I’ve barely seen any movies this year, but I still felt reasonably confident to write in my new review of The Irishman:
By next week a likely fifth movie will be Marriage Story by Noah Baumbach, starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. Baumbach makes Woody Allen-like Upper West Side movies, and he’s probably, on the whole, been better than Allen since his 2005 The Squid and the Whale. I quite liked his 2014 comedy with Driver and Ben Stiller While We’re Young.
At this point I’d vote:
Best Foreign Film: Parasite
Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time, over Al Pacino, The Irishman
Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker, over Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time.
Best Original Screenplay: Steve Zaillian, The Irishman (although Baumbach ought to always be a contender)
Best Director: Quentin Tarantino, Once
Best Picture: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
These films, by the way, are Not Diverse.
So what film is going to keep next year’s Academy Awards from being plagued by #OscarsSoWhite(andAsian) hashtags?
The most plausible woman director to nominate might be Greta Gerwig — whose autobiographical 2017 film Lady Bird with Saoirse Ronan as the high school Greta Gerwig, was quite entertaining — for the umpteenth Little Women remake. But she’s Baumbach’s girlfriend, for whom he left Jennifer Jason Leigh (an event that is presumably the subject matter of Marriage Story). Or maybe Olivia Wilde for Booksmart, who is some kind of distant relation of Evelyn Waugh. (Her English Communist grandpa Claude Cockburn, who wrote the John Huston-Humphrey Bogart movie Beat the Devil, was Waugh’s cousin.)
A movie that seems to be appealing to audiences in limited release is JoJo Rabbit, which is described as an anti-Hitler satire. The concept sounds dire, but audiences apparently like it (as they enjoyed last year’s Best Picture winner Green Book). And the last movie by its director, Taika Waititi (who is half New Zealand Maori and half Jewish), Thor: Ragnarok, was witty for a Marvel movie. So maybe we can expect to hear a lot during Oscar Season about how Hitler would have hated Maoris (if he were aware of their existence, although judging from Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, the Maori were awfully Hitlerian toward the poor Moriori of the Chatham Islands).