2019, what a year in film. From the return of Quentin Tarantino to Parasite taking the awards season by storm. And of course, Marriage Story being the best Netflix movie ever released (sorry, Irishman and Roma), it was a great year for movies. The year that was 2019 will finally wrap up Sunday night, Feb. 9, when the Academy Awards take place. With that, here are my thoughts on the best picture nominees.
One of the greatest feats I’ve ever seen in a movie: the appearance of one continuous take, which may one of the hardest things to do. Sam Mendes made warfare interesting to someone like me, who doesn’t like war movies all that much. The sound, the cinema, and the story all worked so well for me that I imagine that it will win a ton of awards on Sunday. I still can’t get over the cinematography this movie had. I felt so immersed in the world Mendes created with this movie, I loved it. With a lot of steam headed in the Oscars, I’d be shocked if it didn’t win Best Picture.
Ford V Ferrari
This was a bit of a surprise to me that it was even nominated. I’m not saying it was a bad movie or anything, just a surprise where there were so many movies that were better than this (The Farewell and Knives Out, to name a few). I like Ford. V Ferrari because of how well made it was and I think that’s mostly why it was nominated. It had two strong leads from Christian Bale and Matt Damon, and James Mangold directing, so it had everything you look for, I was just surprised. The chemistry between Bale and Damon was matched by a very select few last year in film and I ultimately think that’s why it was nominated. The banter between the two made this a very easy watch that was also very informative in the world of racing. Do I think it’ll win? No, I don’t. But I do like seeing it getting some love.
Personally, I’m shocked this isn’t getting more love this awards season because it had all the pieces to win a lot of them. Irishman is long, I mean really long and that was my biggest gripe. At a whopping three hours and 21 minutes, it’s an exercise watching this whole thing. It’s slow, it’s political, and it’s about a topic I really don’t care about, old gangsters. But I still really enjoyed this movie, especially Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa and fresh out of retirement, Joe Pesci as Russell Buffalino. Those two carried the movie to me and I never got tired of them on-screen. The direction that Martin Scorcese took with The Irishman was great and even though I do not like these types of movies, especially ones this long, I found myself liking most of it. It’s a great movie that will win some awards on the technical side of film, but it’s probably not going to win Best Picture.
Much like Ford v Ferrari, I don’t think this is going to win Best Picture, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t rooting hard for this movie to win everything it was nominated for. I enjoyed what the movie was trying to say, which was don’t be a blind fanatic to your country, which is perfect in today’s climate. The message was clear to me, but it was anything but ham-fisted. Jojo Rabbit was so light on its feet and had so much heart that I loved it more than most movies I saw last year. I am rooting for Scarlett Johansson to win Best Supporting Actress for this movie, even though Laura Dern has that pretty much wrapped. Johansson was so good and was the heart of this wonderfully made movie. It’s not going to win Sunday, but after its Best Adapted Screenplay at the BAFTAS, I won’t be 100% surprised if it wins Best Adapted Screenplay.
Never thought I’d ever see a comic book movie getting nominated for Best Picture, not to mention the other 10 nominations it got, but here we are. The discussion on this movie was by far the most exhausting out of any movie that came out last year, except maybe Rise of Skywalker. Whatever you think about Joker, good or bad, I think we all can agree Joaquin Phoenix did one heck of a job as the mentally ill man that was Arthur Fleck. With the way the awards season has gone so far, Phoenix should easily win Best Actor come Sunday. I’m also going to go ahead and say the score for the movie will probably win that award as well. I loved the movie, but I can see people hating it too, which makes it even more fun to debate the movie given how divisive it was. I don’t want it to win Best Picture but as a fan of comic book movies, I think it’s good for the genre and its future.
I’ll start by saying Greta Gerwig got royally screwed in not getting the nomination for Best Director for the way she told her story in this movie. With just enough deviations from the first movie, to making it truly matter to women, Little Women was a great movie for all audiences. Saoirse Ronan as Jo and Florence Pugh as Amy were two of my favorite roles of 2019. They brought so much to this movie that they absolutely deserved to be nominated and I would not be mad if they won their respective awards. It does get a little jump in the story, but I followed it pretty easily. I think less time-hopping would have helped this movie out. Much like Jojo Rabbit, I wouldn’t be surprised if it wins Best Adapted Screenplay.
This movie deserves any and all love that it’s getting. Such a beautiful movie about such a sad topic, divorce. Just the way Noah Baumbach made both Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson so easy to root for was incredible. If it weren’t for Phoenix, I’d be willing to bet Driver would win the Best Actor award for what he was able to do in this movie. He was so good in this movie and I wish he was getting more attention. The same can be said for ScarJo, but she may win the award and I would be okay with that. The emotions, the story, the realness of this movie all make it worthwhile to watch. So sad, but so good and I’m rooting for it hard. It was the best movie I saw last year, up until I recently saw one other nominated movie. We’ll get to that in a second.
Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
Of all the movies that were nominated, I think this was my favorite movie I saw of these nine. I’ll preface by saying I love this era of American History, the late 60s. The movies, the music, the cars, I love it all and that’s exactly what you get from Quentin Tarantino in this movie. Brad Pitt and Leonardi DiCaprio just hanging out and doing stuff together was so much fun for me to watch over and over, I’ve watched this movie five times so far. I could have watched Pitt drive around in his car for 3 hours and not got tired of it. Much like Joker, it is a little divisive for some and it can be boring at times, but as a whole, I loved this movie. DiCaprio getting no love for Rick Dalton is a shame, but it is nice to know Pitt is probably the easiest lock ever for Best Supporting Role.
If you would have told me a movie that is completely in Korean with subtitles would not only be the best movie I saw from last year, but also maybe the best movie I have seen in five years, I’d say you were crazy but here we are. As I write this review, I still haven’t stopped thinking about this movie and how amazing it was. It was a commentary on class, while also being a dark comedy. Then it goes for the biggest 180 I have ever seen and becomes a thriller. It was so funny at first then it just becomes this thrill ride that never stopped until the very end. I want to see Director, Bong Joon-Ho, win all the awards but I think Sam Mendes has most of them already locked up. Still, I will not be surprised if this wins a ton of awards. Sure it has subtitles, I don’t care, it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.
With all of that out of the way, here’s how I think this is going to play out….
WHO I WANT TO WIN: PARASITE
WHO I THINK WILL WIN: 1917