Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for January


Well, here we are. Another awards season is wrapping up. Almost all of the regional critic groups have announced their picks for the best of 2021. The Guilds have spoken. The front runners have emerged. Both Don’t Look Up and Being the Ricardos have weathered bad reviews and become probable Oscar nominees. If nothing else, I’ll have something to complain about for the next three or four months. At the same time, Power of the Dog has emerged as the critical favorite. Belfast seems to be the populist favorite. West Side Story is the big production that has to be nominated, even though no one seems to feel particularly strongly about it one way or the other. Dune is the blockbuster that the Academy is hoping will cause people to tune into the ceremony, especially now that it appears that the Spider-Man Oscar campaign has fizzled. Don’t Look Up is the “Let’s piss off the cons” nominee. Being the Ricardos is this year’s “Wow, our industry really is the best” nominee. Personally, I’m going to view tick, tick….Boom! as being the most likely dark horse to pull off an upset.

So, with all that in mind, here’s my last set of 2021 Oscar predictions.

Looking at the list below, I have to say that we certainly have a good race this year. It’s interesting that, this year, only films that were released between March and the end of December were eligible for the Oscars. 2021 was a very good year for movies! Not only do we have the nominees below but we also had films like The Father and Judas and the Black Messiah, both of which are 2021 films as far as I’m concerned.

(Consider this. If the Oscars had kept the eligibility window the same last year instead of extending it to accommodate films delayed by the pandemic, Anthony Hopkins would probably be the Best Actor front runner right now and the Academy probably would have given Chadwick Boseman a posthumous Best Actor award last April. I also imagine that Jesse Plemons would have a better chance of picking up a supporting actor nomination if the members of the Academy were currently screening both The Power of the Dog and Judas and the Black Messiah at the same time.)

To see how my thinking has evolved,  check out my predictions for March and April and May and June and July and August and September and October and November and December!

The Oscar nominations will be announced on February 8th. Below are my predictions!

Best Picture

Being The Ricardos
Belfast
CODA
Don’t Look Up
Dune
King Richard
Licorice Pizza
The Power Of The Dog
Tick, Tick….Boom!
West Side Story

Best Director

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Adam McKay for Don’t Look Up

Lin-Manuel Miranda for tick, tick …. Boom!

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve for Dune

Best Actor

Nicolas Cage in Pig

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield in tick, tick….Boom!

Will Smith in King Richard

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Nicole Kidman in Being the Riacardos

Kristen Stewart in Spencer

Best Supporting Actor

Bradley Cooper in Licorice Pizzia

Ciaran Hinds in Belfast

Troy Kostur in CODA

Jared Leto in House of Gucci

Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Caitriona Balfe in Belfast

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis in King Richard

Ruth Negga in Passing

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for December


Well, the year’s nearly over and that means that it is time for me to post my final Oscar predictions for 2021.  The race has gotten much clearer with the start of the precursor season.  The critics love The Power of the Dog.  However, it’s perhaps a bit too early to declare it the front runner.  I want to see how things go with the Guilds in January before I bestow that title on any film.

A few thoughts:

There are ten Best Picture nominees this year so we won’t have any of that, “Here’s a random number of nominees” crap.  In theory, that should open the door for some unconventional nominees that might have missed the cut-off in previous years.  Again, I said, “In theory.”  They tried this 10 nominee thing before and it didn’t really lead to the results that a lot of people were expecting.

Still, I’m going to swing out on a web and predict a Best Picture nomination for Spider-Man: No Way Home.  It’s got Disney and Sony behind it.  It’s making a ton of money despite not playing in China.  It’ the film that’s currently giving the industry hope that there’s a future outside of the streaming sites.  Plus, after the nominations of Black Panther and Joker, it might be time to give the whole “They’ll never nominate a comic book movie!” argument a rest.  

I’m also going to predict a Best Picture nomination for Drive My Car, which has been getting a lot of attention from the critics.  

The critics also loved West Side Story but now, it’s probably best known for being a bust at the box office.  I still think the movie will be nominated but I don’t think it’ll win.  And I think it’s a lot less likely that Rita Moreno will pick up a nomination.  People seem to have moved on from the movie.  Again, this could all change once the Guilds start announcing their nominations.

