Green Book

Green Book won the 2018 Best Picture Oscar, and two others: Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali as Don Shirley) and Best Original Screenplay. Bohemian Rhapsody, which I also enjoyed, won four Oscars that year, more than any other film. As well as Bohemian Rhapsody, the other contenders for Best Picture were Black Panther, which I have also seen, and BlacKkKlansman, The Favourite, Roma, A Star Is Born and Vice, which I haven’t. The Hugo that year went to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, with Black Panther second.

The only other films I have seen from that year were Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man and the six Hugo finalists, which I did not comment on because I was the administrator of the awards. I voted for Black Panther, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, A Quiet Place, Sorry to Bother You, Annihilation and Avengers: Infinity War in that order. IMDB users rate Green Book 4th and 7th best film of the year, with no film ahead of it on both lists.

Here’s a trailer.

A couple of high profile returnees from previous Oscar-winners here. Viggo Mortensen, starring as Tony Lip, led the Army of the West to the gates of Mordor before being crowned King of Gondor as the second of two title characters in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. (He was of course in the two previous films of the trilogy as well.)

Mahershala Ali, here the other main character Don Shirley, was Juan in the first section of Moonlight two years ago.

Nick Vallelonga, the writer of the film and son of Tony Lip, appeared as a young wedding guest in The Godfather, 45 years before, and also has a minor speaking part here. (Tony’s father and father-in-law are played by his real-life brother and brother-in-law). I didn’t spot any other Hugo/Nebula or scar crossovers, let alone Doctor Who.

I rather enjoyed this. True, it’s the story of a white man’s education about racism, rather than an in depth exploration of racism from the point of view of the oppressed; but it’s also a witty buddy movie, of two men who are different in many ways coming to a joint understanding of their common humanity, and each having a humanising effect on the other. The mixture of music is sensitively done. The scenery all looks like Louisiana, because it all is Louisiana despite being set in various other places. Loses marks for Tony being a white saviour a little too often, and for not much agency for the women characters. But the banter between the two principals is crackling.

I’m putting it just over half way down my ranking, below It Happened One Night and above Slumdog Millionaire.

Next up is Parasite, of which I know nothing.

Winners of the Oscar for Best Picture

1920s: Wings (1927-28) | The Broadway Melody (1928-29)
1930s: All Quiet on the Western Front (1929-30) | Cimarron (1930-31) | Grand Hotel (1931-32) | Cavalcade (1932-33) | It Happened One Night (1934) | Mutiny on the Bounty (1935, and books) | The Great Ziegfeld (1936) | The Life of Emile Zola (1937) | You Can’t Take It with You (1938) | Gone with the Wind (1939, and book)
1940s: Rebecca (1940) | How Green Was My Valley (1941) | Mrs. Miniver (1942) | Casablanca (1943) | Going My Way (1944) | The Lost Weekend (1945) | The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) | Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) | Hamlet (1948) | All the King’s Men (1949)
1950s: All About Eve (1950) | An American in Paris (1951) | The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) | From Here to Eternity (1953) | On The Waterfront (1954, and book) | Marty (1955) | Around the World in 80 Days (1956) | The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) | Gigi (1958) | Ben-Hur (1959)
1960s: The Apartment (1960) | West Side Story (1961) | Lawrence of Arabia (1962) | Tom Jones (1963) | My Fair Lady (1964) | The Sound of Music (1965) | A Man for All Seasons (1966) | In the Heat of the Night (1967) | Oliver! (1968) | Midnight Cowboy (1969)
1970s: Patton (1970) | The French Connection (1971) | The Godfather (1972) | The Sting (1973) | The Godfather, Part II (1974) | One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) | Rocky (1976) | Annie Hall (1977) | The Deer Hunter (1978) | Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
1980s: Ordinary People (1980) | Chariots of Fire (1981) | Gandhi (1982) | Terms of Endearment (1983) | Amadeus (1984) | Out of Africa (1985) | Platoon (1986) | The Last Emperor (1987) | Rain Man (1988) | Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
1990s: Dances With Wolves (1990) | The Silence of the Lambs (1991) | Unforgiven (1992) | Schindler’s List (1993) | Forrest Gump (1994) | Braveheart (1995) | The English Patient (1996) | Titanic (1997) | Shakespeare in Love (1998) | American Beauty (1999)
21st century: Gladiator (2000) | A Beautiful Mind (2001) | Chicago (2002) | The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) | Million Dollar Baby (2004, and book) | Crash (2005) | The Departed (2006) | No Country for Old Men (2007) | Slumdog Millionaire (2008) | The Hurt Locker (2009)
2010s: The King’s Speech (2010) | The Artist (2011) | Argo (2012) | 12 Years a Slave (2013) | Birdman (2014) | Spotlight (2015) | Moonlight (2016) | The Shape of Water (2017) | Green Book (2018) | Parasite (2019)
2020s: Nomadland (2020) | CODA (2021) | Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)