by Elise Seyfried
Once more, on Sunday evening, March 4, Jimmy Kimmel will take to the stage in L.A. to emcee the Academy Awards ceremony. I’ve always enjoyed the Oscars. Many times in the past, I saw all of the nominated movies in advance. This added immeasurably to my excitement, as you can imagine.
This year, I realized to my dismay that I have only seen two out of the nine films that are in the running for a best picture Oscar: “Lady Bird” and “Dunkirk.” I enjoyed “Lady Bird” once I realized, 45 minutes in, that it was NOT a biopic about LBJ’s wife. As for “Dunkirk,” my prime takeaway was (and some of you may already have known this): boy, World War II was a very LOUD war!!
In the case of the other seven flicks, I haven’t even really paid attention to the reviews, so they are just names to me. I’m a pretty good guesser, however, so herewith I offer my descriptions of the rest of the Best Picture roster. Armed with this information, you can tune in to the show assured that you are “in the know.”
•Darkest Hour: This melancholy musical tells the story of Jacques Cliché (Zac Efron), an obscure French writer who struggled with poverty all his life but whose lines are repeated by millions of unimaginative people today. A haunting score by John Williams includes “(Don’t Put) All Your Eggs in One Basket,” “Bought it for a Song” and the title tune, “Always Darkest Before the Dawn.” Daniel Day-Lewis has a cameo role.
•Get Out: A harrowing tale of survival and the wonder of friendship. When her BFF Krysti (Reese Witherspoon) jokingly says “Get OUT!” literal-minded Lucy (Kate Winslet) gets out into the fearsome blizzard that is blanketing the town of Ebbing, Missouri. Lost in the snow, without gloves or iPhone, Lucy struggles with cold and fear. Will Krysti find Lucy before she (Lucy) becomes a human icicle? (The icicle is played movingly by Daniel Day-Lewis.)
•Phantom Thread: In this, the legendary Daniel Day-Lewis’ last film, he masterfully portrays the unscrupulous tailor who tricks the emperor (Zac Efron) into wearing invisible clothes. Something for everyone here: incredible talent AND tasteful nudity! Oscar-nominated soundtrack by John Williams (of course).
•The Post: In this, Daniel Day-Lewis’ absolutely final film (he means it this time), he plays the heir to the Post cereal empire. The breakfast world is changing all around him, as his “Post Toasties,” once a best-seller, struggles to survive against the hugely popular Kellogg’s “Gluten Free Yuckies.” Zac Efron is Bob Kellogg, and Reese Witherspoon sparkles as Katherine “Golden” Graham.
•The Shape of Water: The first animated musical documentary to be nominated in the best picture category because why not? A team of dedicated chemists and physicists attempts to identify the shape of water (triangle, square?), with mixed results. Pixar breaks new ground with adorable cartoon molecules Genn and Hy. John Williams’ haunting score includes the breakout hit, “In Shape,” sung by Britney Spears.
•Call Me By Your Name: In the zany spirit of “Parent Trap” and “Trading Places,” identical twins Kate (Winslet) and Cate (Blanchett) pretend to be one another. Hilarity ensues. Watch for the madcap scene where Kate accidentally calls Cate, Kate! There’s an unforgettable performance by the increasingly retired Daniel Day-Lewis, who was getting bored.
•Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: This exciting film traces the evolution of the Burma Shave highway sign ad campaign, which began outside Ebbing, Missouri, with only one billboard (Burma Shave! Yes!) and grew to three billboards (Burma / Shave / Yes!). With brilliant creative team Reese (Zac Efron or Daniel Day-Lewis) and Zac (Reese Witherspoon), the campaign expanded to six billboards (Don’t take / a curve / at 60 per / We hate to lose / a customer / Burma Shave!)…and the rest is history. Shaving has never been the same since.
So fire up that TV on March 4 and see who wins the Academy’s votes! In entertainment, as in politics, an informed electorate makes all the difference; don’t you think?
No need to thank me.
Ed. note: Elise Seyfried, of Oreland, is a professional prognosticator who has a 100 percent success rate in her predictions. For example, she predicted that Jeb Bush would be our current president, that Kim Jung Un would become a follower of the Dalai Lama and turn North Korea into a Flower Power nation and that Kim Kardashian would sell all of her jewelry, give all of the proceeds to the homeless and then enter a convent with a permanent vow of silence.