The critics are split on Don’t Look Up.  I personally think it’s one of the worst films of 2021.  But the film will be nominated for much the same reason that The Big Short and Vice were nominated.  There’s a lot of Academy members who agree with McKay’s politics.  And the people who do like Don’t Look Up really, really like it.  And I also think there’s probably enough people annoyed with Elon Musk that Mark Rylance will sneak into the supporting actor race.

Belfast has not been dominating the early part of awards season but I think it will come on strong once the Guilds start announce their nominations.

Anywya, these are just my guesses, for better or worse.  To see how my thinking has evolved,  check out my predictions for March and April and May and June and July and August and September and October and November!

Best Picture

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Drive My Car

Dune

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

The Power of the Dog

Spider-Man: No Way Home

West Side Story

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza

Kenneth Branagh for Belfast

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Ryusuke Hamaguchi for Drive My Car

Denis Villeneueve for Dune

Best Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Peter Dinklage in Cyrano

Andrew Gardield for tick….tick….BOOM!

Will Smith in King Richard

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Lady Gaga in House of Gucci

Alana Haim in Licorice Pizza

Kristen Stewart in Spencer

Rachel Zegler in West Side Story

Best Supporting Actor

Bradley Cooper in Licorice Pizza

Ciaran Hinds in Belfast

Troy Kostur in CODA

Mark Rylance in Don’t Look Up

Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

Ann Dowd in Mass

Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis in King Richard

Marlee Matlin in CODA

 

Here Are the 2021 Nominations of the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics!


The Washington D.C. Area Film Critics have announced their nominees for the best of 2021!  The winners will be announced tomorrow so that means you have exactly one day to see all the nominees.  GET TO IT!

Best Film
Belfast
The Green Knight
The Power of the Dog
tick, tick…BOOM!
West Side Story

Best Director
Kenneth Branagh – Belfast
Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog
David Lowery – The Green Knight
Steven Spielberg – West Side Story
Denis Villeneuve – Dune

Best Actor
Nicolas Cage – Pig
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog
Andrew Garfield – tick, tick…BOOM!
Will Smith – King Richard
Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Actress
Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter
Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos
Lady Gaga – House of Gucci
Kristen Stewart – Spencer
Tessa Thompson – Passing

Best Supporting Actor
Jamie Dornan – Belfast
Ciarán Hinds – Belfast
Troy Kotsur – CODA
Jesse Plemons – The Power of the Dog
Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress
Caitríona Balfe – Belfast
Ariana DeBose – West Side Story
Ann Dowd – Mass
Kirsten Dunst – The Power of the Dog
Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard

Best Acting Ensemble
Belfast
The French Dispatch
The Harder They Fall
Mass
The Power of the Dog

Best Youth Performance
Jude Hill – Belfast
Emilia Jones – CODA
Woody Norman – C’mon, C’mon
Saniyya Sidney – King Richard
Rachel Zegler – West Side Story

Best Voice Performance
Awkwafina – Raya and the Last Dragon
Stephanie Beatriz – Encanto
Abbi Jacobson – The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Kelly Marie Tran – Raya and the Last Dragon
Jacob Tremblay – Luca

Best Original Screenplay
Kenneth Branagh – Belfast
Mike Mills – C’mon, C’mon
Zach Baylin – King Richard
Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza
Fran Kranz – Mass

Best Adapted Screenplay
Siân Heder – CODA
Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth – Dune
Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog
Steven Levenson – tick, tick…BOOM!
Tony Kushner – West Side Story

Best Animated Feature
Encanto
Flee
Luca
The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Raya and the Last Dragon

Best Documentary
The First Wave
Flee
The Rescue
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Val

Best International/Foreign Language Film
Drive My Car
A Hero
Lamb
Titane
The Worst Person in the World

Best Production Design
Jim Clay, Production Designer; Claire Nia Richards, Set Decorator – Belfast
Patrice Vermette, Production Designer; Richard Roberts and Zsuzsanna Sipos, Set Decorators – Dune
Adam Stockhausen, Production Designer; Rena DeAngelo, Set Decorator – The French Dispatch
Tamara Deverell, Production Designer; Shane Vieau, Set Decorator – Nightmare Alley
Adam Stockhausen, Production Designer; Rena DeAngelo, Set Decorator – West Side Story

Best Cinematography
Haris Zambarloukos – Belfast
Greig Fraser – Dune
Andrew Droz Palermo – The Green Knight
Ari Wegner – The Power of the Dog
Bruno Delbonnel – The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Editing
Úna Ní Dhonghaíle – Belfast
Joe Walker – Dune
Andrew Weisblum – The French Dispatch
Peter Sciberras – The Power of the Dog
Myron Kerstein & Andrew Weisblum – tick, tick…BOOM!

