Oscar Bait – Judas and the Black Messiah / Promising Young Woman

Title: Judas and the Black Messiah
Director: Shaka King
Year: 2021
Country: USA

I cannot remember the last time that a film was released in the same calendar year as its nominations. Then again we haven’t had an April Oscars since 1988 – which is before my time – and this is the second latest ceremony; beaten only by the very first Oscars that were held in May. It also does raise the question of how a film can be nominated for awards when it hasn’t been on any sort of release, but at least this is a really good film unlike The Tourist.

Judas and the Black Messiah is yet another in a long line of the Oscar worthy films I have watched this year that are clearly better than Mank. How that is the most nominated film… well it beggars belief. Speaking of unbelievable, let’s talk about the story of how the FBI conspired to assassinate Fred Hampton with the help of a 17 year old boy who has essentially been blackmailed into being a plant. I know that having LaKeith Stanfield playing a 17 year old boy is more than a stretch, but I’m just going to point at Gary Oldman in Mank and move on.

I had never heard of Fred Hampton and his assassination before The Trial of the Chicago 7so this Oscar season has been educational to say the least. Both Stanfield and Kaluuya are electric in this and deserve their nominations… even if Stanfield is in the wrong category. I don’t think this has a chance of winning, but it’s definitely better than Mank.

Title: Promising Young Woman
Director: Emerald Fennell
Year: 2020
Country: USA

Dear BAFTA,

How can you give Promising Young Woman multiple nominations without giving a nomination to Carey Mulligan for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Don’t you remember how much we sneered at the Oscars for not nominating Amy Adams for Arrival whilst giving it numerous other nods? Well, this is what you’ve done this year is exactly that. Carey Mulligan’s performance is integral to this film and I’m surprised that the major film awards of her own homeland are one of the few not to recognize her.

Let’s not detract from some of the other great nominations you gave out. Emerald Fennell is clearly a brilliant talent and her getting the recognition in multiple fields feels well deserved. The film looks great, is very well put together and the whole thing flows like the candy coated nightmare that it is. Also, good shout on the Best Casting nomination – the casting in this film is equisitely done, especially having actors known for playing ‘nice guys’ being cast to play the other kind of ‘nice guy’.

I know that this film is a bit Marmite. Some have taken this as a bit of an attack, others think the topic of sexual assault and mental illness have not been tackled in the best way. I cannot speak to most of the experiences, so that’s something best left to them to judge. From my little soapbox, I thought Promising Young Woman was brilliant and Carey Mulligan’s Cassie taking her deathwish revenge on the world for the death of her friend is fantastic.

If she wins the Oscar this weekend, you are going to look so stupid for not having nominated her.

Yours, some blog you’ll never read.

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