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Known as the biggest night in showbiz, the Oscars are an important way for the film industry to celebrate the best work it has to offer. This year’s ceremony will be especially interesting to watch, as the Academy is undergoing an identity crisis regarding its balance between rewarding commercial and artistically successful cinema. Whom they decide to hand out trophies to will likely highlight the ideological direction of the ceremony going forward. Taking into account the quality and perceived notions surrounding the films, I have listed here my personal predictions (bolded) for who will win this year.
As the new year starts, so does the next cycle of movies Hollywood will inundate us with. Here are some of the films to get excited about in 2019.
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Given Hollywood’s gluttony of remakes and reboots, it is tempting to be turned off by the newest “A Star is Born”: the fourth interpretation of the tale first seen in the 1937 classic. Despite that, debut director Bradley Cooper breathes new life into the story with a modern, uncompromising perspective on celebrity that generates one of the most emotionally-affecting cinema experiences of the year.
Since his debut in 1996, Wes Anderson has arguably proven himself as today’s most creatively distinctive filmmaker. From his symmetrical shots to his dollhouse-esque set design, audiences know a Wes Anderson film when they see one. Although he mainly works in live-action, Anderson released his stellar stop-motion animated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book “Fantastic Mr. Fox” in 2009. Now, Anderson returns to animation with “Isle of Dogs,” another wonderful showcase of his seemingly limitless imagination.
One of the most discussed and anticipated movies to come out in some time, “Black Panther” is a milestone for black representation in Hollywood, as it is the first superhero blockbuster to have a mostly-black cast. With that important cultural weight on his back, director and writer Ryan Coogler had a lot to live up to in making this film. He succeeds, crafting a beautiful work that simultaneously serves as a fun addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a powerful statement on the contemporary political climate.
During Super Bowl LII, Netflix dropped the first trailer for “The Cloverfield Paradox,” the third installment in the fascinating, ever-shifting Cloverfield franchise that began in 2008. In a ground-breaking move, the company released the film only a couple hours later. However, while the movie’s release is revolutionary, the feature itself is anything but; it’s a derivative, dull affair without a coherent story or engaging characters.
Arguably the greatest actor of his generation, Daniel Day-Lewis claimed this past year to be retiring from the profession. If this holds true, Day-Lewis certainly leaves on a high note in director and writer Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread,” a twisted period romance that once again proves the mastery of all those involved.
Last summer, Netflix released the 80s-inspired TV show “Stranger Things,” created by brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, to little anticipation. However, word of mouth quickly made the series one of Netflix’s most popular. The show’s hyped second season, which dropped on Oct. 27, mostly recaptures the quality of its predecessor, though narrative missteps make it slightly inferior.
For half a decade, Netflix has released original television shows to enormous acclaim from both audiences and critics alike. Recently, the company began to branch out into movies, an enterprise struggling to match previous successes. On Oct. 13, it released its newest film: “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).” Created by acclaimed director and writer Noah Baumbach, the movie is easily one of Netflix’s best films to date.
Two and half years ago, the spy comedy “Kingsman: The Secret Service” took audiences by surprise with its likeable characters, satirical tone and thrilling action sequences. Director and writer Matthew Vaughn returns with “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” a more ambitious venture than its successful predecessor. Unfortunately, “The Golden Circle” is a massive disappointment, lacking any of the excitement or charm that made the first film so enjoyable.
Last Friday, the best show on television returned to our screens for its fourth season. Though the show does not have a huge viewership, its appreciation by fans and critics is nearly unparalleled. With this series, Netflix has produced one of the all-time great pieces of longform cinematic art: its name is “BoJack Horseman.”