Best Original Score
Bryce Dessner & Aaron Dessner – Cyrano
Hans Zimmer – Dune
Alexandre Desplat – The French Dispatch
Jonny Greenwood – The Power of the Dog
Jonny Greenwood – Spencer

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for October


It’s time to take a little break from horror so that I may once against do my list of my monthly Oscar predictions!  I guess some people would consider predicting the Oscars to be a scary thing.  Personally, I have fun doing it, even if my predictions often seem to be for naught.  That said, I did manage to predict that Thomas Vinterberg would be nominated for Best Director last year so take that, haters.

Probably the biggest development this month is that I’ve lost all faith in Spielberg’s West Side Story.  It’s just not getting the type of hype that I would expect from a Spielberg Oscar movie.  In fact, it seems like everyone involved is in kind of a hurry to move on.  So, for now, I’m dropping it from my predictions.  While West Side Story goes, Dune has definitely established itself as a probable nominee.  I think the only problem that Dune will have is the possibility of people saying, “We’ll just nominate the sequel instead.”

I’ve also added C’mon C’mon and Passing to my list of Best Picture nominees.  This is almost totally due to their popularity with the Gothams.  If the other critics groups don’t duplicate the love, they’ll probably get dropped from my predictions come January.

As always, keep in mind that I don’t claim to be an expert.  The picture is a bit clearer but I don’t claim to have any inside information or anything like that.  These are just my guesses, for better or worse.  To see how my thinking has evolved,  check out my predictions for March and April and May and June and July and August and September!

Best Picture

Belfast

C’mon C’mon

CODA

Dune

The Lost Daughter

Nightmare Alley

Passing

The Power of the Dog

Spencer

The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Director

Kenneth Branagh for Belfast

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Maggie Gyllenhaal for The Lost Daughter

Guillermo del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Denis Villeneuve for Dune

Best Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Peter Dinklage in Cyrano

Jude Hill in Belfast

Will Smith in King Richard

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter

Penelope Cruz in Parallel Lives

Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Kristen Stewart in Spencer

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in Nightmare Alley

Jamie Dornan in Belfast

Ciaran Hinds in Belfast

Jason Isaacs in Mass

Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Jessie Buckley in The Lost Daughter

Dame Judi Dench in Belfast

Ann Dowd in Mass

Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for September


Well, it’s the time of the month again.

No, not that time!  That time ended two days ago.  I’m talking about the fact that it’s time for me to once again share my monthly Oscar predictions.  Thanks to the festival circuit, we’ve finally gotten some advance word on the big Oscar contenders that will be coming out over the next few months.

Belfast, as of right now, sounds like the prohibitive favorite to win it all.  At first, it seemed like the reaction to The Power of the Dog was a bit mixed but later reactions were almost overwhelmingly positive.  It sounds like the type of film that will be nominated even if it won’t necessarily win.  Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter is coming on strong, as is Spencer.  For me, the biggest surprise has been the amount of acclaim that Dune has been getting.  I was a bit dismissive of its Oscar chances earlier this year but now it definitely sounds like it will be in the hunt.

West Side Story has been seen by no one but I continue to list it because it’s a Spielberg film and, with all the musicals that are being released this year and which have subsequently struggled with either critics or audiences or both, it still seems the most likely to pick up a nomination.  I’m a little bit skeptical on whether or not Nightmare Alley is going to be an “Oscar picture” but the trailer was nice to look at so I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt.  House of Gucci is three hours long and full of stars so it’s either going to be an Oscar nominee or a complete bomb.

You may notice a lack of predicted nominations for Licorice Pizza. Licorice Pizza is a film that I fully expect to love but the trailer definitely feels a bit more like Inherent Vice than The Phantom Thread.  I still think that the actors could get nominated but the rumor right now is that Bradley Cooper’s role is actually very small.  That’s why I no longer have him listed as a supporting actor nominee.

Again, keep in mind that I’m not an expert.  The picture is a bit clearer but I don’t claim to have any inside information or anything like that.  These are just my guesses, for better or worse.  To see how my thinking has evolved,  check out my predictions for March and April and May and June and July and August!

