This morning The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg posted a pre-holiday Oscar race chart. One standout call was Feinberg’s decision to throw in with Variety‘s Kris Tapley by describing Darkest Hour as a “maybe not” in the Best Picture race. In Feinberg parlance and especially in mid-December, “maybe not” contenders are given a “major threat” designation…same difference.
Everyone realizes that Get Out is a tenacious contender that has struck a nerve, and that a Best Picture nomination is 100% locked. But placing it ahead of everything else seems….what, excessive? Delusional?
Do I have to say again that the three most Oscar-deserving films of the year — Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird and Dunkirk — are the most independent-minded and very much singing their own tune, and are far more adventurous and accomplished than Get Out?
HE readers are probably sick of this opinion, but what am I supposed to say about Feinberg going apeshit for Get Out? Declare what a seer he is?
As for the mystifying Daniel Kaluuya for Best Actor thing, I riffed on that the other day.
Two friends disagree. “Scott’s call isn’t delusional at all,” says critic #1. “I have a feeling Get Out is going to win too. I just need more intel to make a full prediction. Right now it’s down to three: Get Out, Lady Bird and Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Critic #2 says that Kalyuua gives “a strong performance in an important film, and [the Kaluuya talk] is retroactive justice for Sidney Poitier NOT getting a Best Actor nom for In the Heat of the Night 50 years ago, while costar Rod Steiger did and won the category.”
So 2017 is not the year of women pushing back at the patriarchy and sexual misconduct, and we’re still offering make-up apologies for #OscarsSoWhite?
“I don’t see it that way,” critic #2 replied. “Get Out overcame its genre stereotyping to become one of the most significant and talked-about films of 2017.”
For the 37th or possibly 38th time, Get Out is just a hooky genre film — a satirical horror-thriller that delivers a social metaphor message a la Don Siegel‘s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and is pitched squarely at mainstream liberals. That’s really ALL IT IS. But when you add the cheering section factor, Get Out begins to morph into this on-target, Bunuelian, capturing-of-a-zeitgeist film. Sizzle overwhelming the actual flavor of the steak. I completely agree with the idea of celebrating movies that are more interesting and audacious by playing their cards outside the style of traditional award-season Best Picture contenders, but the Get Out fervor is still about narrowcasting.
Another journo pally says he’s doesn’t get the “intel” that critic #1 has for Get Out, and that includes his own observation following two private AMPAS screenings for Get Out that the responses were more “respectful” than “overwhelmingly enthusiastic.”
Critic #1 claims that “everyone said the same thing about The Silence of the Lambs, that it was too genre-ish….Get Out can win.”
I replied that The Silence of the Lambs “was 26 years ago, and I remember the excitement when it opened in February 1991. It’s huge, it’s connecting, it’s a hit, a classic thriller, serious cultural current, etc. Nothing even close to that level of crackling energy has been activated by Get Out. Admired and enjoyed, yes, but mainly celebrated within the critical elite and the Melanie Lynskey SAG crowd and the latest wave in Academy membership (fewer 62 year old white guys, more women and more diversity).
And Get Out has, of course, an unmentioned but intimidating trump card, which is that anyone who says what I’ve been saying, who questions or disagrees with or downplays the Get Out fervor, is culturally suspect.
Another critic friend (#3) says that “if Academy voters have any sense of this moment in time they would vote to make [an anti-Trump] statement, and that would be standing up for The Post.” I agree with this, but I fear that SAG’s (i.e., SAG/AFTRA’s) decision to not nominate The Post for an Ensemble award is a kiss of doom.
“Precedents are meant to be broken,” critic #3 responds. “You can’t judge movies like The Post or Dunkirk on the basis of not getting a SAG Ensemble nom, not any more you can’t. Today’s SAG membership is largely a group of unemployed wannabe actors who support the ‘underdogs’. Go to any SAG Nominating Committee screening and watch them rush the stage for selfies after the lights come up.”
In a 12.15 “Notes on the Season” column, Deadline‘s Pete Hammond conveyed opinions from a consultant whose major studio release didn’t make the SAG Ensemble cut.
The consultant, says Hammond, said that “the majority of films nominated in the Ensemble category were actor-driven, which seems to be true. Both Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and Jordan Peele’s Get Out were written and directed by actors taking a turn behind the camera for the first time, as well as The Big Sick, which was written by Kumail Nanjiani, who also plays himself.
“This seems like catnip for actors — watching other actors in charge. The consultant also notes that the whole tenor of the SAG competition has changed since the union merged with AFTRA, which means a lot of weather reporters are also getting to vote now.”
Critic #1 to Critic #3: “Not buying it. The Post is a movie journalists love, but not actors. They don’t get it.”
By the way: With all the Get Out fervor, why isn’t Lil Rel Howery in the running for a Best Supporting Actor nom? Very cool guy, gives my favorite performance in the film. Director-writer Jordan Peele didn’t give Howery anyone’s idea of a substantial role, of course, but as long as the Get Out spigot has been turned on, why not spread the largesse around?