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The Jetstream Goes to the Oscars

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The Jetstream Goes to the Oscars

And the Oscar goes to... the Jetstream Journal staff!

And the Oscar goes to... the Jetstream Journal staff!

And the Oscar goes to... the Jetstream Journal staff!

And the Oscar goes to... the Jetstream Journal staff!

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Here at the Jetstream Journal, we love movies (at least most of us do). With the Oscars fast approaching, albeit host-less, we’re excited to share our top picks and predictions.

Perhaps as iconic as the Avengers, we have assembled a team of astute film critics who will stop at nothing to ensure that justice is swiftly served at the 2019 Academy Awards.

Rose– hates movies, doesn’t know why she’s here.

Michael– local legume enthusiast, music super-fan, voted “World’s Most Handsome Man” by the Onion 18 years in a row.

Casey– will watch anything, loves going to the movies, believes Netflix will someday rule the world.

Olivia-likes art-house films, most likely to be Peter Parker in disguise.

Mida– lives for hot actors, in it for the drama, owns the red carpet.

Kaitlyn– benevolent ruler of the Jetstream Journal, probably secretly has a time turner.

Elina– artistic super power, huge fan of music and movies.

Me– has gotten away with watching movies and calling it “homework” for the past two weeks.

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Best Animated Feature

And the nominees are:

  • “Incredibles 2”
  • “Isle of Dogs”
  • “Mirai”
  • “Ralph Breaks the Internet”
  • “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

My top pick: “Isle of Dogs”

Olivia’s top pick: “Into the Spiderverse”

Rose’s Top Pick: Nothing. “Don’t care didn’t see it.”

What Will Win: “Incredibles 2” or “Ralph Breaks the Internet”

It’s common knowledge that Disney has the Academy in its weird, mouse-shaped pocket. However, this year both Disney and Pixar pumped out fairly formulaic sequels while other studios produced more innovative, artistic features.

For me, Sony Animation’s “Into the Spiderverse” caught me completely surprise in how fresh and creative it turned out to be.

Despite being “over it” with regards to super hero movies, Olivia was also blown away by the “gorgeous cinematography, comic book style, and sound track.”

“I had high expectations, but they were met and that’s hard to do…The story was unique from a lot of different super hero movies in the way that it… almost seemed more human. The villain is trying to open up this portal to other dimensions because he lost his family,” she elaborated.

I agree that “Spiderverse” was truly special. However, my personal favorite was “Isle of Dogs”directed by Wes Anderson, a quirky, stop-motion film that tells the story of an apocalyptic world in which dogs are banished to “Trash Island” for fear that they will spread canine flu. The story follows a young boy as he searches for his lost pup through the Japanese archipelago.

As always, Wes Anderson packs the film with his signature idiosyncrasies and mixes them with elements of Japanese culture. While Anderson’s decision to use American voice actors for his canine characters attracted some controversy over cultural appropriation, the film still packs a solid–although off-beat–emotional and comedic punch.

Funny, bizarre and strangely melancholic in the way that only Wes Anderson movies are, “Isle of Dogs” deserves the win.

 

Best Director

And the nominees are…

  • Spike Lee, “BlacKKKlansman”
  • Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
  • Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
  • Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
  • Adam McKay, “Vice”

My top pick: Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”)

Rose’s Top Pick: Nothing. “Don’t care didn’t see it.”

What Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”)

Cuarón’s sweeping shots in Roma are going to be impossible to beat in this category.

Through direction and cinematography, he is able to capture intimate glimpses into characters’ lives while still maintaining a sense of grandeur. Watching “Roma” was a unique, almost surreal experience, as the viewer is often held at a distance from the characters, often peeking on at them through windows and doors.

Cuarón injects a vivid sense of atmosphere into the film that borders on magical realism, which shines through in these thematic scenic shots.

Beyond cinematography, Cuarón captures subtle performances from all his actors (even the child actors!), further solidifying him as a formidable director and the clear winner of the category.

