Saturday, July 13, 2024

Oscars Voting Begins Tomorrow, Front Runner “Nomadland” Victim of Negative Campaigning, of Course


Oscar ballots go out tomorrow, April 15th. Academy voters have five days to do their thing.

This means it’s time for last minute negative campaigning. Suddenly, front runner “Nomadland” got hit with a big, nasty article in the LA Times yesterday. This beautiful piece of cinema about a woman’s loss and her foray into the world of people living in RVs is suddenly anti-labor. I nearly fell off my chair laughing.

I didn’t need Perry Mason to figure out the culprit here. Their fingerprints were all over it. Perry needn’t ask Paul Drake or Della Street to investigate. We’ve been here before. “Someone” has a motive to try and knock off “Nomadland” from its perch.

Can you imagine if Perry had all the movie publicists and Oscar specialists in the courtroom at the same time? He’d be grilling an executive on the stand when one of them would stand up and shout out, passionately, “I didn’t meant to do it. I couldn’t help myself!”

So Josh Rottenberg of the LA Times says that “Nomadland” is being criticized for not depicting ‘gig life” properly, and not investigating Amazon’s seasonal work force. I have news for Josh, who is a good reporter I enjoy reading: “Nomadland” is not a documentary. It’s a work of fiction inspired by true stories. It’s the saga of Fern, a widow without money, who is trying to adjust after her husband dies and her town shuts down. It’s a film so full of light and hope, I can’t believe anyone would go out of their way to criticize it.

But this anti-“Nomadland” campaign serves two purposes. It attacks not only the film, but Amazon, which — though it does have warehouse workers who I’m sure need better care — also has movies in the Oscar race. So tossing Amazon into the story has the value added benefit of making Oscar voters consider not voting for their movies. It’s brilliantly evil.

Look, “Nomadland” is the best film of the year. Since Frances McDormand has stepped back from the Best Actress race, I vote for Viola Davis in “Ma Rainey.” Emphatically. “Nomadland” will win Best Director for Chloe Zhao, and maybe cinematography and editing. I’m sorry Swankie wasn’t nominated for supporting actress, and David Straithairn, under-appreciated, for supporting actor. A great film, one above a group of excellent 2021 films.

Watch this great video about “Nomadland”:

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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