All About That Oscars, Take 3

New year, new Oscars. That’s how the saying goes, right? Anyways, it’s my favorite time of the year, once again. Legitimately, I’ve been on edge all week waiting for Sunday. Yes, I understand it is just another awards ceremony, but we can dive into my bad habits another time. Truthfully, this has been an outstanding year in film and I’m very excited to see what the Oscars brings to the table.

Best Supporting Actor

My Pick: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

If I had to pick one performance that truly outshone the rest this year, it would be Mahershala Ali’s turn as a lovable drug dealer in Moonlight. What’s even more remarkable is the imprint he leaves, despite only starring in the film for maybe 20 minutes. How was his performance so effective? Every little detail. The way he carries himself, the inner turmoil you see on his face when dealing with the main character, his heart and, honestly, the list could go on and on. One thing I constantly highlight is how his presence is still felt after he is gone. He played such a significant role in the main character’s life, and this type of feeling is unmatched by any of the other supporting actors.

Best Supporting Actress

My Pick: Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Who Will Win: Viola Davis, Fences

On any given Sunday, you would hear me singing all of the praises for Viola Davis and that isn’t going to change today. Viola Davis is a master class actress who is in a league of the best and brightest, but the problem here in the category she is in. Davis rightfully deserves to be the in the Best Actress race. Unfortunately, the supporting actress category was viewed as less crowded and a guaranteed shoo-in for a win. This leaves true supporting roles, such as Naomie Harris and Michelle Williams, out in the cold. Don’t get me wrong, Viola deserves this award. I just wish she would have chosen to run in her true category.

Back to Harris, who was a marvel in Moonlight. She dominated what a supporting role is supposed to be. Although she was a hard character to support, you wanted her to be the type of parental figure needed. You witness her cruelty driven by an addiction and the heartbreak she experiences a little too late due to the deteriorated relationship with her son. It’s a role worth examining and praising, and Harris pulled it off in three days. Just remember that years down the road.

Best Actor

My Pick: Andrew Garfield, Silence

Who Will Win: Denzel Washington, Fences

No, your eyes do not deceive you, I did say Silence. And no, I do not mean Hacksaw Ridge. I know what movie Andrew Garfield is nominated for, but we all know what role was Oscar worthy. I think very, very highly of Garfield and his acting abilities, and I think they are something that gets overshadowed because he played Spider-man. Side note, I will happily argue with you as to why he is the best Spider-man to date. Back to the main point, Silence was a hard film that was very much carried on Garfield’s back. I do not think it would have had the same soul without his presence, and I don’t think Scorsese’s passion project would have its heart without him. I would continue to layer on the compliments, but we need to get back to the actor’s race at hands.

With those nominated, Denzel Washington brings another award winning performance in Fences, even if it isn’t his best to date. It still feels raw and vulnerable, which is one of the reasons people love watching Denzel onscreen. Similar to Harris, this isn’t a character you root for, but it is a role that feels real and worthy of telling. While there is a lot of stylistic choices that I would change to Fences, Denzel and Viola’s chemistry and, at times, volatile relationship is one that I wouldn’t. It sticks out like a sore thumb and keeps you watching as you journey through this life with them.

Best Actress

My Pick: Emma Stone, La La Land

Who Will Win: Emma Stone, La La Land

Genuine, heartbreaking and loving. These are the three words I would use to describe Emma Stone’s performance in La La Land. Want another one? Effortless. While this is a musical, this film isn’t built upon her singing or dancing abilities. No, that’s just part of the charm. La La Land is based on ordinary people who dream of tackling something greater in life. If you don’t understand Stone’s talent, watch her face throughout the movie. She carries all of her best dialogue through her posture, her eyes and the subtle way she moves her mouth. She conveys emotions with ease but holds firmly in a role surrounded in reality. Fall and onwards is carried on her shoulders. Through her audition to the tear duct inducing ending, Emma Stone is the one who whisks you away and makes you feel the heartache and memories of love.

