Though 2016 was a bad year in so many ways, it was a great year for movies. And thus, “This year our annual Golden Globes & Oscar Series is going to be the best ever,” says Flat Rock Cinema owner Howard Molton.
“The previous 12 years, by this time of year, the best movies had already disappeared or gone to DVD,” he explains. “But this year, all the award-worthy films are still available to show on the big screen. It’s wonderful.”
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, founded in 1943, includes about 90 international photographers and journalists. It awarded its Golden Globes on January 8. Since the association allows alcohol at its celebration, it’s a lively, rambunctious affair.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has about 6,000 members, in 17 branches of filmmaking expertise. Though seen as “an old boys’ club,” the Academy, in recent years, has worked hard to add younger and more diversified filmmakers to its ranks. Its Oscar awards are the premier honors in the filmmaking world. Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 25, and the 89th annual Oscar Awards ceremony will be telecast on Sunday night, February 26.
From the Golden Globe winners and the Oscar nominations and winners, Flat Rock Cinema makes its series selections. Already shown in January was Manchester by the Sea (Golden Globe Best Actor winner for Casey Affleck) and Fences (directed by and co-starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, who won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress).
“We’ll continue to show these award-worthy films as long as the audience keeps coming,” says Molton. “We might have enough great films to show until May.” Being a small theater, Flat Rock Cinema doesn’t usually know what films it can get from busy distributors until the week before. At press time, the following are among the probable choices for February. I’ve been lucky enough to see all the films, and give each one Five Stars or A+.
Hidden Figures is based on a little-known true story about African-American women mathematicians working at NASA in the early days of the space program, specifically helping to put John Glenn into orbit on February 20, 1962. It’s a rousing, patriotic, feel-good picture, with terrific performances from Taraji P. Henson (TV’s Empire), Janelle Monaé (singer/actor), and Octavia Spencer, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance (she won one in 2012, plus an Oscar and three additional industry awards, for Best Supporting Actress in The Help). Expect Oscar nominations for Acting, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Rated PG for thematic elements and some language. 127 min.
Jackie is a subtle, mesmerizing, mind-altering character study of the shy, lonely widow who turned her husband’s 1,000 days as the 35th President of the United States into the legend of Camelot. Jacqueline “Jackie” Bouvier Kennedy was only 34 when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963. In her famous blood-stained pink suit, Jackie watched, shell-shocked, as Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office on the plane back to Washington D.C. The grieving First Lady, against official “advice,” organized her husband’s funeral procession and burial at Arlington, creating historic imagery that the country never forgot. Natalie Portman’s touching performance is both surprising and heartbreaking — absolutely perfect. She was nominated for a Golden Globe. Expect Oscar nominations for Acting, Best Script, and Best Picture. Rated R for brief strong violence and some language. 100 min.
Loving is the story of a couple whose love for one another was so solid it allowed them to fight injustice all the way to the Supreme Court. When Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter fell in love in 1958, they went to Washington D.C.to get married because, as a mixed-raced couple, they could not legally be married in their home state of Virginia. When Mr. and Mrs. Loving came home, they were harassed, imprisoned, and threatened with deportation. After much suffering and soul-searching, they allowed civil-rights attorneys to name them as plaintiffs in Loving v. Virginia. In 1967, the case reached the Supreme Court — which invalidated state laws throughout the South that had prohibited mixed-race marriages. Both actors Ruth Negga (born in Ethiopia, raised in Ireland) and Joel Edgerton (from Australia) were nominated for Golden Globes. Expect Oscar nominations for Acting and for Best Adapted Script. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements. 123 min.
Hell or High Water is a modern crime tale, as mythic as any classic Western, filled with complex heroes, dangerous bank robberies, and breathtaking scenery (eastern New Mexico stands in for West Texas). Down-on-their-luck brothers Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) carry out near-flawless armed robberies of branches of the Texas Midland Bank, which is threatening to foreclose on their mother’s house. Their exploits put them in the spotlight of Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges), who vows to capture the unknown robbers. The men become opposing forces that only violence can soothe. The film received Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture and Best Script, and won a Best Supporting Actor for Jeff Bridges. No doubt that there will be Oscar nods in the same categories, as well as for Cinematography. Rated R for some strong violence, language throughout, and brief sexuality. 102 min.
The 13th Annual Golden Globes & Oscar Series will be shown at Flat Rock Cinema (2700 Greenville Hwy.). It’s a small theater with fewer than 100 seats: call ahead for reservations. To see the updated film schedule and current show times, visit www.flatrockcinema.com. 828-697-2463.