The LAMB Devours The Oscars 2017: Best Picture Nominee: Arrival

by Jay Cluitt · January 31, 2017 · Featured, LAMB Devours the Oscars · 1 Comment

Every day until the Oscars ceremony we’ll be highlighting a different category or movie here on the LAMB! Here’s a link to all the posts written so far:

Tony Cogan from Coogs Reviews is here to talk about another of this year’s Best Picture nominees, Arrival:

For those of you who don’t know, Arrival was my favourite film of 2016. Ever since I first saw the film at the Toronto International Film Festival I fell in love with it. One of the biggest regrets that I have for cinema now is that I can never have that eureka moment where all the pieces in Arrival locked into place for me again, that was one of the best experiences I’ve had watching a film in a long time (plus seeing it at TIFF for the first time helped). I’m very pleased that Arrival has received the high number of nominations it has, each one helping to explain why Arrival is such a good film.

The nominations for Best Director and Best Cinematography are obvious ones. Denis Villeneuve’s direction of the film is excellent and works in conjunction with Bradford Young’s cinematography to create some unique sights. The film is kept as grounded as it needs to be in the scenes set on the ground but when the characters go into the ship, the direction and cinematography reach a whole new level, playing around with gravity and perspective to create some of the most creative shots I’ve seen this year. This also leads into the nomination for Best Production Design. The design of the main military base is strong, being very practical and believable for what the military would set up in a few hours, and the design of the interior of the ship is effectively bare bones. What little we see of the interior creates a very foreboding atmosphere which feeds into the overall tone of the film. The sound design of the film (represented through nominations for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing) further adds to the atmosphere, creating a, for lack of a better term, alien feel whenever we hear Abbott and Costello speak to the human characters.

The two nominations it has received that are the most deserved, in my opinion, are the nominations for Best Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay. The editing of the film is excellent, the way the scenes are all laid out being expertly done, but you don’t realise just how good the editing of the film is until after you’ve seen it, once you’ve experienced the twist, and you think back on the film as a whole. The screenplay meanwhile is incredibly intelligent, bringing in complex ideas related to the nature of language and the difficulties in translating a language that we have no comprehension of, along with the relationship between language and thought (the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis) and elements regarding the nature of time. More relevantly, it discusses the nature of cooperation and how fear mongering, paranoia and isolationism are the biggest dangers that we face in our society and that we need to work together, unite with each other in order to make the changes the world needs.

There is one big oversight with the Oscars and Arrival though and that’s Amy Adams not being nominated for Best Actress. I mean, Meryl Streep is a brilliant actress but she should not have been nominated for Florence Foster Jenkins over Amy Adams. Adams brings so much intelligent and pain to her performance as Louise Banks that the film would fall apart without her. I’m hard pressed to find any other actress who could have played the role as brilliantly as Adams did, although I can’t go more into detail about it due to the risk of spoiling the film. This is the biggest snub in the Oscars this year and I can very easily see a Kermode Award heading towards Amy Adams.

But yeah, despite the massive oversight in not nominating Amy Adams for Best Actress, all of the other nominations for Arrival are on point and out of all of the films nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars, this is the one I’m rooting for.

What did you think of Arrival?

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