Oscar Bait 2023-2024

May December is such a wonderful piece of camp. The ridiculous dialogue, the actors acting through every scene (Natalie's single-take monologue especially gagged), the overwrought score, that Julianne bomb drop towards the end... I had such a ball. You could tell everyone involved was having a ton of fun, and it made it such an enjoyably tense ride as a viewer.

Saltburn is a delight of a ride. It's a direct rip of The Talented Mr. Ripley, but I got such pleasure taking the trip through every predictable twist and turn. Incredible performances (Barry and Rosamund especially shine, but even Carey is a hilarious scene-stealer), stunning cinematography, and the most PJ-friendly soundtrack I've heard in ages (Girls Aloud, MGMT, The Cheeky Girls, Ladytron, Bloc Party, Pet Shop Boys, Tomcraft... every needle drop sparked appropriately nostalgic joy). It's no secret Murder on the Dancefloor plays a major part in the film, but its use actually created one of my favorites scenes of this year. The best time I've had watching a film in 2023 and I can't wait to experience it again.

The Holdovers is such a cozy hug of a film that I almost wish I'd waited closer to the holidays to enjoy it. The winning trio really establish the incredible heart and warmth that makes it so impactful. I found myself teary-eyed at multiple moments, truly invested in the pain of all three characters and how their unexpected bond helps them move forward. I hope all three get deserved attention, but I'm especially overjoyed that Da'Vine Joy Randolph has a chance to showcase her tremendous talents (please check out her scene-stealing work in 2020's best TV show High Fidelity when you get a chance).

The Color Purple is packed with great performances, but I found it to be a bit of a slog that sadly didn't translate to the big screen as well as I'd hoped. Taraji and Danielle spark joy whenever they're on screen, and Fantasia will make your jaw drop any chance she starts singing (plus it was nice seeing Halle and Ciara get some lovely screen time), but a lot of the numbers felt flat to me, the first half of the film really drags, and I think stuffing every character and story from the live musical did a disservice to all involved (so many feel rushed and underdeveloped, and only serve as a distraction from the sisters tale that is at the movie's core). I wanted to love this so badly, but it ultimately left me severely disappointed.

Priscilla is... pretty. I couldn't be less interested in the subject matter, so the fact that the aesthetics were enough to keep me entertained is more praise than I was expecting to give. The performances are... odd, and I'm not sure I learned a single thing about what any of these characters were thinking/feeling at any point of the story. But Sofia's eye remains unmatched, so there's that.
 
The "May December is camp" thing isn't not true but at the same time...

what really pushes it over the edge is Charles' very real, tragic character in the centre, so heartbreakingly maladjusted, and eventually used (or abused) by both women.

If it were just a mother-off between Natalie and Julianne without his character and excellent performance the movie would still be a gag, but it would be ultimately meaningless.

I can't wait to watch it again, actually.
 
I saw Saltburn last night, and that was definitely the most fun I had in a cinema all year. Just relentlessly weird, funny, dark, and gorgeously shot. Uneven? Sure. But I didn't really care. It was such a great film to experience with a big audience - tons of people gasping, squirming, and laughing throughout. Barry, Jacob, and Rosamund were all so damn good. The whole supporting cast was, really. I thought it was going to end with the grave fucking scene, and I was a bit annoyed at first that it kept going, but I think the absurdity of it all worked. Even if it didn't, it was worth it for that final sequence.
 
The "May December is camp" thing isn't not true but at the same time...

what really pushes it over the edge is Charles' very real, tragic character in the centre, so heartbreakingly maladjusted, and eventually used (or abused) by both women.

If it were just a mother-off between Natalie and Julianne without his character and excellent performance the movie would still be a gag, but it would be ultimately meaningless.

I can't wait to watch it again, actually.
All of this, and I also think Gracie’s last line is a real sobering moment, not just as a final one-up over Elizabeth, but for us viewers who are left to really grapple with her as a whole person.
 
Andrew Scott and Greta “my boyfriend is doing lights for Carly Rae Jepsen” Lee? The mother-off between Julianne Moore and Annette Benning? Variety really said “gay rights” this year.
 

LTG

he/him
New York City Film Critics Circle

Best Film - Killers of the Flower Moon

Best Director - Christopher Nolan - Oppenheimer

Best Actress - Lily Gladstone - Killers of the Flower Moon

Best Actor - Franz Rogowski - Passages

Best Supporting Actress- Da’Vine Joy Randolph - The Holdovers

Best Supporting Actor - Charles Melton - May December

Best International Film - Anatomy of a Fall

Best Screenplay - May December

Best Non-Fiction Film - Menus-Plaisirs - Les Troisgros

Best Cinematography - Oppenheimer

Best First Film - Past Lives

Best Animated Film - The Boy and the Heron
 
Do we think Da’Vine Joy Randolph has a shot at going all the way? The Academy does love rewarding Black actresses in her category historically…
 

LTG

he/him
Do we think Da’Vine Joy Randolph has a shot at going all the way? The Academy does love rewarding Black actresses in her category historically…
I think she’s probably a frontrunner as it stands. But the reactions to Danielle Brooks in The Color Purple have been great and she could overtake her.
 
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