I’m nearly done chasing down nominated movies, and this installment gets us to quite a few acting and picture nominees. Less than a week until the big day!
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis bring their Tony Award winning performances to the big screen in this adaptation of a play about a man, his marriage, and his lost dreams. It is a well-acted film, filled with copious amounts of agony and heartache as Washington’s Troy attempts to do what’s best for his family in the face of his own personal failures. Davis, as Troy’s wife Rose, is a powerhouse, and her portrayal should not be missed.
For Fans Of: Plays. Baseball. Marital strife.
Award Potential: Viola Davis is basically a lock for Supporting Actress, and Denzel is running neck and neck with Casey Affleck for Best Actor. That will be an interesting race. It also has an Adapted Screenplay and Picture nod, but I’m not really feeling either.
Do you like movies that are slick, stylish, and just a little bit weird? Check out Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals. Amy Adams plays a woman in a failing marriage who receives a manuscript written by her first ex-husband (she does not have good luck with men apparently). The films weaves between the turbulences of her life and the shocking kidnapping narrative of the novel. It’s a strange film, but worth watching for the atmosphere and the performances. Poor Amy could’ve easily picked up a nomination for this role as well. What did she do to you Academy? What did she do???
For Fans Of: Noir settings, stories within stories.
Award Potential: Michael Shannon is nominated for his Supporting Actor performance, which is interesting just because Aaron Taylor Johnson won that category at the Golden Globes but isn’t even nominated for this movie. Weird, right? Shannon’s a bit of a long shot though.
Florence Foster Jenkins
So this is a film based on the true story of a socialite who wanted to be a famous singer. Only… she’s bad. Flat-on-every-note bad. But hey, she’s rich and funds her own concerts and serves as a patron to several other venues, so no one dares to laugh at her! She also might have some brain damage thanks to Syphilis… It’s a movie that is both entertaining and sad due to this confused old woman’s circumstances. Streep puts in a decent performance with Hugh Grant at her side, and the supporting cast all do great work trying really, really hard not to outwardly laugh and insult this woman.
For Fans Of: Meryl Streep overacting, the facial expressions of people trying really hard not to laugh.
Award Potential: Sorry Meryl. I love you, I do. But you should not have gotten a nomination for this film. No way. It’s entertaining enough, but not a great film or performance by any measure. The Costume Design nomination? Sure. Have it. Those were fine, but that Best Actress slot could’ve gone to several other people.
Manchester by the Sea
I was waiting to see this movie until I was having a decently happy day. I’d heard it was sad, depressing, and a total downer. But you know what? It wasn’t that bad! Hell, I thought it even ended on a somewhat uplifting note. It’s a story about a man who was involved in a terrible tragedy, retreating deeply into himself. When further strife affects his family he is called to step up and raise his teenaged nephew, forcing him to deal with his past, his perception of himself, and the genuine needs of others. It’s melancholy to be sure, but the quiet acting delicately portrayed an upended family and the community around them who never forgets.
For Fans Of: Movies that make you relate to things far too much, family troubles.
Award Potential: Casey Affleck is in an incredibly tight race with Denzel Washington for Best Actor. Michelle Williams and Lucas Hedges have been recognized for their supporting work, though Williams was in the movie far less than the promotional materials suggest. It is also nominated for Picture, Original Screenplay, and Director, and I could absolutely see it taking Screenplay since La La Land isn’t the most original story and the WGAs this year were a confusing mess.
Elle might honestly be one of my favorite films of the year. I feel like I need to watch it again just to better dive inside main character Michele’s head. She’s a successful Parisian video game producer who doesn’t take crap from anyone. She has a mysterious past, a dysfunctional family, and is the victim of a brutal sexual assault that she handles in her own way. It’s hard to take your eyes off of this story that so incredibly creates Michele’s world and her reactions to it. What is she thinking? What does she know? Why did she do that? It’s a deftly crafted thriller with a performance that deserves all the accolades it can get.
For Fans Of: Tense thrillers where you aren’t quite sure where the motivations lie.
Award Potential: I’d love to see Huppert win Best Actress, this film’s only nomination. She was incredible.