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Archive for March 4th, 2019

Screen cap from German “Transit”

by Sam Juliano

A late night wintry mix and snowfall brought on the cancellation of area schools for Monday morning, though the appearance of the sun at around 10:00 A.M. and the meltdown made this decision seem foolhardy.  In any event an unexpected and welcome day off for a number of us.

Last week’s Oscar telecast ended too late for me to include it in the previous Monday morning Diary, but I will list my general thoughts here:  Nothing in last night’s surprisingly breezy and well managed Oscar ceremony was as moving as Olivia Colman’s adorable, charming, humble and earthy acceptance speech for her stunning Best Actress win. Certainly this mighty great actress gave as titanic a performance by a female lead as any other thespian this year -including Glenn Close’s turn – but few of us thought this marvelous woman would prevail after she was passed over by SAG. Yay for Olivia Colman! THE FAVORITE is one of my “favorite” films of 2018. I am sad for Glenn Close of course, but who can contest Colman’s glorious win, really?  Todd Sherman must be smiling this morning as well he should!  Also: Loved Spike Lee’s screenplay win and his rowdy speech.  I wasn’t a fan of “A Star is Born” but Gaga and Cooper were electrifying as they crooned “Shallow.”  Rami Malek’s win was a celebratory moment (my own fave was Dafoe, but I still loved the Egyptian-American’s epic turn as Freddy Mercury.  Yay to Regina King, Mahershala Ali (I was rooting for Richard Grant, but fair enough) and the stellar showing by African-Americans across the board.  Yes Roma was absolutely the very best film of the eight nominated for Best Picture (and one of my own Top 5 or 6 films of the year), (The Favourite was the only other MASTERPIECE of the 8) and yes I was surprised it didn’t win the Best Picture award, but it did win those three major prizes for Alfonso Cuaron including Best Foreign Film and Best Director. As to Green Book winning Best Picture, I do like the film, and have it in my Top 20 of the year, so I will say I do not and will not criticize the win, even if I liked a good number of other films more. I suppose Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s brilliant takedown of the criticism hit home with AMPAS members. Don Haumant my friend, you knew all along Roma would not win in the prize. Take a bow.  No I did not ever imagine Bohemian Rhapsody would end up the night’s top winner in number of awards with four. Amazing.  “Skin” was one of the most brilliant and disturbing short films I’ve ever seen, and the bold win in Live Action short should be applauded.  I preferred the masterpieces NEVER LOOK AWAY or COLD WAR in foreign and also would have gone with the stupendous CAPERNAUM or THE SHOPLIFTERS but I still love Roma and fully expected it to win in that category.   Thinking of my Chicago-area friend and movie fan Brian Wilson, who sponsored Free Solo all year. Brian no doubt was very pleased this superb documentary triumphed.  The show itself? Yeah I know some are saying it was a bore until the last quarter, but you can’t have everything. No host means a streamlined show, and largely it all worked quite well and ended at an acceptable time. I doubt we’ll ever have a single host again!

Photos of our Oscar party are at bottom:  So fantastic to have John Grant head in from Hewitt with his wife Pam for the third consecutive year and Adam Ferenz from Flint, Michigan for his maiden appearance.  The showing of 54 was the highest ever for any of our annual parties!!

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