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Best. Oscars. Ever.

March 12, 2024
Notes
Transcript
Before we get started, some fun news: Peter, Alyssa, and Sonny are going to be at the DC Bryant Street Drafthouse on Tuesday, April 9 for a screening of Arrival and a live show. Should be a fun time; make sure to get your tickets now, as we sold out the last one of these we did in Crystal City. (If you click above and see “no showtimes available,” make sure to click the “Tuesday 4/9” link.)

And now, on to the show! It’s the Oscars episode, so in cons and nons we talk Kimmel vs. Trump before discussing the ceremony and the winners. Was this the best show in ages? Did the right nominees win? How great was that “I’m Just Ken” performance? How cool were those Godzilla shoes worn by FX artists on Godzilla Minus One? All that and more on this Tuesday’s episode. Make sure to swing by Bulwark+ on Friday for our chat about best supporting actor winner Robert Downey Jr.’s career. And if you enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend!

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:11

    Welcome back to this Tuesday’s across the movie I’ll presented by Bulwark Plus. I’m your host Sunny Bunch, Culture editor of the Bulwark. I’m joined as always by the award winning Alyssa Rosenberg of the Washington Post who is now the letters editor at the Washington Post, very exciting news there. And Peter Souderman of Reason Magazine just boring old Peter. Same as usual.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:28

    Alyssa, Peter, how are you today?
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:30

    I’m very excited. And, since Sunny has mentioned this new job, I want to assure listeners, I am not going anywhere, you will pry my yeti Mike out of my cold dead hands, across the movie aisle forever.
  • Speaker 3
    0:00:42

    I am happy to be talking about movies. With friends who are not leaving the podcast.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:47

    Alright. Before we get started on this week’s episode, I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that we are doing another Across the movie, I live show. It’s gonna be next month, Tuesday, April ninth, seven PM at the Bryant Street DC location of the Alamo Draft House. We’re gonna be showing Deni Villeneuve’s arrival, much much beloved by all three of us. So that’s gonna be a fun one to talk about.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:12

    For all the love his dune movies have gotten, I still think that this alongside Sicario, to be fair, is his masterpiece just a it’s a it’s an amazing bit of filmmaking. I have lots of thoughts about, this movie compared to some other movies that involve time travel y stuff, but we’ll we’ll talk about that. I just think it’s really well done in the whole thing, and I am looking forward to discussing it with Peter and Alyssa and guys, that is your home theater. Right? Are you excited to have, bring folks into your house and and let them get make them comfortable?
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:44

    Show them around.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:45

    Yeah. And we’re we’re doing it this on the big show, at Bryant Street, which is I think the largest screen in the district proper it is my favorite one.
  • Speaker 3
    0:01:55

    That is not an imax.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:56

    That is not an imax. Yes.
  • Speaker 3
    0:01:58

    It is my absolute favorite screen to watch a movie on. And it is it it gonna be a thrill to see this because we weren’t able to see this at, at at an Alamo draft house when the movie came out. And so the bloms will be tuned even better.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:14

    Yes. I actually just found the notebook, when I saw arrival for the first time when it came out. So I’m really excited to look back at my notes and see, you know, how as like a childless thirty something I responded to a movie that now, like, I will I will probably cry loud enough in this screening, that you can hear me and then you can all make fun of me doors and we can go to the bar.
  • Speaker 3
    0:02:39

    You’re not gonna be able to hear Alyssa over the sound system at the big show.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:43

    I’ve never been to an Alamo draft big show screen before. We don’t have one in my, my local draft house. So I’m excited to see what the fuss is. See see if it’s so much better than, than every every other screen. So we’ll I’m I’m looking forward to that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:58

    Again, it’s Tuesday, April ninth, seven PM, Brian Street, DC, seeing arrival. There will be a link to it in the email. So, you know, make sure you act quick because those tickets are gonna go fast. Alright. First up in controversies and controversies.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:13

    Let’s get to the show. It looked like we were gonna get through Oscar’s night without much in the way of political controversy, you know, some beaches from the winners of the zone of interest. You know, that there’s some some controversy there. But, you know, just in terms of partisan politics, we were gonna get out of it without getting a lot partisan politics. Don’t want that partisan politics.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:32

