It’s become a tradition for me to call out an additional 15 strong films from every year, and since there was plenty more good stuff that didn’t make it into my Top Ten for 2020, I’m carrying on with it.
Nearly all of the following films have some political or sociological importance. I didn’t do that on purpose — it’s just what resonated with me this year. The reality we lived in during 2020 was so extreme, it often felt like a dystopic movie. The figureheads charged with ensuring our safety were so untruthful, so I sought truth in fiction. Things have gone seriously haywire when the movies tell us more about what’s going on in the world than our government will, but this was not entirely new in 2020. It was just worse than before.
As I noted in my Top Ten write-up, it was a sad year for movies, too, with productions halted, release dates abandoned, theaters shuttered, and a couple major studios betraying the medium that built them in the first place. The good films that did rise out of the ashes of 2020 were a lifeline. Cinema is just about the only thing that got me through a tough year. I can’t claim it was escapism, but these are the films that brought me joy — even if, in the case of many, it was through the sorrow, rage, or fear felt by their characters — and helped me feel connected to something beautiful, something human, when I otherwise couldn’t in real life.
The Academy is always a little bit wrong, which is why I write this post every year. Inevitably, there are writers, directors, actors, composers, and others who don’t get their just desserts from the Academy when nominees are announced — and those whose work is too niche, or too gene, to ever have a chance at Oscar gold in the first place.
But this year, the Oscars are really wrong.
Films like Bohemian Rhapsody, Vice, and Green Book have fared much better this awards season than they really should, and they’re likely to take home and Oscar or two. (God forbid — maybe even Best Picture.) But the Academy has made some inexplicably bad decisions behind the scenes, too — the stillborn Best Popular Film category, the announcement of Kevin Hart as this year’s host, the decision to cut all but two Original Song nominees, the decision to not air four of the categories live. All of these have been undone thanks to widespread backlash from the fans who actually watch and care about the Oscars, who are justifiably angry about ABC and the Academy changing the telecast to cater to those who do not. You would think they’d have gotten the message the first time: Don’t Fuck With Our Oscars. But they’ve had to learn again, and again, and again.
On the plus side, more categories than not are wide open, with multiple plausible winners. Some categories have frontrunners, and others — including the big prize, Best Picture — are anybody’s guess. It’s the most suspenseful, unpredictable Oscar race in recent memory. Anything could happen! (Except for my favorites winning Oscars — because most weren’t even nominated.) Continue reading “Not-Oscars 2018”