Why The Shape of Water Deserves Best Picture

UPDATE: The film ended up winning and I couldn’t have been any happier that it did.

You know that old saying where we don’t care about the Oscars in regards to their effect on our opinions of the films that were either nominated or have won? It’s easy enough to say that, but we still make ourselves watch the ceremonies at least because of the hope we retain in ourselves that maybe something we love so dearly has indeed been nominated and has a chance at winning. But considering just how strong a year this has been looking at the Oscar contenders this year, with Lady BirdGet Out, and Phantom Thread up in the running for Best Picture, it’s easy to be satisfied with any of them. But if I had to pick one film from all of these, I think that The Shape of Water would be my go-to. And without further ado, here are among the many reasons that not only do I think it would be a suitable winner, but why it is also my favourite film of 2017 while we’re at it.

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Call Me by Your Name – Review

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How do you describe that feeling of being in love for the first time? When we’re young, we discover that emotion rushes through us and it’s something that roots itself inside of our head for as long as we keep it there. And in the film’s closing lines, Call Me by Your Name sums up how we like to keep that experience in our hearts, “I remember everything.” But i also think it’s worth noting that Call Me by Your Name isn’t exactly a love story in the traditional sense – it’s about what happens as that feeling of experiencing love strikes you for the first time. So how exactly does Luca Guadagnino manage to make a film that resonates with the experience? The best thing to feel as you watch Call Me by Your Name comes forth when you recognize it coming back to you like a memory.

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2017: A Year in Review

Another year is complete, but not without having talked about the wonderful experiences we’ve had at the cinemas. Together with the not-so-wonderful films. But alas, this has been an extraordinary year for films for the highlights still managed to stick their landing inside of our minds – and the inevitable “what about such and such?” will come but I will remind you that it would have been outright impossible for me to have been able to catch virtually every movie that had come out the previous year to make sure I wouldn’t forget other highlights that may not have made it.
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The Post – Review

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Steven Spielberg’s movies are either a fun time or a boring lecture. Those who have stuck around with his work for so long would already be able to recognize his trademarks regardless of the sort of films he makes whether it be his usual sentimentality or father-child issues – because they’ve pervaded the many sorts of films he makes whether they be fun for the masses or a historical drama. Quite frankly, I’ve never exactly been the hugest fan of many of Spielberg’s historical dramas (although Schindler’s List may be an exception I still have my own reservations about its handling of the subject matter) so The Post was not going to be a high priority for me. But after having been pleasantly surprised with Bridge of Spies, I figured it was worth giving a chance – and I’m glad I gave one to The Post.

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The Shape of Water – Review

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Guillermo del Toro going out to prove that love has no limits – in what may arguably his best film in the English language alongside his best film since Pan’s Labyrinth. Much like Pan’s Labyrinth, what Guillermo del Toro has presented to audiences through The Shape of Water is a perfect fairy tale for grown ups, because it brings its viewers back through time in the same way that a memory would. It feels refreshing but also relaxing, yet the reminder that Guillermo del Toro places his viewers within is a sense of tranquility – and often from the most unexpected ways imaginable. But that’s one among many things we know a director like Guillermo del Toro has been best at, because his imagination isn’t anything like what any other director can present on any day.

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Miss Sloane – Review

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Miss Sloane barely even feels so much like it has something to say, which is one among many of the most disappointing aspects of the film. This Jessica Chastain vehicle, directed by John Madden (who had also directed her in the underrated The Debt) feels like it has something to say, but it doesn’t even have a slight idea how to get its own message across to its viewers. But that’s not the most troubling aspect of Miss Sloane, because it rarely ever feels like a production that’s inviting oneself to come along with its own flow. It isn’t so much like The Big Short in whose case the film is beating down its message with a sense of self-awareness, for Miss Sloane seems to have something agreeable on its outline, then beats down said message without going any further on it. I was hoping for something better, but I’ve only finished Miss Sloane feeling exhausted.

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Doctor Strange – Review

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With every new character introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe I would only be willing to approach the concept with caution given my general feelings towards their output primarily because I feel it’s difficult enough trying to tell the stories apart from one another besides the fact that another iconic character is in the leading role. The case with Doctor Strange could easily have been something different now that we have Scott Derrickson behind the camera but once again the case becomes clear: a director’s talent being wasted behind a product that will garner attention from those who have followed along with the MCU over the years. I’ve found myself fatigued at their lack of willingness to stand apart from one another, but I still watch them anyway only to see if a different experiment comes into play and I’ve always walked out empty.

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Arrival – Review

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There was a single point in Arrival to which I just had one simple thought running, one that struck my own face in awe – because what Denis Villeneuve has left behind hits as a modern day Solaris could. In a way, it hits beats that could remind one of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, maybe not in a direct manner with the sentimentality of said work but in a more grim approach which he had been employing from Prisoners onward. I had a good feeling that his own experimentation with atmosphere can lead only to the very best when I came out of watching Sicario, but with Arrival, Villeneuve has outdone himself. It may be early to call it, but I feel it is set to grow to become a defining work in 21st century science fiction cinema – maybe the best we have gotten since Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men.

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