Best Director

My Pick: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Who Will Win: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Whiplash was not a one-hit wonder, and we should all be wondering what else Damien Chazelle has up his sleeve. While there is a lot of deservingly wonderful directors here, Chazelle created something that couldn’t be done: a modern day, original musical. The weight of those words might feel light, but we haven’t seen a musical with this much heart and soul for ages. The film serves not only as a love letter to LA but to those who try to embark on their dreams each day. Between the technicolored wonderland and intimate relationship built between Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, Chazelle never misses a beat. He has created something that will last for ages to come.

Best Picture

My Pick: La La Land

Who Will Win: La La Land

You’ve made it to the big prize, and if you read my other picks then this one comes as no surprise. La La Land stole my heart, and I partly think it is because it is the first film that has shocked me and affected me in such a long time. As I’ve mentioned before, I was lucky enough to see this at the opening of the Denver Film Festival. My god, I was blown away. Every movie should be seen in an opera-worthy auditorium. Here’s the thing, with each repeat viewing I’ve fallen more in love. In its flaws, I see a story that has been waiting to be told. At its best, it is a feeling that I want to be wrapped in forever. I don’t think I’ll ever be over the ending, and I don’t want to be. Ultimately, La La Land is something that will haunt me and move me, and I can’t wait to experience it again.

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Love Across Time: Time Traveler’s Wife Dive In

Disclaimer: To begin things, I’ve posted this rewind a little later to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Why? Because I’m an overly cheesy romantic, and I’m all about timing. Even if it is a day late, I think we are all still feeling the love tonight. Also, there is most definitely spoilers below. Read at your own risk.

There’s something oddly familiar about reading an old book, and I don’t mean rediscovering longed to be re-read pages. It’s similar to the feeling of smelling a candle that brings back childhood memories. That’s how I feel every time I touch the spine and re-open “The Time Traveler’s Wife.”

I got chills reading the first chapter of “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” passages I have read 3 times before. I can only equate it to a feeling of being home. An “oh, there you’ve been” notion, that I’m not sure another book will ever be able to capture. I truly believe I’ve slightly given up on reading books because I don’t think they can capture this magic. That’s partly why I’ve turned to graphic novels because the art and fast pace is the closest I feel to it. This feeling, though, that’s what a favorite book is for, right?

The thing that always draws me into “The Time Traveler’s Wife” is the how deeply integral time travel is to the plot. I know, you are probably thinking, “no dip, Sherlock. It’s literally in the name.” It’s more than that, though. Based on the title alone, this seems like a novel dedicated to a man and a woman and their romance through time travel. Alternatively, it’s about a man named Henry de Tamble, who is burdened by this disease that causes him to time travel. As he ages, he learns that he tends to go to important times in his life, which is what always bring him back to Claire Abshire.

It’s more than love, though. Henry finds himself traveling to times where he interacts with himself, teaches his younger self how to push through and other figures who are important in his life. He discovers that he cannot interfere with time or change things no matter how much he wishes he could.

The other side of the story follows Claire and how she adjusts to loving a man who cannot always be there and finding herself and her style in everyday life. Between wanting a family and wanting to be a successful artist, Claire even struggles with understanding why her lot in life involves a man who travels across time. Yet, she doesn’t want it any other way.

The book divides the two stories by breaking them up into sections, with each character telling a certain part of their lives. As far as books go, it is one of the most realistic love stories, despite being held up with a science-fiction premise. It shows the inner struggles and triumphs of a relationship, family troubles and the value of friendships.

One of my most treasured moments in “The Time Traveler’s Wife” revolves around Claire and her mother’s death. Not only do we see and feel her inner turmoil, we watch as Henry tries to provide the support that Claire needs while also watching his wife crumble in this delicate time. Eventually, she finds a note from her mother and it is a small, tender moment that I think almost anyone can relate with.

Ultimately, the book revolves around these two beautifully flawed humans who find a tenderness in one another and grow together. They are two independent characters and they acknowledge the fact that their lives are more valuable spent together. There comes a time where Claire is on her own without Henry, but that never spells the end of their love story. Like some of my favorite romantic story lines, they built a life together and a love that transcends across time.