Quick thoughts on the Oscars

Green Book? That’s the official best film of 2018? It’s not bad. I gave it a B+, which means it’s a very good film, but not an exceptional one. But I gave a solid A to three of the Best Picture candidates: BlacKkKlandman, A Star is Born, and Romaespecially Roma, easily the best film of the year.

And that means I can’t write about how Roma became the first non-English film to win Best Picture. (It also won Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography. It deserved all of those awards.)

But I can talk about how Roma changed the movie industry in another way. Only a handful of Netflix features have had theatrical runs, and most of those runs were very short – usually a week. After all, why should people pay money to see them in theaters when they’re already streaming to your television?


But something very different happened with Roma. It opened in theaters in late November and started streaming soon afterward. And yet, three months later, it’s still playing in five movie theaters within a ten-mile radius of my home. That’s a three-month run for a non-English film.

What’s more, Netflix, a company that last spring refused to make 35mm prints of film called Kodachrome, paid to make at least one 70mm print or Roma. That print played five days at the Castro this month. It also played there in January. The New Mission also played Roma in 70mm, and I believe the print played the Grand Lake, as well.

Let’s hope that there’s a lesson here. If a movie is good enough, a lot of people will want to see it in theaters, even while it’s streaming to your television.

A few comments about the show:

  • Maybe it doesn’t really need a host? I didn’t miss it.
  • The funniest moment: Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry coming on stage to present the Best Costumes award.
  • When announcing the candidates for Best Sound Editing, they showed clips from the movies. That seems reasonable, except that the orchestra drowned out the sound effects.
  • Did anyone notice that both leading acting awards went to white people, and both supporting awards went to black people. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.
  • The montage of recently-dead filmmakers lacked one very important name: Stanley Donen. He died only three days before the Oscar show, and I assume no one had time to add another name and face to the montage. But one of the presenters should have said something about it.

One thought on “Quick thoughts on the Oscars

  1. I agree with what you said about not missing having a host … I did not miss having a host either, in fact I thought the show was much better without a host and the sometimes lame and even offensive humor of hosts in past years. I hope future Oscar shows do not have hosts. I also really loved the hilarious costumes of the two people who presented the award for Best Costumes. I liked the “In Memoriam” section this year … lovely accompanying music by the orchestra. In all, I mostly enjoyed the Oscars this year. Lady Gaga’s singing and playing was great. Plenty of African-Americans in prominent roles, and some Asians, which was good to see. I have not seen “Roma” so I can’t comment on your thoughts on that film. But thanks for your thoughts in general, Lincoln!

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