Although the Oscar nominations this year are riddled with a few not-so-great films (sorry "Vice" and "Bohemian Rhapsody"), a lot of what was nominated is encouraging, showing film moving in a new direction.
It is amazing that two pretty well-made films like "Black Panther" and "Into the Spiderverse" have been so popular in the mainstream this year and are being nominated for awards because they both feature a diverse and empowering cast of characters.
In its time in the spotlight "Black Panther" has been essential in bringing important issues to light. In the film, T'Challa heavily relies on his guard of impenetrable women warriors, his tech-savvy sister and his former lover focused on social justice. These female fighters and T'Challa himself tell a generation of beaten down minorities that anyone can be a hero regardless of race, sex, or gender. Any person can be strong, intelligent and fierce. "Black Panther" is not as effective cinematically, as some of these other films are, but it is important because of the message it relays and the issues of today that it elucidates to the mass public.
Some other films of 2018 that might serve an equally important message, like "Sorry to Bother You," are not popular in the mainstream, making it difficult for them to effectively reach a wide audience.
"Into the Spiderverse" only reinforces the inclusive message of "Black Panther," specifically aiming to demonstrate that truly "anyone can wear the mask." Featuring young Miles Morales, a half African-American and half Puerto Rican teen, as a diverse main character, the movie also shows a female and a middle-aged Spiderman and a whole zany cast of unlikely heroes. This popular movie demonstrates to the world the positive and important message that anyone can be a hero, but in addition to that, it is a supremely funny film with unique animation.
"The Favourite," "BlacKkKlansmen," and "Roma," only continue this trend of diverse films offering new perspectives being nominated for awards.
"The Favourite" is empowering in its main trio of dominant women. The women are the ones in power in the film and the plot is entirely focused on them. It also has a lot of artfully shot scenes and is dark, weird and funny.
Although "BlacKkKlansmen" is incredibly important in its relevance to white supremacy issues of today, I felt that this relevance could have been more subtly done. However, "BlacKkKlansmen" is a good film and deserving of all of its nominations.
BLACKkKLANSMAN - Official Trailer [HD] - In Theaters August 10 www.youtube.com
I have not seen "Roma" yet, but it seems to be THE film of the year. Director Alfonso Cuarón crafted much of the film in exactly the same fashion as he remembered it from his childhood because the film is based on where he grew up. This is impressive in itself. What is empowering about "Roma" is Cuarón's casting of Mexico native Yalitza Aparicio, she is the first indigenous woman nominated for the Oscars ever!
ROMA | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix www.youtube.com
With these artful and inclusive films, it seems that perhaps the film is moving in a new direction. Diversity is especially important in film because film is a story-telling medium like no other. The unique perspectives offered from differing people deserve to be shared through movies because movies move humans like no other story-telling medium. With diverse film, people are able to understand others more, and that understanding is essential today with such extreme political dissent. A more empathetic understanding of others is necessary to resolve any conflict.
Check out my article on my favorite movies of 2018: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/six-best-movies-2018