It was December 2004. I was a freshman in college. The dorms had closed for Winter Break, so I was staying with my parents for about a month. And I was bored out of my freaking mind…
For some odd reason, I decided to fill the time by watching old movies. I realized that several of the movies I was watching were previous Academy Award winners — primarily the winner of the most prestigious award, Best Picture.
This is how my love for the annual Academy Awards began.
I began watching any previous winner I could get my hands on. I started tuning into Turner Classic Movies on a daily basis. I would look at the TV guide in advance, and if I was unable to tune in live to a movie, I would record it on a VCR tape. (It was 14 years ago, after all.)
I ultimately was able to watch every single Best Picture winner. And once I had completed that list, I took my passion to the next level.
A few years back I decided to try to watch every single Best Picture nominee in advance of the Academy Awards ceremony. And 2018 was no exception. That’s what the remainder of this post will focus on:
WATCHING THE 8 MOVIES
There were eight movies nominated for Best Picture this year. This is a breakdown of how I watched them:
*2 in Movie Theater (A Star is Born; Vice)
*3 on DVD (Black Panther; BlacKKKlansman; Bohemian Rhapsody)
*1 on Netflix (Roma)
*2 purchased digitally on Amazon Prime this week because it was the only way to watch (Green Book; The Favourite)
I hate to say it, but this year’s batch of movies was the worst collective group since I began doing this in 2015. Yes, there were good movies, but I can think of 2-3 movies from each of the past few years that would top the 2018 list. I will still watch the awards show, of course, but my enthusiasm is down from where it’s been previously.
Below are my rankings of the 8 movies. This is a ranking of my FAVORITES. So yes, this list is biased. I am NOT ranking based on what I think will win. There are hundreds of people out there who know that criteria far better than me.
NOTE: I’ve made a conscious decision to write the following list with NO SPOILERS. So some statements are purposely vague.
8 – A Star is Born
I acknowledge that Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga both delivered amazing performances. And Cooper’s future as a director is bright. But I am simply not in the target demo for this movie. The music… the story… the ending. Not for me.
7 – Roma
This was an absolutly beautiful film, and I’ll be shocked if Alfonso Cuaron doesn’t take home the Oscar for Best Cinematography. I appreciate what this film did. But a movie that’s Black & White with English subtitles isn’t going to top this list.
6 – Bohemian Rhapsody
Someday on this blog, I’m going list my Top 10 bands. Queen is definitely in the top half of those. I love their music, so watching the movie was fun. However, I expected more. Kudos to Rami Malek though. He was sensational as the band’s front man.
5 – Black Panther
Maybe I’m suffering from “superhero fatigue”. But I simply did not understand all the rage about this movie in early 2018. Yes, it was fun. Yes, it’s a cool story. And yes, I can fully appreciate the significance of it. With that said, if I listed out the best superhero movies from the past 15 years, I don’t think this makes the Top 5.
4 – Green Book
This was the “feel-good” movie on the list. A story about two men of different race who become unlikely friends at the height of the civil rights era. Mahershala Ali is a bona fide star, and I believe he’ll win his 2nd Oscar in the past three years. So why isn’t this movie higher? It’s a little too predictable for me.
3 – The Favourite
This was my favorite (pun intended) acting performance from 2018. Olivia Coleman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone were incredible as the three leads. The story was entertaining. The tempo was extremely fast-paced. And the end result was solid.
2 – Vice
I don’t know how accurate this story is. I don’t really care. This is not a documentary. This is a Hollywood movie made for entertainment purposes, and I was definitely entertained. Adam McKay’s directing style is odd, yet it’s right up my alley. I love the sarcastic tone. I love how he has actors speak directly to the audience. And I love the imagery he uses throughout the film.
1 – BlacKKKlansman
No one is more shocked than me that a Spike Lee Joint tops my list. But of all the Best Picture nominees, this was the most entertaining top to bottom. It’s a fascinating story. It’s great directing. It’s solid acting. And it’s extremely well shot and edited.