It won’t exactly be on a par with Oscars nominations morning, but Monday will be one of the biggest December days in the history of the Academy Awards.
That’s because for the first time, the Academy isn’t systematically doling out the short lists of films that remain in contention. Instead, they’re dropping all the lists at once in a single press release that will trim the fields in Best Documentary Feature, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Song and six other categories.
One drop, nine categories, a total of 101 films that’ll get good news and far more that’ll be disappointed.
The strategy of dumping all the Oscars short lists at once has not been greeted with universal approval. For one thing, contenders in the different categories were used to having their individual moments in the spotlight. Music Branch voters, who are facing a pair of short lists for the first time, now have far less time to listen and decide than they used to. And pundits will need to whip up instant analysis in nine categories simultaneously.
But that’s the new rule, and all the lists will be out on the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 17.
(By the way, we hear that the news will come out in the afternoon because the procrastinators on the Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee aren’t getting together until Monday morning to decide which three songs they’ll be adding to the six-film short list chosen by Oscars voters.)
Here’s the category-by-category breakdown of what will be coming on Monday.
Best Foreign Language Film
Three films seem guaranteed to land a spot: Mexico’s “Roma,” Poland’s “Cold War” and Lebanon’s “Capernaum.” Belgium’s “Girl” isn’t far behind, and voters reportedly adored Germany’s “Never Look Away.” Denmark’s “The Guilty” is a satisfying film that impressed voters, Sweden’s “Border” a twisted one that did the same.
The executive committee that adds three films to the shortlist may be hard-pressed not to take one or both of the two Asian standouts, South Korea’s “Burning” and Japan’s Palme d’Or winner “Shoplifters.” And watch out for the Paraguayan film, “The Heiresses,” which has strong support in both the general and executive committees.
Other possibilities include Iceland’s “Woman at War,” Norway’s “What Will People Say,” Colombia’s “Birds of Passage,” Hungary’s “Sunset” and Romania’s “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians.”
Best Documentary Feature
The four box-office hits that made this one of the best years ever for nonfiction filmmaking should all land on the list: “Free Solo,” “RBG,” “Three Identical Strangers” and the de facto frontrunner, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (On the other hand, it’d be uncharacteristic of the Academy not to leave at least one of them off the final list of five nominees, and not entirely surprising if one of them doesn’t make the short list.)
Ever since the doc-branch rules were changed to do away with special screening committees in this category, voters have gravitated toward the films that have gotten the most buzz and received the most nominations for the IDA Awards, the Cinema Eye Honors and the like. That should mean that critical and awards favorites like “Minding the Gap,” “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” “Crime + Punishment,” “Bisbee ’17,” “Dark Money,” “Of Fathers and Sons” and “Shirkers” will all be in contention. And watch out for the Spanish film “The Silence of Others,” a potential sleeper.
We also shouldn’t rule out documentary legend Frederick Wiseman for “Monrovia, Indiana,” or other well-received docs like “On Her Shoulders,” “The Bleeding Edge” and “United Skates.” On the showbiz doc front, movies like “Hal,” “Filmworker” and “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache” have a shot, as does the released-at-last Aretha Franklin movie “Amazing Grace” and the Quincy Jones doc “Quincy,” whose subject has been highly visible on the campaign circuit lately. And I refuse to abandon hope that voters will recognize Eugene Jarecki’s sharp Elvis-and-America meditation “The King.”
Finally, Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9,” the followup to the top-grossing nonfiction film of all time, has been bypassed by nearly all the precursor awards and may well be left off of this one as well. But Moore could still find a way in — after all, he was the prime mover on the changes that led to the current method of picking the short list, and he’s still a strong voice in the doc world.
Best Original Song
The two music categories are introducing short lists for the first time ever, presumably in order to give all the members of the music branch to hear and consider the 15 semi-finalists before voting for nominations. But that means they have less time to consider all the contenders, which this year number more than 70 in the song category.
Yes, we know that “Shallow,” the one song entered from “A Star Is Born,” will make it. And probably at least one of the two songs entered from “Mary Poppins Returns.” The Music Branch’s taste for hip-hop might be tested by “All the Stars” from “Black Panther,” but why wouldn’t they want Kendrick Lamar at the Oscars?
