It deserved better
On Sunday it was the Oscars, the ultimate night of glitz and glamour and all-round back-patting for Hollywood’s brightest stars. There were loads of good things about this year’s ceremony: Jordan Peele became the first African-American to win the best original screenplay Oscar for the excellent Get Out; and Frances McDormand made a mic-droppingly good speech when she won Best Actress, in which she called on the industry to adhere to inclusion riders.
But one thing that has viewers riled up is that the extraordinary Lady Bird headed home from the awards ceremony empty-handed. Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age film was lauded by critics ahead of the ceremony and at one point was the best reviewed movie on the whole of Rotten Tomatoes; but still, it unceremoniously walked away empty handed.
And yes, The Shape of Water is a breathtakingly beautiful film from Guillermo Del Toro; and yes, Frances McDormand’s astonishing performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri will have you cackling and full on, snotty-nosed weeping within a matter of scenes; but the subtle brilliance of Lady Bird deserved more recognition.
The entire film is stunning, understated and entirely relatable. From the tumultuous relationship between high school student Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) and her mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf) to Lady Bird’s teenage ambition to achieve more with her life, everything in the film is impeccably crafted.
Saoirse Ronan, of course, shines in the titular role, but the supporting cast are also magnificently played. Laurie Metcalf is heartbreaking as Lady Bird’s overworked mother, who can’t quite understand her daughter’s wild aspirations; Beanie Feldstein’s Julie will transport you straight back to high school – where, however much you argued with your best pal, you knew you’d be mates in the end; and Timothée Chalamet’s Kyle Scheible is the aloof first love we all had and who totally broke your teenage heart.
Somehow, this unfussy and affecting film left the Oscars with nada. Nothing for Greta Gerwig and her brilliant screenplay and exemplary directing; nilch for Laurie Metcalf or Saoirse’s gorgeous performances, and no Best Picture gong for what is absolutely a film that’s going down in history.
And I’m not the only one who thinks so: Twitter users are up in arms:
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But of course, the glorious Greta Gerwig didn’t hold any grudges, letting her love for Guillermo Del Toro be known in a totally wholesome way:
And to be fair, we, the viewers, were the real winners; as we got to watch (several times over) a dazzling film directed by a spectacularly talented young female director, with a cast of stellar actresses playing powerful and real women; which will surely inspire young creatives for years to come.
Here’s to Lady Bird, my personal Best Film winner at the 90th Academy Awards.