*~*~THE OSCARS~*~*

I couldn’t sleep last night because I was puzzling over not, as you might imagine, my lack of employment, but a more pressing matter: my picks for the Oscars. No, I’m not a member of the Academy. But I am very self-important.

Last year it was easy because of Moonlight (although, admittedly, it’s not hard to choose “anything but Darkest Hour”), but this year the Oscars are graced with such beautiful filmmaking that I want everyone to win.

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Also, there were hella snubs, which I’ll get to shortly.

I have watched all the nominees with the exception of the following (I ran out of time and/or didn’t care enough):
Roman J. Israel, Esq.
All the Money in the World
Molly’s Game
Baby Driver
Victoria & Abdul
Wonder
Marshall
The Greatest Showman
Star Wars: the Last Jedi (I know)
Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island (yes, this was nominated for an Oscar. So was Suicide Squad, which won, and which was The Worst Movie Anyone Saw In 2016)
War for the Planet of the Apes
Documentary Shorts

I’m sorry to say that this means I did, indeed, see The Boss Baby.

If you want to skip the rest of the post, here are my must-see movies of this year, with a star if they are especially must-see:
*Call Me By Your Name
*Get Out
*Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
*The Florida Project
Mudbound
The Breadwinner
Coco
Icarus
*Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island
*A Fantastic Woman
*BPM (NOT FUCKING NOMINATED)
*”DeKalb Elementary” (short)
*”Watu Wote” (short)

And, just to show how self-important I am, I’m going to start from the end just like the Oscars do.

Actress in a Supporting Role
It is so fucked up that Moonee from The Florida Project wasn’t nominated because she was so spectacular, and Mary J. Blige wasn’t that good (sorry, but she wasn’t). I know Allison Janney is going to win, but she really shouldn’t – it’s nearly impossible to choose between Lesley Manville and Laurie Metcalf, but in the end I choose Laurie Metcalf from Lady Bird from her performance in the car at the end.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Obviously Armie was snubbed – I could already see his potential when he was a featured extra in Arrested Development:
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So was, of course, Michael Stuhlbarg. I’m glad The Florida Project was nominated for something, though. I didn’t watch All the Money in the World but this is definitely between Sam Rockwell and Willem Dafoe in my opinion. I personally loved Three Billboards – I know a lot of people didn’t like it, and maybe it’s my lack of discernment and obtuse taste, but I thought it was insightful, cutting, forgiving, funny, tragic, and enjoyable. I was captured by Sam Rockwell‘s performance – to me, he earns the win.

Visual Effects
Blade Runner 2049 (mostly because it was the only one I saw – but why isn’t The Shape of Water in here?) Also, this:
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Sound Mixing
Let the Right One In, because it should win every year (I mean Dunkirk, sorry)

Sound Editing
Also Let the Right One In

Short Film (Live Action)
DeKalb Elementary” (extremely difficult choice because “Watu Wote” and The Silent Child” were both so beautifully made, but it ends up being “DeKalb Elementary” because of how simply it was able to depict an incredibly diverse set of themes, Fuck it I’m making this a paragraph)
“DeKalb Elementary” is creepily timely, and yet timeless, because to me, the central narrative is the fragility of white men and the necessity for black women to be our society’s caretakers, protectors, handlers, empathizers. It speaks to the power of empathy, but also the politics of empathy: who receives empathy and who is forced to give it; how can empathy be used as a tool to save lives on a micro and macro level; how humanity is just as important as (arguably more important than) strength and fortitude to manage aggressors. It touches on much more, and like so many of the films this year, holds so many conflicting themes in its hand.

Short Film (Animated)
Several of the animated films this year had what some might call “adult” themes, but to me, children are quite adept at understanding complicated themes. If we taught children that life is complicated (what up Miyazaki?) then they’d probably be better at life.
Anyway, “Negative Space” was delightful, melancholy, funny, and quite dark. But, with the exception of “Dear Basketball,” which was relatively bite-size and trite, the films were all creative, delightful, and multifaceted.

Production Design
Not fucking Beauty and the Beast! That movie was a shining example of how throwing millions of dollars at a something doesn’t make it good, and in fact, can remove all the ingenuity and creativity that having less money creates. It’s insulting that this film was in this category, because it’s so hard to choose between Blade Runner 2049Dunkirk, and The Shape of Water. But in the end I choose Blade Runner 2049 because it required the most imagination and bloomed because of it.

Music (Original Song)
If “Mystery of Love” from Call me By Your Name doesn’t win I’m going to throw a fucking fit. That said, “Remember Me” from Coco was pretty fabulous.

