"The Oscars are a--I’ll just let my sister, Charlie Stuip, Film student at UCLA, explain it. “The Oscars are an outdated tradition that give overvalued awards to usually conventional big-budget movies. At this point, it’s more of an excuse to throw a viewing party and make deviled eggs than it is a prestigious award ceremony.” That pretty much sums it up…" --Piper Stuip, 6th grade
I’ve asked UCLA Film student (and my sister), Charlie Stuip, about her thoughts on the Oscars, the Best Picture Nominated films, and what she thinks of the actors.
Little Women, takes place in the 1860’s during the Civil War in New England. It’s the story of the March sisters, Beth (Eliza Scanlen), Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh) and Jo (Sairoise Ronan): Four girls venturing into adulthood, some making the journey, some not. We witness their exploration through life, love, adventure, and loss. Meg, married to a poor man in a rich world, (she can’t stop buying pretty fabric…); Amy, married rich, longing to be an independent painter, without a man taking her earnings; Beth, life force failing at twelve; and Jo, attempting to write stories despite the cruel reality surrounding her.
Little Women is one of the few movies that I’d say somewhat belongs on the list.t’s charming, cute, and well told, as said by Stuip “So, so, so, so cute! If I was 13, I would die over Little Women. That said, is it the best picture of the year? No. Yes, it’s touching and a remarkably well cast, but it’s derivative. It’s not bringing anything to Alcott’s adaptation that we didn’t already get from the 90’s version.” I personally have not seen the 90’s version, but if it’s just the same as the 90’s version, but it is important for adaptations of previous films to have a bit of it’s own feel.
Marriage Story is a depressing movie, showing the lives of what once was a famous couple, to sitting in a conference room settling a divorce. Nicole Barber (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie Barber (Adam Driver) are experiencing a tale that usually you just see in gossip magazines. Charlie wants to keep living in New York, where his job is, and real home, but Nicole longs to move back to her birth town, Los Angeles. Ends don’t meet, so we watch as they fight for their son, Henry (Azhy Robertson) via persuasive lawyers, tired judges, and a nasty divorce.
Oh Marriage Story... I was sighing the entire two hours and seventeen minutes, and I don’t know if they intended to make Nicole piss me off or not… I just about fell asleep until they started screaming at each other. I felt offended that they had woken me from my near nap.
When I asked Stuip about the film she replied, “Marriage Story... What a disappointment” continuing, “I’ll preface and say Frances Ha, also directed by Noah Baumbach, is one of my favorite movies. It's effortless naturalism and toe-curling awkwardness makes for a satisfying and electric ending… You get the point. While Frances Ha is all heart and humor, Marriage Story is all ego. I mean Noah Baumbach cheated on his wife (the very underrated and sexy Jennifer Jason Leigh), got a divorce, and made a 2hr 20min movie about it? Please. If the worst thing that has ever happened to you is your divorce, make movies about other people.”
And agreed, sure divorce is a struggle, but do you really have to write up a two-hour film about it all??? And nominated Best Picture of the year? Scarlet Johansen makes me want to throw my Chromebook out my bedroom window. All Adam Driver had to do was stay solemn (besides the fight scene) which he seems to do in every movie, the only times in this film that I felt a bit more positive about it was when Laura Dern was there, but it doesn’t really change my opinion on this film.
“Also, in real life Noah Baumbach paid for his divorce with money he made writing Madagascar 3, in the movie he pays for it with his MACARTHUR GENIUS GRANT.” When Charlie Stuip told me this… I thought to myself, If they had done this it would have saved the entire movie for me… Oh Baumbach… Should have stayed true to the story… The only good scene I can think of is when the social worker came to inspect Adams Driver. Overall, I agree with Stuip.“Scarlett Johansen is a terrible scene partner and as my actor friend Lucy has said, her beats were horrible” and so was the film.
The Irishman, a three-hour film about gangsters who aren’t Irish. We focus around Frank Sereen (Robert De Niro) and a few others, blowing up buildings, protecting people in hot water, then getting the cash—all while raising a few kids in the meantime. In the story, the main person Frank is constantly attempting to protect is Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). Hoffa (constantly stealing money) becomes a suspect immediately, for most cases, being a pretty suspicious character, as well as the head of the Teamsters. But from the help of lawyers, he has only had to go to jail once for fraud, after President Kennedy was assassinated. The Irishman leads through the lives of the… Irishmen, slowly, and quietly.
I will admit, I did not finish this movie, it was long and boring, but I’m pretty sure I got the point.
Something I would like to bring up, is the fact that it looked like the characters didn’t grow a day older in the span of TWENTY YEARS! Like what are they, immortal?
“This one I know is technically good,” said Stuip, “but Scorsese has never been my thing. I respect him a lot as an artist. I like his ethos and his commitment to his style, his movies are just a little slow for me.” I wouldn’t be surprised if it won, it’s well written, and directed, but I don’t know why anyone would sit around and watch a three-hour film without a plot, and really had nothing else to say after the first hour. I find it impressive when somebody tells me they finished it, I wish I had their courage… Something tells me that even the cast hasn't seen the full film. I overall think that The Irishman is a film that probably deserves an Oscar, but it's just not my type of movie.
Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood!
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood! is a fun movie about an actor named Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). It takes us through a year of Dalton and Booth’s life. As they encounter directors, dangerous weapons, and angry cowboys. We watch Rick, failing to find a meaningful role, and cliff deal with psycho hippies.
Cool cars, and Psycho hippies. Oh yes, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, probably one of my favorite movies of 2019. When I asked Stuip about it, she replied, “I have a contentious relationship with Tarantino. On one hand, he is a fetishist who loves fetishizing women and people of color to his own style-focused benefit. On the other hand, I love Death Proof, and I love this. When he isn’t up his own perverse, egomaniacal ass, I can dig his movies. Like Death Proof, the last twenty minutes of OUPATIH is pure catharsis. Also, he wrote the first role I’ve liked Leonardo Dicaprio in since Basketball Diaries. He’s so slick and so pathetic–perfectly contrasted with Brad Pitt’s irresistible handyman charm.”
“But don’t get too excited,” she said, “this was still only a 3 ½ star movie for me.” For sure, this movie does not deserve Best Picture, but it’s still a fun, poppy movie, and when assigning myself this article it was what I was most excited for. But one devastating thing I would like to address is… THEY PUT KURT RUSSEL AT THE BACK OF THE CAST LIST??? The man needs some credit, yeah, he was only in it for a short segment, but he did well, he’s all the way back there!
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a fantastic film, and I wouldn’t be upset if it won
As Charlie said earlier, Brad Pitt and DiCaprio go well together, but I don’t think that Best Picture is in their favor.
Ford v Ferrari
Ford V Ferrari, is an exhilarating yet somewhat slow film that takes us through the story of Carrol Shelby (Matt Damon), an American automobile designer, and Ken Miles (Christian Bale), battling many in order to construct a car fast enough, yet smooth, to beat Ferrari with the better, automobile, in the 1966 race of cars in the Le Mans in France. Ken is said to be a “Pure soul” and one of many that would be able to complete the Le Mans. But unfortunately the owners of Ford disagree, claiming that he is “Too pure.” Shelby is constantly attempting to get the big bosses off his back, and a few weeks before the big race, they are challenged to see which of the racers are worthy…
Ok, I’m gonna get straight to the point, Ford V Ferrari does not deserve the Best Picture, sure, you cry in that one scene at the end. But the Best Picture? Oh please, Endgame was deeper than this. I don’t dislike the film, but it had the same kind of feel as IT--it’s not a film you necessarily hate, but you don’t describe it as “Magical” or “Powerful” in later years. When I asked Stuip about the film, she said, “Did not see it! While I love fast cars, Matt Damon wasted all his intrigue on Talented Mr. Ripley. He’s a husk now.” Matt Damon most definitely did not fit the part, I’m sure there were lots of other actors, underrated or not, that would have accepted the role, it just doesn’t feel right while watching this. And to be honest, that’s really all there is to say about this film.
Joker Is an Intense movie, telling a more “Realistic” version of how the Joker became the Joker. It tells the story of a 32 year old man named Aurther Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), who suffers from Pseudobulbar Affect, in his case, he has sudden moments of uncontrollable laughter. We watch him go through self discovery. Learning more about his identity, although the facts he learns aren’t pretty, he begins to become angrier, yet happy. He starts to become more of a well… A psycho, a happy psycho, but a psycho. After murdering three rich young men, a movement starts when Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), the man with the highest votes for the elections for mayor, calls all the “Poorer people” “Clowns.” And we watch them flood the streets with torches, and clown masks hiding their identities. Joker is a film where you don’t know who’s side to be on, the rich guys who are snobby, and think the world revolves around them, or the psycho killer who killed his dying mom, but had a slight reason.
Joker… Ok fine, it deserves a nominee. But it still has a lot of issues. It was obvious that they were trying too hard to make it two hours long, and I’m going to be honest, I had more fun watching the trailer than the actual film. When I asked Stuip about the film, and her opinion on Joaquin Phoenix, she responded with, “Did not see it! I’m a huge fan of Joaquin Phoenix, and especially loved his performance in last year’s You Were Never Really Here by Lynn Ramsay. His performance was a nuanced and brutal portrayal of a man with PTSD. To quote Scorsese about whether he needs to watch Joker, “‘ saw clips of it, I know it. So it's like, why do I need to? I get it. It's fine.’ Do I need to see a practical remake of The Dark Knight from the guy whose primary depictions of masculinity previously was from Hangover 3? Scorsese said it best.”
Joaquin Phoenix is a great actor, and definitely deserved the role, but does the movie itself deserve to WIN Best Picture? If it won, it wouldn’t be surprising. It wouldn’t be preferable, but it is a possibility.
Jojo Rabbit is a grim, yet funny film, about a boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin) taking place during World War 2 in Germany. After being made fun of, after being too afraid to kill a rabbit that the older kids gave him, they called him, Jojo Rabbit. When angry, he runs, accidently messing up his face, he is forced off the team of eleven year olds preparing in case they have to fight in the war. He ends up just passing around pro Hitler papers while his mother is at work. One day he comes home a bit earlier than usual, and hears something upstairs, he finds a jewish girl named Elsa Korr (Thomasin McKenzie). At first he threatens to tell the police, but she tells him his mom will be hung. Throughout the story, he becomes more and more knowledgeable, he learns that Jewish people are not devils, and are normal people.
Jojo Rabbit… You know exactly what’s going to happen in the first ten minutes because if it ended a different way it would definitely not have been nominated for an Oscar. That said, it isn’t very interesting. When I asked Stuip about it, she said, “Oh god. Jojo Rabbit. Let me preface by saying there was a man in my theater who made vocal reactions to every line, physically crawled under his seat, and banged his cane around every ten minutes. He also threw his concessions all over the floor. So my hatred for him maybe rubbed off on the movie.”
“That said,” she continued, “if you’re gonna do satire, COMMIT. I’m not going to make an assessment on whether this was anti-semetic, as that wasn’t my qualm with it in the first place and it was made by a Jewish man. That said, if you’re making a movie from the perspective of Nazis as satire, it should be more funny than heart-warming no? I want searing irony, not a watered down screwball comedy with a music montage ending! Come on!”
Jojo Rabbit is simple and plain, I feel like if you fell asleep for fifteen minutes in the middle of the film you wouldn’t have missed much, That said, Best Picture is not in Jojo’s favor.
1917 is a true story taking place during the first World War, telling the story of Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay) and Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) on a journey to call off an attack against the Germans, and to find Blake’s older brother. Shortly after they begin their journey, they come across a fallen plane, when trying to help the man inside, Blake is stabbed, and dies. Schofield now on his own, continues to give the message. He comes across dangerous bases, traps, and many… many dead bodies.
I have nothing against 1917, I just feel pretty neutral about it, and I don’t have much to say…
When I asked Stuip about the film, she replied “Did not see it! I mean WW1, all one shot, yahda yahda I get it and I’m good. I’d rather watch Fury where everyone calls Brad Pitt War Daddy and Shia Labeouf cries the whole time.” Yeah, maybe it’ll get the Oscar, but does it REALLY deserve it?
Parasite is an exciting film about a poor family in Korea, when a friend of the family's boy named Woo-sik Choi (Kim Ki-woo) is given a job offer to be an English tutor to a girl from a rich family, he accepts, and they soon find ways to fire the rest of the staff, and their family is hired, without the rich family knowing, but things aren’t all roses. We watch as they battle the crazy people in the bunker downstairs, to hide their identities, and to make the money.
Parasite is the winner, I’m imagining it now! The film is wonderful, and I think I’d choke on my water if they handed the Oscar out to any of the others. I really believe that the cast and directors are going to walk up onto that stage and give a speech while holding the golden man. It’s well written, directed, and the performances are just awesome. And yeah, when watching the trailer, I expected the movie to be about half as good as it, like usual, but man… It’s as if they just poured a jug of water on me and I'm awake now.
When I asked Stuip, she said, “Only movie nominated for best picture that’s worth a damn. A bruising and heart-racing fable about the danger of the class divide. But what makes it sing is that it is funny as it is urgent. I hope it wins and all of the multi-millionaire stars in the audience give it a standing O. The irony would kill me.” AGREED.