However, apparently, Cuarón didn’t do quite enough to impress local movie-cynic, Rose.

“Who gives a flying flamboozle about ‘Ramona’? Who is she? Why is she important? Nobody cares. I don’t know. I don’t like movies,” she contributed.

 

Best Visual Effects

And the nominees are…

  • “Avengers: Infinity War”
  • “Christopher Robin”
  • “First Man”
  • “Ready Player One”
  • “Solo: A Star Wars Story”

My top pick: “Avengers Infinity War”

Rose’s Top Pick: Nothing “Don’t care didn’t see it.”

Michael’s Top Pick: “Avengers Infinity War”

What will win: “Ready Player One”

Academy award sweetheart, Steven Spielberg, is almost certain to cinch this win. However, “Avengers Infinity War” managed to make the giant, purple, and slightly phallic-looking thumb that is Thanos not appear completely laughable, which we think is Oscar-worthy.

“The effects were so realistic that I was shocked [Infinity War] wasn’t a true story,” explained Michael. “Truly shocked.”

 

Best Actor in a Leading Role

And the nominees are:

  • Christian Bale, “Vice”
  • Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
  • Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
  • Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  • Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

My top pick: Bradley Cooper (“A Star is Born”)

Kaitlyn, Mida, Elina,and Casey’s top pick: Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”)

Who will win: Bradley Cooper (“A Star is Born”) or Christian Bale (“Vice”)

 

I think at this point, we all know Rami Malek is a great actor. Unfortunately, the script to “Bohemian Rhapsody” reads more like a Wikipedia article than anything else, giving Malek little more to do than suck in his bulbous, prosthetic teeth.

What could have been an in-depth character study of sexuality and identity is simplified to what feels like an animatronic ride at Disneyland. There are brief moments of humanity where it almost feels like you’re looking at the real thing. But, then the melody of another hit song creeps in and you wonder why you’re watching a not-quite-Queen performance.

It may seem like I’m ripping into Malek a bit unfairly. Really, my beef is with the script-writers and with the decision to focus more on Mercury’s music than his private life (if I wanted to listen to Queen music, I’d pull up Spotify, not go to a movie theater).

My opinion on “Bohemian Rhapsody” proved to be a point of contention at the Jetstream office.

When asked for her opinion on the movie, managing editor Kaitlyn squealed, “So good!”

“The movie put a deeper meaning behind Queen’s age-old classic rock songs and told the public the true story of Freddie Mercury… meanwhile raising awareness for AIDS,” Kaitlyn continued.

Many journalists had an emotional attachment to the source material.

Queen enthusiast Mida noted, “My grandparents raised me on that music,”  Mida felt that the iconic character of Freddie Mercury was well-realized by Malek.

“[Malek] had to put on a British accent with the teeth… Freddie Mercury is iconic. They did him justice,” she said.

Others appreciated the behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of musicians.

“I like how it showed the inside parts of the life of a famous person that we don’t see,” Elina added.

Unfortunately, our hard-core music enthusiast Michael has not yet seen the film, though he firmly stated that, “I think Queen is one of the greatest bands of all time.”

Although Malek may appear to be the fan favorite, my vote goes to Cooper. In “A Star is Born” Cooper delivers a raw, disturbingly-convincing performance. So convincing, in fact, that after watching the movie, I was startled when I saw images of Bradley Cooper looking so unlike his character. My mind had merged Cooper and the perpetually flushed, drunken Jackson Maine into a single entity, which, I suppose, is the mark of a great performance.

Casey was also a fan of Cooper’s performance.

“I liked that [“A Star is Born”] showed a vulnerable character and didn’t have an ending that was happy,” she said.

Besides Cooper, the Oscar could also easily go to Bale for his thorough realization of vice president Dick Cheney.

The Jetstream Journal’s managing editor Kaitlyn Waynick strikes a pose while photobombing a red carpet shoot with superstar Bradley Cooper.