They also have to consider songs from luminaries like Dolly Parton (“Girl in the Movies” from “Dumplin'”), Annie Lennox (“Requiem for a Private War” from “A Private War”), plus two competitive songs from movies about Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “I’ll Fight” from “RBG” (written by nine-time nominee Diane Warren) and “Here Comes the Change” from “On the Basis of Sex.” “Revelation” from “Boy Erased” has a real shot, as does “Gravity” from “Free Solo.” And if they want to get truly adventurous, how about the Coup’s “OYAHYTT” from “Sorry to Bother You,” or Thom Yorke’s “Suspirium” from “Suspiria”? (Would the Radiohead frontman show up at the Oscars?)
The branch is well known for taking care of its own, which can’t hurt past winner Carole Bayer Sager’s “Living in the Moment” from “Book Club.” They also tend to like songs that are performed onscreen — which, in addition to being one more reason “Shallow” will get in, could help the songs from “Hearts Beat Loud,” the quintessential but twisted Disney-princess anthem from “Ralph Breaks the Internet” or the fatalistic cowboy tune “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”
And then there are songs from Patti Smith and Robyn Hitchcock and Elton John and Arlissa and Quincy Jones and Post Malone and Kendra Smith and Aoife O’Donovan and Imagine Dragons and Sade and David Crosby … It’s a deep list, not a shallow one. (Sorry.)
Best Original Score
As usual, more than 100 scores are in contention, with early awards singling out a group that includes “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Isle of Dogs,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” “A Quiet Place,” “Mary Queen of Scots” and “Green Book.” Most and perhaps all of those should make the list, with other contenders including “BlacKkKlansman,” “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” “On the Basis of Sex,” “The Hate U Give,” “Hereditary,” “Bad Times at the El Royale,” “Red Sparrow,” “The Predator” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
This is a category that’ll likely have three nominees, and one known for nominating films that won’t show up in any other category. This year, that could mean a “Suspiria” appearance on the short list. “Black Panther” and “The Avengers: Infinity War” will certainly be in play — and since makeup designed to make actors look like other people is usually a mainstay in the category, look for “Vice” and “Stan & Ollie” to show up as well. “Mary Queen of Scots” could make the cut too. And will Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury teeth from “Bohemian Rhapsody” be enough to land that film a spot?
If a foreign film gets in, as one sometimes does (“A Man Called Ove,” “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”), it could be “Border,” which turned a couple of actors into trolls.
Best Visual Effects
A committee from the Visual Effects Branch has already narrowed the field to 20 films, so now it’s just a matter of cutting that number in half. The elaborate visions of “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Black Panther,” “Ready Player One” and perhaps “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story” are clearly contenders, with the subtler effects of “First Man” and the more retro charms of “Mary Poppins Returns” definitely in the mix as well.
Dark horses could include “Christopher Robin” and “Paddington 2” for their blend of live action and CG figures, and the stop-motion “Isle of Dogs,” which would be following in the footsteps of recent nominee “Kubo and the Two Strings.” Several late-breaking films have a shot as well, including “Aquaman,” “Bumblebee” and “Welcome to Marwen.”
Best Documentary Short
The shorts categories are hard to predict because most of the films haven’t been widely seen. But Academy volunteers have been watching them to compile the three lists, and it’s possible to pick up some buzz from festival screenings and awards campaigns.
Netflix has been a major player in doc shorts recently (it won its first Oscar for “The White Helmets”), and this year it has “Zion,” “Out of Many, One,” “End Game” and “Lessons From a School Shooting: Notes From Dunblane,” at least two of which should end up on the list. The New York Times Op-Docs series has “Dulce,” “Earthrise,” “We Became Fragments” and the wry and well-liked “My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes,” the only short nominated by both the IDA Awards and Cinema Eye Honors.
