingly accurate Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles to the passable “I guess that’s him, yeah” Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash, never fail to garner a nomination (unless your Val Kilmer), and the brilliant work done by Mitchell truly belongs in the former rather than the latter camp. You genuinely believe you’re seeing Eazy-E on screen, and Mitchell manages to interpret a wide range of emotions through the character we’d never seen the real life man go through, making us believe it every step of the way. It’s an utterly flawless performance unjustly ignored.
Lastly, a spot that has been a wrestling match between Benicio Del Toro’s intense Punisher-esque advisor in Sicario and Kyle Chandler’s frustrated man in a world slipping from his grasp in Carol. Ultimately, my vote goes to the less recognized but hugely significant piece to the puzzle that is Carol. What Chandler brings to the film is the voice of “reason” in the eyes of the times, a voice which sounds grossly unreasonable today, yet makes the role utterly sympathetic in a way even an actor as talented as Vincent Kartheiser didn’t reach in his similar role of a man who expects a lifestyle the changing times have erased. He’s such a crucial component of the film, both as an antagonistic figure but also as a reminder that ultimately he’s not a “bigot” because in his mind and in the social consciousness, his wife is mentally unwell. The stakes he raises the action of the film to are done out of concern for his daughter, as well as a sense of impotence that was striking all of traditional masculinity in that period, and that delicate balance between opposition and being empathetic to the audience is an incredible feat that reminds the audience that the people who did “bad things” back in the day aren’t wholly bad people, but that doesn’t forgive or lessen the cruelty of their actions.
Alright, that’s it for this week’s installment. We’re now 8 categories in, with 16 more to go, so let’s trudge on ahead together. Until then, catch up on what’s worth watching, both nominated and not, and come back to discuss it. Seen the nominees and disagree with what’s here? Feel free to chime in in the comments. Since this column is all about telling you what to see before the big night, it’d be unfair to save the biggest category for the last minute, so next week we’ll give you a guide to what’s worth seeing of the Best Picture nominees, as well as three more categories ranked. See you then.