Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Oscar Project 2018: Call Me By Your Name

(A general note as we start this: If I say a movie is worthy in a certain category, that just means on its own merits in a vacuum, not that it's necessarily my pick for the category. So I may say yes to a bunch of Actors in a Leading Role or whatever and then at the end you'll get my actual pick for each category.)

Movie: Call Me By Your Name

I'm having trouble even articulating how much I loved this movie (and how good I thought it was - those don't always go together). I'd usually be hesitant to say a movie was the best of the year before seeing at least all the Best Picture nominees, but I would be ASTONISHED if anything but this ends up as my pick. I haven't felt this strongly about a movie in... years, at least. I've barely been able to think about anything else since I saw it, but at the same time it's made me want to learn and read and play music and write things - saying something is "inspirational" is often so cheesy, but this really was, for me. Obviously the central romance is getting most of the attention around this movie, but for me what made it so great was the way that romance was completely intertwined with the characters' feelings about art and music and history and literature. This is the only movie I can think of that really portrayed the way it feels to be a teenager as I remember it.

In addition to its four nominations, I think this should have also been nominated at LEAST in Actor in a Supporting Role (preferably twice over but CERTAINLY Armie Hammer, who had a difficult, subtle role I honestly wasn't sure he'd pull off), Directing, and Cinematography, and I'd probably also put it in a bunch of other places like Editing and Production Design and Music (Original Score). Give this movie all the awards.

Availability: It's in limited release but widening, so you SHOULD be able to find it if you're willing to drive a bit. Hopefully these nominations will increase the availability in coming weeks.

Nominated In:
Best Picture: Yes yes yes. As I said, I feel ridiculously strongly about this movie - both in that I loved it but also that I thought it was a great film. I don't think it will win but it SHOULD.

Actor in a Leading Role: Yes. The audience is in Timothee Chalamet's character's head for the entire movie and he carries it admirably, especially given how young he is. (And he's PERFECT at making the character feel like a real teenager who is old for his years in some ways, rather than just an adult.)

Music (Original Song): This is for "Mystery of Love" by Sufjan Stevens; you can see the music video (with footage from the film) here. I might actually prefer his other song for the film, "Visions of Gideon," but that's a very small quibble; both songs are great and he absolutely deserves the award.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): YES YES YES. As I mentioned above, I really love the novel, but as I read it I was thinking about how hard it would be to get an adaptation right, for two main reasons: a lot of why it's so great is the writing itself, which can be hard to translate on screen, and it's very interior and I was afraid of lots of awful voiceovers to compensate for that inner monologue. But the script was PERFECT and I can't believe James Ivory has never won an Oscar and he better win this one.

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