The Oscars competitions you need to see

The Oscar nominations will be announced next week. I contacted culture writer Shirley Lee to get her tips on the movies and hype you should know about.

But first, here are three new stories from Atlantic Ocean.

top guns

Isabelle Fattal: Are there big themes that emerged from this award season, or any lessons for the state of Hollywood today?

Shirley Lee: If there’s one way to sum up this awards season, it’d be that it’s the year of comeback. When you look at the leading contenders in performance categories, we have plenty of actors who come back into the awards conversation after a long career of not participating in such conversations. Names that come to mind include Brendan Fraser, Michelle Yeoh, and Ke Huy Quan. All of these are actors who came out of Hollywood for one reason or another, but were given those opportunities to return to acting or to finally sink their teeth into meat roles, and now they deserve their flowers.

I would also say it’s been a comeback year when it comes to major sequels. movies like Top Gun: Maverick And Avatar: Water Road Being part of the awards conversation shows that there is room for sequels to succeed outside of the box office, and that superhero films aren’t the only ones bringing audiences back to theaters, which have been struggling since the pandemic. Best And symbol picture It made strong cases for watching movies on the biggest screens possible.

Isabelle: How important are film awards now, if any?

Shirley: Done right—and it’s hard—award show speeches can be a great opportunity to tell a story that’s not just, “I love my clients; I love my boss.” think about [Everything Everywhere All at Once actor] Ke Huy Quan’s speech at the Golden Globes, where he talks about that feeling of self-doubt, and wonders if his work as a child actor was all he had to offer, not just in his career but in his life. If more winners think about the story they can tell, it’s a way to reach people outside the room, to be more accessible to the general public.

Isabelle: What two or three films do you need to see if you want to keep up with the award talk?

Shirley: The first is Everything everywhere at once. I think the movie has a lot of momentum when it comes to this awards season, but on a larger scale, it’s a great example of just how wild this medium can be. It is almost impossible to categorize when it comes to genre. It comes from a pair of directors with a truly unique creative vision; They made the movie The Corpse with Daniel Radcliffe. When you watch it, you don’t think of it as an Oscar contender, but it’s proof that a genre film can really make it far.

The second movie is the more traditional contender in the mix: Fablemans, the movie directed by Steven Spielberg that hurts his childhood. In some ways it’s about why he made it as a director, but at the same time, it’s about how he grappled with his parents’ divorce.

The third movie I recommend watching, which is now available on HBO Max, is Anisherin from Inisherin. It’s the movie that brings together writer and director Martin McDonagh with Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell. It’s a more intimate number about friendship, toxic masculinity, and being part of a small community. When it comes to awards season, I think it’s somewhere in between the other two movies I’ve recommended. It’s the creation of a former Academy Award winner, while at the same time being unorthodox in its own way.

Isabelle: I have a question about another award nominee, tar. It has become a meme to pretend that Lydia Tarr, the main character, is a real person. Why do you think this is?

Shirley: I was talking about this with a friend who was asking the same thing, because ostensibly, Lydia Tarr is a real person Not a funny joke.

Even as a meme format, it doesn’t really make sense.

I think what sparked it was Cate Blanchett’s performance. It’s very convincing. Lydia Tarr is the EGOT Award-winning conductor. But as you watch the movie, you kind of realize that “Lydia Tár” is a costume that this woman is wearing. As the movie goes on, it becomes a horror movie and a comedy at once, and it goes all the way to camp territory. It’s all based on this very sharp performance that makes you believe Lydia Tár is a real person. But to be honest, the meme probably comes from the funny “Lydia Tár” voice.

Isabelle: Have you had any arguments with your film colleagues about the award contenders?

Shirley: One of the last debates I had with a critic was about whether Babylon Anything that’s good and worth it all gets you attention, or if he’s just so daringly stupid that he fools you into not being able to hate him outright.

Babylon It didn’t do well at the box office, so I doubt many people saw it. It’s a movie starring an A-list ensemble cast, including Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt, and it’s about Hollywood’s transition from taking silent pictures to making talking movies. This is like catnip for award committees – a big, extreme Hollywood thriller directed by Damien Chazelle, director La La LandAbout Hollywood itself. But it’s also raunchy, vulgar, and three hours long. It extends for decades. He is self-indulgent. The path follows a lot of characters. It opens with a scene in which an elephant defecates on camera. Perhaps this last part is all you need to know.

Isabelle: Is there a movie or performance that you think was overlooked?

Shirley: A lot, but I’ll try to stick to just a few. The first one is The woman speaksThe film is directed by Sarah Polley, based on the 2018 novel of the same name. It’s a really hard sell, because the story is based on a series of real-life rape cases that took place in Bolivia’s Mennonite community. It’s a long conversation that women in this community have as they try to imagine what they might do next. But it’s more attractive than you think. I’m afraid he’s coming so late in this awards season that people haven’t cared or been able to see him.

Another contender that I couldn’t stop thinking about is after the sun, from writer and director Charlotte Wells, a film about the father-daughter relationship and how we struggle to understand our parents. I think the performance in it is fantastic, and Wells is a very talented filmmaker, but I’m afraid the categories are too crowded at this point for them to get through.


today’s news

  1. CIA Director Bill Burns reportedly briefed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week about the agency’s expectations of Russia’s military plans in the coming months.
  2. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has announced that it will cut about 12,000 jobs.
  3. Anti-abortion activists organized the annual March for Life in Washington, DC. This is the first march since then Roe v. Wade flipped over.


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Evening reading

A look at the Borges series of libraries
Tyler Comrie/The Atlantic; GT

What happens when AI reads everything?

Ross Andersen

Artificial intelligence in recent years has proven to be a quick study, though it is taught in a way that would put even the most brutal headmaster to shame. Confined in airtight Borgesian libraries for months without a bathroom break or sleep, the AIs are told not to emerge until they have finished the cycle of self-pacing in human culture. On the syllabus: a decent part of all the surviving text we have ever produced.

When AI systems emerge from these epic study sessions, they possess amazing new abilities. People with the most linguistically flexible minds – polyglots – can switch back and forth between dozens of languages. The AI ​​can now translate between more than 100 languages ​​in real time. They can produce poems in a range of literary styles and write acceptable rhyming poetry. DeepMind’s Ithaca AI can look at Greek letters etched into marble and guess what text was dug out by vandals thousands of years ago.

Read the full article.

more than Atlantic Ocean

culture break

Two young children sit in front of a blank TV screen in a darkened room.
Bayview Entertainment

Read. Try one of these seven books on how homes shape our lives, or one of these eight self-help books that really help.

And pick up our new writer John Hendrickson’s book, Life on Delay: Making Peace with Stuttering.

Watch. On TV, HBO Max’s The last of us It adds something unexpected to the zombie genre.

in theatres, Skinamarink It’s an exhilarating nightmare.

Do you need something new? Try one of these 26 great movies that critics got wrong.

Play our daily crossword puzzle.


I’ll leave you with a few more suggestions from Shirley for under-the-radar movies that you should see, even though you might not hear their names next week:

  • The King’s Woman It’s a great crowd-pleasing action movie, and Viola Davis’ performance is a departure from what she’s done before.”
  • There is a South Korean movie called Decision to leave that I wrote about. It’s a great thriller that I’m afraid will only be recognized in international categories, although the direction is quite lavish. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. Every frame has new clues to the story.”
  • Finally, there is a little movie called Emily the criminal Which I think gets mostly the attention of the indie awards. Starring Aubrey Plaza, it’s a sharp little movie about credit card fraud, of all things, but that’s what makes it so great and insightful about wealth and income inequality.”

– Isabelle

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