We here at Cosmopolitan are absolutely obsessed with movies, but we get that you’re a busy person and it’s hard to see all the films that are going to be “important” in any given year. In this series, Low-Key Highbrow, we’re giving you the basic gist on every one of those pictures you probably should have seen but never got around to. When your friend inevitably throws that Oscars watch party, we’re here to help you scam your way into sounding like the smartest person in the room.
If you’re looking for a movie that has some of the best actors on the planet working alongside some of the brightest upcoming talent, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the film for you. Director Quentin Tarantino’s ninth movie is an absolute trip. It follows Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), an aging actor, and his stuntman, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they navigate a Hollywood that isn’t nearly as welcoming to them as it used to be. Throw in a Charles Manson run-in and Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) as Rick’s neighbor, and things get pretty interesting.
Tarantino is one of those directors who will generate awards buzz regardless of what the project is because he just has that reputation in Hollywood. The film premiered at Cannes in May and the reviews were mostly positive, but it did come with some controversy, which we’ll get to later. It’s made almost $400 million at the box office. The first time I saw this movie, I left my screening and googled every possible thing I could about it for the next week. It’s so fun to watch. Brad and Leo act their asses off, and the ending is truly bonkers. It’s one of the only Best Picture nominees I’ve gone out of my way to see twice.
The film has been nominated for a bunch of awards this season. Brad has won essentially every Supporting Actor trophy possible, and the movie won Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes. Tarantino also took home the Best Screenplay prize.
Now, OUATIH is one of the nine films in the running for Best Picture. If it wins, there might be some blowback. Here are both sides of the argument.
Why people would be pumped if it won:
- It’s a movie that’s not based on any other intellectual property, like a comic book character or a preexisting franchise like Star Wars, and it did so well at the box office. Right now, that combination is basically a unicorn in Hollywood.
- The acting is so damn good. It’s exciting to watch people like Brad do their thing the best they’ve done it in years. Watching the stars of this movie will make you excited about movies, and that’s what these awards are trying to encourage, right?
- It’s literally about the golden age of Hollywood, and the people who vote on the Oscars love the circle jerk of giving the top prize to a film that glamorizes what they do.
Why people would be pissed if it won:
- Hoo, boy, where do I begin! Let’s start with the women. When this film first came out, people were really critical about Margot’s lack of dialogue as Sharon Tate. Like, she has a handful of lines in the entire movie. This year’s Best Picture nominees are mostly a boys’ club, and this is definitely part of that.
- Bruce Lee is also depicted in this movie, and his family was not altogether happy with how he was shown. He basically comes off as a total asshole, and that didn’t sit well with people. Considering the majority of the cast is white, it’s not the best look to make the one person of color in the movie a total jerk.
- As mentioned above, this cast is almost entirely white. It’s 2020. There are other films that better represent our actual world.
- The movie is supposed to depict the “golden age” of Hollywood, but if there are hardly any women or any people of color in it, what “golden age” are we talking about here?
- Critics said the movie was a little too long and winding, and a lot of people didn’t love the outlandish ending.
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