Calling all film buffs! On March 6, we’ll be hosting our annual Oscars Trivia Night from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Wear your finest as we quiz you on Oscar winners and losers throughout the ages. Prizes available! Register on Eventbrite.
It’s Oscar season once again! While it’s always a fun time for film fans to discuss predictions, snubs, grudges, and hopes, the ceremony itself can be a little self-serious. The show’s messier little sister the Golden Globes, with its free-flowing booze, lack of food, and dubious prestige, tends to be a more entertaining night (except, of course, when things go awry). To wrap up this award season, I put together my own list of the year’s highlights in the vein of the once-iconic MTV Movie Awards (now called the MTV Movie & TV Awards—yes, it’s still a thing, apparently), known for unique awards like Best Kiss, Best Fight, Best Villain, and something called “Most Frightened Performance”. The show knows we already have a wealth of awards like Best Picture and Best Actor, so they ask: what about all of the other elements that make movies fun?
Below are my own picks, based on the various things that made an impression on me in some way, whether from serious Oscar contenders or the countless fantastic horror movies of the previous year (since the Academy seems averse to acknowledging horror in any way). Because sometimes the least serious movies deserve the most love! Anyway, on to the list:
Best Murder-Dance Sequence: M3GAN
A worthy addition to the evil doll canon, M3GAN got 2023 off to a campy start. The whole movie is perfect, in my opinion, but no scene sums up the film’s competence as a horror-comedy better than the one where M3GAN (the titular doll) dances threateningly down a hallway and chases a man with a large paper cutter. Editors wisely used that scene in the trailers, which likely owes to the film’s massively successful theatre run. But the scene in the film itself is paired with “Walk the Night” by Skatt Bros, making an already memorable scene even better. I for one can’t wait for M4GAN.
A tie! Because I’m indecisive and these aren’t real awards. The first goes to Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc for his cartoony, Foghorn Leghorn Southern drawl in the Knives Out sequel, Glass Onion. Blanc’s distinctive diction was already iconic from the first film (“It makes no damn sense! Compels me, though” is an all-timer) and it continues here, and Twitter had a field day applying it to any and all situations. The second goes to Austin Butler, who was seemingly possessed by the spirit of Elvis Presley after playing him in the film Elvis. Even well after the movie was released, Butler did all his press in his fake, husky “thank you very much” voice, baffling everyone. He claims to be phasing it out now, which is disappointing to me, as I find it hilarious.
Best Performance by an Inanimate Object: The Tape Measure (Barbarian)
I shan’t reveal much about this movie, because if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s best not to know a thing. But there’s an extended joke with a tape measure that probably only works on adults, especially those who’ve dealt with the nightmare of real estate. Basically, Justin Long (a disgraced, broke actor) hopes to sell one of his rental properties, and upon inspecting it, he discovers a creepy, blood-stained hidden room in the basement. Rather than being spooked, he simply whips out his tape measure and gets to work, hoping to include it in the property’s square footage.
Best Dressed: Steven Yeun (Nope)
The Academy’s most criminal offense this year, in my opinion, is paying Jordan Peele’s alien extravaganza Nope absolute dust. Not a single nomination! I saw it twice in theatres and left both times in awe at the perfection of its craft. While I would have loved to see Nope get the big noms like Best Picture, acting, and directing, if there’s one thing I want to draw attention to it is: Steven Yeun’s outfit. As the owner of a touristy Old West-themed amusement park, Yeun spends a portion of the film in a kitschy red cowboy number, complete with white floral patterns, bolo tie, and cowboy hat. He looks like he wandered off of Nashville’s Music Row circa 1960, and I’m obsessed with it.
Best “I Support Women’s Rights, But More Importantly I Support Women’s Wrongs” Character: Pearl (Pearl)
Sometimes a girl needs to be a little unhinged. Mia Goth lets her freak flag fully fly as the titular Pearl, in this prequel to the film X. Where X was a fairly standard homage to 70s slashers (but still lots of fun!), Pearl gets weird with it. This prequel follows the young version of the old lady in the first film as she chafes at the confines of her family’s conservative farm. She dreams of stardom, and she makes a series of increasingly deranged decisions as she pursues her dream. You’ll never look at scarecrows the same again. And Goth leaves us with an unsettling parting shot that really sums up the movie’s whole vibe.
Best Unexpected Cry: Everything Everywhere All at Once
For an action/adventure movie about the multiverse that throws every wacky thing imaginable at the audience, Everything Everywhere All at Once sure hits some real emotional beats! If you’ve never cried at a silent, text-based conversation between two rocks before, now’s your chance (it makes sense in-universe). A movie as silly as this one needs to go big or go home, and directors Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) go all the way big. The film is not afraid to be sappy and earnest in its most chaotic moments, which I think catches viewers off guard. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll hopefully walk away with a bit more kindness in your heart!
Best Lack of Plot: Top Gun: Maverick
Must a movie have a plot? Is it not enough to watch a plane go zoom? Some say Top Gun: Maverick is pro-military propaganda, and on some level it is, but I argue that the faceless, nameless, carefully neutral “enemy” feels like a tacked-on afterthought. It’s really just about Tom Cruise flying planes. And it’s a return to old school blockbuster action, something that’s been sorely missed in this soulless CGI Marvel economy (Martin Scorsese is right). There is no equal substitution for practical effects, there just isn’t. And Top Gun: Maverick is good old-fashioned fun! If you missed it in theatres, watch it on the biggest screen you can find—ideally one equipped with a good sound system.
Have your own faves of the year? Let us know! And remember to join us on March 6 for our Oscars Trivia Night!