I’d like to say I’d taken the Academy Awards as seriously as Phil, but aside from one or two aberrations they’ve never recognised the films I liked best in any given year – this year is no exception, with none of my top-5 making it onto any major Oscar category. I think the last ceremony I watched was the 76th, where Lord of the Rings: Return of the King stole the “Best Picture” award from Lost in Translation. Nevertheless the idea is fascinating, which is why it’s endured. At its best, the Academy Awards are a chance to celebrate all the best things about film, and why we love them. When sitting down to write this post I had a quick flick through the winners for the last few decades and I’m not in sync with the Academy voters, but there also aren’t many films that don’t deserve to be celebrated and enjoyed on those lists.
This year I decided to try and make sure I saw all the Best Picture nominees to see how I’d rank them, though I think barring some kind of divine intervention the award is going to La La Land. At the time of writing I’m still missing a couple, but I’ve put the ones I have seen into order and I’m going to offer a half-hearted stab at thinking about them as Big Awards Winners, from my least favourite to the best. This is a different kind of approach to my usual, because I’m not trying to understand the film per se, instead focusing on it as a received object, it’s reception.
- Hacksaw Ridge
- Hell or High Water
- Hidden Figures
- La La Land
- Manchester by the Sea
And then once the Oscars are over, we can get to the most important awards event of the season, the Kermode Awards.