Music (Original Score)
I did a total 180 on this one by listening to the music without the film, which I didn’t like very much – Phantom Thread. However, Call Me By Your Name was snubbed AF.

Makeup and Hairstyling
The only one of these I’ve watched is Darkest Hour, but Gary Oldman is hot and Winston Churchill was not, so I choose that one.

Foreign Language Film
To me, this is where the worst snub happened, because BPM was one of the most arresting films I saw this year, and better than all five of these movies, and it wasn’t even nominated. That being said, all of these movies were masterful and so interesting, but A Fantastic Woman floats well above the rest. I really wish that foreign films had more categories at the Oscars.

Film Editing
Dunkirk

Documentary (Short Subject)
I didn’t get to see these because they show them as two different programs and I just didn’t have time to go see them twice. It’s such a shame because they’re always incredible.

Documentary (Feature)
All five of these blew me away, but Last Men in Aleppo shattered me. Watching a film like this can make the struggles in films like Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name seem insultingly trivial by comparison, but the paradox this film exemplifies is that even with a backdrop of extraordinary suffering and imminent death, the minutia is what begins to matter most. In the quiet moments between the daily crises of pulling severed limbs and traumatized children from rubble, the White Helmets decide to make themselves a little fish pond with a cascading fountain to enjoy in their center, giggling as one pokes the other in the behind with a drill bit as he’s bent over the pond. It would be so easy to make a movie like this a total slog, like many films about suffering, but the thing about good documentaries and their relatively candid capture of reality is that they grasp that even in extreme situations there are always moments of humor and levity and joy because that is how humans survive.

Costume Design
Didn’t see Victoria & Abdul, but I think Phantom Thread earns it because the narrative and mood were so entwined with the costumes.

Cinematography
Ugh, why do I have to choose? I think I tend to gravitate towards sci-fi elements, because my first instinct is Blade Runner 2049. I’m sticking with it because of how integral it was to the story, but also because I don’t have the best eye and don’t feel like I can choose.

Animated Feature Film
Feature animated films as a whole this year were disappointing compared with the shorts, given the nomination of fucking The Boss Baby, but Coco truly was delightful, funny, and even educational. And, in classic Pixar fashion, tear-inducing. However, The Breadwinner is a close runner-up.

Writing (Original Screenplay)
Lady Bird (Get Out and The Big Sick are quite close, but in the end I think the directing is better in Get Out and the writing is better in Lady Bird).

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Mudbound (so hard to choose this over Call Me By Your Name, but I think the writing elevated Mudbound while the acting elevated Call Me By Your Name).

Directing
This is where it starts to get really hard, especially because of the SNUBS (Best director was Luca Guadagnino for Call Me By Your Name), but of these the obvious forerunner to me is Jordan Peele for Get Out. But I can’t think too hard about it because I also think The Florida Project and Three Billboards should be here, and Dunkirk was also beautifully directed.

Actress in a Leading Role
I loved all of these performances (including Meryl Streep, who elevated a pretty conventional character and plot to something quite inspiring – what can I say? She does the damn job, every time), but to me it’s between Sally Hawkins and Frances McDormand. In the end, despite Sally Hawkins killing it, I think Frances McDormand earns it. Why can’t they all win??

Actor in a Leading Role
Are you seriously going to make me choose between Timothée Chalamet and Daniel Kaluuya? In the same category as fucking Daniel Day-Lewis, Gary Oldman, and Denzel Washington, who are all regarded as masters in their field? It is between the two of them, as far as I’m concerned (although I didn’t see Roman J. Israel, but I feel like Denzel just gets nominated every time he has a movie, like Meryl Streep). It’s Timothée Chalamet by the teeniest, tiniest hair (probably because of the nature of that film having more actor-driven scenes), although I’ll probably change my mind to Daniel Kaluuya by the end of the day because of the hypnosis scene.

Best Picture
This year was so damn good for movies. I think what I love the most about movies (and I think this tends to be a little more evident in foreign films) is their ability to gather so many elements (both figurative and literal) and present them together. This is one of the reasons I loved almost all of these nominees, and why I tend to love films like them: human beings are blessed and cursed with contradictions and complexities, and we experience these things simultaneously.  In a more literal sense, they take writing, visual storytelling, acting and all of these human elements and make them so much greater than the sum of their parts. Ugh, I’m just waxing poetic at this point, but the idea is that it was so hard to choose from all these films, and by the way, The Florida Project should have been nominated.
My choice is Call Me By Your NameI loved it so much that I’m afraid to see it again – watching the trailer makes my teeth hurt like too much cupcake frosting. But can I also choose Get Out and Lady Bird?
tenor

I haven’t even gotten to the implications of #MeToo or #TimesUp or the fall of Harvey Weinsten – in fact, this post is surprisingly bereft of politics, but it’s mostly because other people have done such a better job than I will be able to at writing about that stuff. Here’s one!