Other IDA and Cinema Eye nominees include “Black Sheep,” “Baby Brother,” “Concussion Protocol,” “Fear Us Women,” “Lifeboat,” “Los Comandos,” “Mosul,” “Sidelined,” “Skip Day,” “The Girl and the Picture,” “Volte” and “We Are Not Done Yet.” The DOC NYC short list also singled out “’63 Boycott,” “The Head & the Hand,” “RX Early Detection” and “Take Back the Harbor,” while “Lotte That Silhouette Girl” tells the story of a woman animation pioneer from the pre-Disney days and could be attractive to the Academy.
Best Animated Short
The Annie Awards, the top prize given to animated films, singled out “Grandpa Walrus,” “Lost & Found,” “Solar Walk,” “Untravel” and “Weekends.” Pixar’s big short this year is “Bao,” and Pixar’s big short usually gets nominated. DreamWorks Animation, which has less consistent success in the category, is represented by “Bilby” and “Bird Karma.”
Other possibilities include “La Noria,” “Animal Behavior,” “Crow: The Legend” and “Age of Sail,” a Google Spotlight VR short made by John Kahrs, who won an Oscar for “Paperman.” “Raccoon and the Light,” “Daisy,” “The Green Bird” and “Re-Gifted” qualified by winning Student Academy Awards, while “The Driver Is Red” won the industry prize at theWrap’s ShortList Film Festival.
Best Live-Action Short
In a category where it’s almost impossible to get an overview of the field unless you’re a festival shorts programmer, standouts include “Fauve,” “Wren Boys,” “Skin” and “Bonbone,” as well as “Souls of Totality,” featuring Tatiana Maslany, and “Dear Chickens,” with Philip Baker Hall.
Timely films about the refugee crisis in Europe include “Bismillah” and “Magic Alps,” and Student Academy Award qualifiers are “Spring Flower,” “Lalo’s House,” “This Is Your Cuba,” “Get Ready With Me,” “Almost Everything” and “A Siege”; if history is any guide, at least one of them will make the list.
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www.thewrap.com | 12/14/18
This story about Paul Greengrass and “22 July” first appeared in the Actors/Directors/Screenwriters issue of TheWrap’s Oscar magazine.
Paul Greengrass remembers the moment when he knew he was going to make “22 July,” his gripping film about the right-wing terrorist attacks carried out on a Norwegian government center and an island summer camp in 2011. It came when he was reading the court testimony of Anders Behring Breivik, the white nationalist whose views led him to kill 77 people, most of them teenagers.
“He was talking about how the elites have betrayed us, democracy is a sham, we’re being forced to accept multiculturalism against our will, nationalism is being eroded, et cetera,” said the British director, whose previous films have included “Captain Phillips,” “United 93” and three Jason Bourne movies.
“When Breivik got up and articulated those views in 2011, they were considered in the far margins of political discourse. Today, no right-wing populist politician would have a problem with those views. Of course, and it’s important to say this, they wouldn’t endorse his methods. But in a sense, that doesn’t matter. The scary thing is that this worldview is at the center of politics in your country, in mine and right across Europe.
“That’s why you have this right-wing, populist typhoon blowing through the West. It’s there because millions of people throughout the West are worried about their jobs, they feel that the system is rigged against them and they fear a loss of identity because of population movements. For sure, Breivik’s views are now in the mainstream — and when I heard them, that was really the moment when I knew I wanted to make this film.”
But “22 July” is a different kind of Greengrass film. Although it is in English, it was made with an all-Norwegian cast and crew — and even before he decided to make it, the director known for his visceral movies had decided that he wanted to make a more restrained film.
“I wanted to push less hard — to be a bit gentler, I suppose,” he said. “And working with a bunch of actors I didn’t know and a crew I didn’t know gave me a sort of creative reset.”
The result is a quietly bold film that focuses not on the terrorist attack, but on its long and painful aftermath; the director known for plunging audiences into the moment of action moves past the attack less than 40 minutes into a two-hour-and-20-minute movie. The bulk of the film follows the way Norway’s government and court system responded, and the way the survivors tried to piece their lives together.
“The story I wanted to tell was about what happened afterwards, how Norway fought for her democracy in the face of the attack,” he said. “Because I think that’s the story of where we are today. How do we fight for our democracy at a time when it’s under profound challenge?”