Best Picture

Belfast

CODA

Dune

House of Gucci

The Lost Daughter

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

Spencer

The Tragedy of MacBeth

West Side Story

Best Director

Kenneth Branagh for Belfast

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Guillermo del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve for Dune

Best Actor

Clifton Collins, Jr. in Jockey

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Peter Dinklage in Cyrano

Will Smith in King Richard

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter

Penelope Cruz in Parallel Lives

Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Kristen Stewart in Spencer

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Willem DaFoe in Nightmare Alley

Ciaran Hinds in Belfast

Jason Isaac in Mass

Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Jessie Buckley in The Lost Daughter

Dame Judi Dench in Belfast

Ann Dowd in Mass

Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Lisa’s Way Too Early 2022 Oscar Predictions for March!


Yes, it’s time to start this again.

The Oscar nominations for 2020-2021 were finally revealed earlier this month. They weren’t particularly surprising. To be honest, they were kind of boring. But, with those nominations now revealed and the Oscars sets to be awarded at the end of April, that means it’s time to start looking forward to next year!

Of course, it’s hard to say what’s going to happen next year. Most of the films that are scheduled to come out later in 2021 were originally scheduled to come out in 2020. (And they were made in 2018 and 2019, which means the first big releases of 2021 are already dated.) Right now, most of the probable nominees are films that I originally expected to be contenders last year, like Spielberg’s West Side Story and Dune. Needless to say, new contenders will emerge over the next few months. Quite frankly, I’m skeptical of West Side Story because it sounds like the type of project that will bring out all of Spielberg’s worst instincts as a filmmaker. But, until it’s released, it’ll be a contender because he’s Spielberg.

As of right now, we don’t even know what the eligibility window is going to be for the next set of Oscar contenders. Is the Academy going to go back to a December cut-off or are they going to continue to extend the eligibility window. Are we predicting the 2021 Oscars or are we predicting the 2021-2022 Oscars? Again, as of now, we just don’t know. Personally, I’m hoping they return to a December cut-off but I have a feeling that the Academy will disagree.

About the only thing we do know for sure, right now, is that the Academy is going to go back to a set number of nominees. 10 films will be nominated. No more of this maybe 7 or maybe 8 nominees. It’s about time.

Anyway, the list below is based on the assumption that the Academy’s going to go back to the old eligibility window, which means that only films released between the start of March and the end of December will be eligible for Oscar consideration.

It’s also based on the presumption that the Oscars can be predicted this far out. They can’t. But I enjoy making lists and I love the Oscars. Doing these predictions has become a part of my monthly ritual. You know how much I love a good ritual.

So, here are my potentially worthless predictions for what will be nominated next year!

Best Picture

CODA

Dune

The French Dispatch

House of Gucci

In the Heights

The Last Duel

Nightmare Alley

Passing

Respect

West Side Story

Best Director

Guillermo Del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Rebecca Hall for Passing

Ridley Scott for House of Gucci

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve for Dune

Best Actor

Clifton Collins, Jr. in Jockey

Bradley Cooper in Nightmare Alley

Matt Damon in The Last Duel

Adam Driver in The Last Duel

Will Smith in King Richard

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Lady Gaga in House of Gucci

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Tessa Thompson in Passing

Rachel Zegler in West Side Story

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Daniel Durant in CODA

Jeremy Irons in House of Gucci

Al Pacino in House of Gucci

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Best Supporting Actress

Cate Blanchett in Nightmare Alley

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Ruth Negga in Passing

The Sleeper Awakens with the new Dune Trailer


Just about everyone’s waiting for Denis Villeneuve’s remake of Frank Herbert’s Dune. Having grown up on the David Lynch version (and making my way through the novel), it has some big shoes to fill. Thankfully, what we’ve seen of it so far seems interesting. Villeneuve should have an easy time with the source material, though the movie has had its share of reshoots and dealing with the pandemic. We’ll see how it goes.

We finally have a trailer and some Wormsign!!. I’m liking the look of it. Chalamet’s Paul Atreides has some attitude to him, and I’m curious to see what Stellan Skarsgard does with the Baron Harkonnen.

Enjoy.

<- Artwork of the Day: A Bloody Business Artist Profile: Stewart Rouse ->

14 Shots From 14 Films: Special Roger Deakins Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Usually, we only do 4 shots from 4 films but today is the birthday of our greatest living cinematographer, Roger Deakins!  And it’s impossible to only pick 4 when it comes to Deakins.