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bystander intervention af

New York in summer, with its millions of people crammed together like sweaty sardines in an ancient, oily tin, is a veritable wonderland of idiosyncrasies, outbursts and xenophobia. On the other hand, it occasionally provides opportunities to spot moments where one can step in and make this city a little less of an angry, festering butthole. I tend to walk away from these sorts of occasions both encouraged and disturbed. For example:

Yesterday I was walking to the train from Central Park (yep, my ass was in Manhattan on a weekend. I feel like I deserve a freaking award), through the remnants of the Bastille Day celebrations on 60th Street (Now that I think of it, I was given a free pastry just for walking by a dude that was breaking down his tent, so I guess I did get a reward for being in Manhattan after all) and I saw these two dudes smoking a cigarette and staring across the street, chuckling. I turned and saw a woman about my age stumbling with really tall shoes, sort of aimlessly, and I learned from ONE ACT that to not be a total piece of shit, you need to take care of other women, even if it means seeming nosy. Also, fuck those dudes. So I stopped and leaned against a wall to watch her and see if she needed help, and she crossed the street to stand next to me, which is a weird thing to do in New York. It scared me because it made me think something happened to her. She seemed emotionally fine, but she was so drunk or high that she couldn’t meet my eye. Long story short, I got her into a cab, but like, fuck whoever left her alone, and what if something did happen to her? I wanted to ask, but I also didn’t want to pry.

Today, a lesbian couple got on the train and sat across from me, and this older dude sitting nearby started complaining loudly to these two poor Asian tourists that same sex relationships are disgusting and two women can’t make a baby (joke’s on you, dude – that technology is almost here) and two men can’t make a baby and all this garbage. Once I realized what he was yelling about (I had headphones in at first) I asked him to stop yelling hateful language. He was obviously a massive dick about it, but fuck if I’m gonna let this lesbian couple sit here being shouted about while no one even tries to defend them, and plus I grew up with same sex parents. It’s hard to know what to do in these situations, especially if the person being shitty is also a member of a marginalized community, which in this situation was the case.  If it’s a ostensibly cis-het white dude, I will open up a can, but when it’s not, it’s so much more complicated.

Man, hat was a downer. I did have a post all ready when I had my period during the 4th of July, but was too lazy to finish it – here’s how it started:

Last weekend I was lounging in my white underwear and blue shorts and my vagina was like, “Bitch it’s 4th of July. Imma make your ass patriotic as hell right now,” and swooped in to give me the color scheme I needed to make this holiday memorable.

You have to give it to my vagina for spotting an opportunity and seizing it. Get it?? Eh? Spotting? Ugh h8 myself. Joke’s on her, though, because blood stains brown. Anyhow, my underwear is ruined.

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Hopefully that punderful anecdote will make it worth reading this whole post. But seriously, y’all, we have got to take care of each other.

Summer

It is that time of year again when I am at greatest risk of accidentally having my slightly hairy thigh make contact with a far hairier, far less conscientious thigh due to the careless proliferation of body parts that characterizes men on the subway (and also, everywhere). I think it’s great that everyone is wearing shorts. I think body positivity is wonderful. But your thigh is just objectively gross, and keep it the fuck away from mine, k? As the age-old saying goes, “Your balls are not that big.”

It’s also the time of year when my comfort would be exponentially greater, given the sticky, sweltering heat that gathers all the streets of New York into a sweaty mass of metropolis that smells like an overturned garbage truck, if I could wear dresses every day, but when I still choose jeans and a t-shirt to avoid both the visibility of my crotch to everyone below me on any given subway stairway and unwanted attention from shitty dudes.

Sir, my ass is not there for you to ogle at like you’re watching fucking Chef’s Table. It is for me to sit on and for me to poop out of. Next time I see a dude staring creepily at a woman’s ass I’m going to get really close to his ear and whisper, “She poops out of that.” If he’s really being gross, I’ll be like, “She has explosive diarrhea out of that.”

