The Politically Incorrect Guide to the 2018 Oscars
A.K.A. If the Statuette Is Already Anatomically Incorrect, Can We At Least Maintain Some Humour with Balls?
The Oscars is notorious for being a platform for political statements or affirmative action. Remember Marlon Brando sending an American Indian to receive his Best Actor award for The Godfather in 1973? Vietnam, Iraq; over the years, winners have taken the opportunity to make loaded statements about war efforts. And just two years ago, there was the furore over Oscars So White, when racial diversity and African-American representation was the rallying cry. This year should be no different, coming in the aftermath of Harvey Weinstein, the casting couch, and sexual harassment issues.
So, with so much seriousness already in the air, I’d like to make my own Politically Incorrect Guide to the Best Picture Nominees. If you’re a sensitive soul, hate crass humour, will be offended easily - STOP right here and read no further. What follows is tasteless, positively offensive to some, will require a twisted sense of humour, and should be of no redeeming value. Still with me? Well, you have been duly forewarned so don’t gripe, rant, or complain later. Having watched the films mentioned below will be of some help in you rolling your eyes to the ceiling, and thinking, ‘Does he really mean to say what I think he does?’
The Shape of Water - or The Shape of Whatever Is Between My Legs. Not many know this, but to avoid an R16 rating, the distributors of Shape snipped off scenes which clearly show that whenever Elisa would turn on the egg timer and enter the bathtub, she would play with herself. This was Del Toro establishing how despite being mute, Elisa had desires and was sexually active even if it was strictly on a DIY basis. For those who saw this version, her transition to accepting physical love with the ‘siokoy’ is more understandable. As it was, even with those scenes snipped, it’s uncanny how Del Toro had us all rooting for inter species sex. Chalk that up to the power of his storytelling.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - this is writer and director McDonagh masquerading as a Cohen brother, and succeeding because he has one Cohen wife, Frances McDormand, leading the cast. A more loathsome, dim-witted, racist character than the deputy Sam Rockwell portrays would be hard to find, and I loved this film for the arc shown by Rockwell; where by film’s end, we’ve reassessed all the presumptions we formed about his character. If McDonagh had his own three billboards outside the Oscars, they’d say, ‘Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture’, ‘Sweeping so many Award Shows’, and ‘Why the Best Director Snub, Oscar?’
The Post - I liked this Old Hollywood Spielberg quickie! Imagine, in the midst of post prod for Ready Player One, as soon as the script for The Post was ready, Spielberg starts principal photography May of 2017, and has the film in theatres by December. You have to hate him for still coming up with something so worthwhile in such a short time (by Hollywood standards). Call this ‘I am Steven, and you are not!’
Dunkirk - here is Christopher Nolan’s World War II magnum opus. Just like in Memento, he bends time to add punch to the storytelling; and to assist the marketing efforts of the film, he gets Harry Styles to be one of the actors. Both the horrors and heroism of war is depicted here, and the amazing thing is how over the two hours, one never sees the faces of the enemy.
Get Out - What if you were black and found yourself at the 2016 Oscars? Were you a token black face brought in to prove there is no discrimination, or was there a mistake and some white actor has the same name, and was the one they intended to invite? Wait!!!! This is not the 2016 Oscars, this is the movie Get Out!
Lady Bird - with a screenplay filled with so many memorable lines, courtesy of writer/director Greta Gerwig, my absolute favorite has to be this post-coital conversation, when Lady Bird loses her virginity: ‘I wanted it to be special’ ‘Why? You’re going to have so much unspecial sex in your life.’
Darkest Hour - Gary Oldman is magnificent in this film! Otherwise, it’s the companion piece to Dunkirk; as in ‘meanwhile, back in London...’ And sorry, but other than Oldman’s performance, this runs like an episode on The History Channel.
The Phantom Thread - Sorry again, but this is the one film I have not seen. My eldest son, Quintin, says it’s actually his favorite among the nine nominated films, and corrected me by saying it’s not about Darth Vader’s wardrobe designer. From director PTA, and Quintin says it’s dark, masterful, and filled with superb acting.
Call Me By Your Name - yes, audiences were left sobbing at the end of this fairy tale of gay sexual awakening. I loved it, and my newspaper review was entitled ‘Peaches and Cream’; and my online review was ‘As You Like It’, when I really meant ‘Ass, You Like It!’ But yes, everyone said I wouldn’t hear the end of it if I left it titled like that.
Enjoy the Oscars telecast on HBO Monday morning.
All photos are from The Academy's Official Website and The Academy's Official Twitter Account