Awards season is heating up, with the Golden Globe and SAG award nominations to dissect in the past two weeks, and BAFTA (January 9th) and Oscar (January 22nd) nods looming. It’s shaping up into a year of a few certainties (a sixth Academy nod for Amy Adams for her supporting work in Vice; a double best actor/best director nom for A Star is Born’s Bradley Cooper) and many more questions. Can national treasure Olivia Colman win a best actress Oscar for The Favourite now that her co-stars Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz have been strategically relegated to supporting (despite their greater screen time)? Will the Academy make good on Widows, hailed by both The Sunday Times and Vogue as the best film of the year, yet noticeably overlooked by many award givers so far? And, as fantastic as Crazy Rich Asians was, did it (and Bohemian Rhapsody) really deserve their best ensemble cast nominations at the SAGs over If Beale Street Could Talk or Vice? To be honest, the big takeaway so far is that slots in most categories are still up for grabs (aside from best actress… Emily, Glenn, Olivia, Melissa and Gaga better have their Oscar looks picked out STAT). Whoever the winners, it has been a beautiful year for film, with fascinating work from the art house, but also an unusual show of quality from the multiplex (the UK box office is at its highest levels since 1971), and even Netflix. Here are our 10 of the best.
Alfonso Cuarón, master auteur of Gravityand Children of Men, brings all his virtuosity to bear on this most intimate and domestic of tales. A love letter to his 1970s Mexican childhood, I especially adored Yalitza Aparicio – a teacher by trade with no prior acting experience – who he cast in the heart-breaking role of his young alter ego’s nanny. It’s streaming on Netflix already but do catch it at the cinema if you can. On a big screen, seeing Cuarón train his supreme technical artillery on such delicate themes is sublime.
Mary Poppins Returns
Perhaps not a five star film exactly, it is more of a ten star experience. As the camera panned over Cherry Tree Lane and the strains of the original score were woven into a new one, the nostalgia factor punched me so hard that I instantly started blubbing and didn’t really stop till the end. Nothing compares to Julie Andrews and co but MP’s return amounts to an impossible job done luminously. It deserves all the love.