Oscars 2017: Stickiness Underfoot

I love cinema, so did my Mum. She transferred that love to me via Gone With the Wind (an asbolute marathon at the cinema with interval sandwiches!) to Saturday afternoon movies together (one of the few things we did share as the antidote to the interminable sport on TV at our house) to old black and white ones (still love B&W, me) to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Her favourite actors included Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Alan Ladd, Cary Grant and many more. She had an eye for the chaps, it must be said, and in her heyday she could hold a candle to many of the glamorous actresses too.
We used to cry a lot in movies. We used to love a good cry. I still do. In fact if the movie is supposed to move me and I haven’t cried, I am disappointed. Don’t make me cite examples, suffice to say I do have them.
Of late, I have taken to streaming movies at home. This is fine. So much better in many ways – convenient, cheap, warm, cosy, no interruptions, no stickiness underfoot. But it isn’t the same, is it? It really isn’t. Especially when it comes to those films which really need to be seen in what I like to call the Big Dark. You get much more of a tingle factor at the cinema and often I do the director a disservice by watching on my 15 inch laptop something he intended I should watch on cinemascope.
Often, but not always, I decide I am going to go on a marathon movie-fest in the run up to the Oscars, and this year is one of those. Starting now I have a dozen I want to see at the cinema and a few more I can definitely catch up with online. Here’s my January/February 2017 movie wish list, a proper leave-the-house-go-to-the-cinema list:
This week: Manchester by the Sea with Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams. I already know I am going to love this one, so I am putting it ahead of La La Land with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Both of these movies came in for Golden Globes glory, a foretaste of what’s to come no doubt. [DONE – both ticked off my list]
Next week: Lion with Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel and Jackie, the story of Mrs Kennedy, with the (slighly annoying) Natalie Portman. [Lion DONE, lovely]
Final week of January: Hacksaw Ridge with Andrew Garfield (you don’t see so much of him these days) and Rules Don’t Apply with Warren Beatty playing Howard Hughes (has he done that more than once?). Everyone’s in this one too, Warren’s wife Annette Bening, Matthew Brodrick, Candice Bergen, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen – how many can you spot in the trailer?
First week of February: Phew, we can take a bit of a breather, only one to see this week, Loving which “celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an inter-racial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry and their love story has become an inspiration to couples ever since.” Loving is their surname. What a great surname, even if this wasn’t their story, which it is. [DONE – got a jump on this one]
Second week of February: Oh goody! Another one-movie week, this time 20th Century Women. Annette Bening gets another movie, good on her, and is teamed with a fascinating cast of Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig and Billy Crudup and a promising newcomer or two. I’m one of those, a twentieth century woman, doing her best to acclimate to the twenty first. Often I don’t like period pieces, certainly not costume drama, but I do love anything which I call contemporary and I stretch that definition to mean anything in my lifetime, so the Nineteen -Fifties onwards, as it helps me learn about myself and how I fit into our modern world, including what shaped me.
Third week of February: And we are putting our backs into it again with two films but it won’t feel like hardship as they are two stonkers. First off Hidden Figures, the spine-tingling story of three extroardinary and brainy African-American women who worked at NASA. It’s got Kevin Costner in it too (be still my beating heart) and Pharrell is one of the producers, and he does the music. Say no more. I’m in. Sold to this woman in pink from the get-go. Any film which promotes brainy women is fine by me, especially feisty ones with attitude too (check the trailer!). Nothing sexier than “good old-fashioned brainpower”; don’t I know it. [DONE – Fab, loved it, cried, awesome]
The second movie that week is Denzel and Viola Davis in Fences, and Viola already bagged the Golden Globe for that one, not that I needed that to persuade me.
And finally, in the last week of February, just sneaking in under the wire before the 2017 Oscars on 26th February, are Moonlight and Miss Sloane. Moonlight looks like a tough but important watch, Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Drama, and Miss Sloane starring Jessica Chastain (as a D.C. lobbyist) and lots of other good actors, many of whom you will recognise without necessarily knowing their names, from their sterling TV work and films. Set in Washington, which always makes an appeal for almost any drama where I’m concerned. Politics. Power. Unpleasantness. Moral dilemmas.
These delicious dozen hold out high hopes to me for top talent on both sides of the camera, acting, writing, directing and stories to inspire, move and affirm life. Can’t wait!
I hope I’ve whetted your appetite.
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Note: The BAFTAs 2017 are on 12th February, two weeks before the Oscars. This cannot be helped, but like the Golden Globes it is annoying that they are voting on films that we in the UK haven’t even had release yet. Just saying. Don’t want to be churlish.

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