The Oscar Project
Favorite film sequel
I was trying VERY hard to stay away from Star Wars films on this list and this is already my second one (after The Last Jedi last week) so I’ve already broken that goal. But there really is no other answer for this category. Not only is it my favorite film sequel, I think many people would argue that it is the best sequel ever made.
I know my post last week about The Last Jedi identified some problems with The Empire Strikes Back, but while they derail the recent film, Empire is still a near perfect film. For fans of the franchise, this outing accomplishes what many other films in the series tried (and failed) to do. It goes in a very dark direction, while expanding the story and the universe of the original. We have the same familiar cast of characters, but also get a new crop of fan favorites from the Jedi Master Yoda to his evil counterpart Emperor Palpatine. The story also takes us to new locales, completely different from what we had in the first film.
But all this pales in comparison with one of the greatest plot twists in cinematic history. I don’t need to flag this as a spoiler, but Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father. So much has been made about this moment in film that took place now 40 years ago. The Simpson’s have referenced it when Homer and Marge’s went to see the film on a date and Homer ruined the surprise for fans waiting in line for the next showing. Many films have parodied the line including Tommy Boy, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Toy Story 2, and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The reveal is so pervasive in popular culture that even people who have never seen a second of a Star Wars film know the line and the situation.
The film was nominated for several Oscars and won for Best Sound Mixing, the only other film in the series to win a competitive Oscar after the original 1977 release. The film has been heralded as the best Star Wars film ever made, many referring to the darker themes explored and the fact that unlike the first film, it ends with the bad guys on top, something you usually don’t see in popular cinema.
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back is available on Disney+.
Day 16 – A film that is personal to you | Day 18 – A film that stars your favorite actor/actress
Your favorite animated film
Pretty much anything that Pixar puts out over the last 25 years has been an instant classic, from Toy Story launching the genre of animated feature into the computer generated age, to visual spectacles like Finding Nemo taking us under the ocean and WALL-E taking us into deep space. On the surface, Pixar films are about animals, robots, monsters, or toys, but they all tell an essentially human story.
None is more human than exploring the emotions that each of us deal with on a daily basis and what better vehicle for this exploration that looking through the lens of a young girl going through some of the biggest changes and toughest challenges of her life. That is what Inside Out gives us and does it with perfection.
This film does it all. It makes you laugh (and get slightly annoyed) any time the Triple Dent gum jingle comes up. It makes you get angry right along with Riley when her dad is too busy with work to spend time with her (guilty). And don’t even get me started on Bing Bong’s sacrifice to help Joy. If you can watch that part of the film without at least tearing up, then you’re not human. It gets me every time and I’m honestly getting a little choked up just writing about it now.
Now, I’ve watched a ton of animated films in my time (anyone with kids knows how it works) and I can honestly say this is the best I’ve ever seen. Other films hit on some elements that you find in Inside Out, but none of them hit all the notes. Toy Story doesn’t really anger me or sadden me, unless you’re talking about the finale of Toy Story 3. The classic Disney animated princess films were never really intended to run this range of emotion. Films like An American Tale and The Land Before Time hit many of the emotions, but don’t stand up to the test of time visually.
If you’ve seen Inside Out, you know the emotional roller coaster of watching it as an adult. If you have kids, I hope you can use it as a vehicle to talk with your kids about their emotions. Call out when your family members are starting to burn up like Anger or express their displeasure like Disgust. In the end, Inside Out is about each and every one of us. We all have those variety of emotions inside us, and part of living a fulfilling life is understanding that all those emotions need their time. We can’t be happy all the time, just as we can’t always be angry, sad, disgusted, or afraid. It’s the balance of these aspects that makes us who we are.
Inside Out is available on Disney+.
Day 5 - A film where a character had a job you want | Day 7 - A film that you will never get tired of
There are a bunch of great documentaries and series coming to Disney+ that from from the National Geographic Channel. However, despite all that great content, only one item from this group has been nominated for an Oscar.
Free Solo (2018) - The great thing about this one nominee is that it is a winner and a recent winner at that.
This film won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature earlier this year at the Academy Awards. The film traces the quest by veteran mountain climber Alex Honnold as he attempted to free climb the famous El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
While Star Wars is coming to Disney+ in full force, the larger set of Marvel Cinematic Universe films is not joining the platform wholesale.
Only about a third of the MCU films released to date will be available on Disney+ when it releases in a few weeks. Of those, only two have been nominated for Oscars in the past. They are covered in this post.
Last week, I kicked off a few preview posts about the Oscar nominated and winning films that will be part of the Disney+ offerings when that service launches next month. I started off with a lengthy list of live action films either currently owned by Disney (though not necessarily original releases by Disney).
Today I'm taking a look at the animated films that have been nominated for or won Oscars over the years. I did decide to include honorary Academy Awards here simply because that let's me write about films like Fantasia which didn't win any awards outright (it used all existing music) but is still a fantastic film that should be revisited when you get the chance.
In case you have been living under a rock for the past year or so, Disney is launching its own streaming service, called Disney+, in a little over three weeks. Earlier this week they officially announced the full list of titles that will be available on the service from day one.
Ever since the announcement of the service, people have been speculating about the availability of hot properties like the Star Wars and Marvel films, not to mention all of the great animated classics and Pixar films we've come to know and love. Rest assured, most of what you're expecting will be there, with many more sure to come as streaming rights deals expire with other providers (including Netflix).
That said, I wanted to provide a little Oscar perspective on the initial offerings since there are a TON of previous nominees and winners included in the list. I initially started this as a full list of all films, but ended up breaking it into a few posts along the lines of The Verge article listing the full offering. Today I look at only the live action Disney films which does NOT include any of the Star Wars, Marvel, or National Geographic films.
Assume the Disney+ service works in a way similar to Netflix, I will link to each film once the service is active. For now, just keep a running list of all the ones you want to watch in a few weeks!
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?