Oscars

Oscars Brouhaha: Will Smith Crossed the Line

Forrest Hartman

One can endlessly debate whether Rock went too far or if Smith’s actions seem like that of an unhinged lunatic or a protective husband. What I haven’t seen is much talk about how the conversation might differ if the demographics of those involved in the altercation were changed. I believe that discussion is fundamental in an era defined by the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements.

Oscars 2022: Which Film Will Win Best Picture?

Forrest Hartman

In a new video, Highbrow Magazine Chief Film Critic Forrest Hartman discusses this year's Oscars contenders for Best Picture -- from Belfast to King Richard to Power of the Dog -- and selects his pick for the golden statue. Hartman will also feature another Oscars video next week, in which he will talk about the nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and other categories.

Adam Driver: A Force to Be Reckoned With

Ben Friedman

Driver’s success is predicated on his ability and willingness to portray emotionally vulnerable men. His career choices indicate his enjoyment of exploring the psychosis of flawed individuals. Take, for example, his Oscar-nominated performances in BlackkKlansman and Marriage Story. Spike Lee’s BlackkKlansman showcased Driver’s deadpan comedic timing, as well as his ability to subtly bring to life the character’s internal conflicts about racism. His character’s body language shifts from that of indifference to that of frustration as he witnesses racism and injustice.

Can the Golden Globes Make a Comeback?

Forrest Hartman

The controversy over the Golden Globes continues. But can the Globes make a comeback? In a new Highbrow Magazine video, longtime Highbrow Magazine writer and respected academic Forrest Hartman discusses the ongoing controversy surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and wonders when and how the Golden Globes will regain the respect of the industry.

Film Legends De Niro, Pacino, Pesci Aren’t Enough to Save ‘The Irishman’ From Itself

Christopher Karr

The shortsightedness of the filmmakers is on display in an unsettling way; they didn’t take into account two fundamental aspects of acting that make all the difference: eyes and physicality. Scorsese expressed concerns about how the de-aging affected the eyes of the performers earlier this year on A24’s “A Bigger Canvas” podcast, saying, “Certain shots need more work on the eyes.” But an even bigger problem is the fact that the actors, now in their mid-70s or older, don’t have the physicality of their younger selves.

Dear Oscars: Don’t Do to ‘Moonlight’ What You Did to These Black Films

Lawrence Ware

This is a historic year, but I’ve learned to temper my enthusiasm about black folks winning Academy Awards. While winning the coveted Oscar is often considered the high mark of one’s career, there are many examples of when the academy failed to recognize the best film made in a given year or even the best actor or actress nominated. I will never forgive the academy for failing to nominate Do the Right Thing for best picture. That year the Oscar went to Driving Miss Daisy.

Oscar-Nominated Doc Brings Back James Baldwin’s Voice for New Generation

Damaso Reyes

If you think the height of documentary filmmaking comes from the brain of Ken Burns, Peck’s taut exploration of the life of one of America’s literary geniuses will come as a welcome revelation. Yes, there is archival footage mixed in with contemporary imagery, but there are no talking heads. There are no historians or professors emeritus explaining what we have or are about to see on-screen. For the most part, we simply have Baldwin himself, alternating mostly between frustration and indignation and occasionally bemusement.

Why Do the Oscars Ignore Actors of Color?

Jacqueline Keeler

Even films like “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton” which were viewed as Oscar contenders only garnered nominations for Sylvester Stallone and white writers Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff. And, unsurprisingly, after 88 years there are still no Oscar nominations for Native American actors or filmmakers or writers. Indians have been a part of Hollywood at least as long as the cowboy. But the struggle to disentangle our modern selves from the old storylines set up at the dawn of the medium of cinema continues into the 21st century.

‘American Sniper,’ ‘Strange Magic’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Director Clint Eastwood’s meditation on the life of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle was the hit of the movie award’s season. It won only a single Oscar (for sound editing), but it was up for six awards including best picture, and it grossed more than all the other best picture nominees combined. In other words, the film was a critical darling as well as a box-office smash, a combination that is difficult to achieve.    

‘The Imitation Game,’ ‘Wild’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

“The Imitation Game” won only a single Academy Award (best adapted screenplay for Graham Moore) in February, but the movie’s nomination tally is a better representation of its quality. The tightly paced suspense film, which depicts key moments in the life of British computer pioneer Alan Turing, received eight nominations, including nods for best picture, best director, best actor and best supporting actress. 

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