Bernardo Villela is like a mallrat except at the movies. He is a writer, director, editor and film enthusiast who seeks to continue to explore and learn about cinema, chronicle the journey and share his findings.
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!
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)
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.
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.
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.
For a list of eligible films you can check my now-public list on Letterboxd.
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.
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 WhoWish 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
This is one last shameless self-promotion post to let you know that all updates on my writing outside of the The Movie Rat will continue updating on my Author page on this sit, social media accounts, but mainly my LinkTree, which you can visit here.
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.
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.
This was the most satisfying film of the year for me. To be able to end a review with the words I do in the one I paste below, the choice was clear.
Being Brazilian-American myself this was a movie I would have to see. While the overarching premise and conflict is clear, well done, and wonderfully performed; how a third culture played into this story would matter quite a bit to me. It adds a bright counterpoint in musical terms as well as some added humor; aside from the necessary and useful analogy of fusion from the culinary world that any bicultural can relate to.
There are some editorial touches that are creative and deft also.
One of myriad things I loved about The OA was it was the first time I’d seen Alice Krige in anything in a while. Seeing here back in a horror film, and excelling so as she does here, was even more satisfying.
Begoña Vargas, Iván Marcos, Bea Segura, Sergio Castellanos, José Luis de Madariaga, Iván Renedo, Concha Velasco, and Javier Botet 32 Malasaña Street
Noah Schnapp, Seu Jorge, Dagmara Dominzyck, Arian Moayed, Mark Margolis, Tom Madirosian, Salem Murphy, Daniel Oreskes, and Gero Camilo in Abe
Lewis Cancelmi, Greg Rikaart, Thomas Kopache, Anastasia Ganias, Antoinette LaVecchia, Anthony Patellis, Bobby Guarino, Joseph Callari, Owen Vaccaro, Jacob Laval, Jake Katzman, Ethan Coskay, and Skylar Lipkin Team Marco
Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, Rob Riggle, Oakes Fegley, Laura Marano, Cheech Marin, Jayne Seymour, Christopher Walken, Juliocesar Chavez, Isaac Kragten, T.J. McGibbon, Poppy Gagnon and Colin Ford in The War with Grandpa
Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Pedro Pascal, Adriana Berrazza, Boyd Holbrook, Christian Slater, Taylor Dooley, Sung Kang, Hailey Reinhart, Christopher McDonald, Jill Blackwood, John Valley, YaYa Gosselin, Lyon Daniels, Andy Walken, Hala Finley, Lotus Blosson, Dylan Henry Lau, Andrew Diaz, Isaiah Russell-Bailey, Akira Akbar, Nathan Blair, and Vivien Lyra Blair in We Can Be Heroes
All these performances need to be seen, Robertson’s work without dialogue is spectacular and deserves mention despite the indication of sparsity above. However, the most soaring of these performances is the nuanced, multicultural, turn by Noah Schnapp.
This was a year I went for more ambient selections than thundering booming score, but Color Out of Space takes that ambience from grating to melodic, from subconscious to immersive and is an aural accompaniment to the visual madness of the film.
The cast of It continues to go places. Aside from all the movies I saw Jaeden in this year, one of which was a delayed viewing of Knives Out, he was also in Defending Jacob on AppleTV+. His films also ran the gamut of genre and were seen throughout the year.