    And then right before the last couple of awards, Jimmy Kimball comes out on stage and he started reading a review of his performance. Has there ever been a worse host than Jimmy Kimmell at the Oscars, this reviewer ask? His opening was that of a less than average person trying too hard to be something, which is not, and never can be, get rid of Kimel and perhaps replace him with another washed up, but cheap ABC talent George Slopenopoulos. It’s clever. It’s clever that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:59

    And then Kimell teased, you know, guess which politician ended this review. With a shout of Make America great again. That’s right. Managed ago almost the whole show without a real mention of Donald Trump, which is, of course, the thing Donald Trump wants most in the world is to be acknowledged and, you know, be the the center of attention. Until right at the end, and Kimbell couldn’t help but crack.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:22

    Isn’t it past your jail time in response to the Jibes from the former president? Now look, I’m a I’m a two minds on this. Okay. Alright. On the one hand, obviously, going after Trump fair game.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:33

    Not just because he took a shot Kimall, but also because he’s a ridiculous and horrible human being. And it’s perfectly fine to make fun of him for being indicted a billion times for seven billion different crimes. And is we we should all be willing to make fun of his ongoing effort to undermine American democracy by refusing to concede that he lost the election in twenty twenty. Screw trump. I don’t screw Trump.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:53

    I don’t care. On the other hand, though, this is it’s the sort of thing that gives him precisely what he wants. It allows him to throw it down, the grievance card that he loves, that his base loves, the his gibbering idiots that he can say to them and say, look, how much Hollywood hates me, and therefore hates you. We are oppressed by the Muckety mucks in Hollywood who are too woke to create anything you might enjoy seeing. Can you believe This disrespects.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:22

    This disrespect that they’re showing as they would turn Oscar night of all the most sacred of nights into a partisan affair. Can you believe it? You should stick it to them by voting for me. Cause you know, that’s what they’re all thinking right now. Going after Trump in this setting is the equivalent to an in kind contribution for his campaign from Kimmell’s tone to the dutiful clapping and laughing of all the stars in the room, the thing becomes an instant fundraiser for the Trump apparatus and yet another lever of resentment for him to pull.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:50

    Peter, I gotta ask. I mean, should the former host of the man show have just let this slap by the co star of home alone two lost in New York, go. Shouldn’t he have just let it go?
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:01

    Well, you know, what I think the lesson here is one the way to think about this is the lesson that we have all had to learn over the last decade or so on social media. And that lesson is don’t feed the trolls. No. Really, really, don’t feed the trolls. Just don’t do it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:19

    And a big part of Trump’s political and cultural persona, especially these days, and especially on social media is that he is a troll. And if you respond to the trolls, you empower them. If you respond to the trolls with a, with a great witty comeback and really, you know, just just clap back and it’s so brilliant, you still empower them. If you respond to the trolls kindly and patiently and with wisdom, it still empowering them. If you respond to the trolls with great, clear evidence, and all sorts of citations and power, and, like, it still empowers them every single time no matter what you do.
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:57

    The only way to win this game is not to play. It’s just like that movie that we hosted at the Alamo last year. Right? Like, this is This is the thing. And, right, and and I don’t think it’s that big a deal.
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:12

    I don’t think, I I think you are right to mock the idea that there’s sort of that there’s, like, a mega loving trump base that is also deeply invested in the Oscars and the and in particular in the Jimmy Kimball parts of the Oscars. To some extent, it’s like, fine. This is just how it goes. But I don’t think that it made sense in this circumstance, especially coming off of a couple of rough years for Hollywood, where they have, in fact, had trouble reaching audiences. I think it is now I think there’s now a clearer than ever business case that Hollywood has moved at least a little.
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:53

    Maybe not wildly, and maybe you can overstate this point. But at at least a little at least in some cases, sort of to the to the progressive, identitarian, whatever, or just partisan left in ways that have been counterproductive to the business part of Hollywood and also to the to the sort of the social value part of Hollywood, which is that they entertain us and to bring people together to enjoy things. And what Kimell did was I think not in that spirit. I don’t care that much I don’t think it’s that big a deal. I don’t think it is something that is like, oh, man.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:29

    He just ruined an otherwise great Oscars. This is this is what you get with Jimmy Kimmell, but don’t feed the trolls. It’s never been a good idea.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:39

