The Groffscars ("Oscars") of 2019

It's time for my annual picks for Best Picture. This year (unlike in previous years), two of my picks are nominated, but my top one is not:

The Farewell was in my view the best film of the year. The story was riveting, touching on human relations with a complexity that goes beyond words. It was provocative, sad, even funny at times, but what I think some may miss is that the camerawork was gorgeous too. (The beautifully-composed closing shot, above, is far from the most remarkable. Staircases, even medical machines receive a visually poetic treatment throughout.)

My next-two favorites are, luckily, apparently top Best Picture contenders. First is 1917. Some people thought the (illusory) one-shot visuals were a gimmick, but for my money they fit the story very well and captured the unrelenting intensity of trench warfare.  The actors and script did a solid job sustaining attention over that length of time. That's basically tied in my mind with Parasite, which had an out-of-this world storyline that had Lucas and me gasping in awe throughout. The visuals were strong if not novel, but the story, acting, and topical themes made it a gem.

All in all, this was one of the best recent movies for film in my view. I loved Late Night—Emma Thompson was perfect—and Marriage Story was rapidly engrossing with the rapidly accelerating tension. I enjoyed Once Upon a Time in Hollywood even if I don't want it to win. (The Irishman, though, was Scorsese being Scorsese and does not deserve the big prize.) 


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