 

Best Actress in a Leading Role

And the Nominees Are…

  • Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
  • Glenn Close, “The Wife”
  • Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
  • Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
  • Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

My top pick: Olivia Colman (The Favourite)

Casey and Mida’s top pick: Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”)

Who will win: Olivia Colman (The Favourite)

Though The Favourite as a whole was a little too macabre and bizarre for my taste, there is no denying that it presents a myriad of incredible female performances.

Olivia Colman stars as Queen Anne, an aging monarch burdened with the war with France and torn between two women both vying for her power. Colman portrays a nuanced, sensitive and heartbreaking portrait of the decaying and conflicted queen, a portrait I don’t think the Academy would ignore.

That being said, best actress could easily go to Lady Gaga for her work in “A Star is Born”, a favorite among the Jetstream crew, which features surprisingly complex and emotional acting by the singer who only recently stepped onto the silver-screen stage.

“I cried and laughed a lot and I love Lady Gaga!” exclaimed Mida.

 

Best Original Song:

  • “All The Stars” – “Black Panther”
  • “I’ll Fight” – “RBG”
  • “Shallow” – “A Star Is Born”
  • “The Place Where Lost Things Go” – “Mary Poppins Returns”
  • “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” – “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”

Our top pick: “Shallow” (“A Star Is Born”)

Who will win: “Shallow” (“A Star Is Born”)

Welcome to the category that “A Star Is Born” is certain–dare I say entitled–to win. It’s hard to imagine a situation in which Shallow’s power-house vocals and sweeping instrumentals fail to clench the Oscar. Gaga is completely in her element delivering heart-felt lyrics with chilling refrains.

Surprisingly, Bradley Cooper holds his own contributing a gritty, masculine tone to the song. All together Shallow is a fittingly grandiose number made only more powerful by its emotional weight in the context of “A Star Is Born.”

When I mentioned the song to my fellow Jetstream film critics, the room erupted into vigorous karaoke. I think that just goes to show how iconic of a song it is.

 

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
  • Adam Driver, “BlacKKKlansman”
  • Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
  • Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me”
  • Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

My top pick: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book” or Adam Driver, “BlacKKKlansman”

Rose’s Top Pick: Nothing “Don’t care didn’t see it.”

Who will win: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”

In “Green Book”, Mahershala Ali was more of a costar than a supporting actor, leaving him much more screen time to develop his character than many of the other nominees in this category.

That being said, Ali’s portrayal of Don Shirley, a genius, African American pianist insistent on touring the deep South is incredibly poignant.

Ali’s Shirley is most definitely a broken man, struggling to maintain his dignity in the face of discrimination while simultaneously torn by feelings of isolation from both the black and white communities. This and the undeniable chemistry between Ali and Mortensen (Shirley’s Italian American security guard) solidify Ali’s performance as top caliber.

However, I would be remiss not to mention Adam Driver from “BlacKKKlansman.” Driver plays Flip Zimmerman, Ron Stallworth’s white partner who helps him to infiltrate the KKK by handling the face-to-face interactions. Zimmerman is increasingly disturbed by his work considering his Jewish heritage.

In reality, Zimmerman’s character does not exist and was loosely based on the man identified only as “Chuck” in Stallworth’s book whose identity remains largely a mystery. One would expect such a fictional addition to stand out like a sore thumb amidst the grounded, intense subject matter and history of the narrative.

However, Driver breathes life into the character through subtle expressions, rendering Zimmerman a suitable foil and companion for Stallworth as well as a completely believable character in his own right.

For this, Driver’s performance deserves recognition; though he is unlikely to beat out Ali.

 

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Amy Adams, “Vice”
  • Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
  • Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
  • Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
  • Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

My Top Pick: Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

Rose’s Top Pick: Nothing “Don’t care didn’t see it.”

“The Favourite” sports two nominees in this category and its female-powered cast is likely to lead to victory. The question then arises: Emma Stone or Rachel Weisz? While both women gave incredible performances, I give the slight edge to Rachel Weisz.

The arcs of Stone and Weisz’s respective characters are inverses of each other. At the start of the film, Weisz’s character appears cold and calculated. However, as the film progresses we are exposed to her warmer, more sensitive side.

Likewise Stone begins as wide-eyed, loving and innocent, then develops a corrupt darkness. Both performances complement each other very well, driving home the themes of humanity’s imperfection and insatiable lust for power.

However, Weisz lends such an inexplicable sophistication and complexity to Lady Sarah’s character that she edges out Stone in my book.

Additionally, Stone recently won best lead actress at the 2017 Academy Awards for her work in “Lala Land,” a much more recent recognition than Weisz’s last win in 2006 for supporting actress in “The Constant Gardener.”

 

Best Picture

And the nominees are…

  • “Black Panther”
  • “BlacKKKlansman”
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  • “The Favourite”
  • “Green Book”
  • “Roma”
  • “A Star Is Born”
  • “Vice”

My top pick: “BlacKKKlansman”

Rose’s Top Pick: Nothing “Don’t care didn’t see it.”

What will win: “Roma”

What most definitely won’t win: Black Panther

“BlacKKKlansman’s” plot sounds like the punchline to a very offensive joke no one should tell: a black police officer and a Jew walk into a KKK meeting…

And, while the film is just as uncomfortably comedic and politically hard-hitting as this premise would imply, it also packs a lot of complex commentary on the nature of identity.

Throughout the film, Ron Stallwarth struggles to amend his warring identities as an African American cop. Meanwhile, his Jewish co-worker Flip Zimmerman finds it harder and harder to keep his personal life separate from his under-cover work.

To what extent are we connected to our heritage? How important should it be to us? Spike Lee poses these questions without offering any sort of clear answer. By the end of the film both Ron and Flip end up feeling closer to their respective ethnic groups. Yet, they both remain fiercely individualistic, loyal to their personal dreams and passions.

Perhaps this film resonated with me so deeply due to my own personal struggles with identity. Perhaps it was because of my frustrations with the modern social and political climate in America. Perhaps it was due to the fact that the film was based on a real story that went down right here, in 1970s Colorado Springs, practically in my backyard.

For whatever the reason, “BlacKKKlansman” struck me as more profound and powerful than any other nomination this year. It felt passionate, angry, stylistic, hopeful and–most importantly–human.

While “Roma” is most definitely a near perfect, textbook recipe for an Oscar win, it just didn’t resonate as much with me.

Then, on the other side of the spectrum, we have “Black Panther”, which, for the life of me, I just cannot understand how it was nominated.

“I haven’t watched Black Panther but I know it isn’t that good,” inserted Rose.

Sure, I enjoyed “Black Panther”and sure, I appreciate its significance as a step toward more inclusive and minority-centric stories in Hollywood.

But, the reality is that “Black Panther” is not even in the same league as its fellow nominees. It’s a crowd-pleasing, socially-relevant blockbuster–key word being “blockbuster”. The Oscars are intended to award visionary film-making, and “Black Panther’s” cinematography and typical hero’s journey/origin story are far too cookie-cutter to fall under that category.

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While the Academy Awards are an exciting time for Hollywood and movie buffs everywhere, some are not so smitten with the lavish red carpet. The Academy Awards have been accused of engaging in bribery, favoritism, prejudice, and corruption in general.

Conspiracy theorist Rose Jones stated,”I hate movies because every time they get an award it’s all about the bureaucracy and not about the quality of the movie… it’s all about the director and how famous they are and the truly good movies go un-noticed.”

Whether you view the Oscars with an air of whimsy or an air of cynicism, tune in at 6:00 pm MST on February 24th to test our predicting skills.

 

The Jetstream Journal team enjoys the red carpet glam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Writer
Hillary Schiff, Copy Editor

Hi! I'm Hillary; but, I go by Hill, Larry or anything in between. As a senior with a serious height deficiency, I won't take it too personally if you think...

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