So, it’s time for….

14 Shots From 14 Films

Marquis De Sade’s Justine (1977, dir by Chris Boger, cinematography by Roger Deakins)

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984, dir by Michael Radford, cinematography by Roger Deakins)

Barton Fink (1991, dir by the Coen Brothers, cinematography by Roger Deakins)

Fargo (1996, dir by the Coen Brothers, cinematography by Roger Deakins)

Kundun (1997, dir by Martin Scorsese, cinematography by Roger Deakins)

House of Sand and Fog (2003, dir by Vadim Perelman, cinematography by Roger Deakins)

No Country For Old Men (2007, dir by the Coen Brothers, cinematography by Roger Deakins)

A Serious Man (2009, dir by the Coen Brothers, cinematography by Roger Deakins)

Skyfall (2012, dir by Sam Mendes, cinematography by Roger Deakins)

Prisoners (2013, dir by Denis Villeneuve, cinematography by Roger Deakins)

Sicario (2015, dir by Denis Villeneuve, cinematography by Roger Deakins)

Hail Caesar! (2016, dir by the Coen Brothers, cinematography by Roger Deakins)

Blade Runner 2049 (2017, dir by Denis Villeneuve, cinematography by Roger Deakins)

1917 (2019, dir by Sam Mendes. cinematography by Roger Deakins)

 

The International Lens: Polytechnique (dir by Denis Villeneuve)


On a snowy day in Montreal, a nameless young man (Maxim Gaudette) wanders about a cramped apartment.  He loads a rifle.  He drives to his mother’s house and leaves a note in her mailbox.  He goes to École Polytechnique, the engineering school where he’s a student.  Leaving the rifle in his car, he walks around the school.  He stares at the students in the cafeteria, observing them with a hatred that they might not notice but which we’ll never forget.  He goes back outside.  He sits in his car while the snow continues to fall.

As we watch him, we hear him reading the suicide note that he’s written  for the authorities.  He talks about his belief that the world has been destroyed by feminists.  He writes that he’s offended that he is expected to compete with women and that women have an unfair advantage in both the academic and the professional world.  He brags about the good grades that he gets, despite the fact that he rarely attends school.  He says that he’s never fit in with the world and that woman are to blame.  He complains about women competing at the Olympics, showing that he views everything through the filter of his own misogyny.  At one point, he apologizes for not being as eloquent as he believes he could be.  He explains that he only had 15 minutes to put down his thoughts.

Inside the school, another engineering student, Jean-Francois (Sébastien Huberdeau ) struggles to complete an assignment before his next class begin.  He sits in the cafeteria with open books scattered across the table in front of him.  Later, we’ll see Jean-Francois running through the hallways of the school, trying to warn the other students that something terrible is happening.  He’ll run to a security officer and ask him to call the police, just to be given a somewhat confused look in response.  Later still, we’ll see Jean-Francois outside of the school, visiting his family and haunted by guilt.

One of Jean-Francois’s classmates, Valerie (Karine Vanasse), goes to a job interview where the older male interviewer states that he’s shocked that Valerie wants to go into engineering after graduation.  Most women, he says, don’t do that.  It’s a profession that requires a lot of hard work and it’s not ideal for someone who wants to start a family.  Stunned, Valerie lies and says that she doesn’t have any desire to start a family.  Throughout the film, we watch as Valerie stop several times at her locker so that she can switch shoes.  When she has to deal with stuff like her job interview, she puts on high heels that are obviously very uncomfortable for her.  When she just wants to go to class, she has to stop and switch to shoes that she can actually walk in and, at that moment, I knew exactly what she was feeling.  Every woman watching will instantly know what she’s going through.  Later, she complains to her friend and roommate, Stephanie (Evelyn Brouchu), about how condescending the interview was.  Stephanie tells her not to obsess on it.

Outside, the snow continues to fall in the night, creating a bleakly cold landscape and making Montreal look like a barren and bombed-out wasteland.

Later, we’ll see Jean-Francois arriving late for a class.  Valerie and Stephanie are already in the class, listening to the lecture.  Not long after Jean-Francois claims his seat, the unnamed man steps into the room, carrying his rifle.  He orders the males to gather on one side of the room and the women on the other….

