Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Eight Movies More Deserving of Best Picture Than “Green Book” (And One That Isn’t)

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The 91st Academy Awards have come and gone and, as always, they’ve generated a fair bit of controversy. While there were certainly some ups to the ceremony: the lack of host, Into The Spider-Verse winning Best Animated Feature, Olivia Colman’s Best Actress win for The Favourite, Regina King’s Best Supporting Actress win for If Beale Street Could Talk, and Spike Lee’s first Best Adapted Screenplay win (his first in any category) for Black KkKlansman. But Hollywood can’t go 10 seconds without screwing something up, and they balanced those with some real bonehead picks: Bohemian Rhapsody winning Best Editing for its groundbreaking “whiplash” style of nonsensical rapid cuts, giving the Best Screenplay Oscar to a guy with a history of anti-Muslim sentiments. But the shit cherry on top of the shit sundae was the win by Green Book for Best Picture, beating out several more worthy films and giving a big win to the genius who brought us Dumb and Dumber. While Peter Farrelly basks in the glow of victory and hopefully keeps that glow in his pants, we’ve compiled a list of movies that we feel were more deserving of this award than Green Book (and one film that we’re happy that it beat).

1.The Favourite dir. by Yorgos Lanthimos


A sumptuous, emotional, and sometimes silly period piece, The Favourite went into this year’s Academy Awards a contender for all of its categories, including Best Picture. Buoyed by Olivia Colman’s skillful acting, and the internet’s collective thirst for Rachel Weisz,  it cleaned house at the BAFTA’s and was nominated for 10 Oscars. Alas, it didn’t matter how many silly wigs Colman wore or sexy facial scars Weisz got. They still lost to a movie from the guy who’s big debut involved cross-country stalking.

2. Roma dir. by Alfonso Cuarón

Yalitza Aparicio was the first Indigenous American, fourth Latina, and second Mexican woman ever to be nominated for Best Actress

Tied with The Favourite for most nominations, Roma was much more successful than its fellow nominee, winning Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography, and Best Director. Roma made headlines for being one of the first Netflix movies to ever be taken seriously by the Academy as well as one of the few movies to feature an indigenous lead, Yalitza Aparicio.  Cuarón’s deeply intimate direction and emotional writing helped make a Spanish language film the favorite of many film buffs to win Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards. But, alas, even Cuarón’s visual genius couldn’t stand up to the guy who glued a pair of testicles on Hugh Jackman’s neck and nearly put them in Kate Winslet’s mouth.

3. Black KkKlansmen dir. Spike Lee

Adam Driver also picked up a Best Supporting Actor nomination, losing to Mahershala Ali

Based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, an African American cop in the 1970’s who infiltrated the KKK, Black KkKlansmen had all the frenetic energy and biting social commentary that have become trademarks of Spike Lee films. The most politically charged film at the Oscars, it featured a cameo from Harry Belafonte to recount the story of a lynching, footage from the Unite the Right Rally (the film was dedicated to Heather Heyer), and calls attention to the insidious racism within America’s institutions. This could have been a layup for an Academy who have denied Lee at every turn (outside of an honorary Oscar), but instead, they gave the win to a movie with the brilliant message of “thank god for white people.”

4. Black Panther dir. Ryan Coogler

Ruth E. Carter won an Oscar for her breathtaking costume design in Black Panther

Despite much gnashing of teeth among hardcore film buffs for the audacity to be a superhero movie up for “serious” awards, Black Panther was competitive this year thanks to its overwhelming success within most sensible communities. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, and won the MCU its first Oscars for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score, and was the first superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture (suck on THAT Suicide Squad).  It made waves in 2018 for breaking into the historically white superhero genre and has become a cultural phenomenon for the African-American community, but it just didn’t stand a chance against the guy who cast Kate Upton as a sexy nun in The Three Stooges.

5. Into the Spider-Verse dir. by  Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

A moist, porcine John Mulaney is an improvement over whatever Green Book is doing.

Is it controversial to say that an animated film is better than a live action one? Not when said animated feature has groundbreaking special effects, one of the best Spider-Man stories ever told, and Nicolas Cage as a nazi-punching hardboiled detective Spidey obsessed with a Rubik’s cube. Focused entirely on Miles Morales and his experience taking up the webbed mask, it weaves a great deal of humor and heart into comic book action. It did win Best Animated Feature, thank god,  but knowing what we know now, we wish it had gotten a chance to beat the film who’s white star promoted the film by using the N-word at a press conference.

6. Crash dir. Paul Haggis

In hindsight, maybe 2004 wasn’t so bad

Paul Haggis can rest easy tonight, knowing that he was finally replaced as the “worst faux-woke” Oscar winner by Peter Farrelly. (Rightfully) derided as a surface level critique of racism, Crash was an obvious attempt by the Academy to seem progressive without giving the Best Picture nomination to a couple of gay cowboys that made them think uncomfortable thoughts. Even the director has said it was undeserving. But maybe it deserves a second look now that a film where a white dude declares himself “blacker” than a black man (after punching him) has won the top award.

7. Shakespeare In Love dir. John Madden

Shakespeare was sort of the Peter Farrelly of his time, except not at all.

Another allegedly “undeserving” winner at the Oscars, Shakespeare In Love cleaned house at the 71st Academy Awards, famously beating Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line for top honors. A period comedy-drama, sort of like The Favourite, and featuring one of Queen Anne’s distinguished predecessors, it was romantic and funny in all the ways its competitors weren’t. Ten years later, it might behoove us to reconsider the “mistake” the Academy made in showing so much…ahem…love to this film now that the guy who put jizz in Cameron Diaz’s hair has won the same award.

8. Paddington 2 dir. Paul King

I’m going to be totally honest here, I haven’t actually seen Paddington 2 yet, or Paddington for that matter, but I’m pretty sure if I didn’t include it on this list our resident film critic Jeremiah would kill me. And while I can’t speak to its quality from experience, people have raved about it and consider it as one of the biggest snubs (it wasn’t even nominated!). And no matter what, it’s probably still better than a movie that told a story of black oppression through the eyes of the white screenwriter’s dad and refused to consult with their black subject’s family.

And The One Film We’re Actually Glad Got Beat By Green Book

Bohemian Rhapsody dir. Bryan Singer

No this is not from the film. We’re trying very hard to block the whole thing from our memory.

Has there been a film in the past twenty years more undeserving of love than Bohemian Rhapsody? A vanity piece salvaged from a potentially good Sacha Baron-Cohen film to protect Bryan May’s ego, the film has almost nothing going for it outside of a good impersonation by Rami Malek, who’s win for Best Actor, the first by an Egyptian-American, should not be downplayed. Coming off of a baffling Best Drama win at the Golden Globes, it was nominated for five Academy Awards and somehow squeaked by with four of them. In addition to Malek’s win, it somehow beat A Quiet Place for Best Sound Editing and A Star Is Born for best Sound Mixing, as well as picking up an astonishingly unworthy win for Best Editing (if you have object permanence issues you won’t like this film). It looked like a real contender for Best Picture, and we all dreaded the speech where the crew had to dance around director Bryan Singer’s alleged pedophilia one last time. But, thankfully, the Academy still has one lingering shred of common sense and Bohemian Rhapsody came up empty. So, I guess, thanks Green Book. You were a marginally better choice than the worst one.

All images are courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences, Universal Pictures, Studio Canal, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Lionsgate Films, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Releasing, Netflix, Focus Features, and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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