The year's best films will be honored on Feb. 9 at the 92nd Oscars ceremony. With that in mind, see what Red Wing Cinema 8 Manager Jesse Stewart and RiverTown Multimedia Reporter Matthew Lambert had to say about this year's Oscars.
Q:Who do you think will win Best Picture at the Oscars and who do you want to win?
Jesse Stewart: I really think, if I know the Academy well enough, it'll be "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”. Who do I want to win is the exact same thing.
Matthew Lambert: Explain that a little bit.
JS: "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'' is a Best Picture spectacle across the board. Costume design, cinematography, everyting is there. And if it can't win all those categories, it should be the Best Picture for sure if it leaves out all the technical awards. If I'm surprisingly wrong, I think a lot of people are thinking “1917”. And if I'm wrong and they're wrong, it's probably going to be "Marriage Story".
ML: I want to help you make your case for "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, because I think you're onto something. The Academy loves rewarding movies about making movies. Like "The Shape of Water”, which felt like a love letter to film. And that's exactly what "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" is.
JS: Absolutely it is.
ML: The problem: it has zero momentum minus Brad Pitt. That's the one thing that's holding it back. Look at "1917”, which I think will win--
JS: If we're both wrong, it's going to be "Marriage Story”.
ML: And I disagree with that. I think "1917" blew away a lot of the old, white boomers in The Academy. I think [Roger] Deakins will win for cinematography and [Sam] Mendes will win for director. I think it's going to clean up for most of the technical awards, honestly. I think this movie came in, was as simple as possible and is going to make a very big statement. I liked it and I'm not mad if it wins. Who do I wish wins? Of course, "Parasite", but I know you have a really bad foreign film take.
JS: No I don't.
ML: You have a bad take. You told me about it. You said it shouldn't be in Best Picture and just Best Foreign Film. And you hurt my feelings.
JS: That's right. And I'm being honest, and that hurts sometimes. Why are we nominating a foreign film when there's a foreign film category?
ML: Because it's the best movie!
JS: It is not the best movie of the year. It is a fantastic film, but, have you seen "Marriage Story"?
ML: Yes. But hold on, who do you think should've won Best Picture last year?
JS: It should've been "The Favourite”.
ML: Really? You don't think "Roma" should've won?
JS: No, it should've won Best Foreign film.
ML: Oh my gosh. Fine. I think "Parasite" should win because it was my favorite movie of the year.
JS: Both categories?
ML: Yes, both categories.
JS: That would be a first.
Q: What's a movie that you will think about later in the Best Picture category that you think will always be rewatchable?
JS: "Jojo Rabbit”.
ML: I didn't see that one so tell me why.
JS: I think it's one of the underrated films that takes from a dark period of time and makes it comedic and makes fun of how bad Nazis were in Germany. There's something risky about doing that and if you can pull it off, then great. Taika Waititi is just brilliant. He's great.
ML: The one that'll be that way for me is "The Irishman”. When I finished watching it, I started it again. I couldn't get enough of it. It's a three-and-a-half hour movie but I just love Martin Scorcese movies. They're comfort food to me, I can just keep going back for more and more and, even though I'm full, I want more. So I watched an extra two hours of "The Irishman" on top of that so five-and-a-half hours which goes to show how my days go, but I just loved every moment of it.
JS: I've talked to people that say, 'Oh, that's a Netflix movie and so is 'Marriage Story' so it's not going to win.'
ML: I don't think "The Irishman" will win any Oscars.
ML: Yeah and that's what is so disappointing about it. But at the same time, honestly, I just put this on in the background.
Q: It seems like the acting awards are going to be chalk. It’d be hard to see Joaquin Phoenix, Renée Zellweger, Brad Pitt, and Laura Dern not win the acting awards. So I wanted to see if there's an acting performance that did your favorite performance of the year?
ML: I split mine into two. I did Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy. Growing up, Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy were different than the most common way people knew them for me. I didn't know them off of "Saturday Night Live" or their stand up comedy. I knew them from movies like "Happy Gilmore" and "Doctor Dolittle”. Seeing Adam Sandler in "Uncut Gems" and Eddie Murphy in "Dolemite is My Name," which I don't think is a very good movie, but I see both of them in these movies and I'm so happy they actually decided to act. Most of the time, it seems like they're playing caricatures of themselves. They're playing a different version of Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy, and it really seemed like they were different people in these roles.
JS: Yeah. I agree.
ML: I love "Uncut Gems”, it's probably the fourth best movie I saw this year, I just don't think any other actor could have done what he did in that movie. Likewise for Eddie Murphy. Those two guys are obviously off the list and they brought it. These are some of the best actors we have but Adam Sandler will make bad movies again and Eddie Murphy will disappear again and that's a bummer.
JS: There were a lot of really great performances that are being recognized in the Best Actor category. My favorite is Joaquin Phoenix.
ML: I knew it.
JS: I was very skeptical of the movie from the moment I put up the poster. I was like, ‘I’m against it. I don’t want to see another person playing the Joker anymore. I’m done with it.’ … I see [the movie] and I say, could I be more wrong?
ML: What about his performance jumped out to you? I agree, he does an incredible job, I don’t want to take that away, but I just didn’t like the movie.
JS: For me, it felt very real. For me, in someone that’s going through stuff, whether it be a political or health issue they were going through, I felt a lot for the character.
ML: Who’s the one true Joker, Joaquin Phoenix or Heath Ledger?
JS: Heath Ledger.
ML: Full stop?
JS: Full stop, Heath Ledger.
Q: Finally, what’s your favorite movie of 2019?
ML: Mine is “Parasite” and I feel like this is one of the best of the decade, not just the year. I think “Parasite” is a Korean film that relates to every single country. I was thinking about it after watching it for a second time, I don’t remember a lot of films about [economic] class in America lately. That’s 100% of “Parasite” is about.
JS: I think a lot of studio executives and producers and stuff kind of fear that.
ML: Because they know they’d be on the receiving end of a lot of this criticism. But the way the film is acted, everyone in both families are incredible in their own right. … I just think the movie is shocking, surprising, it has one of the scariest shots I’ve ever seen in my life, and is hilarious all at the same time.
JS: I’ve got to go with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” I’m a huge Quentin Tarantino fan. Have been for decades. It truly, for me, encapsulates what Hollywood was at one point in time.
Q: Is there a movie that you’re most excited for in 2020?
JS: “Halloween Kills.”