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Wes Reviews: The 95th Academy Awards

Artists love to say that "award shows don't matter", but they're lying. Any artist that tells you that art shouldn't be a competition is an artist that loses art competitions.

The industry doesn't want you to think this even though they think it themselves: making a contest or a competition out of Art is good. Artist can get up their own asses so fast if everyone is just telling them how good they are and that it doesn't matter that they don't win any awards.

Forcing them to prove their value through winning an Academy Award pushes them to improve their craft and strive for higher levels of greatness.

Competition is something that we accept for capitalism. We accept it for sports. We accept the idea that competition makes everyone involved better in almost every realm of life. So why do we allow artists to pretend like they're above it all?

They aren't. No industry is above competition.

Awards and box office returns show that a movie has value. This is why artists that do not win awards want you to think that they are not important. If they were invited to play the game, they would - but they aren't, so they have to shit on the game instead.

Now, the Academy Awards rarely capture everything great in a given year. How can they? They often pick the wrong winner and most Best Picture award winners are forgotten within a few years after they are released.

However, it's rarely the case that the nominees within a given category are valueless. Award shows can still be used as a benchmark for the best that film can achieve.

As much as conservatives bitch about how movies aren't good anymore, 2022 featured some incredible films - many of which were recognized by the Academy for their brilliance.

And as much as Hollywood tries otherwise, many great right wing movies are likely to win Oscars.

So here's my objectively correct picks for some of the winners of the 95th Academy Awards.



Kerry Condon Should Win Best Supporting Actress

The other Best Supporting Actress nominees don't hold a candle to the performance by Kerry Condon in Banshees of Inisherin. Her exasperation at the ridiculousness of the village around her. Her loneliness and longing for change. But she's never the Lisa Simpson of the movie. She's the quiet heart of it.

Hong Chau was melodramatic and infuriating in The Whale. My apologies to Angela Bassett, but no Marvel movie should be nominated for anything but technical awards (if even those). Stephanie Hsu was fine in Everything Everywhere All at Once and no better than just fine. Jamie Lee Curtis only got nominated for her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once because she's the most famous person in that damn movie.

Should she win (and she should), Kerry Condon will forever have an undeserved asterisks next to her name to signify "no contest".

Brendan Gleeson Should Win Best Supporting Actor

This is a category with some stiff competition.

Judd Hirsch is only in one scene in The Fablemans, but has the presence of a hurricane. Shortround was a revelation in Everything Everywhere All at Once. In Causeway, Brian Tyree Henry made Jennifer Lawr- (Editor's Note: It has come to my attention that Wes did NOT actually see Causeway and for legal reasons I am removing the heinous and potentially libelous "jokes" about Jennifer Lawrence's connection to "The Fappening")

Now Banshees of Inisherin was nominated for two Best Supproting Actors. Brendan Gleeson and that weird looking Irish Kid (the "WLIK") that was in Dunkirk and is apparently going to be The Joker in Matt Reeves' new Batman Trilogy.

Now, the WLIK was hilariously heartbreaking as the village idiot in Banshees. You really feel the confusion and desperation for love in every scene. "Well, there goes that dream" is a line I think about often. His delivery is haunting.

However, Brendan Gleeson as Colm in Banshees of Inisherin is the winner here.

Gleeson is able to balance the feelings of general despair, fear of aging, and simplistic arrogance all at once. There's a gravitas to his dialogue but Gleeson allows you to see the emptiness of his words if you're paying attention. He is fully invested in being a man so desperate for any change that he'd cut off his own fingers just to feel something different.

Colin Farrell Should Win Best Actor

Brendan Gleeson is able to shine in Banshees of Inisherin because of his chemistry with Colin Ferrell. They have such a great chemistry (they also starred together in In Bruges) that they elevate each other into some grand space of subtle, but loud, character work.

