La La Land
It’s a huge musical love story, with two beautiful headliners (Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling) and incredible imagery (it was shot during magic hour). La La Land is a front-runner for best picture, a likely winner of a Golden Globe for best comedy/musical and more.
Ava DuVernay’s Netflix documentary delves into Michelle Alexander’s award-winning book The New Jim Crow. With research and original interviews, DuVernay brings Alexander’s thesis to life: America’s prison policies continue a system of racial discrimination that dates back to slavery. While it might not win for best documentary — O.J.’s Made in America is another front-runner — this is one you don’t want to miss.
- Did you know it’s named after the constitutional amendment that banned slavery?
- You should really read “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration” by Ta-Nehisi Coates before or after watching.
- It’s so interesting that this came out the same year as Luke Cage (Netflix). Remember, Luke was billed as the superhero we need in 2016: a bulletproof Black man.
- Today, the U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of its prisoners.
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Kenneth Lonergan’s film about Massachusetts, a dead father, a fuckup uncle and a guardian dispute sounds kind of terrible on paper. Or like cringe – not in the way Collateral Beauty sounds bad. But it’s immaculately executed. Massachusetts looks beautiful, the young Lucas Hedges delivers a great performance, and the dialogue is tear-jerking. It’s a front-runner for best picture.
- Lucas Hedges, who plays one of the leads … is one of those kids in Moonrise Kingdom that everyone dresses up as for Halloween.
- Ever wonder what happened to Miss Rhode Island from Miss Congeniality? She’s Sandy’s mom in Manchester now!
- Manchester by the Sea was a huge Sundance hit. But it wasn’t as lauded coming out of Sundance as Birth of a Nation, which is not likely to win best picture.
- Seriously, why haven’t sexual assault allegations hurt Casey Affleck’s Oscar bid? He denied the allegations but reportedly settled them for $2 million!
- Kenneth Lonergan, the screenwriter, says he wears a watch with the time set 15 minutes fast. I don’t know, either.
- Michelle Williams made me cry … again.
This coming-of-age tale set in Miami about a young Black gay man is one of the most beautifully shot movies of the year. The story takes place in three time periods of the boy’s life — and each actor carries his section. It’s not like one movie could fix #OscarsSoWhite, of course, but many see Moonlight as a front-runner for best picture.
- Janelle Monáe — yes, the singer — was underratedly fantastic.
- Unlike Brokeback Mountain, which lost best picture to Crash (a total upset), Moonlight is going to take it all home in February.
- Birth of a Nation’s Nate Parker said he would never take a gay role. Multiple men in Moonlight decided to do just that. No shame.
- Subtly, the film is set in the 1980s – aka around the time the AIDS crisis was going on.