HE commenters have responded to my Green Book rave. Last night “The Cinemaholic” claimed that “post-TIFF, the following films are (almost) confirmed” to receive a Best Picture nom — Roma, First Man, A Star Is Born, Green Book and If Beale Street Could Talk. He further asserted that The Favourite and Can You Ever Forgive Me? are “likely but not guaranteed.”
This prompted “RossoVeneziano” to comment that “The Favourite is much ahead of Green Book LOL,” whatever the hell that means.
My response: If Beale Street snags a Best Picture nom, fine, but my gut suspicion is that it’ll be a miracle if that happens. Don’t buy into the Toronto hype-and-denial hymnbook. It’s a “good”, handsomely composed film with a palpable love current, but it’s definitely an endurance test. It made my petals wilt.
The Barry Jenkins brigade was out in force during that first Princess of Wales screening, and 90% of the critics (pre-cooked admirers of Barry’s gentle, meditative, Wong Kar Wai aesthetic) followed suit in order to play it safe. No downside if they praise it, but if they don’t finger-pointers might begin to question their loyalty to progressive identity politics.
The Favourite is a witty, visually distinctive, Barry Lyndon-like, political-conflict comedy between a pair of shrewd schemers (Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone), but it’s not an audience-pleaser with the button-pushing potency of Green Book.
Yorgos Lanthiimos’ film is therefore not, as of this morning, “much ahead” of Green Book in the Best Picture competish. I think they’re side by side right now, with the Peter Farrelly film currently enjoying a euphoric bounce off of last night’s TIFF screening.
And then “Mark VH” asked if Green Book is “better” than Hidden Figures, which he thought “was one of the most satisfying movies of its kind I’d ever seen (didn’t much care for The Help). Sounds like this is gonna be right up my wife’s alley, as she loves this kind of thing.”
My response: As a well-crafted period piece about pride, smarts and diligence pushing back against racial barriers, Hidden Figures was somewhere between a double and a triple. Set in the same era (early ‘60s) and mining a somewhat similar theme, Green Book is somewhere between a triple and a homer. It’s also, in my book, occasonally funny as shit (Hidden Figures used humor here and there) and generally more entertaining with a better, more deep-down third act. Farrelly’s film, no offense, is a LOT better than “my wife will like it.”
Deadline‘s Pete Hammond on Green Book: “Directed by none other than Peter Farrelly working way out of the zone, it’s that rare gem of a film that seems certain to connect with audiences — and, likely, Academy voters once they get a load of this moving true story. Put simply, this is just a great film, tailor-made for Oscar season and a certain commercial box office hit. I would bet money on it. It is basically a cross of Driving Miss Daisy, In the Heat of the Night, The Help, The Blind Side, Hidden Figures and others that all went on to either win or be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.”