By OGT Blog Squad Member Stacia Woycheck
What makes a film Oscar worthy? I see films to be entertained, to learn and (being honest) to escape from my reality. For me an Oscar worthy film hits me in my core, perhaps it creates sadness or elation and hopefully it plays deeply on a range of emotions, like a beautiful musical composition. Films that draw me in are those that allow me to step into the lives of the characters on the big screen and feel what they are feeling, if only for a two-hour period.
This Oscar season, I was only able to see two of the Oscar nominated films, Bohemian Rhapsody and The Favorite. While my Oscar pick pool is small, these films were two of the top contenders. After viewing one of the films, which was clearly my favorite, I read a few reviews of it online. Midway through one of the articles, I stopped reading, thinking “Did we watch the same movie?” To be fair, I then read some reviews from the other film, clearly not my favorite. Reading in dismay, I had the same thought, “Did we watch the same movie?” This just goes to show, everyone has their own barometer for what makes a movie “good.”
A winning movie to me is measured by the level of engagement it creates for me, the range of emotions it plays on, and the overall feeling it has produced when I walk out of the theater or roll off the couch, whatever the case may be.
Based on my Oscar criteria, I would have picked Bohemian Rhapsody as the winner for the Best Picture. The music alone is already so captivating, but it was the development and portrayal of the relationships between Freddie Mercury, and his family, his adopted ‘band family,’ and his girlfriend that dazzled me with its realism, emotion, and complexity. His personal journey from a spirited wannabe to a uber-talented lyricist, along with the unfolding discovering of his sexuality, all spoke to the real challenges of life. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it produced the high of joys during the historical, almost ecstasy-producing Live Aid performance.
The Favorite was, well, not my favorite. I left the movie theater before the credits finished which is unheard of for me. As I did, I was left with a “what just happened back there?” feeling that wasn’t necessarily the intellectually stimulating question I tend to want to get from movies. Interestingly, a fellow patron who was leaving the film at the same time, said what I was thinking, “That was strange.” It wasn’t the escape she and I were looking for (and therefore didn’t meet MY Oscar criteria), but it obviously met many others’ criteria, as it is up for a whopping ten nominations.
Hopefully, everyone was able to tune in to the Oscars Sunday night. While my prediction for Best Film did not win, Bohemian Rhapsody did pick up a few miniature gold men. It was nominated in five categories: Best Leading Actor, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, and Best Picture. The film went four out of five, sweeping all of their nominated categories except Best Picture, and won more awards than any other film.
Rami Malek delivered a fantastic portrayal of Freddie Mercury, his performance shined and made him the champion in the Best Actor category this year. While Rami’s natural appearance doesn’t look much like Mercury he was transformed physically by a prosthetic nose, prosthetic teeth, wigs, moustaches and a lot of makeup. The physical changes helped move him closer to a believable Freddie, but it was Rami’s work with a movement coach that really captured the essence of the eccentric, influential musician. It was an inspirational story of someone who lived “his life unapologetically himself.” If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth the watch.
Stacia’s love of old movies began as a child, when her mother would take her to the matinee to see classics like Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, and The African Queen. She fast became a Humphrey Bogart and Old Hollywood fan. Her favorite class as an undergraduate student was Film Appreciation. She loves the charm of the Old Greenbelt Theater and volunteers to spread the word. She loves to travel and when she isn’t traveling, she is planning her next trip, painting, or playing with her dog.