Roger Thomas Film Review: Not my favorite

Published 10:48 am Thursday, February 14, 2019

Most every year in the Oscar season, I always make a choice. I do not think I have announced my choice very often, but I make the choice and I remember it, at least most of the time. You may be guessing that the I am referring to the choice of the “Best Film” of the year.

I do make that choice eventually, but the choice I am pondering in this article is: “What is the worst choice for Best Picture Nominee of the Year?”

Roger Thomas

Here are some winners of the worst of the last five years.

One year ago during the 90th Oscar season, the “Worst Best Picture Nominee,” for me, was “Phantom Thread.” There are many reasons I am not fond of it, but I will not go into all of that.

The 89th Oscar show was an enchanted year. There were nine nominees and I liked every one of them. My two favorite films that year were “La La Land” and “Manchester by the Sea,” but I honestly loved them all for various reasons.

The 88th Oscars offered eight potential “Best Pictures.” For me, “Brooklyn” was the weakest of the eight nominees but “Brooklyn” was still better than “Phantom Thread.” Again that was a crowded year.

During the 87th Academy Awards Season I was actually healing from an accident. My two favorite films of that year were “Boyhood” and “The Imitation Game.” Two masterpieces.

And I have to confess, there are two films I never got around to seeing during the Oscar season: “Selma” and “American Sniper.” Sometime later I saw the films but I did not compare all the films as I normally do.

In the 86th list of weakest film is an easy choice for me. Out of nine films, “American Hustle” was my least favorite. Good actors, not so much with the story.

However, this column is about my least favorite film from this year’s list of “Best Picture” candidates. That film is “The Favourite.” It almost sounds like a joke: My least favorite film nominee of the 91st Oscars is “The Favourite.”

There is a lot to like about “The Favourite.” The setting of most of the film is the huge castle were the main characters reside. There are also scenes outside, but the interiors of the castle are the most spectacular visuals. The production designers in the film deserve Oscars.

The film also displays outstanding costumes for both the female and the male characters. I would not be surprised if the award will go to “Favourite” for the costumes.

However, there are steep challengers in this category: “Buster Scruggs,” “Black Panther,” “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Mary Queen of Scots.”
By the way, I liked “Mary Queen of Scots” much more than I did “Favourite.”

I also believe that the three leads do fine work. Olivia Coleman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz all deserve their Oscar nominations. Coleman is nominated for Best Actress. Stone and Weisz are both up for Supporting Actress.

However, I have picked out another actresses from different film for my personal choice. If I had a vote, I would cast my vote for Regina King from “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

So, ultimately, “The Favourite” is my least favorite “Best Picture” nominee because I found less appealing about the those three ladies than what I saw on the screens of the other seven films.

The aging queen and the two women who want to take her place never gave me a reason to like or be interested in them. I even watched the film twice just to make sure that I had not missed something when I placed it at the bottom of the eight.

Nope, I was right the first time.

But if you are like me, and want to see all the “Picture” nominees, go ahead. You might find it more appealing than I did.

I will say, I liked the film overall on the second viewing more than the first, just not enough to elevate “Favourite” above any of the seven nominees who really deserve it.

Roger W. Thomas of Albemarle reviews films for The Stanly News & Press.