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Academy Award nominated movies for 2016: Still too violent, male dominated

When I saw “Arrival” and “Hidden Figures,” I thought, finally, Hollywood is making great movies, leaving violence and male-domination behind.

However, it was too early in my review of last year’s movies to draw any conclusions.

Among the too violent: “Hell or High Water”; “Elle”; “Nocturnal Animals”; and “Suicide Squad.”

Male-dominated: Six of the nine Best Picture nominated movies have men as the main character. One third were coming of age stories about males, a category I’m really tired of watching in the movies.

Here are my choices for the movies I thought were the best:

Best Picture

“Hidden Figures” and “Arrival.” “Hidden Figures,” about black female mathematicians in the space program, is a fantastic movie, an example of the type of movie Hollywood should be making. “Arrival,” a science fiction thriller, features a linguistics professor whose lecture is interrupted by an alien invasion. “Hacksaw Ridge,” although it was a World II movie, was overly violent. Spoiler alert: We didn’t need to see the Japanese commander beheaded, with his head rolling off and bouncing like it was made of wood. I didn’t see “Fences.”

Actor in a Leading Role

Ryan Gosling in “La La Land.” I thought “La La Land” was a great movie, but other movies, in my opinion, are about more important topics than Hollywood, the land of stars. I also liked “Captain Fantastic,” about a father raising his six kids in the forest in the Pacific Northwest. I thought “Manchester by the Sea” was just another coming of age story.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Dav Patel in “Lion.” “Lion” is a fantastic movie about boy from India who loses his family, is adopted by an Australian family, and searches to find his family of origin. “Hell or High Water,” about two brothers in Texas who rob banks to save the ranch, is a typical Hollywood violent movie. It’s disappointing it was nominated for Best Picture. “Nocturnal Animals,” about a divorced woman whose former husband sends her a violent novel he wrote where bad things happen to a character like her and his aborted child, is a terribly violent movie.

Actress in a Leading Role

Emma Stone in “La La Land.” I didn’t think I’d like “Florence Foster Jenkins,” about an older woman who sings off key but wants to have a singing career. However, the movie is more complex than just her inability to sing and her younger seemingly clueless husband. “Loving,” about an interracial couple who weren’t allowed to marry in Virginia, is a terrific movie, but I didn’t think Ruth Negga’s performance was the strongest one as a leading actress of those nominated in the category. “Elle,” a French movie about a woman who is raped and wants to get vengeance rather than go to the police, is horrible. I didn’t see “Jackie.”

Actress in a Supporting Role

Nicole Kidman in “Lion” and Octavia Spencer in “Hidden Figures.” I thought “Moonlight” was slow and just another male coming of age movie.

Animated Feature Film

None. I saw two of the nominations, “Kubo and the Two Strings” and “Zootopia.” Both were needlessly violent. It’s so difficult to understand why Hollywood continually produces violent movies for children. As early as the 1960s, studies reported that watching violence can make children more aggressive. I didn’t see “Moana,” “My Life as a Zucchini,” or “The Red Turtle.”

Cinematography

“Arrival.” I didn’t see “Silence.”

Costume Design

“La La Land.” I didn’t see “Allied” or “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

Directing

“Arrival.”

Documentary – Feature

None. I only saw “O.J. Made in America.” It was so discouraging to watch this documentary series about domestic violence, murder, and justice gone wrong.

Documentary – Short Subject

None. I didn’t see any of the nominations.

Film Editing

“Arrival.”

Foreign Language Film

“A Man Called Ove.” It’s about an ill-tempered, isolated, suicidal retiree, who spends his days enforcing block association rules and visiting his wife's grave, forming friendships with his new neighbors. The only other movie I saw in this category is “Tanna.”

Makeup and Hairstyling

None. “Suicide Squad,” about criminals in Gotham City who are let out of jail to fight a force that wants to take over the world, is a terribly violent movie. I could hardly wait until it was finished. I didn’t think there was anything special about the makeup and hairstyling in “A Man Called Ove.” I didn’t see “Star Trek Beyond.”

Music – Original Score

“La La Land.” I didn’t see “Passengers.”

Music – Original Song

“City of Stars,” “La La Land.” I didn’t see “Jim: The James Foley Show.”

Production Design

“Arrival.” I didn’t see “Hail, Caesar!”

Animated Short Film

“Piper,” about shore birds.

Live Action Short Film

“La Femme et le TGV,” about a woman who waves at the train for decades as it passes her home, and “Sing,” about a young girl who loves to sing but is told by the school choir director to just mouth the words because her singing isn’t good enough.

Sound Editing

“Sully.” The story of Chesley Sullenberger, an American pilot who became a hero after landing his damaged plane on the Hudson River in order to save the flight's passengers and crew. This is a terrific movie. I wish it would have received more nominations.

Sound Mixing

“Arrival.” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is extremely violent. I wish this series of movies could be less violent and about something other than endless killing and shooting. I didn’t see “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.”

Visual Effects: “Deepwater Horizon.” This great movie shows how BP lack of interest in safety led to the destruction of the oil rig and the loss of 11 lives. I wish it would have received more nominations. “The Jungle Book” is just another overly violent movie made for children. I didn’t see “Doctor Strange.”

Writing – Adapted Screenplay

“Arrival.”

Writing – Original Screenplay

“20th Century Women,” about a woman who seeks the help of two young women to raise her son. I didn’t see “Lobster.”

So, do what you can to tell Hollywood what kind of movies you like. Go see or rent those that tell a good story with violence.

Copyright 2017, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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