I don’t know, 2016. As much as I try to be optimistic, I cannot deny what a very bad year you have become. And here I find myself, sighing and shrugging, having watched the weakest bunch of Best Picture nominees in recent memory. I was looking at last year’s list and I’d put half of them on top on this year’s group. I think of “The Big Short” and its high-wire act of realistic absurdity. The unworldly thrills of “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “The Martian.” The galvanizing and simmering power of last year’s winner “Spotlight.” These are apparently too high of a bar for this year.
It’s not that this year’s has been bad, but more middle-of-the-road level of greatness. They have their own big moments and scenes, but not quite ambitious enough, not quite visionary enough, not quite excellent enough to blow me over. I usually did not have trouble picking a movie that resolutely rises to the top. This year, I have trouble ranking them together. My top three could vary in order, depending on the day. I’d be happy if any of them can win Best Picture. But who am I kidding.
The brightest piece of news, at least, is that there is no another repeat of Oscar-so-white. Amen! Amen! Amen! You have Washington, Davis, Spencer, Harris, Patel, and Ali on the ballot. And some of these contenders might actually win. Maybe I’ll anticipate those races instead. Trying to be optimistic. Trying to be optimistic.