1917. There I said it. No fanfare, no build up. Straight up 1917. It’s a solid, if predictable, story. The hero’s a good guy, humble but oh so capable. And likable in the way the hero of an Oscar-winning film needs to be.
More importantly, this film reaches cinematic heights that non-sci fi films rarely do. Watching 1917 is like going through “Platoon” in a tilt-a-whirl bucket. The only other film that comes close to that theme-park ride experience is Ford Vs. Ferrari, which, although it offers edge of the seat thrills during the racing scenes, is just too Hallmark-for-testosterone-lovers to win. IMHO.
The other films have their own deficiencies. Marriage Story is too small. Little Women too female. The Irishman too long. Joker-seriously?
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood could be a serious contender because it’s a story of the Academy members’ hometown. They might pick this film out of sentiment despite the fact that it’s probably still too soon to make light of the Sharon Tate tragedy.
Jojo Rabbit suffers from the same sort of thing. The childish, lighthearted way of presenting Nazi Germany as a joke feels heretical. It’s too cutesy even though we’re seeing it through the eyes of a ten-year-old. The film is saved by the fact that it eventually becomes serious. Still the happy ending is a bit much.
That leaves Parasite. If it was up to me, this film would win. It is the most socially-redeeming film in the pack. It offers the most to make you think. But it’s foreign. And weird. And the Oscar isn’t ready for that. If it was, Roma would have won last year. Juxtaposing the upper class kid sleeping out in a tent and enjoying the storm while the help is slowly losing their home and winding up in a gymnasium with 5,000 other peasants is cinematic brilliance. The lower class is little more than a pack of rats.
At any rate, there you have it: 1917, the best of the pack. There isn’t a thing you can say against it.
We’ll see what happens on Sunday.