Tag Archives: Oscars

The Oscars: A Watchlist

If you’re an Oscars aficionado, make sure to join us on the evening of Thursday, March 24 for our Oscars Trivia Night!

It’s that time of year again! Time for stars to strut down the red carpet and for the rest of us to watch from our couches with a glass of wine and sweatpants. Yes, the Academy Awards are upon us, and unlike last year’s sad, weird COVID ceremony, this year promises to return the glitz and glam we’re all looking for.  

The limbo period between the nominees being announced and the ceremony proper is always fraught for the film fan. We love to celebrate our favourites getting a nom, but we also love to rant and rave about who, in a just world, should really be getting them. Ostensibly an award ceremony recognizing the best in the craft, the Oscars are notorious for things like name bias (bestowing awards on big name actors), age bias (Adrien Brody is the only man to win Best Actor under the age of 30, though plenty of young women have won Best Actress—after all, Hollywood likes its men old and its women young), and playing catch-up on overdue awards (see: Leo DiCaprio finally winning for The Revenant instead of, like, anything else). Then there’s the Western, English language bias of it all—as Bong Joon-ho put it, the Oscars are a “very local” award show.  

And of course, the Oscars wouldn’t be the Oscars without a full list of snubs for people to rage about on Twitter. Every year there are some headscratchers, people or movies that seem like locks for nominations, only to be shut out. There was palpable shock when Lady Gaga was ignored for her House of Gucci performance (although, with that accent? I don’t know). Don’t Look Up’s Best Picture nom sparked highly annoying discourse from both fans and detractors.  

Since we all love to share our opinions on who is most deserving of these esteemed, slightly silly awards, below you’ll find my picks for the best films in the race this year—whether or not they were nominated for Best Picture (and a necessary caveat: I have seen many of the nominees, but not all!). And I, of course, have my own list of snubs that I would have liked to see get some recognition. Some of these are already available at VPL; for those that aren’t, keep an eye on our catalogue!  

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The Shape of Water (2017, Guillermo Del Toro)

“Unable to perceive the shape of You,

I find You all around me.

Your presence fills my eyes with Your love,

It humbles my heart,

For You are everywhere”

The Oscar winner for best picture, Monster storyteller Guillermo del Toro’s latest movie The Shape of Water (see trailer) is an otherworldly tale about the unlikely bond between Elisa (Sally Hawkins) and an Amphibian Man (Doug Jones) who is captured in a high security lab during the Cold War era.

I was not too familiar with del Toro and his work–I did not even know who he was when I caught a glimpse of him in person shooting this movie in Hamilton. But this beautiful, imaginative, and playful story really captured me. The color of this movie is mostly blue-greenish, and there are many elements of water throughout. This visual arrangement echoes with the theme of the movie very well, and I can almost smell the seaweed and feel the damp air. I saw the movie twice in theater and enjoyed it both times. I noticed many pleasant details the second time, which added more depth to the story and the experience. Another highlight, in my opinion, is the amazing performance the actors carried out, especially Sally Hawkins as a mute woman. There are not a lot of characters in this movie but each of them are well developed and has distinct qualities which makes this more even more efficient in storytelling. There were many little moments that made me feel deeply connected with the characters.

See the source imageThe concept of this movie might seem odd in some ways, but ultimately, it is a universal story about loneliness, friendship, heartbreaks and love. There is also a novel by del Toro of the same title, released earlier this month.  In the book, the characters are developed further for those who would like to delve more deeply into the story.


More by del Toro:

Pan’s Labyrinth

Crimson Peak



The Strain

Hacksaw Ridge (directed by Mel Gibson)

Hacksaw Ridge is a film based on true events during the WWII. Army Medic Desmond Doss, Image result for Hacksaw Ridgebeing a conscientious objector to the war, single-handedly saved many wounded soldiers on the battlefields of Okinawa, Japan. Doss refused to carry a gun and kill people in the war; he only wanted to save people’s lives. Although mocked, bullied, and almost being sent to the military prison, Doss did not lose his believe. He finally went to the frontline as a medic, and persistently proved himself as powerful as the armed soldiers. He was awarded with the Medal of Honor for his rescue effort; he is the first man in American history to receive this medal without firing a shot.


Image result for Hacksaw Ridge Desmond DossNominated for 6 Oscars, Hacksaw Ridge is a movie about bravery and humanity. Andrew Garfield did a great job portraying the main character. There is definitely lots of blood and violence that made me jump in the movie, however, it is the cruelty of the war that makes Doss’ action shine. After I watch this film, I felt that the most powerful weapon is a person’s mind, and there is always hope and goodness in humanities.