Over the last decade, the Oscars have become more unpredictable than ever before.
There are no more “Titanic”-like sweeps. The Best Picture and Best Director prizes are getting split between two movies more and more. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are reading the wrong winners onstage. And even when they are still getting it right every once in a while (that “Moonlight” surprise win), they still, in their classic way, continue to get it so wrong (in retrospect, “Boyhood” was a much more deserved winner than “Birdman”).
Because of this chaos, I will decline to predict for you who will win. Instead I will share who would be on my ballot, if I were a Hollywood insider who got free screeners and voting privileges:
I never thought I’d see the day but the Oscars did a solid job this year.
It is a testament to the (extremely) slow progress of the Academy to see movies like “Get Out” and “Ladybird” landing major nominations. Seeing Jordan Peele, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Greta Gerwig’s names in the directing category, I want to root for all of them. And still, there’s room for Academy favorites like Meryl Streep and Steven Spielberg, and the kind of historical biopics (“The Darkest Hour”) that I will probably watch three days before the ceremony.
But as always, a few favorites were left in the dark. Here are the years most egregious Oscar snubs:
WARNING: This review contains MAJOR SPOILERS for “The Last Jedi.” Please direct all angry emails to my attorney.
-Drink whenever somebody mentions Donald Trump
Predicting how this crazy world works in becoming harder than ever, and that perhaps makes tonight’s Academy Awards even more exciting. And yet, “La La Land” will probably still clean up.
So instead of predicting things that might prove to be untrue, I will instead present to you everything that I think should win at this year’s Oscars:
Roadside Attractions/Amazon Studios
If you ever needed a moment to escape from the feeling that the world was falling apart, Hollywood was there to help. They weren’t always ready to cheer you up, but there were some great movies out this year.
Just from looking through my list, the idea that everything put out nowadays is simply not true. This year had a surprisingly good offering of musicals, tales of rural America, and neo-Nazis getting their butts kicked.
Without further adieu, here’s my list of the 10 best movies of 2016:
From Brexit to Trump, 2016 was a weird and ultimately terrible year for politics.
This year was also a test for comedians. Would they cozy up to Trump? (Jimmy Fallon failed) Would they stand up to him in creative, original, and angry ways? (Seth Meyers succeeded) Ultimately, it was the year we discovered that posting John Oliver clips had absolutely no effect.
In that light, it’s time to look at comedy less as something that can change the world, but more something that will help us laugh at the absurdity of the coming years, as a “Dr. Strangelove” moment looks more and more likely to come true.
After watching Trump shockingly beat Hillary Clinton, I believe that nobody knows anything anymore. But I’ll at least do the best I can to let these funny moments speak for themselves:
Warning: This post contains some major spoilers for “Zootopia,” and possibly “10 Cloverfield Lane.”
“Zootopia” might just be Disney’s best movie in a long time. Take that, “Frozen.”
Anyway, it was great. I am always happy to see animals onscreen acting like people. However, “Zootopia” takes it anthropomorphic to the next level, suggesting that these civilized animals aren’t far off from reverting to their predatory instincts.
When I write about a movie, I try not to resort to nitpicking. However, I have a nit to pick with “Zootopia,” and it feels a little more like an itch that I just can’t scratch.
20th Century Fox
“Deadpool” is the biggest movie in America right now, and it’s not even a fair fight.
It now holds the record for highest opening for an R-rated movie of all time. Oh, “Deadpool” is rated R? “Deadpool” is a superhero movie? You don’t say. “Deadpool” is one of the most hyped movies of the year that happened to come out during February, where movies tend to go to die.
Hey, it turns out this one isn’t so bad. But, is it great?
For the past few days a lot of people have asked me if they should see “Deadpool.” When answering the daunting question of “how was it?” my answer has been, “it’s fun enough.” “Deadpool” does just enough to be a good movie. It tries really hard, and I appreciate that. As somebody who tries really hard but doesn’t always get the best results, I respect and appreciate effort. Hell, give “Deadpool” the Superhero Movie Participation Ribbon it deserves!
One thing you can’t call “Deadpool” is empty. There is a surprising amount to unpack here. There is bad, and there is good.
Let’s get to it, shall we? If I had the qualifications to be an Oscar voter (which I don’t, given that I am under 75-years-old), here’s who I would pick to win all the awards this year: