Immersion Therapy For Homophobes

A while back I wrote I wanted to post more Film Thought pieces and things like digging into ideas rather than outright reviews, writings focused on aspects of films, nuances of narrative, or overviews of the industry. Of yet that’s not happened, but something struck me today as I thought of the mindnumbing outrageaholics review-bombing Lightyear simply for featuring a same-sex couple kissing. What struck me was a brief poem, as only so much needs to be said about people who can’t deal with the cinematic mirror reflecting all of life. Without further preamble, my poem “Immersion Therapy for Homophobes.”

Immersion Therapy for Homophobes

by Bernardo Villela

Pry open each eyelid
as A Clockwork Orange instructed. 

Turn out the lights,
project the sights,

of kisses censored from their lives,
like in Cinema Paradiso, proving love thrives. 

The 94th Annual Academy Awards

This will be a live blog. I will be updating all night.

Red Carpet

So, I can’t quit the Oscars and this was breaking the Interwebs so I tuned in slightly early.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 27: Timothée Chalamet attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Momodu Mansaray/Getty Images)

Many of the Awards the Academy deemed unfit for broacast went to Dune. My rant on that can be found here and a running list can be found here.

The Show

There are five nominated songs, and one extra musical performance. All will be introduced. This is time the produers will gladly use up and not truncate.

Yes, DJ Khaled randomly walking on stage to introduce the hosts is a great time-saver.

Samuel L. Jackson has a Lifetime Achievement from the Oscars and the BAMs (shameless plug).

No massive opener with a produced video lampooning the year in film is kind of missed.

18 minutes and we’re starting a category, so that’s a positive.

Ariana DeBose is a very deserving winner.

The Regina Hall COVID is very good.

Wow, this pre-corded shit isn’t awkward at all.

Greig Fraser winning is no surprise and well deserved. I agree with this choice as evidenced here.

So Best Documentary Short Subject doesn’t even get a presenter on stage introducing the film. Fun. This is an asinine decision.

I’m getting the feeling Dune will win everything except Best Director and Best Picture.

All these measures to cut time and you still play off the award winning VFX team.

I had completely forgotten about the stupid fan votes.

Yes, let’s have an unadverstised appearance by a K-Pop band. That’ll increase viewership and decrease running time.

Yay, more dumb ass fan moments.

One of the most unimpressive Bond songs ever for your listening pleasure.

All these cuts and its still going to aroud 11 or 11:15. Great job.

So did Will Smith actually hit Chris Rock or was that staged?

OK, P. Diddy answered that question.

So now there’s a Pulp Fiction reunion coming up. This is the 80th anniversary of Citizen Kane anyone alive from that still and up for a reunion?

The Oscar voters really know that they they’re standing in the way of Lin Manuel Miranda’s EGOT, jeez.

Will Smith apologized, as expected. I’m not here to be an arbiter of apologies. As a show it’s been frustrating, yet again, to not see any real surprises.

Also of note: all those cuts to the ceremony and here we are at 3h20 minutes with Best Actress and Best Picture to come and yet another commercial break underway.

The drama of the pre-recorded awards sucks anyway, but cutting to Jessica Chastain kind of gave it away.

Seat-fillers got mentioned. Cue Kramer GIF.

An Oscar for Jessica Chastain feels so overdue.

Whoa, there’s a surprise. Finally!

3h41m – so it wasn’t so much about shortening the show as getting “things no one cares about” less time.

Peace out and fix all this shit for next year Oscars.

2021 BAM Award Honorees

Best Picture

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Best Director

Jason Reitman Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Best Foreign Language Film

Best Editing

Peter Sciberras The Power of the Dog

Most Overlooked Picture

Psycho Goreman

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Woody Norman C’mon c’mon

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

McKenna Grace Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Logan Kim Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

McKenna Grace Malignant

Best Youth Ensemble

Kevin Vechiatto, Gabriel Moreira, Laura Roseo, and Giulia Benite Turma da Mônica Laços

Best Actor

Nicolas Cage Pig

Best Actress

Peri Baumeister Blood Red Sky

Best Supporting Actor

Kodi Smit-McPhee The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Dianne Wiest I Care a Lot.

Best Cast

Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee The Power of the Dog

Best Song

“White Woman’s Instagram” Bo Burnham Bo Burnham: Inside

Best Soundstrack

Best Score

Dascha Dauenhauer Blood Red Sky

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Best Cinematography

Greig Fraser Dune

Best Costume Design

Turma da Mônica Laços

Best Art Direction

Turma da Mônica Laços

Best Hair and Makeup

Malignant

Best Visual Effects

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

The Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award

Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin

Neutron Star Award

Lotte Reiniger and Vittorio de Seta

Robert Downey, Jr. Award for Entertainer of the Year

Bo Burnham

Special Jury Award

Best Documentary

The Village Detective: A Song Cycle

A Word on the Oscars and the BAMs….

When I first began the BAM Awards as a rebellious fifteen-year-old I was reacting to the lack of consideration and inclusion of films I connected with in the awards without fully understanding the machinations of Awards Season and Hollywood in general. While there would be some way-off-the-beaten-path selections in my nominations over the years, there’d be some and some Academy-friendly films too. 

The BAM Awards have not changed much in that regard, pandemic not withstanding. However, the valley between the general public and the Academy grows larger every year. Part of this is attributable to the increased fragmentation of the moviegoing public. Despite all the blockbusters not many films are cultural touchstones anymore. Most modest studio films, arthouse films, and streaming service premiers fall by the wayside. The touchstones now are agreeable popcorn-films, some better than others, few and far between meet mass critical appeal—and so many fall within the oversaturated realm of the superhero film that any chance of the Academy including them in serious award categories is slim to none (and Slim is usually out riding an atomic bomb).

What the Academy, and the public at large are faced with, is an unsolvable conundrum, one that’s been inevitable since the Awards’ inception: the Oscars were created by the Academy as a marketing tool. That marketing pull is still there and their choices have aligned with the commercial/mass appeal on occasion, but far less so since the end of the Studio System. With the fall of the Studio System fragmentation began and the virtually unknown award darlings came to be.

More viewing options and films exacerbate that divide and have left the Academy flailing for ways to make the telecast more appealing and drive up the almighty ratings. One of those attempts has led to the further consternation of the public. The expansion of Best Picture to up to 10 films, was a fine idea in theory. It was that way for many years. One problem became that the expansion came with a changed voting system that allows divisive films to springboard into Best Picture because first-place votes weigh heavily. This allowed Don’t Look Up to be a Best Picture nominee this year despite it’s 53% Rotten Tomatoes and 49% Metacritic scores; as many people loving it as loathing it vaulted it into a nomination. The ranked Best Picture voting has also led to some wonderful surprised like Parasite getting nominated and winning, and Drive My Car this year. This is something that pleases film people more than the general public though.

For the general public the Academy decided to ditch hosts then bring them back, and not just one but three, which I’m sure won’t waste any time.

And what else, oh yeah, there will also be a live performance of a song that’s not even nominated! If we didn’t nominate “We don’t talk about Bruno,” how about we not sing his song?

The bit that got me the most furious that got me writing this and to conduct my own little counterprotest. The Oscars, after dumping lifetime achievement awards from the live broadcasts years ago, decided to present certain awards an hour early and splice in a soundbite in from the winner in the live (read “real”) broadcast. Among these categories is Best Editing, one of the most important things in film and an indicator of who will likely win Best Picture.

So, in that spirit when I post the BAM winners later today (tomorrow?) and, in the interest of time only the winner. If you happen to be curious about why certain decisions were made, I’ll respond with a soundbite. Enjoy!

31 Days of Oscar – 2022

It’s late to be getting this post up, but I have been getting some Oscar nominated, so here’s the rundown. I will keep it update throughout the month. One my aims annually is to see 31 films and 100 nominations I had yet to see.

Most of the viewings so far have animated shorts on The Criterion Channel, they total four nominations (naturally) and one win. The win was Neighbours and very well deserved.

Windy Day (1968)

Hunger (1974)

Neighbours (1952)

The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film (1959)

The feature viewing so far was

West Side Story (2021) and it’s absolutely spectacular from start to finish.

Nominations: 7

Wins: ?

Total nominations: 11

Total wins: 1

More to follow.

BAM Housekeeping

I posted the 2021 BAM Award nominations recently and in my rush to do on time I bypassed the usual disclaimers and setup I include.

  1. Some of my nominees may seemed dated, but bear in mind the films I consider were ones I saw and some titles that have limited releases for Oscar considerations that I don’t get to slide into the year of their wide release. This has always been an affectation of my awards that is more pronounced during the pandemic as even the Academy has changed its eligibility period.
  2. For a list of eligible films you can check my now-public list on Letterboxd.
  3. The noncompetitive special categories (Entertainer of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Special Jury Prizes, Neutron Star Award) though not included with the nominations, with recipients TBA will still be happening.

2021 BAM Award Nominations

Best Picture

Bo Burnham: Inside

The Card Counter

C’mon C’mon

Free Guy

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Lamb

The Power of the Dog

Pig

Psycho Goreman

A Quiet Place Part II

Best Foreign Language Film

Blood Red Sky

Fever Dream

Lamb

The Strange House

Turma da Mônica Laços

The Village Detective: A Song Cycle

Best Director

Jane Campion The Power of the Dog

Mike Mills, C’mon C’mon

John Krasinski A Quiet Place Part II

Jason Reitman Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Paul Schrader The Card Counter

Best Editing

Guillermo de la Cal Fever Dream

Dana E. Glauberman and Nathan Orloff Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Peter Sciberras The Power of the Dog 

Michael P. Shawver A Quiet Place: Part II

Joe Walker Dune

Most Overlooked Picture

Don’t Tell a Soul

Lamb

My Son 

Psycho Goreman

The Village Detective: A Song Cycle

Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Ezra Dewey The Djinn

Jack Dylan Grazer Don’t Tell a Soul

Noah Jupe A Quiet Place Part II

Karl Anton Koch Blood Red Sky

Woody Norman C’mon C’mon

Finn Wolfhard Ghotbusters: Afterlife

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Lars Bitterlich The Strange House

Logan Kim Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Finn Little Those Who Wish Me Dead

Gabriel Moreira Turma da Mônica Laços

Jacob Perez The Marksman

Raphael Romand The Swarm

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Millie Bobbie Brown Godzilla vs Kong

McKenna Grace Ghostbusters: Afterlife 

Nita-Josée Hanna Psycho Goreman 

Lidya Jewett Nightbooks

Kea Peahu Finding ‘Ohana

Millicent Simmonds A Quiet Place Part II

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Elodie Fong Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

McKenna Grace Malignant

Davida McKenzie Silent Night

Laura Rauseo Turma da Mônica Laços

Demi Singleton King Richard

Best Youth Ensemble

Winslow Fegley, Bellaluna Resnick, Sophia Reid-Gantzert, Che Tafari, Santino Bernard, Max Malas, Jacob Laval and Chandler Dean 8-Bit Christmas

Anthony Gonzalez, Nathan Arenas, Isaac Arellanes, Steve Gutierrez and Pablo Rodriguez Blue Miracle

Owen Myre, Nita-Josée Hanna and Scout Flint Psycho Goreman

Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds, Zachary Golinger, Dean Woodward, Alice Sophie Malyukova, Silas Pereira-Olsen A Quiet Place Part II

Roman Griffin Davis, Gilby Griffin Davis, Hardy Griffin Davis and Davida McKenzie Silent Night

Giulia Benite, Kevin Vechiatto, Laura Rauseo, Gabriel Moreira, Gabriel Blotto, Cauã Martins, Pedro Souza Turma da Mônica Laços

Best Actress

Peri Baumeister Blood Red Sky

Jennifer Lawrence Don’t Look Up 

Noomi Rapace Lamb

Margot Robbie Suicide Squad

María Valverde Fever Dream 

Best Actor

Nicolas Cage Pig

Benedict Cumberbatch The Power of the Dog

Daniel Kaluuya Judas and the Black Messiah

Oscar Isaac The Card Counter

Joaquin Phoenix C’mon C’mon

Best Supporting Actor

Paul Rudd Ghostbusters: Afterlife 

Kodi Smit-McPhee The Power of the Dog

Lakeith Stanfield Judas and the Black Messiah

Rainn Wilson Don’t Tell a Soul

Alex Wolff Pig 

Best Supporting Actress

Emily Blunt A Quiet Place Part II

Kirsten Dunst The Power of the Dog

Tiffany Haddish The Card Counter

Gaby Hoffman C’mon C’mon

Dianne Weist I Care a Lot.

Best Original Screenplay

Bo Burnham Bo Burnham: Inside

Vanessa Block and Michael Sanorski Pig

Mike Mills C’mon C’mon

Paul Schrader The Card Counter

Sjón and Valdimar Johánsson Lamb

Best Adapted Screenplay

Thiago Dottori, Vitor Cafaggi, Mauricio de Sousa, Carolina Nishikubo and Laura Malin Turma da Mônica Laços

Jane Campion and Thomas Savage The Power of the Dog

Gil Kenan & Jason Reitman, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis Ghostbusters: Afterlife

John Krasinski, Brian Woods, and Scott Beck A Quiet Place Part II

Claudia Llosa and Samanta Schweblin Fever Dream

Best Cast

María Valverde, Dolores Fonzi, Guillermo Pfening, Cristina Banegas, Germán Palacios, Guillermina Sorribes Liotta, Emilio Vodanovich Fever Dream

Ryan Reynolds, Taika Waititi, Joe Keery, Channing Tatum, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar Free Guy

Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee The Power of the Dog

Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Roman Griffin Davis, Annabell Wallis, Lily-Rose Depp, Sope Dirisu, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Lucy Punch, Rufus Jones, Davida McKenzie, Hardy Griffin Davis, Gilby Griffin Davis and Trudi StylerSilent Night

Giulia Benite, Kevin Vechiatto, Laura Rauseo, Gabriel Moreira, Gabriel Blotto, Cauã Martins, Pedro Souza, Rodrigo Santoro, Paulo Vilhena, Fafá Rennó Turma da Mônica Laços

Best Song

“We Are Family” Randy Watson & Sexual Chocolate Coming 2 America

“Psycho Goreman (P.G. for Short)” feat. Lil Cae$ar Psycho Goreman

“White Woman’s Instagram” Bo Burnham Bo Burnham: Inside

“How the World Works” Bo Burnham Bo Burnham: Inside

“Welcome to the Internet” Bo Burnham Bo Burnham: Inside

Best Soundtrack

Bo Burnham: Inside

Psycho Goreman

Vacation Friends

King Richard

Suicide Squad

Best Score

Michael Abels Nightbooks

Blitz//Berlin Psycho Goreman 

Cody Carpenter, John Carpenter, and Daniel Davies Halloween Kills

Dascha Dauenhauer Blood Red Sky

Ramin Djawani Reminiscence

Sound Editing/Mixing

Don’t Look Up 

Free Guy

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

A Quiet Place Part II

Red Notice

Best Cinematography

Eli Arenson Lamb

Alexander Dynan The Card Counter

Greig Fraser Dune

Robbie Ryan C’mon C’mon

Ari Wegner The Power of the Dog

Best Costume Design

Dune

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

The Power of the Dog

Psycho Goreman

Turma da Mônica Laços

Best Art Direction

Candyman

Dune

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions

Reminiscence

Turma da Mônica Laços

Best Hair & Make Up

Malignant

Psycho Goreman 

A Quiet Place Part II

Turma da Mônica Laços

Suicide Squad

Best Visual Effects

Dune

Free Guy

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Godzilla vs Kong

Psycho Goreman

Nominations

Psycho Goreman – 11

The Power of the Dog, A Quiet Place Part II, Ghostbusters: Afterlife – 10

Turma da Mônica Laços – 9

Pig – 8

C’mon C’mon – 7

The Card Counter, Bo Burnhm: Inside and Lamb – 6

Fever Dream and Dune – 5

Free Guy and Blood Red Sky – 4

The Village Detective: A Song Cycle, Don’t Tell a Soul, Silent Night, Don’t Look Up, Suicide Squad – 3

The Strange House, Godzilla vs. Kong, Nightbooks, Reminiscence, Malignant– 2

My Son, The Djinn, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Marksman, Finding ‘Ohana, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Halloween Kills, Red Notice, Candyman, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, The Swarm – 1

Update: January 2022

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted here, but the ongoing pandemic has changed pretty much everything about everything. There have been times where I’ve felt the itch but not scratched it, so some housekeeping will have to be done to get this site more active again. First, some updates on year-end stuff.

Usually, around this time I will have announced the BAM Award winners and on occasion posted a film discoveries list. That’s obviously not happened yet this year, not only that I’m ill-prepared to start soon. Also, in recent years I’ve been scrambling and have come close to making what I would consider mistakes in my nominations as decisions have been made nearing the deadline. To avoid that phenomenon, and to give myself time to gather my thoughts, I will announce nominations on Monday, February 7th (the day before the Academy Award nominations) and will announce winners on Saturday, March, 26th (the day before the 94th Academy Awards).

My qualifying period will remain unchanged: January 1, 2021-December 21, 2021.

Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Podcast (Logan Kim) in Columbia Pictures’ GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE.

Film discoveries will be posted before then. 

And I might be doing a 31 Days of Oscar series of posts again in March, and have considered rounding up films for Short Film Saturdays as I viewed quite a lot of shorts in 2021 (it’s what most of my Criterion Channel viewing was).

Other updates will follow, but at least giving myself the start of a new plan for this site will allow me to more easily balance this with my other writing interests (another update on that will follow). One thing I wanted to was to have more Film Thought posts, but I have forgotten to jot down some of my ideas in that regard, but it’s something I will most definitely consider. 

In the meantime hold tight. Posts will come anew with greater frequency. 

The 93rd Academy Awards

Well, it’s been a long-ass year, and though I’ve not seen many of tonight’s nominees…let’s do this anyway!

Gotta say I’m loving skipping the 8:00-8:30 bloc of fluff interviews.

What Regina King said is very true about film helping me through the pandemic, mostly in older things. To see what I’ve been watching follow me on Letterboxd.

Promising Young Woman I did see and this screenplay award is well deserved.

Seeing this set-up for the awards makes me think of the photos of the first ever ceremony I’ve seen.

The Father is at or near the top of my must-see list.

Weird that Best International Film had decontextualized images without dialogue for three of the five films. Vinterberg being nominated as Best Director gave away who the winner would be.

His speech was the most moving part of the show so far.

Not adhering to Oscar traditions will make this show memorable.

Kaluuya’s win is very pleasing. If you want to see where I first saw him watch The Fades.

Saw Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom liking this hair and make-up win.

Best Director went out early in the night!

Nothing diminishes cinematography more than hearing approaches described while seeing zero footage.

This will forever be the Oscars Glenn Close did “the butt.”

However, what was the deal with the audio in that segment and through most of the night.

Then, on my ABC affiliate anyway, the commercial break went on too long and cut-in to Angela Bassett’s speech midway through.

Am I missing something, why is Best Picture announced before Best Actor and Best Actress?

Wow, so the acting winners are clearly always-deserving actors but not who you would have believed would win based on the run-up.