The key to making the film, he said, was to figure out exactly what its function should be. “The beauty of cinema is that it can be lots of different things,” he said. “There’s the mission to entertain, which is a noble mission, because it goes back to the birth of cinema. People who had hardscrabble lives flocked to the movies because it was the one time in the week where for very little money they could get two or three hours of entertainment and escape their hard lives. So that central mission, to entertain, is a great and noble one.
“But obviously cinema is an art form, too. And individual filmmakers make films that are about their private concerns and private obsessions, their own personal take on the world. Those can be entertaining or austere or obscure or haunting or magical — and you go to those filmmakers because you want to take that journey with them.”
He paused. “And then, I suppose, this is really where this film comes in: From time to time, cinema has to look unflinchingly at the world, hold a mirror up to the world. It’s important, amidst the many missions of cinema, that it does that. Because if it loses that connection with the real world, it’s no longer alive. Across 100 years, films have always dared to look at troubled times and tell the truth about them. And that’s what I’ve tried to do.”
To read more TheWrap’s Actors/Directors/Screenwriters issue, click here.
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www.thewrap.com | 12/14/18
On Monday Marvel dropped the second trailer for “Captain Marvel,” the first female-led standalone movie for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and at first glance it seemed pretty straightforward — it’s a movie about a superpowered woman trying to find out who she really is and getting caught up in some kind of crazy cosmic conflict.
But at second — and third, and fourth, and fifth, and so on (we’re not kidding) — it doesn’t seem quite so simple. Combine that with the assumption that “Captain Marvel” will in some way be a crucial piece of the greater MCU story ahead of “Avengers 4” next May, and there’s a lot to try to parse from this two-minute trailer.
So after spending way too much time staring at the new “Captain Marvel” trailer, we’ve got a lot of questions. Let’s get into it.
1. How Is Carol Danvers Secretly Important to Whatever Is at the Center of the Story?
There’s a conspicuous line early on in the trailer: Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), speaking to Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) declares that “something in my past is the key to all of this.” Assuming that “all of this” is referring to the general conflict at the core of the movie, which involves the galactic war between the Kree and the shapeshifting Skrulls, why would Carol Danvers’ past be so crucial?
She was, after all, just a regular human before she was converted to the (we think) half-Kree superhero that she is now. Did she stumble into some kind of important battle? Did she see something she wasn’t supposed to? Did the Kree wipe her memory to make her forget whatever it was?
There’s also the looming threat of Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s future. And as we saw during the post-credits scene in “Infinity War,” Nick Fury specifically called her when he realized what was happening. We have to think then, if this movie is so important to the greater story of “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers 4,” that whatever it is in her past that’s so crucial in this moment may very well also be the key to saving the universe from Thanos.
We just have no idea what it might be at this point.
2. And Related to That, Will “Captain Marvel” Reveal Why Earth Is so Central to the Greater Galactic Situation?
If there’s one thing the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made crystal clear since at least “Thor,” it’s that Earth has some kind of crucial connection to events of galaxy-scale importance, even if puny earthling aren’t directly involved. And that was true long before the two times Thanos tried to invade the planet.
For starters, we know the Kree have been meddling with humanity behind the scenes for millennia, which is how the (we assume still-canon) Inhumans were created. Later on, during the middle ages, Norway was the site of a critical battle between the forces of Asgard and the Frost giants, which is of double importance because it’s after this battle that Odin decided Earth was the best place to hide the Space Stone. (Also known as the Tesseract.)
Somehow the Space Stone remained safely hidden for centuries. Not only that, but Earth also became home to another Infinity Stone, the Time Stone, kept safe for thousands of years by Masters of the Mystic Arts. And even after the Space Stone was removed from earth, the Mind Stone stayed behind on Loki’s scepter, meaning that for more than a thousand years, there have been at least two Infinity Stones on earth at any given time.
Meanwhile, out of all the sentient races in the galaxy, Ego the Living Planet was only able to produce a child who could inherit Ego’s powers successfully with a human — the resulting child, Peter Quill, even survived direct contact with an infinity stone without dying.
And that’s not even getting into how Carol Danvers is either a half-human, half kree, or a human turned by science magic into a human-kree hybrid — remember, according to Marvel studios boss Kevin Feige, Carol is the most powerful superhero in the MCU.
