It’s award season around Hollywood and it’s that time of year when we celebrate everything from actors to writers, costumes and songs but mostly movies and stories… the best stories on the screen for us. It’s a dream for everyone who makes it to this town to someday win an Oscar, it’s literally winning the Super Bowl in our creative industry.
In the last few decades, or for as long as I can remember, the irony of it all is many of the movies celebrated by the Hollywood elite more than not don’t resonate with the audience at large, even among many Hollywood insiders we have a hard time to remember the last handful of winners of Best Film of the Year. What does that mean? I’m not sure, I am sure all the films that won are great films… to even get nominated is proof of great work. The fact that we may not know exactly who or what won just a few years ago may just speak to how much impact on the community at large a film may have had on the masses regardless of the exceptional work that had been done.
This year these issues are getting more called into view with actors of color calling a boycott on the Oscars due to lack of ethnic artist being nominated. Are Oscars so white, as the trending hashtag on twitter seem promote? Well, of course they are, but that is nothing new, there are more films being made in Hollywood with Caucasian stars and about “white” stories than any other groups. At the end of the day, the majority of the country is Caucasian and so is the majority of the people running this entertainment industry. That being said, I still feel there should be more inclusion, not too just recognize people of color working in the industry, but to recognize work that is worthy and I do feel that there was some work that was worthy. Also, outside of just winning some subjective award, it actually means a lot when it comes to business and negotiations in future projects. That kind of recognition can definitely be life changing for years to come, so it’s important to be included.
But beyond the race conversation surrounding the whole awards, what about the fact that most of the time, movies I actually love don’t get recognized by the Academy. Many people I know think if an film wins an Oscar, it’s guaranteed to be a boring movie! I’m not going to go that far but here are my favorite movies of the year.
Straight Outta Compton: this movie was just an important to me because it was about guys from my neighborhood at time I was growing up, the music and the memories that ran through my mind when I was watching this movie is unexplainable. Certain moments that happen in the movie, I was thinking where I was when that happen, the first time I heard this song, when I met certain people in that film around those times. To be honest, I didn’t know if this was going to be good when I first heard they were putting this film together, it’s just a story that was so fresh in our minds still and the music that still played on radios everyday. I feared it would turn out cheesy and taint that time, but shout out to director F Gary Gray for making an amazing film that romanticized a special time in my life and showed these black kids from the neighborhood become rock stars and changed the world forever. I’m still convinced “Fuck the Police” is the craziest thing that any musicians have put on wax, I think this will be remembered as an important film because its an important story.
The Hateful Eight: this is my favorite movie of the year, hands down… I watched the 70mm version, it over three hours with overture at the beginning and an intermission in the middle of the flick, I watched the 10:45pm showing knowing I had a flight in the morning and I was swept away into another world, lost in the adventure of this movie the whole time! I love Tarantino as writer and director, the story is filled with twist and turns and has racial undertones and dark witty humor throughout. It’s my favorite film this year, it baffles me that it didn’t even get a nomination for Best Film by the Academy, I don’t want to give out any spoilers, if you haven’t seen this film, you got to go see this film. I can feel Tarantino’s ode to classic Western films and then he puts his mark on the genre and takes us to whole new places that world’s never seen.
Mad Max Fury Road: then there’s this film… I watched it over the summer after getting off the set of a movie I was shooting in Texas. The cast wrapped and rushed to a movie theatre in Taylor, Texas, arriving 5 minutes before it started only to find out due to no tickets in this little town had been sold for the last showing of the night, they decided to close early. But somehow we talked them into to opening it for our own private screening! (the kid closing down recognized us as actors and called up his manager and convinced him to play the movie for us… thank you!) It’s a great memory, and as we sat in this 100 year old theatre to watch this film on summer night in Texas I witnessed a roller coaster ride of lifetime. I literally got to see a masterpiece, George Miller did something that some may have thought was impossible, he made an art film and a summer blockbuster, a thrill every 5 minutes and I can take any number of frames of the movie and blow it up and put the image in museum to rival any masters of all the ages. Got to admit, the Academy got it right on giving this unlikely contender a nod for Best Film of the Year.
I just love movies… if you haven’t seen these ones yet, I highly suggest it, you may not agree with me, but these are my favorite movies of the year.