Halftime Leisure

There Were Dozens of Great Films in 2018, and Awards Shows Could Never Do Them Justice

January 22, 2019

There are a few good things about awards shows: looking at all the beautiful outfits and laughing at some of the bits. Otherwise, they’re terrible.

The Golden Globes were Sunday, Jan. 6, and they sucked. I wish I had more eloquent and developed vocabulary words here, but no, plain and simple, the show was garbage. Two of the worst movies of the year were Green Book, a white savior film that highlights a racist’s journey over a black man’s experience (and whose writer is a racist and whose director is a sex offender), and Bohemian Rhapsody, the Queen biopic which received horrid reviews and whose director has been accused of sexual harassment (we love trends, don’t we folks!). These terrible movies were granted the Globes’ two highest awards. While hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh did a great job with the opening bit, free of awkward, uncomfortable, or inappropriate jokes, the show as a whole was relatively stale.

While there were some awards which were rightfully rewarded, such as Rachel Brosnahan winning for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Television Series and Regina King for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, too many of the winners were the wrong choice by a long shot. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of 90 international reporters who review American film and television, couldn’t make good choices if their life depended on it. Frankly, the fact that the Globes are one of the more well-regarded and highly-viewed awards shows is baffling to me.

There are a lot of good movies out there. Furthermore, there are a lot of good movies out there that are good in very different ways. This awards season might be the best example of that. If Beale Street Could Talk is a masterpiece of cinematography whose narrative swirls around how the criminal justice system targets young black men, and how that affects their livelihoods, as well as all the different capacities for love we as human beings hold within our lives. It is one of the most touching and heart-wrenching films I have ever seen (I’m literally crying just thinking about it) and sits alone as a narrative of black existence that is both filled with romance and brimming with heartbreak. There’s so much of it that I, as a white woman, will never even begin to feel connected to, and therefore I cannot begin to truly understand its emotional depth and deep connections to the lives of African Americans. But I can understand that it is an incredible piece of cinema that is touching in a multitude of ways, and that is more than deserving of an array of awards.

Then there is The Favourite, a film that centers around the same-sex relations between Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) and her two suitors-slash-lovers, played by Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz. It’s stupendously hilarious, with deadpan humor and dark comedy to make a viewer fall to their knees. And who can forget Eighth Grade, the social media age bildungsroman which looks at the myriad of relationships a 13-year-old girl can have (with her father, her phone, her peers) in the most realistic and poignant light.

So how on earth is anyone supposed to figure out which movie is better? The simple answer is that no one should. There should be no sort of competition between which film is the “best” every year. Instead, films should be awarded without decidedly making one “best.” No one ever said you can’t give multiple films the same award. There can always be a three way tie!! We should certainly salute the makers of these movies which entertain us, which inform us, which, in some cases, change our lives. But we shouldn’t compare apples and oranges.

And then there’s the fact that due to constraints with how many films can be nominated, some fantastic movies don’t even get chosen. One of those this year was Sorry To Bother You, which failed to get any recognition at the Golden Globes. It was one of the most innovative films of the decade, with its surrealist thrills and message of capitalism’s terrifying grasp on society. It featured impeccable acting from Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, and Steven Yeun. Yet it was missed completely in the Globes nominations scope, something that is inexplicable to me.

And let’s not forget all the boy movies this year. There was Beautiful Boy with Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell, which focuses on the duo’s father-son relationship as the younger struggles with addiction. There was Boy Erased, featuring Lucas Hedges as a young boy who is sent to gay conversion therapy, as well as Ben is Back, with the same leading actor, about a boy struggling with addiction. This is all very confusing because they all have similar plots and all the main actors starred in Lady Bird (2017) and there are a lot of titular B words. Each of these films was astounding and also deserving of awards, yet due to the sheer volume of incredible cinema in 2018, they were mostly ignored by the Globes and probably will be for the Oscars, too.

There was also The Wife, which, according to my calculations, only my mother saw, but which she said was superb and I trust her word against anybody’s! And then there was On The Basis of Sex, the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic which focuses on her time in law school, her years as a teacher, and her work at the ACLU, all of which circulates on her family life. Plus, Armie Hammer is in it, and he’s super hot.

So, in conclusion, instead of watching four hours of bullshit this year, scroll through the best dressed lists online (or buy a publication in print for god’s sake) and watch the good jokes and moments that go viral, but otherwise don’t waste your time watching something that will ultimately fail you every time. Why do we need to decide who the “best” actress or what the “best” movie is every year? Why do we need to have multi-hour broadcasts in which the majority of the jokes and bits are so bad they’re cringe-worthy? The answer is we don’t. We can watch all the movies we want and talk about how much we love them, and maybe have some sort of night where directors and actors and screenwriters and the like get together and go up on stage and tell each other why they love each other. And maybe it can only last an hour. And maybe we can make sure Viggo Mortensen never steps foot in that space! Because it’s truly a nice gesture to honor those who worked on films that make us feel something, whether that’s joy or hope or a profound sadness that keeps us from sleeping at night.

Claire Goldberg
is the Voice's former editoral board chair and halftime leisure editor. She "says a lot of funny things," according to Emma Francois.

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