These are the moments and images that stick with you, long after the 2009 Canadian film, Polytechnique, concludes it’s brief 77-minute run time.  It’s a haunting film, definitely not one to watch if you’re already feeling depressed.  What makes it especially disturbing is that it’s based on a true story.  On December 8, 1989, an Algerian-Canadian student opened fire at École Polytechnique in Montreal.  (The film does not name the killer and I won’t either, because to name him without naming his victims does a disservice to their memory.  Those who really want to know his name are free to look it up on Wikipedia.)  As seen in the film, the gunman specifically targeted women and even ordered all of the males in the classroom to leave before he opened fire.  Also, as seen in the movie, the men did just that, with not a single one trying to stop the gunman or warn others until they were already out of the classroom.  The character of Jean-Francois stands in for all of the men who were haunted by their decision to leave.  As I watched the film, I had mixed feelings about the men who left that classroom.  Yes, the gunman was armed but there were enough men in that classroom that it’s hard to justify the fact that not a single one attempted to intervene.

Before shooting himself in the head, the gunman killed 14 women and wounded 10 women and 4 men.  It remains the deadliest mass shooting in Canada’s history.  When the police found his body, they also found a suicide note in his pocket, the same note that we hear read at the beginning of this film.  In memory of the lives lost, the anniversary of the massacre has been commemorated as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Poltytechnique, which is dedicated to those who died, was directed by Denis Villeneuve, long before he would come to America and make a name for himself with films like Sicario, Arrival, and Blade Runner 2049.  Polytechnique is filmed in harsh black-and-white and Villeneuve skips around in time, often showing us the consequences of the killer’s actions before showing us the actions themselves.  It’s an approach that reminds us that the Montreal Massacre and all other acts of violence are events that will forever haunt us.  The past will always cast a shadow over both the present and the future.

As I said, it’s not a happy film but perhaps not every film needs to happy.  With Polytechnique, Villeneuve mourns for the lives lost on that day in 1989 and he encourages us all to try to create a better world for the future.

Future Winners: 6 Directors Who I Hope Will Have Won An Oscar By 2030


We’ve looked at actors.

We’ve looked at actresses.

Now, let’s look at directors.

But first, a word about David Lynch.  The Academy gave David Lynch a special award for his cinematic contributions back in October.  It’s not the same as a competitive Oscar but it’s probably the best that a boldly idiosyncratic filmmaker like David Lynch could ever hope to get from the Academy.  Normally, I would list Lynch below.  I’m not doing so this year because, realistically, Lynch has said that it’s doubtful he’ll ever make another theatrical film.  That said, I hope to God that someone gives David Lynch a blank check and allows him to make at least one more movie.

With that in mind, here are 6 other directors who I hope will have finally won an Oscar by 2030!

  1. The Safdie Brothers

The Safdie Brothers deserved a nomination this year for their work on Uncut Gems.  Unfortunately, that film was a bit too anxiety-inducing for the Academy.  The Safdies are exciting filmmakers and I hope that someday, the Academy will realize what everyone who has seen Good Time and Uncut Gems already knows.

2. Sofia Coppola

She was nominated for Lost In Translation.  She deserved to be nominates for several other films.  Sofia Coppola is consistently one of the most challenging and interesting (if often criminally underrated) filmmakers working today.  No other American director captures existential angst with quite the style of Sofia Coppola.

3. Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan has emerged as one of the most influential directors of the 21st century.  With The Dark Knight, he revolutionized comic book films.  With Inception, he created one of the greatest fantasy/action/sci-fi hybrids of all time.  With Dunkirk, he paid tribute to one of the most heroic moments of World War II.  Every recent film with a jumbled timeline owes a debt of gratitude to Christopher Nolan.  Nolan seems destined to win someday.

4. Denis Villeneuve

Speaking of being destined to win, that seems to also be an apt description of this visionary Canadian director.  Some people think that Villeneuve will be an Oscar contender this year with Dune.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  That said, Villeneuve seems destined to win at some point in the future.

5. Andrea Arnold

You might not recognize the name but Andrea Arnold is responsible for two of my favorite films of the last ten years: Fish Tank and American Honey.  She deserved to be nominated for both of those films.  My hope is that, between now and 2030, she’ll finally get the recognition that she deserves.

6. Werner Herzog

You know it would be the greatest acceptance speech ever.

Agree?  Disagree?  Let us know in the comments below!