I haven’t seen many of the movies that are nominated for Oscars this year. I could blame a few factors, but I’m not going to. I’m simply going to own up to the fact that I’m kind of flying blind when it comes to Sunday’s awards. Well wait, is Popstar nominated? If so, I’m more informed than I thought I was.
Now because I’ve read stuff, I know La La Land is a prohibitive favorite. I know Denzel Washington and Viola Davis might win for Fences and that dude from Moonlight might win for Best Supporting Actor. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of mystery or suspense when it comes to the awards this year. That’s a bummer. I mean, why even do a pool and try and pick winners when everyone would probably pick the same winners? That doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. It actually doesn’t sound like any kind of fun. It kind of sounds like Manchester By the Sea, a movie my mother-in-law described as “nothing she ever wants to see again.”
My wife has seen La La Land. I haven’t. I told you, flying blind. However, one movie I have seen that is nominated (sorry Popstar) is Arrival and I’m going to be honest, I’m of the opinion that Arrival should win not just one or two Oscars, but all of the Oscars. Yes. Every single one.
We’ll start here, with the awards Arrival is nominated for. It’s nominated for Best Picture. It should win. Why should it win? Because it’s the best picture. Why else? It’s visually stunning, the message of the film is dope, the feel of it is top notch. It has great performances, the sound and music is creepy and haunting and effective and it’s original. Shouldn’t we give more love for originality? What is La La Land, an ode to Hollywood? Cool. Haven’t we seen that before. I don’t think we’ve ever seen Arrival before. More often than not, you can sense how a movie is going to end halfway through. That’s not the case with Arrival and boy did it feel good.
Arrival is also nominated for Best Director. Denis Villeneuve should win this because Arrival really is something to look at, whether it’s the sweeping aerial shots of the space ship straight chilling in Montana or the shots of the scientists and military personal ascending up into the ship, being overtaken by weightlessness as the ship’s gravity-free environment takes over. The scenes are disorientating and unsettling. I never once felt comfortable; not until the end and even then, I was on edge. Yet by the end, it’s the emotions stirred up by the movie that creates a ruckus of your emotions. Good lord, my wife was a mess at the end. Arrival is an action movie whose main action scenes are muted, restrained and chalk full of tension.
Then there’s editing, sound mixing, sound editing, production design, cinematography and the nod for best adapted screenplay. No surprise here, I think Arrival should take home each and every one of these awards. Well, maybe not adapted screenplay. The sounds of Arrival are AMAZING. That shit sounds like aliens and it sounds that way in which you know that it sounds like aliens even though you’ve never actually heard what an alien sounds like. The volume of it helps create such an atmosphere of discomfort you almost need to take a shower afterwards. I saw this at home. It was probably awesome in a theater, with some of that choice Dolby surround sound putting in work. And I’m not usually an avid critic or even a mildly knowledgeable fella when it comes to cinematography, but Arrival had such a distinct look that it deserves some love. It wasn’t over the top or bright or flashy. It was restrained; the colors were largely dark grays and cousins of dark grays. Arrival seems to take place in a bleak version of the world and you get that feeling thanks to the color pallet employed.
Amy Adams, the star of Arrival, was not nominated for Best Actress. This makes no sense to me. I’m not sure there’s another actor out there who could own that movie the way she did, sell the subtleties of linguistics and the power of communication. Another actor would have probably gone big, made it all about them. Adams goes the other direction and disappears into the role. She was acting opposite a glass wall during the most important parts of the movie and SOLD THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF IT. Come on. Give credit where credits due, Oscars. Meryl Streep? Again? I’ve heard from a reliable source that she’s over-rated.
I would also argue that Jeremy Renner should at least be nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Well, maybe not strongly argue, but at least put up a little bit of a fight. He was pretty good in Arrival, riding shotgun with Adams driving. He played the role of utility player admirably.
Arrival will probably go home empty handed Sunday night. La La Land will probably clean house and will be the talk of the town Monday morning. Arrival will be a slow burn though. People will catch it OnDemand and on HBO and a year or so from now, La La Land will be a foot note, an answer to a Quizzo question. Arrival will be a film people remember. Maybe that’s more important than trophies.
Well, that and rationalizing things like that.
Nice review. It’s a very compelling watch.
In the spirit of the film, skipping a few years later into the future, your review is completely correct. And also the reason I stopped watching the Oscars at that point. They simply didn’t, and apparently still don’t, get anything right. Arrival simply not just the greatest sci-fi movie, but one of the best films ever made.
Just watched it again, and it ruined me-again.
Those who haven’t seen it: watch it!