Each year for the past few years, I have attempted to watch as many of that year’s Oscar nominees as possible before the awards are presented. It’s just a little personal challenge for fun, and I’ve had varying degrees of success in both seeing the films, and making predictions (ok that’s stretching the truth- my predictions are always failures). This year the nomination announcements caught me by surprise somehow. I’d managed to completely miss the Golden Globes (whose nominations I usually use to get a jump start), and for the first time ever, I have not seen a single one of the nominees already on my own. Doh! Lots of work to do! Last year I wrote up reviews of all the nominees I managed to see, and published both my predictions, and my reactions. I hope to do the same this year, but I’ll try to write up my reviews individually as I see the films, and then will do a big prediction post at the end. Today we focus on…
(2 nominations, including best actress – Renee Zellweger, and best makeup and hairstyling)
This movie will absolutely rip your heart out of your body. Of all of this year’s nominations, this is the only one that had me sobbing (though not gonna lie, Little Women involved a couple tiny eye dabs). And this entire review will be one giant stream of consciousness run-on sentence because that’s how emotionally jumbled I am after watching it.
But I can’t say another word before I say this: Renee Zellwegger was absolutely incredible in this role. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone more deserving of a best acting award ever in my life. That’s honestly how good she was. And I felt that way before I even discovered that she did her own singing (what?!) in this movie. Her slightly crooked posture alone was an achievement. Absolute gem. Highest imaginable praises. Sweet lord, I’m so sorry other nominees that your films had to come out in the same year as Judy. Bravo, bravo, bravo.
Beyond Zellweger’s stellar performance, this was a fantastic film. And, now that I’m coming to the tail end of my 2020 Oscar Binge journey, I feel more comfortable talking about which films I think actually deserved best picture nominations, and which did not. I already raved about Bombshell. The Lighthouse should be up there. And I would also now add Judy. It was everything that a biopic should be. It nailed every element. Costumes should have been nominated (I’m struggling with my ballot because nothing actually nominated can at all content with Bombshell or Judy). The 70’s glamour is just so cool; it made me think of my extremely classy grandmother. The cinematography was beautiful, particularly during her musical numbers. The script was so smart! Zellweger was given so much difficult but brilliant material with which to work. We felt her humor and her despair. When I realized this film was writter by the same guy who writes The Crown, everything clicked for me, and viewers of the series should enjoy this film as well. It has a very similar vibe of quietly yet respectfully pulling back the curtain of history to peer sympathetically and curiously at our mysterious heroes of the 20th century. I usually hate Hollywood-themed movies, but this one was a marvelous exception due to it containing a real message; it’s a sad true tale about how the industry could chew up and spit out truly gifted lovely people, but how somehow even through addiction and loss and abuse we can find blessings to count. It conveyed all the depth that last year’s shit show A Star is Born was missing. It was the opposite of Harriet, another biopic nominated this year, because it chose to show only the unknown selections of our characters life to better share her with us, rather than rehashing just the famous bits. And everything was just so very British-feeling, which I love. And I’m sorry, I’ll stop the rambling now. And I’ll end with this:
Bombshell messed with my head more than any other nominee this year, but Judy was the film that most messed with my hear.