Hollywood is in a tizzy. Oscar magnet Harvey Weinstein has been kicked out of the Academy, Kevin Spacey’s performance in All the Money in the World, once heralded as a for-sure Oscar nod, has been edited out of the film, replaced in spirit and on-screen by Christopher Plummer. Louis CK’s movie I Love You Daddy will likely never see the light of day.
It’s the beginning of awards season. And while the Oscars, Golden Globes and others are meant to applaud the best of filmed entertainment, is a celebration even in order in a news cycle dominated by scandals, sexual predators and transgressions?
One writer suggested, “Instead of holding the Oscars, Hollywood should declare March 4, 2018, a day of atonement.” It’s not a bad idea but appropriate or not, award season will happen, because nobody likes celebrating Hollywood more than Hollywood itself. Are awards shows over the top? Yes. Is there an unnecessary amount of backslapping? Yes, of course there is.
History tells us the Oscars have only been postponed — never cancelled — three times, first because of record-breaking rainfall in Los Angeles, next in the aftermath of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and again following the 1981 assassination attempt on president Ronald Reagan. In each case, the ceremonies were rescheduled within days so don’t expect the Academy to suddenly take the moral high ground and cancel their big night.
Industry insiders point out that only a small percentage of industry folks have been accused of sexual harassment and assault. So in the spirit of keeping the flame of the creativity alive, why not hand out awards to the 99.99 per cent of the industry who haven’t been accused of sexual crimes or outed for engaging in misconduct?
With that in mind, here’s a look at some upcoming movies that deserve a look — and an award or two — in spite of the uneasy state of the industry.
In a tour-de-force performance, Darkest Hour stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in a movie that would make a great double bill with Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. Atonement director Joe Wright’s film is a spirited — and funnier than you’d imagine — retelling of the machinations behind the Second World War’s Operation Dynamo.
I, Tonya sees Tonya Harding as a rising star in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, until her future in the sport is thrown into doubt by her husband’s nefarious plan. There’s big Oscar buzz around Margot Robbie’s performance as Harding even though she didn’t know who Harding was when she took the role. “I think I was about four years old when the incident took place,” she said. “I was in Australia and totally unaware of the whole incident and the crazy controversy.”
With his latest, The Shape of Water, director Guillermo del Toro redefines the age-old maxim that beauty is not skin deep for a new generation and will likely earn an Academy Award nomination in the process. The film mixes and matches the best of Beauty and the Beast and Creature from the Black Lagoon in a story about love and appearances. It’s King Kong and Edward Scissorhands. It’s E.T. and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. After seeing the trailer, director Kevin Smith tweeted: “Seeing something as beautiful as this makes me feel stupid for ever calling myself a ‘Director.’”