[ccfic caption-text format="plaintext"]
By Alex Oliveira
Hometown Weekly Reporter
On the evening of Monday, February 4, Boston Globe film critic and columnist Ty Burr discussed the upcoming Academy Awards with an audience at the Walpole Public Library. Put on by the Friends of the Walpole Public Library organization as a part of their speaker series, this was Burr’s fourth time speaking at the library.
Running down the list of films nominated for Best Picture, Burr spent about an hour and a half showing each trailer and then discussing their cinematic merits, cultural context, his own critical opinions, and each film’s chances of winning Best Picture.
Burr prefaced the evening by talking about the state of the Oscars themselves.
“This is a really weird year for the Oscars. It’s very bizarre,” Burr explained. “There are performances and film nominations that, frankly, I’m shocked at. There are performances and films whose absences I’m shocked at. And the ceremonies themselves, it hasn’t even happened and I’m already shocked.”
He explained that the consideration of a Best Picture often goes beyond the critical merits of a movie, instead largely resting on the cultural context in which a film is released, and how the elements of the film fit into that cultural moment.
The two films that had the biggest edge in this regard, Burr explained, were the African-centric super-hero film, “Black Panther,” and Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” the story of a wealthy family’s nanny in a tumultuous 1970s Mexico.
“It’s a good movie,” Burr said of “Black Panther,” “but what it stands for and the door it opens is very important. The Oscar is about quality, but it’s also about cultural impact.”
Throughout the evening, Burr broke off to discuss the people and films nominated for the Oscars’ other award categories, and the nuances that go into those awards. Discussing the lead and supporting actress nominations garnered by “The Favourite,” Burr said: “This is why awards ceremonies are crazy. You have three performances that are pretty much equal, but the studio campaigns for Olivia Colman for lead, but of course that leaves Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz nominated in the supporting category.”