Monday, February 12, 2018

27 Days of Oscar, Day 7: WGA, Scripter Awards and an Oxford Film Festival post mortem

It's Monday morning, and the 15th annual Oxford Film Festival is over.

It's hard to put into words exactly what I'm feeling about it right now. For one thing, it is such an honor and a great responsibility to program for this fest, particularly the LGBTQ section. At the Awards Ceremony on Saturday night, when juror Brighid Wheeler talked about the importance of this category as we continue to fight against homophobic legislation I found myself quite overwhelmed. I am so proud of the films that we showed. So proud.

Did Oxford come out and support us? Kind of. The jury winner, "Boys For Sale" is a remarkably honest look at what it means to be a male sex worker in Japan. It is entertaining, graphic, truthful, thought-provoking...everything you want in a documentary about prostitution. And at it's second screening there were less than 10 people in attendance.

At the second screening of "Between the Shades," we had a somewhat larger audience than at the first, which was unfortunately at the same time as the Awards Ceremony VIP party (hard to pass up free food/booze for a documentary about what it means to be LGBTQ, I guess), but this was even after multiple pleas to all the gay leaders I know to come out and support this important block of films.  Multiple FB and twitter posts, an article at the Daily Mississippi Online, a request to my friends to share that article (it was shared twice) and a 50% off discount code. Those Queer leaders not only posted multiple posts on social media, but they were in attendance for which I am very grateful.

Sure, the LGBTQ shorts were (mostly) full, same with "Alaska is a Drag," the narrative feature, but why not the others? I know Oxford is full of LGBTQ folks and allies, particularly at the University. Do they understand that the fight is not over? Do they see enough representation today on television and in feature films such as "Call Me By Your Name" that they don't feel the urge to come out for something like this? Maybe they are actually taking the fight to the Capital and I'm the one who is out of touch trying to fight the battle at a film festival.

Next year we hope to expand this category. I don't want to have to change the films we show to bring out a larger audience. Am I wrong not to want to meet the masses where they are but to instead bring the audience to us? It's something to think about over the next few months.

Now that the festival is over, I have a busy 3 weeks ahead. First off, before the Spirit Awards voting deadline I hope to watch the following:

Patti Cake$
The Lovers
Beatriz at Dinner
Life and Nothing More
Crown Heights

Not too bad considering I have 5 days, right? Well, I also need to finish my piece on Queer Cinema (that will happen by tomorrow) and start/finish my foreign film piece. It can happen. It will happen.

This weekend we had our two writing precursors, the Writers Guild Awards and the USC Scripter Awards. As was expected, "Call Me By Your Name" won both of its categories, along with the novel's author, Andre' Aciman at the Scripter Awards. Next up are the BAFTAs. It's up against "Molly's Game," "The Death of Stalin," and "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool." I'm guessing it will win. It's not nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards.

Then the Oscars. If it loses, I will be shocked. And very disappointed. Many of us who think the film should win Best Picture and Best Actor are putting all of our eggs in that basket. It will be a devastating loss.

"Get Out" won the Original Screenplay award. I was in the minority predicting "Lady Bird," and to be honest, I'm shocked. I do think "Get Out" deserves to win, but if things continue along this path, "Lady Bird" will go home empty handed. Unless Laurie Metcalf surprises in Supporting Actress. Which could happen. Now that Lesley Manville is in the race for "Phantom Thread" anything is possible.

I said yesterday that I don't see the connection of Screenplay to Picture. But I also said "Lady Bird" would win screenplay. So, what do I know? Could "Get Out" win Best Picture at the Oscars? It would be an incredible win. Something to really think about over the next few weeks.

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