So, what’s up with that? Clearly, Earth and the human race have some kind of special importance. And whatever secret thing is in Carol’s backstory may help explain that.
3. How Long Was Carol Actually With the Kree?
“Captain Marvel” takes place at some point in the 1990s, and we can infer that when we meet her, she’s an experienced Kree warrior with years of service under her belt. Carol certainly seems to think she’s 100% a Kree at the beginning of this trailer. But she’s also having flashes of old memories that clearly happened here — she appears to have been an Air Force captain — and she enlists Nick Fury to help her find out WTF.
We have to wonder how old those memories are. What if Danvers was in the Air Force much earlier than the 90s setting, like sometime in the 1980s? She could still look so young as a result of faster-than-light travel time dilation. It could also just be that the space magic the Kree put into her bloodstream allowing her to live longer. Living longer is one of the perks of being Kree, after all.
One thing is for sure: Nick Fury isn’t yet the eyepatched, badass leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. we know and love. But he’s in SHIELD, so presumably has access to government records that could possibly shed light on Carol’s past. It would be weird if all he has to do is visit the Pentagon to find records going back to the early Clinton administration — which is at most just a couple of years earlier.
4. And Why Does Carol Think She’s a Kree?
In the trailer, Carol indicates that she doesn’t know she’s from Earth. This is not part of Carol’s story in the comics, and so it feels like a really significant point. It also provides a parallel to another MCU character, Peter Quill, who thought he was fully human before discovering that his dad was actually a Celestial.
Just as that revelation had universe-shattering consequences for Quill, could the fact that Carol thinks she’s a full-on alien only to discover in this movie that she’s actually a human, enhanced with Kree DNA, be similarly huge? Considering that seems to be the entire plot of the movie, it seems likely.
5. Who Is Actually the Villain?
The trailer shows how, at first anyway, Carol is a devoted Kree warrior in the fight against the shapeshifting Skrulls, until at some point she decides to stop fighting the war. That makes us think the Skrull, whatever they’re actually up to on Earth, aren’t actually the bad guys their naturally-reptilian green skin and pointy ears would suggest. Despite Carol Danvers explicitly telling Nick Fury otherwise.
We think the trailer actually spells it out for us: the villain is whoever Annette Bening is playing. The clue comes during the scene in which Bening’s still-unrevealed character breaks down Carol’s origins to her: how the Kree found Carol injured and suffering amnesia, added some Kree… stuff to her bloodstream, and made her better, stronger, faster, etc. Here’s a screenshot:
Now check out the moment Carol starts to tell an unseen *someone* “I’m not gonna fight your war. I’m gonna end it”:
Kind of looks like they’re standing in the same room for that conversation, doesn’t it? And Bening’s comment sure feel like the kind of thing someone who’s been gaslighting you (for their twisted idea of The Greater Good) might say near the end of a story, when you find out and try to quit.
6. What Are the Skrulls Up to on Earth?
If Annette Bening’s Kree character is the true villain here, then what does that mean for the Skrulls? In the comics, the Skrulls only end up in a war with the Kree because the imperialistic Kree came after them first — meaning there’s a good chance that the MCU Skrulls could in turn be less villainous than they appear.
Meanwhile, the main thrust of the action that we’ve seen so far indicates that the Captain Marvel has chased the Skrulls to Earth, but why did they go there? Is this just a random place they fled to, or are they after something specific? Maybe an Infinity Stone to use against the Kree? Earth sure seems to have a lot of them…
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www.thewrap.com | 12/4/18
Willem Dafoe and Paul Greengrass will receive the actor and director tribute, respectively, at the 2018 IFP Gotham Awards, the Independent Filmmaker Project announced Wednesday.
The ceremony will be held on Nov. 26 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
“Willem Dafoe is one of the most iconic actors of our generation. Throughout his legendary career, he has consistently brought versatility, boldness and daring complexity to his roles. Whether a Hollywood tentpole franchise or a small-scale independent film, Willem’s artistic curiosity has led him to film and theatre projects all over the world, making him one of the most internationally respected actors. The IFP is thrilled to be honoring Willem with the Actor Tribute this year,” said Joana Vicente, executive director of IFP and the Made in NY Media Center. “We are equally delighted to present Paul Greengrass with the Director Tribute. Paul brings a startling realism to all of his films whether directing a stellar cast in a cat and mouse thriller that stretches around the globe or directing relative unknowns in a tragic docudrama within the confines of a doomed plane. His singular ability to create a visual – and visceral – narrative from his meticulously redrawing of impactful historical events will have a lasting influence on cinema for generations to come.”
Dafoe has appeared in over 100 films and plays, and has worked with some of the biggest directors including Kathryn Bigelow, Wes Anderson, Lars Von Trier, Werner Herzog, David Lynch and Martin Scorsese. He’s been nominated three times for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, most recently for his role in “The Florida Project.”
Dafoe next stars in Julian Schnabel’s “At Eternity’s Gate” as Vincent Van Gogh, which made its debut at the 75th Venice Film Festival, where Dafoe won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor. It will next close out the 2018 New York Film Festival. His other upcoming projects include James Wan’s “Aquaman,” Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn” and Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse.”
Greengrass delivered three Bourne films, including “The Bourne Supremacy,” “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “Jason Bourne.” He also directed the 9/11 film, “United 93,” which was nominated for two Academy Awards including Best Director. In 2013, he directed “Captain Phillips,” which starred Tom Hanks and was nominated for six Academy Awards.
His upcoming film, “22 July,” is a dramatization of the Norwegian terrorist attack in 2012.
The IFP previously announced that Rachel Weisz and Jon Kamen would receive the Actress Tribute and the Industry Tribute, respectively. Previous honorees including Al Gore, Oliver Stone, Todd Haynes, Tilda Swinton, Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Amy Adams, Helen Mirren, Robert Redford and Gus Van Sant.
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www.thewrap.com | 9/26/18
Between his guerrilla-style filmmaking, ironic sense of humor and explosive rhetoric, Michael Moore has come to be either a folk hero or a political pariah depending on where you sit. And yet hailing from Flint, Mich. has made him uniquely positioned to address a wide swath of America’s woes. You may not agree with any of his politics, but damn if Moore’s movies aren’t entertaining, and no one does agitprop better. This ranking of his theatrical, feature documentaries, including his latest “Fahrenheit 11/9,” will be polarizing, but then his movies are supposed to be.
10. “Slacker Uprising” (2007)
Merely a collection of footage from Michael Moore’s stadium tour ahead of the 2004 Kerry-Bush election, “Slacker Uprising” lacks much of a focus or even a strong thesis. But far worse is how Moore positions himself as a rock star, editing in endless applause breaks of his fans or even multiple introductions by actual rock stars like Eddie Vedder or Steve Earl. The only thing Moore did right with this film was release it for free online.
9. “Michael Moore in Trumpland” (2016)
Less of a documentary and quite literally a taping of his one-man stage show in Ohio, “Trumpland” plays like Moore’s half-hearted attempt at stand-up comedy. It’s filled with lots of uneasy clapping and stern looking white dudes crossing their arms as they silently boil over with rage. The film is not without insight, and Moore makes a good case that Hillary Clinton is secretly more progressive than she ever let on. But Moore made this appeal to Trump country in the hopes they would wake up and recognize their buyers’ remorse. How did that go?
8. Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)
“Capitalism: A Love Story” marries Moore’s best ideas and worst impulses. He was tackling the housing crisis and calling out the One Percent before most caught wind, even talking with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders before they were cool. But in order to paint capitalism as the scourge of society, he blames it for a deadly plane crash, he stops short at actually explaining derivatives, he makes simplistic analogies comparing America to the Roman Empire, and he even briefly rehashes “Roger & Me” for a punch line. Fans of his films won’t find much to disagree with, but Moore looks like a parody of himself here.
7. The Big One (1997)
Here’s another movie where Moore documents his own tour, this time to promote his book. But “The Big One” is both insightful and a lot of frivolous fun. His scrappy, guerrilla style is very much on display, swooping in on strikes and plant closings and speaking with everyone from ex-cons to the then CEO of Nike. There are even some hilarious moments where Moore hangs out at Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen’s house and uses Rick’s advice to prank his media escort.
6. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Not only is “Fahrenheit 9/11” the most successful documentary ever, it’s also among the most controversial. Now in the Trump era, George W. Bush’s actions look almost quaint, and Moore himself sounds like a conspiracy theorist asking open-ended questions and drawing tenuous connections between Bush and the bin Laden family. It even lacks some of Moore’s wit and visual intrigue. But “Fahrenheit 9/11” eventually evolves into a sobering portrait of the American military. Moore shines a terrifying light on predatory recruitment agents, on soldiers taking glee from killing and on a patriotic mother who realizes she’s lost her son in an unjust war. Moore didn’t ultimately swing the election for Kerry, but the importance of this movie in its time can’t be oversold.
5. Where to Invade Next (2015)
“Where to Invade Next” opens with a red herring. Six years removed from his previous film, Moore makes it seem like he’s now on a war path, saying America’s generals and top officials have “no idea what the f— we’re doing,” and only he can save the day. But the film is actually surprisingly optimistic for Moore, a world tour to see how the other half lives. American audiences will be genuinely surprised at what French kids have for school lunches, how Norway treats its most dangerous criminals or how Portugal is really cool towards drugs and is better for it. It’s not meant to criticize America but to champion and borrow the best ideas from abroad.
4. Sicko (2007)
Moore’s films are always emotional, but rarely are they this heartwarming. Rather than tell the story of those without insurance, he tells the countless, baffling horror stories of all those in America who do. Their stories are not just stunning but instantly relatable, and Moore taps into every angle of how insurance companies have screwed over sick people in need. And the film’s closing stunt may be his best, taking a boat of 9/11 first responders to Guantanamo Bay and Cuba to get better healthcare than would be available to them at home.
3. Bowling for Columbine (2002)
For the last 15 years, we’ve watched every late night show and news program basically remake portions of Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine.” The film was scarily ahead of the curve on the gun debate, and the raw surveillance footage of the Columbine attacks blended with 9-1-1 calls is harrowing filmmaking that Moore does more effectively than anyone. But for Moore, it’s not just the number of guns America has, he also questions the media, the NRA and our culture of violence. Between interviews with Marilyn Manson, Charlton Heston and friendly Canadians, Moore succeeds in making “Bowling for Columbine” a movie not just about guns, but about everything.
2. Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018)
There’s only so much even Michael Moore could say about Trump that hasn’t been endlessly repeated in the media since 2016. So amazingly, he doesn’t, going a full hour without mentioning Trump’s name. He returns to Flint to make a convincing argument that their water crisis is a preview for what Trump is capable of doing. He even points the finger at legacy Democrats and is heartbreakingly critical of President Obama. Moore isn’t hopeful that Robert Mueller will save the day or that things won’t get much worse, painting a scary parallel between how the media reacted to the rise of Hitler. But he is optimistic. Moore spends time with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Parkland students and the West Virginia teacher’s union to see how change is still possible, even if he wants you to leave with the idea that the American ideal never really existed.
1. Roger & Me (1989)
Moore’s first film is still his finest. No one had ever seen a guy so calmly persistent with the camera watching him waltz into these institutions of wealth and power. Those iconic shots have literally followed him his entire career, and his simple, sarcastic logic, devilish wit and nasally Midwestern accent helped make him an icon. To see the rundown Flint streets to the tune of The Beach Boys or hear a GM executive plainly talk up profits over people remains heartbreaking. But somewhere between human statues at a Great Gatsby party and a woman skinning alive a rabbit for meat, “Roger & Me” still feels like a timeless portrait of the class divide and the gobsmacking lengths Americans go through to get by.
www.thewrap.com | 9/20/18
Norwegian culture is closely linked to the country's history and geography. The unique Norwegian farm culture, sustained to this day, has resulted not only from scarce resources and a harsh climate but also from ancient property laws. In the 18th century, it brought about a strong romantic nationalistic movement, which is still visible in the Norwegian language and . In the 19th century, Norwegian culture blossomed as efforts continued to achieve an independent identity in the areas of literature, art and music. This continues today in the performing arts and as a result of government support for exhibitions, cultural projects and artwork.