S02 Ep. 2 – Oscars 2017

Oscars 2017 - Moonlight

This week it’s all about the Oscars 2017! The 89th Annual Academy Awards are this Sunday evening, and as usual, Jeff and I are all in to talk about the nominated films and creators. Can you believe it was just a year ago that Leo didn’t have an Oscar?  Were we ever so young? The 2017 Oscars are a very different beast than last year’s ceremony, with the #oscarssowhite controversy fading slightly (though still a major, systemic problem), and new controversies taking hold. Jeff and I get into all of that and more in the episode, so dive in with us for Oscars 2017!

Oscars 2017 - Let's Drink

In our first half, we’re talking about the less glamorous categories. For Best Adapted Screenplay, we have an interesting set of works where in 3 out of 5 cases, a person of colour’s story is being adapted by a white person. This is the case for Hidden Figures (original story Margot Lee Shetterly), Arrival (original story by Ted Chiang), and Lion (original story by Saroo Brierley and Larry Buttrose). The other two films are works of people of colour, adapted by those people (and one collaborator, who is also a person of colour). Those are Fences by August Wilson and Moonlight by Tarell Alvin McCraney and Barry Jenkins.

Oscars 2017 - They're Here

For Best Original Screenplay, we have 5 movies written by white men, and four of them are specifically about white men. This is boring. We’re bored now. I’ve heard good things about 20th Century Women, so I throw a little support that way, but would prefer to take a pass on this particular Scrabble hand and change out my tiles.

On to Best Animated Feature next, and Jeff is glad to see two such high quality (and popular) Disney movies in this category. He and I are both hoping for a win for Moana, which is really super. Hat tip as well to the craft of Kubo and the Two Strings, which we did a podcast episode on earlier in the year. 

We finish the first half with talk about music. In the Best Original Score category, we agree that the lock has to be La La Land. That score is a character in the movie, and an important facet of the story.

Oscars 2017 - Emma Stone Floats Away From a Jazz Bro

For Best Original Song, we’re both excited to see if Lin-Manuel Miranda can add an Oscar to his passel of Tonys that he won in the fall. Controversial opinion: that guy is going to need several display cabinets for awards before long here. It’s a bit of a shame that “You’re Welcome” isn’t the nominated song here. Jeff makes the super point that leaving that out of here means we won’t get to see WWE Monday Night RAW alum Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson perform a musical number at the Oscars. That would have been pretty great. If you are interested in being depressed by a song about a reporter who was beheaded, knock yourself out here. 

Oscars 2017 - Thanks, The Rock.

It’s down to brass tacks in the second half of the podcast with the big time categories. Acting is up first. For Best Actor we have another boring list of (mostly white) men. Jeff and I were both a little devastated to learn that Captain Fantastic isn’t a superhero movie. Unless you consider raising hippie kids in the woods a superpower. For the record, I do not. Jeff’s long and annoyed sigh here really sums up our shared feelings. For Constance Wu’s thoughts on Casey Affleck, check this (and the rest of her feed) out:

Best Supporting Actor is a slightly more exciting race, and both Jeff and I would love to see Mahershala Ali take home the Oscar. It’s too bad we didn’t find Alex R. Hibbert (age 12) or Sunny Pawar (age 8) in this category, as both delivered extraordinary performances in their respective roles (Moonlight and Lion).

Oscars 2017 - Emma Stone Rules

For Best Actor (who is female), we’re looking for an Emma Stone win. She’s great, and she was very good in La La Land, so I’m happy to support that. We definitely don’t need to see Streep win for a movie no one saw (Florence Foster Jenkins). Given the depth of un-nominated talent in this category, it’s a shame that Streep is here. I don’t wish to take away from her talent or her record 20th nomination, but Jeff’s idea to grade her on a curve is a good one. Taraji P. Henson, Amy Adams, and Annette Bening are very worthy challengers to this spot.Oscars 2017 - Taraji P Henson Slays

Best Supporting Actor (who is female) is an exciting race this year. It’s too bad that this is the category they usually burn off at the beginning of the night. For me, it’s time to declare allegiances between two of my favourite actors, full stop. Because I am who I am, I’m ultimately #TeamViola, and I hope she takes it and gives us another glorious speech. If Octavia Spencer picked up a second Oscar, you would hear no complaint from me. If Michelle Williams finally got an Oscar after 4 hard-earned nominations, you would also hear no complaint from me. If Naomie Harris won on a first nomination for playing both with and against stereotypes in a role that spans 20 years in a woman’s life, you would hear no complaint from me. If Nicole Kidman won for wearing a hard-set wig, you would hear a hearty guffaw from me. Should be a fun one!

Oscars 2017 - Relationship Goals

Best Director is a race between 5 men, again. Sigh. Jeff and I agree that both Denis Villeneuve and Barry Jenkins could shake up this category with a win, but that it’s likely going to be Damien Chazelle for La La Land.

The Best Picture race includes 9 films, including our beloved Hidden Figures, Moonlight, and Arrival. It also includes our well-liked La La Land. We’ll see how it all shakes out.

Pop Culture Kool-Aid Picks

Jeff’s pick this week is the Netflix series A Series of Unfortunate Events, produced by and starring Jeff’s imaginary bestie, Neil Patrick Harris. The cast is stellar, and Jeff is here for it.

Oscars 2017 - Lemony Snicket

And for me this week, it’s all about a new podcast. I’m singing the praises of Lady Problems from MTV. Lady Problems is hosted by Rachel Handler and looks at how pop culture is treating women in a given week (spoiler: it’s usually terribly).  Props to them for making depressing subject matter light and fun and funny. I highly recommend subscribing. 

Thanks so much for joining us this week! Don’t want to miss an episode? Go ahead and subscribe on iTunes or on Google Play! We’d love to hear from you! If you want to get in touch, Jeff is @jlabryan, and I’m @laurencheal.

You can find more great stuff from The Pop Culture Reference on Twitter @ThePopCultRef, on Facebook, and on Tumblr too.

Oscars 2017 - Moonlight Sonata

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