The little gold men are ready, the envelopes are packed1, and those who are dedicated to screening all the Best Picture nominees are down to the wire. Welcome to Oscar weekend, folks!
We thought about sharing the Oscar narratives we’re watching2 or the ballot selections we’ve made3. But like the hosting gig, we’re feeling a bit nebulous at the moment. And, to be fair, we’ve covered quite a few of the Oscar nominees already. So in light of that, we’re giving you all a few days to catch up on some of the Oscar-nom coverage we’ve done already.
Maybe you missed them in your inboxes, maybe you’re new here (oh look, a subscribe button!) but either way, here’s a refresher on where we stand on some of this year’s nominated films. Enjoy!
BEING THE RICARDOS: “On paper, Being the Ricardos is the sort of thing I chafe against. It’s the type of movie that I wish more people thought of when they instead (not knowing any better) cite Riverdale (my beloved): It’s a moody take on an upbeat property, all in the service of central performances that are often mere caricatures. And yet, in the end, Being the Ricardos largely often worked for me, at least more than I thought it would, transcending the barrier I usually hold in my heart for biopics.” -Zosha
CODA: “In the end this beautiful little film is a family drama about letting go. Ruby must learn to let go of the idea that her parents are her responsibility, and they in turn have to let go of the assumption that she will always be there as their go-between to the hearing world. The film’s back half is especially sentimental, and it will be a challenge to stay dry-eyed through the wonderful culminating scene.” -Cate
DUNE: “So much of Dune is a scaffolding for what we now know will come after. It is an exercise in setting the stakes and prepping the audience for the rest of the story. Under Villneuve’s watchful eye, what comes next is likely to be just as epic as this installment, and will smartly subvert its white savior narrative. But tropes wouldn’t need subverting if they weren’t there in the first place.” -Cate
THE LOST DAUGHTER: “The film is brilliant at parsing the dual sin of reluctant motherhood. In The Lost Daughter, love is not unconditional, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. And the unspoken gaffe of admitting to the distance between those two states is where the conflict — both internal and external — can be found.” -Cate
NO TIME TO DIE: “I didn’t come from a Bond family, and I will not say this performance is the definitive Bond. But I will say that the more I reflect on it Daniel Craig feels like the only person who could have shepherded this role from the highs of Casino Royale to the place it ended up. His installments were increasingly self-serious, bruising, and sometimes dull. But they did seem to be aware of the heart of the man, even if they could only sometimes sell us on the chemistry.** If James Bond needed a reason to go out, Craig is maybe the only person who could’ve sold us on it.” -Zosha
THE POWER OF THE DOG: “Against the staggering New Zealand Montana landscape, Campion expertly dials in an ending that bundles up all these threads into something hefty. She understands that the experience of this movie for each character was a different one — a psychological horror, a hopeful tale of redemption, maybe even a dawning appreciation — and each one gets the end they were always headed to.” -Zosha
SPENCER: “It’s not an exaggeration to say that Stewart gives a career-making performance as the doomed Princess. While she neither looks nor sounds like Diana, Stewart nails the sense of her: meek, affected and sharper than she gets any credit for. The result is a fully-realized portrait of an overexposed woman that never falls into imitation or parody. Instead, it is camp with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, feather-light touch — at once self-serious and knowingly self-aware.” -Cate
TICK, TICK…BOOM!: “It’s easy to nitpick the film and the choices made in its conception, but the truth is that as a full, realized project, it is quite an achievement. Miranda released three other musicals last year alone, and at least two of them show signs of the wear and tear of his own prolific output. But with Tick, Tick… Boom, he sidelines his composer hat to craft a musical out of one that already exists, sharpening his own skills in the process.” -Cate
THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH: “As any Shakespeare in the Park production can demonstrate, his stories do have the not unique but still remarkable ability to lift from one timeline to another, shading in new areas of emphasis as they go. But no, Coen didn’t do that. Instead he made the landscape barren, cranked up the contrast, and made a Macbeth for the ages.” -Zosha
WEST SIDE STORY: “In the end, West Side Story is a beautiful, well-crafted spectacle that feels like a long-awaited return of the studio musical. One can only hope that others take a page out of Spielberg’s book and create films as grand, buoyant, and wonderful as this one.” -Cate
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Or at least being double-checked; we salute you accountants — the real stars of Oscar weekend.
Will Ariana DeBose make history by winning for the iconic role she shared with Rita Moreno? Will Smith finally gets his statue after years of dour Oscar-bait films? Will Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemmons win His and Hers statuettes?
WEST SIDE STORY FOR BEST PICTURE!!! -Cate