×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Oscar Voters: Don’t Forget ‘Mother,’ Ridley Scott and 2017’s Other Unsung Heroes

Lord knows, we don’t need another awards show. But the year in film has seen some extraordinary work and though the usual “for your consideration” conversations are valid, they seem insufficient in some cases.  

There is a long list of people who are worthy of Oscar consideration, so don’t forget these people when filling out your Oscar ballots, which are due Jan. 12. But let’s also give them special recognition, a round of applause for doing work that was above and beyond.

Wind River
Writer-director Taylor Sheridan and his “Wind River” team deserve awards attention for delivering an entertaining and relevant film. Beyond that, they deserve a salute for wresting control of the movie away from the original distributor, the Weinstein Co. As soon as the story broke on Oct. 5 about that industry bully-rapist, Sheridan and Acacia Entertainment renegotiated everything and made sure that no profits will go to TWC, but instead will be directed to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. They are not only waging a good awards campaign, they are righting some wrongs.

Ridley Scott
Just as a reminder: On Nov. 8, Scott declared he would refilm scenes for Sony’s “All the Money in the World,” with Christopher Plummer and would still meet his December release date. Has anyone in Hollywood done this? Could anyone else do this? The answers are no and no. Scott made a smart business decision — and a strong statement about standing up to the vile behavior of an industry bully-monster (the Voldemort of the acting profession, He Who Must Not Be Named). Scott is one of the industry’s giants. Give him every award in the book.

“Mother!”
Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!” stirred up love/hate/confusion among audiences and critics, but the artisan work is indisputably great. Especially worth mentioning are the cinematography by Matthew Libatique and the production design by Philip Messina.

Production designer Harley Jessup, “Coco”
A live-action production designer can tap into existing buildings and rooms as a starting point. An animation production designer is starting from scratch. Jessup created both a reality-based world and the imaginative Land of the Dead for “Coco,” and the results are as beautiful and evocative as anything else created on film this year.

Actors
Some great performances worth remembering: Lois Smith, “Marjorie Prime,” stellar, more than 60 years after her film debut in “East of Eden”; Richard Gere, “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer”; James McAvoy, “Split”; Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson in “A Quiet Passion”; and Andy Serkis, “War for the Planet of the Apes.”

In supporting roles, Sterling K. Brown in “Marshall”; Betty Gabriel as the eerie maid Georgina in “Get Out”; the excellent Beulah Koale in “Thank You for Your Service”; and Patrick Stewart, so good in “Logan”

Writers
Danny Strong, for his screenplay for “Rebel in the Rye” about J.D. Salinger; Mike White, “Beatriz at Dinner”; James Gray, “The Lost City of Z”

“The Promise”
Open Road’s “The Promise,” directed by Terry George from a script by him and Robin Swicord, was largely ignored at the box office, but that’s OK: When Kirk Kerkorian paid for the production, he announced that the No. 1 goal was not profits, but to raise awareness of the 1915-17 Armenian Genocide. Turkey denies it happened and Hollywood has scrupulously avoided the topic; a “denialist” movement is working hard to discredit “Promise.” But the film, with an accompanying documentary “Intent to Destroy,” features great below-the-line work and a memorable title song by the late Chris Cornell.

Oscar noms will be announced Jan. 23. Good luck to all.

More Film

  • Picture Tree Intl. Inks First Deals

    Cannes: Picture Tree Intl. Inks First Deals on 'Traumfabrik' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Picture Tree Intl. has clinched first deals on romantic drama “Traumfabrik,” which is produced by Tom Zickler, the former producing partner of German star Till Schweiger. The film has been picked up by Leomus in China; Flins & Piniculas in Spain; LEV Films/Shani Film in Israel; Taiwan in Moviecloud; Media Squad in Czech Rep., Hungary [...]

  • Cannes Film Review: 'Alice and the

    Cannes Film Review: 'Alice and the Mayor'

    Sophomore director Nicolas Pariser follows his politically engaged debut, “The Great Game,” with an even deeper plunge into the disconnect between political theory and the workings of government in the unmistakably French “Alice and the Mayor.” Deeply influenced by Eric Rohmer in the way it aspires to use philosophical dialogue to reveal something about the [...]

  • 'Diego Maradona' Review: The Football Legend

    Cannes Film Review: 'Diego Maradona'

    You expect the director of a biographical documentary to have a passion for whoever he’s making a movie about. But the British filmmaker Asif Kapadia spins right past passion and into obsession. He doesn’t just chronicle a personality — he does an immersive meditation on it. Kapadia plunges into the raw stuff of journalism: news [...]

  • Atlantics

    Emerging Talent From Gallic Cinema

    Variety is teaming with Unifrance, an agency that promotes French cinema around the world, to focus attention on four emerging talents in the French movie industry as part of Unifrance’s “New Faces of French Cinema” program. Here Variety profiles the rising filmmakers: Justine Triet, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec, Hafsia Herzi and Mati Diop. Mati Diop Born to [...]

  • John Hannah Reunites With ‘The Mummy’

    John Hannah Reunites With ‘The Mummy’ Actors for Horror Pic ‘Lair’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    John Hannah, Corey Johnson and Oded Fehr will star in “Lair,” billed as a socially conscious horror movie about an LGBT family embroiled in one man’s attempt to prove the existence of the supernatural. The trio all appeared in the successful franchise “The Mummy,” and their new picture goes into production later this year. Katarina [...]

  • Loving Vincent Animation Oscars

    Adult Audience Animation: Cannes Panel Talks Big-Screen Strategy

    CANNES–A panel of leading animation industry executives gathered during the Cannes Film Market on Sunday to shed light on their strategies for the theatrical release of adult-oriented animated features. It was a timely conversation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Five of the 28 animated projects in the Marché du Film are adult audience-focused, including [...]

  • Lea Drucker poses with the Best

    French Filmmaker Axelle Ropert Readies 'Petite Solange' With MK2 Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    French writer/director Axelle Ropert is set to direct “Petite Solange,” a film that will star Léa Drucker and Philippe Katerine, who won the best acting nods at this year’s Cesar Awards for their performances in “Custody” and “Sink or Swim,” respectively. MK2 films will handle international sales. Haut et Court has acquired rights for French [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content