Alex Stephenson your grandpa loves these movies

This year’s nominees for Best Picture are perfect, in a certain sort of way. They’re not the best nine movies made this year, but they might be the most reflective of how the aging Academy thinks. There are (multiple!) movies about old Hollywood, a movie featuring the troubling Driving Miss Daisy themes that just won’t fucking go away, a movie about somebody reflecting on their 1950s childhood.

There are films with epic, sweeping scores, a movie about your grandpa’s favourite sport, and a movie about where your grandpa wishes he could retire to. Basically, these are your grandpa’s movies, because the Academy is full of old people. They are (sorry kids) getting closer to death, and they love movies about a lost time in their lives as they reflect on their own. It’s no surprise that the average age of the Best Director nominees this year is above 60.

That being said, some of these movies are good, but none of them are great. There are a lot of movies like The King’s Speech this year, but no The Social Network. I really dug Moneyball despite it being a stylistic mess, and I loved The Tree of Life despite it being too meandering (even for Terrence Malick). Hugo was delightful, but that’s because I’m a film nerd and it makes me feel less shitty for spending all that money on film classes. Midnight in Paris provided me with my biggest laugh of the year, but thematically I recognize that it’s a little flimsy. I suppose the best movie here is The Descendants, but that movie certainly was not without its giant faults either.

I have almost never agreed with the Academy’s choices, for reasons that are fairly obvious, as I’m much younger than most voters. I don’t care for movies about kings with speech impediments; I want the movie that will most accurately represent my generation for decades to win the shiny statue. The easy thing to say would be these awards mean nothing, but that’s not true. They mean a lot, but only when the film/person you’re rooting for wins. When the Academy agreed with me and anointed No Country for Old Men the best movie of 2007, I lost my shit. That won’t happen this year, as my favourite wasn’t even nominated, but that’s only because my grandpa and I never cared for the same movies anyway.

We might both love To Kill A Mockingbird, but even then we have different opinions on it. Similarly, these nominees aren’t my favourite movies of the year, but I think some of them are pretty good. I’m sure there will come a time when all I want to watch is docudramas about 1990s boy bands, and I’m sure my grand kids will hate them. But I’ll just tell them their time will come… kind of like I’m telling my friends and myself now.

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