I haven't been this excited for a movie moment since Lina Lamont (pictured above) said, "I am a shimmering, glowing star, in the cinema firmament" in Singin' in the Rain.
Because this year, the #OscarsSoWhite controversy has been seemingly rectified. We for once don't feel like we're in the 1950s. At least for now. I'm usually not a huge proponent of awards shows in general (have you read Nick Cave's letter to MTV from 1996? Awesomely scathing, smart, still true). But this year I am psyched because there are people of color nominated across the board. This is the first time an African-American cinematographer, Bradford Young, is nominated, for his work on Arrival. Which, incidentally, is one of my favorite films this year. I love what Young says about filming the shadows and working for many years on filming dark skin. This Variety interview with Young goes into it more, which might interest you if you're a bit of a cinema nerd like me.
I am also thrilled that Ava DuVernay is making 13th available to watch in public spaces on Netflix so it can be screened in classrooms and the like. Everyone should see this film. If only documentaries could win Best Picture! Either way, 13th will blow your mind (and hopefully will win Best Documentary). I think it ought to be required watching. Which never got anyone to watch anything, but know I am strongly recommending it. If you see no other film this year, see 13th. It's about the 13th Amendment, which abolishes slavery, "except for punishment for a crime." It is our history and it explains a lot, including our own institutionalized racism. Seriously. See it.
Every year I write a piece for the Mercury about the Oscars. Here's this year's, "Oscar with purpose."
What are your favorite movies this year, or ever? I love how film makes us think and learn. And cry. What made you cry this year? Moonlight and 13th for me. The 89th Academy Awards, brought to you by Kleenex.
Speaking of film and Kleenex and intense feelings, check out this bizarre Japanese Kleenex commercial that is rumored to be cursed. I think it's pretty. Ha! What do you think?
PS. To anyone who got my messy newsletter this week, I'm sorry for the fonts and the typos. Yeeeeesh. I blame this cursed Kleenex commercial. And my eyes. Time to back away from ALL the screens.
It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
• More details about my writing here.