There are several other actors worthy of praise this year. Paul Mescal is impossibly distant, yet present, in Aftersun. Bill Nighy gives a touching and vulnerable performance of a man who realizes he's wasted his life in Living. Austin Butler plays Elvis Pressley as a (Editor's Note: It has come to my attention that Wes hasn't seen ELVIS either so I am removing his wildly inappropriate joke about Elvis Presley's late daughter, Lisa Marie, and the size of her breasts out of respect to the Presley family at this time of mourning.)

As for Brendan Fraser in The Whale . . . man, I really wish I could say something nice here - but Brendan Fraser isn't an actor, he's an entertainer. And in The Whale, Brendan Fraser's acting is melodramatic and way over the top.

Now, this is not entirely Fraser's fault. The fat suit hinders any subtlety he might be capable of and the script is so fucking dated that it becomes a distraction. I wanted desperately to root for him after everything that's happened, but I just can't pretend he was good.

Rum Whale!

It's a shame that it has taken the Academy Awards this long to give Colon Ferrell the recognition he deserves. He gave his all as the befuddled Pádraic in Banshees.

Sure Pádraic has all the signatures of a nice man, but there's an undercurrent of narcissism that runs through his entire performance. It's there, lurking beneath the surface, the entire time Farrell's on the screen. It's this nuance that helps drive Banshees of Inisherin and it's why Colin Farrell is my pick for Best Actor this season.

Martin McDonagh Should win Best Original Screenplay

All of these magnificent performances wouldn't be possibly with out writer/director Martin McDonagh's script for Banshees of Inisherin. It just crackles with Irish melody and every character is at once grounded and fantastical.

The plot blurs the lines between reality and parable so beautifully. Some might get mad that the Irish Civil War backdrop is a little too on the nose, but sometimes it's okay for themes to be loud and in your face.

I won't even bother with the rest (more about TÁR in a bit).



I want to step away from what I think should win to talk about the elephant in the room. Frankly I'm afraid that Everything Everywhere All at Once is going to run away with every major award.

Everything Everywhere All at Once deserves the award for Best Editing. I wouldn't disagree with that -editing saves the film.

Where this movie really sucks is its script. The "nothing matters" theme is so boiler plate at this point that, of course, it appeals to millennial liberals. They've been waiting for the sky to fall their entire lives. But even beyond the intro to philosophy 101 level themes, I want to talk about their view of the story's use of "the multiverse."

There's a lot of random things that happen in this movie for the sake of being random. Shortround eats a stick of Chapstick. Jamie Lee Curtis staples a post it note to her head. There's a universe where people have hot dogs for fingers.

Isn't that funny? Isn't that *so random*?????

No. It's just random.

It's not fair to compare this movie to A Serious Man but I'm going to anyway. With a similar "Does anything matter? What does God mean by all this?" theme, A Serious Man also throws many random things at the audience, and its protagonist, Larry Gopnik. However, these random events aren't random for the sake of being random - each occurrence is meticulously crafted to be the perfect brand of random for the themes of the film.

After he was in a car accident because he was busy shouting at a biking Korean student (who Larry believes getting him into trouble with the tenure committee), a shaken Larry returns to his office for a call from the Columbia House Record Company. And. . . watch the scene.

"But I didn't do anything!" and that's exactly why he's still subscribed to the expensive record club. Not only is that such a random thing for a man to deal with, really examine the problem here. Larry has spent the whole movie asking for answers from God and now he's yelling at the phone that he doesn't want "Santana Abraxas". He's literally rejecting magic and God.

Compare that to the hot dog finger universe. What's the brilliance there? I wouldn't mind if Everything Everywhere All at Once didn't think so highly of itself. Not everything has to mean something - but "nothing matters" should be be used as an excuse (or a crutch) to fuck around pointlessly and explain away deficiencies in the story telling.

And it's such a shame too, because the other theme of the movie about family, love and acceptance is so beautiful. Realizing that the IRS auditor is a woman that just wants love. That the daughter just wants love. In one multiverse Shortround and Michelle Yeoh do not get married, they both attain more individual success and he tells her "in another life I would have loved to just run a laundromat and do taxes with you". That's beautiful and very right wing.

Unfortunately, the nihilism of the movie ruins the potential of this film. You can only be sentimental if it's coated in layer upon layer of irony. You're absolutely never allowed to say that there is a deeper meaning to life. Don't think about God. Don't accept the inherent good of life. Laugh at random hot dog fingers.

Isn't that *a grotesque post-modern psyop and anyone who's fallen for it is brain damaged*?



Cate Blanchett Should Win Best Actress

In To Leslie, Andrea Riseborough is transformative as an addict still trying to find rock bottom. Michelle Williams may look more like a plastic doll these days than a living person but she still had a grand shallow mystery to her in Spielberg's self-indulgent The Fablemans. Michelle Yeoh gave a great performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once, but the script failed her in the end. But Ana de Armas really showed that her lips are good for more th- (Editor's Note: Let me level with you, Wes hasn't seen BLONDE and I have removed the graphic sexual acts Wes claims to have performed on, with and in the service of Ms. de Armas.)

However, Cate Blanchett is the real star of every acting award this year. Her performance in TÁR as Lydia is so engrossing, so deep, so fully realized that it reminds me of Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood.

There is not a hint of Blanchett in this movie. You cannot see her thinking of her next line. You cannot see her tracking her stage blocking. No, for that almost three hour long film, Cate Blanchett was dead and Lydia existed in her place.

I truly believe this not only the best performance of the year, but should be discussed in the conversation for best performances of all time.

Todd Field Should Win Best Director

It's difficult to pick a director if you don't understand the role of one. The Director doesn't necessarily write the script. They don't decide how to frame a shot. They don't cut the film together. They don't even cast most of the roles in a movie. What a director does is make sure that all the people who do those things understand the vision of the film.

Todd Field's approach to Tar is masterfully subdued. A very clear influence on his style for this was Stanley Kubrick, for whom Field worked as an actor on Eyes Wide Shut. The high society world of symphonic classical music always feels trivial and cold. The way Field approaches such a heavy conversation like the one in Tar, with each scene containing layers upon layers, is a masterstroke.

A great director is one that you don't think about during the movie. You should feel a director's presence more than you recognize a director's presence. That's something you cannot say about Steven Spielberg this year.

TÁR Should Win Best Picture

(Editor's Note: Wes didn't see four of the nominees and spent 7500 words complaining about them. He then called many of the producers several slurs that I won't allow to be published. I lost track of how many times he said things like "Joe McCarthy was right about these people" or "bring back blacklisting" but it was more than you think. Accordingly, I have cut everything but his analysis of TÁR and why it should win Best Picture.)

. . . . so that narrows it down to three films that weren't made by and for communists. And as much I loved Banshees of Inisherin and Top Gun: Maverick, I gotta give it to TÁR.

Todd Field has a very sparse filmography as a director. His last movie was Little Children back in 2006 and the only movie before that was In the Bedroom, back in 2001. Even with the limited evidence, it is clear that Field is interested in complex themes and dense narratives.

TÁR is no different.

The titular character is the head conductor for the Berlin Philharmonic. The film opens with Lydia Tár being interviewed by Adam Gopnik at the New Yorker Festival, with Gopnik listing the many accomplishments on her impressive resume. During this interview, Lydia spells out her process of conducting a symphony. How she tries to get into the mind of the composer to discover the intention behind the composition. She talks about the research she does on the composer's life at the time a piece was written, so that she can further pyshco-analyze the intentions. She also dismisses Gopnik's insinuations about it must have been harder for her as a woman to get to where she is today.

And that is part of the brilliance of what Todd Field is doing in this movie. For the first hour Lydia is saying things that anyone on the right would love. She thinks it's stupid to want favorability just because she's a woman. She destroys a self-described "BIPOC Pan-gendered person's" ideas about white privilege and shatters his view that a dead composer shouldn't be venerated because of the color of his skin (which predictably results in punishment).

Any clip of her speaking would immediately go viral across conservative Twitter, and in fact, many have.

But Todd field is very deliberate to sprinkle in little hints about the Lydia that exists beneath the surface. As the movie goes on, we find out that while Lydia is married and has a daughter with her wife. We learn that Lydia is known to start sexual relationships with new, young, members of her symphony. We discover that one of these affairs results in a girl committing suicide.

Todd Field does not show us how Lydia treated her ill-fated young mistress (because that affair happened before the movie begins). This was an important choice, because as we learn of this news, Lydia begins to get canceled. Protesters start showing up to her book signings. Someone recorded her talk at Juilliard where she eviscerated that shitlib student and Rupar'd the video to make her sound like a racist.

While Lydia insists that she didn't do anything wrong, when we think about this scene again, we begin to see Lydia as more of the villain of that encounter. Sure, what Lydia says is undeniably true - but she's a world famous composer and the authority figure in the room. Lydia uses that authority not to teach him a lesson, but to purposely humiliate him.

There is no reason for Lydia to humiliate one of her students. The easiest thing in the world is to humiliate a college kid for stupid political opinions. They don't even know what they're saying half of the time. They're just repeating something they heard a professor say or something they read on Vox in an attempt to sound intelligent.

The scene calls to mind any number of "Ben Shapiro Owns College Kid on Gender" YouTube videos, where Shapiro climbs on a stack of phonebooks and . . . (Editor's Note: In effort to maintain the slight hope that one day Ben Shapiro might give Flappr 50 million dollars to produce Good Thing, Bad Thing? videos. . . I have deleted the remainder of this highly offensive paragraph. Flappr's official position is that Ben Shapiro is at least the height of an average human male)

And that scene is a distillation of Lydia as a character. She claims it's about the work. She claims it's about the art. She claims it's about truth. But it's really just about winning at any cost. It's about Lydia getting what Lydia wants and it doesn't matter who she hurts along the way.

Lydia begins to become unraveled as her world crumbles around her. The new cellist she has been grooming throughout the film is cold and unreciprocating. Her wife leaves her and takes their daughter. She's fired from the symphony. She begins to hear clicking noises that aren't there, an ever-present reminder that her time is running out.

She's been her whole life pretending to buck a progressive system when, not only did she benefit from the system, she substantiated the system. After 2 hours of her pontificating about eating at fancy restaurants where Beethoven once ate and caring about the high arts, she returns to her childhood home. It is here that we learn that Lydia we've been watching this whole time is a lie - she grew up as white trash from Staten Island. She even restyled her her name from Linda Tarr to "Lydia Tár" name to present herself as originating from aristocratic stock. She's a pathetic fraud.

The public image that Lydia spent years crafting, including her "anti-woke" speeches, were all in service of her goal to take advantage of young women. She might have said all the right things, but when she got to the voting booth - Lydia would have voted straight Democrat. Because without the system being liberal, nobody would care about Lydia, her job or her entire existence. And at the same time, when it turns against her, the liberal system ensures no one will.

Remember that the next time that you see someone like Jon Stewart do some epic takedown of wokeness.


Final Thoughts

The 95th Academy Awards are this Sunday.

Prepare for a week of Con Inc. and the Right Wing Bitch Brigade to publish tweets and article about how the movies are all woke trash.

Prepare for the Corporate Press and Left Wing Crybaby Company to complain about how all the winners are white and cisgender.

Then Con Inc and the R.W.B.B. will complain about the L.W.C.C. for caring about wokeness when that's all they've cared about for the past five years.

All of those people hate fun. They don't understand art. Do not let yourself get wrapped up in a movie war without watching them first. They're still tremendously valuable to American Identity.

If you want to know why movies all seem woke, it's because you abandoned them to the Left. You conceded the war before the battle already started. The actual Academy Awards show might be bullshit and cringe, but let me ask you something: is there anything more right wing than forcing a bunch of effete artists into a room together and making them watch as people better than them (or even just people who played the game better) win awards while they're forced sit there clapping like seals?


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