See also:

  • Copious tourists, whose tanned arms emerging from singlets bearing the acronym “YOLO” inexplicably string across two poles on the subway, giving me the option of jabbing said singlet-bearing torso with my elbow or ducking under disgusting-ass, blond hair-covered armpits;
  • forgetting my office sweater at home and attempting to covertly shove my hands under my armpits like Mary Katherine Gallagher in order to warm them up in the Arctic office atmosphere;
  • Riding my bike to Coney Island, getting sand in my butt crack, riding my bike home from Coney Island with sand in my butt crack;
  • Chafing

What I Learned in SoulCycle Is

So, believe it or not, I returned to SoulCycle yesterday for another free class (after which I headed straight to the movies to see I Am Not Your Negro – can you imagine if James Baldwin was around for SoulCycle?), and spent much of the class pondering whether Shinzo Abe felt this same agonizing stretching of time, like a string of putty that refuses to break, as he shook hands with Donald Trump.

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Look, I’m sure Mr. Abe has had his share of unjust political actions, but no one deserves this.

Anyhow, SoulCycle. Seriously, how can a documentary about James Baldwin and a Britney Spears-themed spin class that costs thirty five bucks exist in the same city – in the same world? I’d love to hear what James Baldwin would make of SoulCycle – “sequestered rooms of imitated slavery, spawned by a desire to reduce guilt over true slavery and to deduce that the real slavery was not, indeed, so terrible.”

Like, my first bike in New York was 150 bucks. Five days of SoulCycle costs more than this. After I bought that bike, I proceeded to pay it back and then some by working as a bike messenger, delivering groceries, meals, and rent checks across the city. I made my living this way, and ate dollar pizza for almost every meal – I was hardly ever full. I couldn’t keep pounds on. Forget Trump – in what kind of dystopian world do we live if people will pay for SoulCycle when they can literally just get on a bike and go somewhere? And get paid for it?? I literally can’t even.

I’m not writing on this blog as much because I’m writing a something longform at the moment – and no, it’s not erotic world leader fiction. My mom told me it was offensive to write about a black man committing adultery.¯\_(ツ)_/¯

erotic world leader fiction

I’m starting to think that Erotic World Leader Fiction may be my calling. If only there were more good looking world leaders. North America had that shit on lock, and then the United States had to fuck it all up by electing the World’s Most Hideous Man to be its world leader.

Maybe I can survive the next four years (or maybe the next four days, the way it’s going right now – fuck yeah ACLU!) by delving into the past. Barry and Justin’s steamy romance will keep me afloat in these dark times. If any of y’all are interested in that, let me know.

Speaking of letting me know, I’m always looking for feedback. So far, I get the most traffic on recurring posts, like reviews of music, books and movies, and my period posts. My blog has no theme (a friend calls it the anti-blog), so I literally have no direction. I’m like one of those homing pigeons with a magnet tied to its head for experimental reasons, just flying around in circles until I drop out of the sky from exhaustion. Too dark? Get used to it, because Donald fucking Trump is the president, in case you haven’t noticed.

On that note, enjoy these photos of world leaders that may or may not fire up your Air Force One.

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hoo! *fans self*
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meeeeow!
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who, me?
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bow chicka wow wow
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k sry but like come on
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my god
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like, are you joking
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jesus take the wheel
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i’m dead bye

The end of an er(otic)a

For a brief, shining moment in history that will never be forgotten, all three North American leaders were hot dudes. And I feel like we didn’t take full, or even partial, advantage of it! Where are the photoshopped kisses between Obama and Trudeau? Where are the steamy fan fiction threesomes? Where is the secret plan between Peña Nieto and Trudeau to exclude Obama from NAFTA out of jealousy of Michelle? Maybe Joe Biden could even have made an appearance here and there. And we missed our chance! Now, sandwiched between two sexy minxes of the north and south, is our new ball of pus of a president.

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“The White House” is obviously code for something else.

I mean, come on! Tell me the legalization of gay marriage during Obama’s presidency was a coincidence. Look at these two!


“Come on, Barry,” Justin whispered as he tugged playfully on Barack’s tie. “Just one more minute.”

The two had already been in the bathroom for over five minutes, but it sure didn’t feel like it.

“Justin, this has to be the last time. When I was out of breath before the State of the Union, I’m certain Michelle looked at me differently. She doesn’t know what’s going on, but she knows something is going on.” He drew his eyes downward, trying to hide the film of tears collecting in his water line. He knew he had to be strong. For Michelle. For the United States of America.

“But Barry!” Justin’s playfulness had dissolved. “I need you.”


Tell me you’re not dying to read more! Not because of my writing, but because of the compelling nature of their forbidden relationship. Maybe I should make a career out of erotic world leader fiction.