Oscars Reviewed

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the Parti Poodle here to introduce my novelist. It was the Oscars this past weekend and therefore I am taking a break from my story this week to allow my novelist to discuss the event. I believe I may have drunk too much sparkling berry cider during the show and still feel a little out of sorts. I remember growling at the Maltese and possibly nipping at him a few times. Not that he did not deserve it but because I may have been too excessive in my attack.  I fear it may be time for a bath soon and possible a trip to the spa which is always unsettling for me. I’m going to go take another nap now and will be back next week with Chapter Seven of What I Found in the Trunk. Till then, here is my novelist.

This week Gigi is taking a break from her story so I can talk a bit about the Oscars. This was of course an unusual ceremony and not as high in the ratings as years past due to Covid-19. Just the same there were some standouts amongst both the winners and the other nominees. I will touch on a couple of them.

One of the films I had as my Stream of the Week was Sound of Metal. I saw it before the nominations came out and thought about how amazing the sound was in the picture. My thought was this is not a traditional film to be nominated for sound, but it really should be as the sound is a character itself and integral to the story. This for me was one of the best and most accurate wins of the night and a hope that going forwards sound is not just a category exclusively for action pictures but considers and encourages sound to play a more important and essential element to naturalistic stories as well. The film also surprised everyone winning Best Editing, a category that looked like it would go to either Nomadland or The Trial of the Chicago 7. Especially since the American Cinema Editor’s Award the Eddie went to The Trial of the Chicago 7 for Best Drama. That said Sound of Metal did win the BAFTA for editing and the BAFTAs in general were probably the most accurate awards show as far as picking the Oscars this year.

Nomadland, which was my Stream of the Week last week was the big winner taking home Best Picture, Best Director, and the big surprise (albeit accurate choice) Best Actress for Frances McDormand making this her third Oscar win for Best Actress (she like Anthony Hopkins also won the BAFTA). Her performance is wonderfully understated, believable, and powerful and when I saw it, I could not deny this was the best of what I’d seen from the actresses although I have a soft spot for Carey Mulligan’s fantastic work in Promising Young Woman. I must add this is not the first time Chloe’ Zao has turned in masterwork in direction. I strongly suggest watching her movie called The Rider about a young rodeo rider who must come to terms with his physical limitations. I thought Joshua James Richards would win Best Cinematography as well for his breathtakingly beautiful work. But I cannot deny the quality work Eric Messerschmidt did in the black and white film Mank who took home the gold.

The most heartbreaking speech of the night goes to Thomas Vinterberg whose wonderful comedy/drama Another Round (titled Druk in Danish) received the award for Best Foreign Film. As he was making his acceptance speech, he talked about how his daughter Ida was going to play a part in the film. However, at the beginning of shooting Ida and her mother were in a car accident where they had stopped behind a truck and a car with a driver who was texting while driving smashed into them from the behind severely injuring the mother and killing Ida. Bear in mind Vinterberg had to go forward and shoot this movie at the school Ida attended.

One of the most anticipated wins of the night was Emerald Fennell winning Best Original Screenplay for penning (and directing) Promising Young Woman (Fennell won the Screenwriter’s Guild Award as well). This is an original and unique film well worth the win. And again, Carey Mulligan’s performance is an absolute standout. However, do not take this film as an accurate depiction of rapists. The men in the film are badly cast and the concept that rapists could be just your average guy is scientifically inaccurate. Rapists who are recidivists  have been shown to have white matter abnormalities and around fifty percent of them are psychopathic (Psychopathy: Manipulation, Deception, and Evil | Officer  & Hare Psychopathy Checklist | Psychology Wiki | Fandom (wikia.org)) which means they have a decrease in gray matter by twenty one percent in the prefrontal lobe and five to ten percent in the paralimbic system or in other words they have a smaller than normal amygdala (see The Psychopath Whisperer: The Science of Those Without Conscience by Kent Kiehl ). Plainly put if you were to put say a “regular college guy” beside a “regular college guy rapist” the rapist is often going to have subtle qualities that make him stand out if you know what to look for although for some reason College Disciplinary Boards cannot tell the difference which is beyond all comprehension (see The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities by KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor Jr). Rapists whether they be hardened criminals or college students are manipulative predators and if you were to read or listen to interviews with them (not just the “Frank” video by David Lisak which is an actor saying lines that were not from one rapist but taken from interviews with multiple rapists) you would quickly come to find a lot of them are strategic or tactical in nature, often preplan their attacks and are more than a little precise in choosing their victims. Also, in real life as in contrast to the movie a surgeon would have a much higher likelihood of being a rapist than an anesthesiologist (see The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton). Emerald Fennell said her idea basically came from conversations she had about consent while attending a dinner party which isn’t a terrible thing and made for an entertaining revenge film just not a properly cast nor well-researched one.  

There was one film amongst the nominees which not only should win and did win but I believe had to win. And that was the film which took home the gold for Best Animated Short. A little film which I listed as one of my Stream of the Week choices that is only twelve minutes long. This gem has become a TikTok challenge where you must film yourself watching the film for the first time from beginning to end and post your video. The challenge is to see if you can make it through the film without breaking into tears. I made it through the film twice without waterworks, but I can see why many cannot. And this is a good thing because that means it has an impact on its viewers. The film is called If Anything Happens, I Love You and the filmmakers interviewed parents of children who had fallen victim to gun violence to create the film and the poignancy with which they tell the story is heartbreaking. It may not be the most visually stunning animated short out there, but it is certainly one of the most profound. Science has been studying mass shooters’ brains using SPECT scans which is a way of looking at how blood flows through arteries and veins in the brain and finding that shooters have lower blood flow to the prefrontal cortex and that some have more active brains than normal, and some have more inactive brains than normal. Also, chromosome mutations linked to genetics may play a role in violent behavior as in being born with an extra Y or X chromosome. In addition to better gun laws hopefully science may at some point soon be able to determine (or more precisely be allowed to determine) the genetic and physical mental makeup of a dangerous individual at an accurate rate and be able to act proactively before more films like this one about unnecessary tragedy need to be made.  

Gigi will return next week with Chapter 7 of What I Found in the Trunk.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first four installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist! and Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: COLLECTIVE (COLECTIV in Romanian) – Hulu

This week’s movie is not for the faint of heart. Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary this is a riveting if not disturbing look into the workings of the Romanian health system. The film starts out with a fire in a club called Colectiv. The fire killed twenty-six people at the club…and then the real nightmare started. For some reason, the thirty-eight injured patients who were sent to the hospital, many of whom should have survived their injuries start dropping off like flies and a group of journalists wants to know why. With every fact they uncover the reasons for the deaths keep expanding to a nightmarish reality. And even with a new competent Minister of Health put in charge to solve the situation the far-reaching corruption in the national Romanian health system proves to be a mountain of unadulterated evil.

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