    You know, Alyssa, one thing I wanna make distinction here with because there are folks who argue that, that nobody should ever mention Trump. Trump should not be meant. You shouldn’t show his campaign rallies. You shouldn’t show his beaches, that it just it it gives too much attention to him. It it makes him the center of attention.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:57

    It deprives oxygen for men everybody else in the the room, this is one of the arguments about the two thousand sixteen election. One of the, you know, one of the, big knocks on the media was, oh, he got, you know, six billion dollars in free or what I whatever the number was because he was on on the TV so much. And I think that’s wrong. I actually think that’s wrong. I think you have to if if you are if you are covering Trump, are covering politics, you cannot cover politics without covering Trump because he is the GOP candidate.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:26

    He’s been the GOP front runner this whole time. There was never there was never period of time where he was not the head of the party and you you you abdicate your responsibility by not covering him. This is not that though. There there was no need for this. Except for, frankly, Kimbell knew he was going to get a a good cheap bit of claptor by doing this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:47

    Right? I mean, that’s kind of what it comes down to. Just for the entertainment value of it was was light was lacking.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:53

    Yeah. No. If I were going to do this joke, the way I would have done it is, to round up, like, a bunch of ridiculous tweets from Complete Randos and, like, read them off and, like, dropped a little bit of some thing from Trump on truth social, and, like, as part of sort of a montage, because then the joke becomes, like, You put it in with, like, a bunch of ridiculous complaints about the show, and then you make him, like, small, right? You don’t give him the sort of sole attention, You make him just like another crazy old man yelling at the cloud. I still don’t think that would have been a very good joke, but it would have been a little less, like, Oh, I’m gonna, you know, go rope a dope with Donald Trump, like, who cares?
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:37

    Right? And I think the other the other thing that Peter didn’t mention, because you know, Trump is a troll, but trump, trump is also like a grown ass man who basically behaves like a toddler all the time. And as someone who’s currently raising a toddler, you don’t react to their craziest behavior, in sort of an stream way because a reaction is a reaction and it feeds them, but you also don’t do it because it makes you feel bad and futile and ridiculous ultimately. And so, There is this parenting tactic that suggests that when your kids are being deranged, you speak to them more and more quietly because then they have to quiet down to hear like they fundamentally want to hear you, but you’re quiet and controlled. They quiet down to hear you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:21

    And then you also don’t feel like you’ve lost your mind. And I think that, you know, sort of dashing oneself against the raw of Donald Trump over and over again, like, you know, it’s you’re gonna end up all cut and bruised, and the rock is still gonna be there. Right? And so It was sort of a bummer, and what I actually thought was a pretty good Oscar ceremony and a pretty good set of results to kinda have this thing just intrude on the proceedings. Like, even if you get the claptor, really make you feel that good, and it doesn’t accomplish anything.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:58

    And why not just go on and, like, you’d live your life as you want to live it, and have that be the example?
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:05

    I would also make a distinction here, just between Kimel and, say, a winner of a of an award making an anti trump statement or a, you know, a statement about the about partisan politics. It’s not that I would necessarily come on this show, and the next day and be like, you know what? It was really great to hear how Emma Stone felt about the California senate race or or whatever. Right? That’s not exactly what I’m looking for.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:31

    But it’s different when you get thirty seconds or sixty seconds a year, maybe, not really even a year. One time or a few times over the course of your career to address the Oscar’s audience. Jimmy Kimwell has not just done the Oscars for however many years. He also has a what is it It’s every night. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:49

    A late night talk show where he can beef with trump all he wants and tell all the dumb snarky Like, I’m gonna make fun of Trump and maggot jokes, that he wants, and there’s there’s clearly an audience for that on his show. Because as I understand it, that is a big part of his show. To bring that to the Oscars, I think suggests a mistake in conceptualization about what the appeal and purpose of the Oxford’s, and the Academy Award ceremony is.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:18

    Yeah. And again, I I don’t think anybody is sitting here saying, oh, well, there there should be no politics and, you know, everyone should just thank their publicists and be done with it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:28

    I do think some people think that,
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:30

    but that’s that’s not That’s not what we’re saying. That’s not what that’s not what that’s not what we’re saying I I look again, my my issue is just tactically. Yep. Practically, it’s it’s unsound. It is unsound because it it just it just provides fodder for him in terms of fundraising, in terms of attention, in terms of cementing, not that he really needs any cementing his grip on the the base over the Republican Party as we’ve seen over these last few months, but it just it just is like, don’t, like, don’t.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:00

    Don’t do this. Just don’t don’t do it. It’s get find a better way. Find a better way. Alright.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:07

    So what do we think is it a controversy or an controversy that Trump finally got his mention, got his time in the spotlight at the last minute during last night’s Oscars Peter.
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:17

    It’s maybe a minor controversy, but it’s not that big a one. Like I said, I don’t think this is all that big a deal. Melissa.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:25

    Dom but not a controversy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:26

    I think it’s a controversy. I think it’s a controversy. I think we I think we we all need to get to a place where we’re having a little more self restraint when it comes to the dinges.
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:34

    Self restraint.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:36

    Self restraint in the face of dingicism. This is my new my new model. Alright. Make sure to swing by Bulwark Plus on Friday for our bonus episode on Robert Downey Junior, who’s win for best supporting actor at the Oscars on Sunday, felt like a lifetime achievement award of sorts. He was so happy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:51

    Everyone was so happy for him. Good for him. Good for R DJ. Speaking of the Oscars, on to the main event. The Oscars were this Sunday, and guys, I gotta say, I gotta be honest, This was the best ceremony I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:06

    It will never get any better than this. This was this was it. I’m just gonna stop watching the show from now on. It wasn’t just that all the correct movies and nominations won, though I think the winners were pretty spot on. And it wasn’t that the whole thing zipped along, though it it held the ceremony started an hour earlier than usual, meaning that, you know, a three and a half hour show ends at ten thirty Eastern instead of eleven thirty Eastern.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:29

    I was I was done with the show by, like, nine thirty or so, my time in in the central time zone. It was great. It’s a real boon for folks who have to, you know, go to work. Deal with kids and stuff on Monday morning. So let’s tackle this in two parts.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:42

    Part the first. There’s the ceremony itself. And I’ll be honest, I was a little worried as things kicked off. You know, Kimball’s monologue was fine. He’s he’s fine.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:52

    It’s not inspired. Right? I wasn’t rolling on the couch or anything, but it was serviceable. I chuckled a couple times. And then there was the first award for supporting actress And then, they they had recycled a bit from years past where previous winners come onto the stage and introduce the nominees, and I gotta be honest, Guys, again, I was worried.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:08

    I was a little worried here. It took forever. It was kinda blah. It wasn’t really that good. But then things picked up speed, and the ceremony itself was fun, and it was funny, stand up comedian John Mulaney did this great bit where he basically made the case for him to be the host of next year’s show with a whole thing about field of dreams.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:25

    It was wonderful. I was both rambling and tight somehow, which is like the John Melania experience in a nutshell. He’s he’s the most innately funny person. I think I’ve ever seen Take a stage. He’s wonderful.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:36

    I just I just love watching him. John Cena did this very funny bit where he came on stage naked to present costume, which, gave him another chance to show off his comedic chops. A Nicholas Kage reminded everyone in the audience that he’s down for whatever with his Having actors introduce other actors thing is was very hit or miss all night, but, Nicholas cage and Sam Rockwell did did wonderful jobs with their duties there. And then Elpacino showed up hammered. He was lit.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:02

    Just absolutely lit. And he looks at the end of it. He’s like, what do see. Oh, Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer’s best picture.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:09

    Sure. Fun times, it was great. Enjoyed it. But the best moment from the ceremony portion of things. Again, just the actual ceremony was Ryan Gosling’s star studded performance of I’m just Ken where he not only sang the song, but danced to front of dozens of backup singers while slash from guns and roses and Wolfgang van halen took the stage, and everybody was just hooting and hollering in the crowd, I have repeatedly argued on this show and elsewhere that Ken is the best part of the Barbie movie, and I wanna personally thank Ryan Gosling for proving my point.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:39

    At the ceremony on Sunday. And I know there are some quibbles about Sarah Longwell. The in memoriam segment, you know, you know, who’s too focused on the dancing and the singing, whatever. There are always quibbles about the in memoriam segment in terms of who should have gotten more attention, who should have gotten a bigger applause, you know, etcetera, etcetera. I wish there had been a little recognition for Martin Amos, whose book the zone of interest is at least nominally.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:03

    Responsible for, two awards at at this year’s show. Bulwark McCarthy could have gotten a little more love. He got, like, a little his name was on the on the wall behind the the screen while everybody was singing dancing, but, you know, whatever. Like I said, every year, somebody complains about this. It’s fine.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:17

    That that’s just how it goes. The awards, the awards are why we’re here. And I have to say that every winner felt just about right. My one complaint, my only real complaint in terms of the winners was American fiction taking best adapted screenplay, as Court Jefferson’s screenplay was the only adaptation in that group that took something interesting and made it much worse. The only real race of the night in the major categories was between Emma Stone and Lily Gladstone, And while I was surprised, I was honestly surprised.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:42

    I was kind of shocked that, Emma Stone beat out Lilly Gladstone. I did not think there was any chance they were going to give Amestone her second Oscar and not give Lily Gladstone the statue, as the first woman nominated first indigenous woman nominated for best actress. I was I was shocked, but it’s not a horrible pick. She’s really good and poor things. I didn’t love that movie.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:04

    I didn’t think it entirely Bulwark. But the reason it does work is because she’s so crazily committed to it. So I don’t know. That worked out fine. Poor things wound up taking most of the awards people thought Barbie might.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:16

    And I’m honestly fine with that because Barbie’s not that good. But poor things did a really wonderful job of set design and costuming it deserved what it won. I appreciated the Winford twenty days in Maripul and the speech that the director gave, that was a blunt and forthright statement of right and wrong in the face of horror fying evil. It was nice to see a director for one of these films, hop up on stage and take the right side of a hot button issue without equivocating. Or making apologies for terrorists and their supporters.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:43

    That was nice to see. The big winner of the night, of course, was Oppenheimer. And Christopher Nolan, Nolan has a Had a long and shall we say complicated relationship with the Oscars. It was the stub of the dark knight for best picture in two thousand nine that led to the expansion of the best picture slot from five to ten movies. But the Oscars got it mostly right when it came to Oppenheimer, taking home statues for best cinematography, best actor, best supporting actor, best editing, best score, best director, and best picture, The only other award, I think I deserved it was as I said best adapted screenplay, but you can’t have it all.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:13

    You just can’t have it all. Importantly, Importantly, this year’s Oscars did precisely what the Oscars are designed to do. They rewarded a big Hollywood production that was seen by lots of people and demonstrates the best of what the US film industry can do. The Oscars are not and have never been about awarding the, quote, unquote, best movie. That’s nonsense.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:33

    That sort of thing is too subjective. It’s impossible. They are rather a Hollywood trade show. They’re a demonstration of the world that this is what the United States film industry can do. When it gathers all of the world’s talent in one place, America land of immigrants, and they they appeal to audiences, and they do something great.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:48

    And they show it to the rest of the world, and though everybody loves it. That’s what the Oscars are for. And in that regard Oppenheimer is the best best picture winner of probably the last twenty years. Alyssa, what is your takeaway from Oscars twenty twenty three?
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:02

    So I have to confess that, because I am a normie I missed that the Oscar started at seven, and I was putting my kids to bed. So I I did not have the experience that Sonny had of feeling like, we’re off to a bad start. I hopped in. Things were growing pretty well. I thought this was
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:23

    You showed up right about the time that John Cena came out. Right? Like, mostly naked?
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:28

    I mean, Like, as someone who has long been a champion of John Sina’s comedic talent, like, I felt very micro targeted by that segment and very happy about it. I I will say my husband wandered into the room as that was happening was like, what? And left. But I I thought that was pretty great. I mean, the fact that they managed to bring in, like, naked John Cena as a way to engage with Oscar’s history and like a good new joke out of it, was just extremely well executed and fun.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:01

    And I thought the awards were good, right? The awards were good. I think I liked poor things the most of any of us, is that?
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:07

    I think
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:07

    that’s weird.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:08

    That’s accurate. Yeah. And the New Yorkers Emily Nespa, I’m refers to it as Bizarro Barbie, which I think is basically correct. It’s always tricky when there is a big narrow sort of narrative around a category, and then it gets upset and the person who actually wins sort of feels like they have to apologize. I think Lilly Gladstone is incredibly good in killers of the flower moon.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:31

    I think I would probably like a version of a Killers of the Flower Moon in which she was really an undisputed lead actress, a bit more than the one that we got, or maybe not. I mean, I think I I would have felt differently about it. I’m I I don’t think it And then the version we got necessarily would be worse. But I do think there was a real question there about the extent to which she was actually the lead, that probably worked against her to a certain extent. And This is just not a case of an outstanding performance losing out to a mediocre one.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:07

    Right? Like, Emma Stone is kind awesome in poor things. She’s daring. She’s weird. You know, there has been a lot of debate about the movie’s sex scenes and sort of explicitness and attitude towards sex, but she’s also just incredibly bold and interesting in portraying Bella Baxter in toddler mode, you know, as like You know, an adult woman who’s not toilet trained, who is, you know, figuring out the ways the rules of society work.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:35

    She just makes every single sort of developmental stage in that character Bulwark. And so it’s definitely the most acting, but it’s also extraordinarily good acting. And so I felt kind of I felt bad for Lily Gladstone for not winning. It’s I’m sure it’s really hard to be in a position where, you know, you have been sort of built up to this and everyone expects it. But I also felt really bad for Amazon for sort of happen to go up there and be a little bit apologetic about it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:03

    Versace also owes her a lot for making her address that broke. That’s not great. That shouldn’t happen. So that was sort of the big moment of the night, and I felt sort of a little bad for everyone involved, even as I thought it was a basically good decision. I know also people did not like the Ann Memorial segment.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:22

    And, like, yeah, just focus on the people more closely. No one cares about the furniture around it. But the way it opened with Alexi Navalny, really jolted me in a way that I thought was, you know, I think it was appropriate to have him start that segment of the broadcast, but also just a reminder that, you know, film can keep someone’s voice alive, right, that you know, we can, you know, it’s possible to create sort of fantasies and confection, but, like, one of the things that film does is it creates a record. And, you know, Navalny is dead. I think most people believe that he has been murdered, but he will live on in part because of the documentary that captures him as direct and forceful and clear about what he’s doing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:10

    And that’s a really important role for film. That is, you know, one of its many political roles And, you know, for an in memoriam segment to both honor a person, but also an idea of film in that way, I thought was sharp and striking, and I was really glad they did that. Also Yay Oppenheimer. Yay Christopher Nolan.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:28

    Oppenheimer and Nolan and, the the big wins there, Peter, that that is clearly the big story of the night, rewarding, you know, one of the two biggest movies of the year like this is just I I feel like it’s a straightforward win for the idea of the Oscars itself. Like, Wyatt exists.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:46

    In some ways, this is, sort of, payback for, as you said, the Oscars being shaken by the Dark Knight, not making it into the five best picture nominees when it came out. Right? And that’s why they expanded the category. It is really a recognition that that Nolan is a generational talent leading the field in so many ways. I think Oppenheimer is pretty clearly his best movie, his most accomplished movie, the the one that is both just best on its own terms, but also has the highest degree of difficulty.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:19

    And so this was the right decision in so many ways. It is also, as I think somebody pointed out, the first movie in something like twenty, twenty, two years to win best picture and make a hundred million dollars at the box office like, the the fact that all of this was able to come together was really nice after some very rocky years for the movies. And Nolan’s speech was a perfect example of why Nolan is such a formidable filmmaker and such a likable one. It was it was so humble. And so in love with the idea of movies and the making of movies, the process of it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:57

    Right? He it is a his speech was about the idea that movies are only a hundred years old. They’re not past their prime. They’re still in their infancy. And the it was this just incredible kind of the the sense of horizon of of infiniteness of the power of movies was there.
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:16

    And then, you know, thinking, you know, thinking his wife as the the producer of all of my movies and my children, right, like, bringing it back to something that you see in his movies in many ways, Right? But, like, that this is about that he’s like an or he’s not an ordinary guy, but he is somebody who’s, like, he’s got a family. He’s, like, devoted to this Ron DeSantis just that, like, a great example you know, of what people like about Christopher Nolan, but the the movie I wanna single out, I think that Oppenheimer’s obviously the big story, but the second story that I think people should be focusing on is the visual effects Oscar for godzilla minus one. A movie we sadly did not do get to do a full segment on on this podcast, but is just a great movie in so many ways. It was made for somewhere between ten and fifteen million dollars, adjusted for US, and it looks fantastic.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:05

    It doesn’t look exactly perfect on in every shot, but it looks fantastic. The effects work look so much better, frankly, that, you know, than these TV episodes that cost twenty five million dollars. It looks so much better. Than two hundred million dollar movies, that we watch all the time, and to see that, awarded. And, but also to see the way that those filmmakers incorporated ideas and sort and techniques and stylistic stuff from two big American filmmakers that movie is heavily indebted first to Steven Spielberg, the the third act is basically a reverse jaws.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:38

    The opening, godzilla attack on the island is extremely indebted to the t rex attack sequence in Jurassic Park without, to be clear, without just feeling like, oh, this is a rip off. I love Stephen Spielberg as an action director because he no one else directs motion better and no one else seems to control the possibility space, which is what action scenes are about. Right? They’re they’re at leading your mind along and then and showing you what could happen and you create suspense from that. And right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:05

    Because you’re you’re locked into the way that the characters are thinking about their physical surroundings and and what is a what are
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:11

    the available options? No one’s better at
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:11

    that than Steven Spielberg. Feel like so many of the imitators of Spielberg don’t really get what he is doing with the way that he shoots these things. And this is one of the first movies where I watch where I’ve ever watched him thought. Oh, my gosh. They didn’t just rip off Spielberg by by picking shots that kind of our homages to famous Spielberg shots.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:32

    They just understood what he was doing and we’re like, we can do that too. And so those bits are great, but then there’s also, as you have pointed out, Sonny, a huge indebtedness in that movie to Christopher Nolan, and in particular to Dunkirk. The the third act is is on the one hand, it is a reverse jaws. It is also an Omar. It is a godzillified version of Dunkirk in just the best and most delightful way of of people seeing.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:59

    Look, the the authorities can’t do this. We are going to have to come together as individuals as a people into a collective act in order to save the day and thinking about that. Thinking about that, it makes me realize, you know what that is? That’s also making movies. Because movies are this sort of strange collective dance that a whole bunch of different people with different ideas from all walks of life have to come together to make this thing.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:25

    Even small movies, you know, you watch the credits, and there’s dozens and dozens of people, and the big movies have hundreds or even thousands. It’s just an incredible act of of collective art making. And it And both of both both, Dunkirk and godzilla minus
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:39

    one managed to manage to
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:39

    capture that in some way in the, in their in in the structure of of their stories. So I was just totally thrilled to see that movie to see that movie win best visual effects, especially against some actually some pretty accomplished competitors in particular, the creator and mission impossible dead reckoning, both of which really look great and are quite well crafted movies, but much more expensive.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:08

    I was gonna say I I that was a category where all of the winners, I think, you could make a pretty pretty solid case for them. In particular, the creator, which is a is a movie that is not as cheap as godzilla minus one for sure. I mean, it’s still, I think, cost seventy or eighty million dollars, something like that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:25

    It’s a production budget of about eighty, and then there’s some tax credits that shave off
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:28

    the cost. Right. So yeah, so I mean, like, it’s, again, it’s a much more expensive movie, but it’s a movie that still looks better than
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:35

    almost everything.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:36

    Ninety five percent of the, you know, hundred million dollar movies that you see out there. It was it would it just looked great. And and and I love the little I love the little bits where they show the layering of the effects Yeah. The very quick, like, montages where you see how, a shot like that, like, the ones featured come together. I it’s just it’s just a real reminder of the magic of all this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:00

    Yeah. I mean, it’s definitely an argument for adding a stunts category to the Oscars. Right? I mean, They had that little sort of stunts, you know, montage. And the moat this the clip they show where you have a cameraman following one of these stuntmen out of a window in a harness was jolting and cool.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:19

    And, you know, Getting people
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:22

    It wasn’t just Tom Cruise who did that halo jump. Right? Like, there was a cameraman who had to leap out backwards But in order to capture that halo jump in the not this last year’s mission impossible, but the previous one. That that wasn’t I mean, Tom Cruise deserves, like, did a lot there. But there was another guy just wearing a steady cam while also operating a parachute.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:41

    Yeah. And so, you know, get people excited about the craft of movies by showing them the craft behind the moments that they’re already excited about. Right? I mean, This was a step in the right direction. Maybe, you know, we can, we can get a stunts academy, presided over by Builder Berry, and we’ll, we’ll all get we want.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:04

    But look, I thought it was a good ceremony. I thought there were very few things that could have happened that would have actively upset me. And get out? It’s a mark of a strong year for movies. I think we’re in for a rougher one this year.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:16

    There’s just less stuff coming out because of the strikes, and we could be headed into another strike with the, you know, Iy. Iy. But, this was a good year.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:27

    It was a good year. It was a good year. Just one one quick fact check thing. Argo was the last movie I believe to make a hundred or million or more at the box office and also we don’t have a picture.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:38

    Fact check that correction appended apologies regret the error.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:42

    But the, but the, but the last, like, legit block buster to win best picture, was return of the king, I think. I mean, that’s, that’s, you know, two thousand what? That was the two thousand four ceremony, I think. And, you know, again, like, I that’s that’s a movie that deserved to win best picture, but it was also kind of a lifetime achievement award for the Lord of the Ring series, you know, as a as a whole. Oppenheimer’s a very different beast.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:09

    And I loved you know what I loved? I think it was Nolan. It wasn’t Hoida Vanhoite, but I think it was Noland thanking IMAX, thanking Rich GalFond at IMAX. For, believing in Oppenheimer enough to put together a, you know, allow them to do the things they wanted to do in IMac for a movie that does not scream this is an IMAX picture. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:30

    It’s not Oppenheimer’s not big spectacle, though. There is bigness and Specticality to it. You know, it is a movie about people talking in rooms. It is partly black and white. It is largely black and white for for long long stretches.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:45

    And the the fact that, you know, they had to develop new film stock for that to make it work is just a it’s a real testament to everybody kinda coming together and making that work.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:56

    Listeners who are interested in the technical aspects of film production should go read about what Christopher Nolan and Hoyt van Hoytima had to do in order to shoot a lot of this on my max, but also just how they conceived of of a movie that was that is in many ways quite intimate and talky as a big epic IMAX film. The the quote, I believe, from Nolan, was that, well, you know, IMAX is great for shooting landscapes. And this is a movie that features a lot of close ups and a lot of talking. So we decided to treat our actors faces as landscapes, and the landscape is the face. And when you when you rewatch the movie with that in mind, it’s so obvious They shoot Cillian Murphy’s face like it’s this like it’s a mountain.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:45

    And it says gorgeous and sort of impenetrable as as a giant snowy mountain and you look at it and you think, wow, that’s wonderful, but also I don’t, you know, there’s a lot of mystery there. And it’s pretty incredible what they were able to do and taking that idea of We’re gonna use the biggest film stock. We’re gonna use the these incredibly difficult to move around cameras in order to make this intimate talky drama feel epic. That’s what makes Nolan great. That’s what makes movies great.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:16

    Yeah. And Hey. Lovely moment with with Killian Murphy winning, you know, this justice for Sunshine. We can we can write that for sure. Later, man.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:26

    We can write all these historical wrongs. But, yeah, I I one last just one last note. My my favorite award of the night may have been, to Jennifer Lame. Or I think that, yeah, Jennifer, lame. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:37

    Lame or lame?
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:39

    I think it’s lame. I don’t know. I I may be mispronouncing and I apologize if I am. But the editing on Oppenheimer really is it’s most amazing feat. It’s again, it’s a three hour movie about people talking in rooms that felt like it was about two hours long.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:56

    And not every three hour movie this year felt shorter than its run time. I’ll just say that. So good for her. Good for Oppenheimer. Good for the Oscar.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:06

    Do we think? Thumbs up or thumbs down on this year’s Oscar ceremony, Peter? Thumbs up. Listen. Thumbs up.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:12

    Thumbs up. Great show. I did just cancel the Oscars from now on. You’re never gonna top this again. This is it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:18

    This is as good as it gets. Alright. That’s it for today’s show. Many thanks for our audio engineer, Jonathan Siri without whom program would sound much worse. Make sure to swing my bulwark plus on Friday for our bonus episode.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:28

    Tell your friends, a strong recommendation from a friend is basically the only way to grow podcast audiences, which girl will die. If you did not love today’s episode, please complain to me on Twitter at sunnybunch. I’ll convince you that it is in fact the best show in your podcast feed. See you guys on Friday.
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