There are many films hoping to get their first major awards here or at the very least, get enough good buzz going for the rest of the season. I have my eye on a particular quartet of movies,two of which deserve more attention than the Golden Globes are giving them, and interested in seeing if how they fare here will foretell their Oscar fate:
Mudbound: Based on Hilary Jordan's 2008 award winning novel, this adaptation tells the story of two families in the Mississippi Delta during the 1940s.
For the most part, the McAllans, lead by less than savvy would-be farmer Henry(Jason Clarke) with his much put upon wife Laura(Carey Mulligan) and the Jacksons, who have worked on the land for generations with hopes by father Hap(Rob Morgan) to become owners, have little to do with each other's lives.
As Jamie and Ronsel struggle to deal with post-war life, they begin to relate to one another as regular human beings outside of the racial roles that their society has forced upon them.
However, even that brotherly bond is frowned upon severely and sadly, leads to violent consequences and emotional turmoil for both families. It's a compelling film with an amazing cast and superb direction by Dee Rees(who also worked on the screenplay with Virgil Williams).
The story is not simply centered on the Jamie/Ronsel relationship(although it becomes a major spoke in the plot wheel), character development is shared among Laura,who does her best to cope with a living situation she is not allowed much,if any, say in to Hap's dreams of a better life on his own terms and his wife Florence(beautifully portrayed by Mary J. Blige), torn between helping her loved ones achieve their goals and compromising her vow to care more for her children than other people's offspring.
Mudbound is up for Best Supporting Actress(Mary J. Blige) and Best Song(again,Mary J. Blige with "Mighty River") at the Globes and other award shows are already tapping this film for honors but this incredibly moving film should receive serious Oscar love. The movie is in limited release at theaters but is available for streaming at Netflix(who also produced it). If you have access to this film in either format, Mudbound is a true must-see this season:
It is a shame that writer/director Jordan Peele was not nominated for Best Screenplay or Best Director(which,at the GG, is not separated into Drama and Comedy/Musical,unlike most of the main film categories). Hopefully, both of those guilds as well as the Academy Awards will not neglect him in that respect.
Get Out is up for Best Picture and Best Actor with Daniel Kuluuya, who plays leading man Chris with solid emotional flair. Having him get a similar nomination at the Oscars would be awesome, as his performance is a key element in drawing the audience into that growing sense of unease that his character slowly but surely embraces during his visit to the too good to be true family of his new girlfriend. It takes the Stepford Wives metaphor to a whole new level and then some,thanks to Kuluuya's relatable take on the role:
Already, folks are saying that this could be the new La La Land in terms of being the big favorite at the Oscars and even tho I haven't seen it yet, that would be fine by me.
I did see La La Land on DVD and while it was technically lovely, the romance at the center of the story came off as hollow as a plastic Easter egg. That relationship seemed more like one that wasn't meant to be than that was, despite the musical hoopla that accompanied it. While Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were a fine enough onscreen couple, buying into the notion of their great love was a deal breaker there.
The one thing that La La Land lacked with all of it's old school movie gloss and glow was sincerity, something that even the least of Del Toro's work always has in abundance. This tale of a mute cleaning woman who rescues an aquatic being from the clutches of a 1960's secret lab and it's vicious leader feels truly heartfelt just by watching a small scene or two. If it does well here and at the Oscars, that would be wonderful to see:
Out of all these,McDormand has the strongest chance to get an Oscar spot as her character is the most talked about of the film. She plays Mildred, a grieving mother so fed up with the lack of progress by the police into finding her teen daughter's killer that she places a very eye catching message on the title billboards.
The part was written with McDormand in mind and it clearly shows, highlighting the raw power of righteous anger and determination that many a frustrated woman has tapped into lately. While her fellow actors Sam Rockwell(who is up for Best Supporting) and Woody Harrelson have been duly noted for their work here, this is Frances McDormand's time to shine in the cinematic spotlight once again:
We shall soon see how this all plays out,both at the Golden Globes and the Oscars, and with any luck, the truly talented will win. The Globes ought to be entertaining at least, with Seth Meyers as host this time around. He's become quite the late night rising star and perhaps his ascent will go even higher with this big night of stars indeed: