Armchair Oscars – 2014

| March 1, 2015 | 0 Comments

Best Picture

Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu)
The Nominees: American Sniper, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash

Under the Skin
(Directed by Jonathan Glazer)
My Nominees: Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance (Alejandro González Iñárritu), The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson), Guardians of the Galaxy (Directed by James Gunn),
The LEGO Movie (Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller), Living Things (Eric Shapiro), Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 (Lars von Trier), Nymphomaniac Vol. 2 (Lars von Trier), Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)


If you’ve been watching The Academy Awards for as long as I have, you look forward to those rare times when the winners aren’t so darned telegraphed in advance that there is actually a reason to watch the show.  While it is true that no year comes without a least some bits of inevitability (which, for this particular year, came in the supporting categories), it’s nice when there is at least some chance that the top prize is a toss-up.

Two Thousand-Fourteen was such a year as two very different movies squared off for Best Picture and no one really knew which one would be the winner.  In one corner was Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, the heartfelt examination of the formative years of a pair of Texas siblings that the director filmed over 12 years so that the boy and his sister could grow up naturally on the screen.  In the other corner was Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance starring Michael Keaton as a once-great movie star who is now past 60 and feels and the soul-crushing pain of never having reached his potential.  Although both were labors of love, the academy chose the latter.  I’m not complaining because, to be honest, I was was in the minority of those who really weren’t swept away by Boyhood.

I’m glad that the academy chose Birdman, because it shows that, once in a while, their taste does lean toward something new and original wherein most years they choose to tread safe, non-threatening waters (I’m looking right at YOU, King’s Speech).  Movies like Birdman usually have to settle for a single award in the Original Screenplay category, but it claimed four awards that night.  Among these nominees Birdman was the most challenging while others, for the most part, were kind of traditional.  All were about struggles in one way or another, whether it was against PTSD, ALS, white people, teachers, false accusations, career stress, homophobia or growing pains.

Originality was hard to come by in two thousand-fourteen if you stayed within Hollywood’s mainstream product.  The best and most challenging films were those outside the major releases.  I put Birdman on my ten best at #2, right behind my favorite film of the year, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, a bizarre science fiction whatzit that divided so many people that it was both cheered and booed at the Venice Film festival.  That divisiveness is mounted on Glazer’s refusal to give us an easy-to-swallow narrative.  That was the prime directive of his previous film Birth – about a woman played by Nicole Kidman who becomes convinced that a 10 year-old boy is the reincarnation of her dead lover – which also left critics and audiences divided.  Birth was a little more straight-forward, while Under the Skin is nutty in the way that it bends the fabric of all that we know about cinematic orientation in order to make a bold statement on gender, sexism and the all-consuming power of what it means to be human.

Loosely based on a 2001 novel by Michel Faber, Under the Skin is structured, in many ways, like Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.  The boundaries and definitions of what we are seeing are not spelled out for us.  Glazer is unwilling to hold your hand to guide you though this story.  He simply shows you the images and lets your imagination interpret what you are seeing.  He provides the bones and the muscle, but your brain provides the connective tissue.  Sound complicated?  Stick around.

The movie opens with several elements on which it is difficult to get a foothold.  Somewhere in deep space we see a group of circles forming into a solid shape.  As the shapes evolve, a voice can be heard emerging from the soundtrack making sounds that we quickly decipher as repeated attempts to mimic English.  As the shapes form into a singularity, we recognize a familiar object – a human eye.  When the shapes and the voice reach earth, they have found a form that we can understand, a human form that looks very much like Scarlett Johansson.

Johannson plays a woman listed in the credits only as “The Female,” but who introduces herself to wayward men as Laura.  She’s an alien who has come to Earth for a purpose that we quickly realize has nothing to do with interplanetary unity.  She’s here to process human beings by stealing their skin and grinding up the meat for a purpose that is never completely revealed.  We get a sense that the particulars of this mission are nothing new.  As she ascends from her ship, she retrieves the clothing from a dead alien (Lynsey Taylor Mackay) whom she has apparently come to replace.  Moving unnoticed amid the human populace for the first time, she steps into a store and dons another skin, a fur coat.

Driving a van around a small town in Scotland, she is a hunter, luring lonely, horny young men to her driver’s side window, beckoning them with small talk and unspoken promises of sex.  The men are interesting.  They all seem somewhat desperate and the locations in which she picks them up seem distant and anonymous.  Like any killer, she carefully chooses men that she suspects will not immediately be missed.  For reasons the movie never explains, she never attempts to pick up a woman.

The men are amazed by their good fortune to meet this woman.  Laura is a gorgeous woman, donned in a brown fur coat, jet-black hair and a shock of red lipstick, bearing the look of a prostitute who is on the clock.  The conversations between Laura and the men are not important.  The men have thick Scottish accents which are often indecipherable to western ears.   What’s clear is that Laura hasn’t quite mastered human conversation.  She peppers them with questions, apparently unaware that she’s suppose to wait for an answer.

The men couldn’t care less.  They are not with this woman for conversation, that’s why they are so easily led into the interior of her ship – a pitch black void that they never question.  Their eyes are glued to Laura’s supple form which they don’t dismiss even as they realize that they are sinking into a black ink where their skin is removed and the meat is shuffled down a moving platform, we guess, to be processed as food.

This is a cold-blooded mission, and if this were a horror movie, we might expect a hero to come out of hiding, much Reese in like The Terminator.  That’s not the case, this is not that kind of movie.  There’s a man on a motorcycle (Jeremy McWilliams), but he seems to be aiding her.  Perhaps he is her handler.  Whoever he is, he’s not pleased with what Laura is discovering about herself.  Breaking away from the terms of her apparent mission, Laura begins to feel something for this pathetic human race.  She is attracted to something about us; something about our manner, our sorrow, our traditions, our customs, our simple housekeeping details.  She observes our superficial customs, especially from women whose major preoccupation is constructing and reconstructing their looks.  Curious, she makes an attempt to emulate this practice by trying lipstick for the first time.  She observes humanity in action, people doing meaningless things that seem mindless to humans but perplexing to the visitor.

The breaking point comes during an odd encounter while on her nightly hunt.  She picks up a man (Adam Pearson) whose face has been deformed by neurofibromatosis, and as she talks with him, he admits that he is a virgin and has no close contacts.  Talking with him, she finds that he’s not really interested in sex and keeps pinching his own hands, perhaps trying to see if this is a dream.  She pities this man and lets him go.

This humane gesture will, in many ways, become part of her undoing.  The man on the motorcycle seems to know what she’s doing, and senses that she is no longer fit for the parameters of her mission.  Aware of her transgression, she ditches the clothes and the van and escapes to a small town where her mind is opened more and more to the intricacies of the human world.  She discovers television, music, sex, and dessert.  In a mirror one night, she even discovers the luminous joy of her own naked body.  Some of these things she appreciates, much of it she does not.  In trying a piece of cake, she spits it out.  In trying sex for the first time, she is confused with the mechanics of human genitalia.

Under the Skin is a movie that you have the break apart in your mind.  The director tells you only what you need to know through his visual palette which sometimes feels like guerrilla filmmaking.  But what lies under the surface is a bitter cold allegory about how people look at beauty.  Yes, Laura is a beautiful woman, but under all that beauty is a creature that the human eye cannot relate to.

This is most evident as her journey comes to an end when she is confronted by a logger who tries to rape her in the woods.  During the struggle, he cuts her and sees that underneath her borrowed skin is a blackened form – her true self.  Terrified, he sets her on fire wherein the ashes rise into the sky and fall back to Earth.  From this image, I could only think of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  That, in effect, is what Laura is – a body snatcher, stealing skins.

It is fitting that Under the Skin opens with the formation of a human eyeball.  The movie is all about perception, what we see, what we observe, how we respond to our definition of beauty.  The men around Laura, for the most part, react with a kind of hostility, be it physical violence or sexual violence.  The young men that she picks up only regard her with sexual hostility.  She’s a succubus, using that beauty to lure them into her trap.  Many are halfway into the black murk before they realize what is happening.  Yet, she is not beyond a soul.

Laura’s journey beings with the idea that Earth is merely a hunting ground – suit up and hunt your prey.  But looking under the surface – under the skin – she begins to realize that beauty is only skin deep.  She sees human beings for the fragile and sometimes superficial creatures that they are.  She see how they regard themselves and, more disturbing, how they regard each other.  Earth is an intricate planet, all full of temptations, fascinations, and curiosities that force her to question her mission.  She witnesses the mundane nature of humanity itself, its rituals, its customs, its minor intricacies.  It’s a big, bold confusing world full of things she only half understands.  She regards the beauty of the world, but it regards her beauty with a kind of coldness – in many ways regarding her the way she first regarded it.  The men want sex.  They see what they want and they are willing to take it.  The logger sees what he wants, but when he rips open Laura’s skin and sees the real Laura underneath, he is frightened.  He no longer sees what he wants and destroys her.

Late in the film, when she ditches the van and moves to a small town to get off the radar of the man on the motorcycle, we can see something in her eyes that makes her question what she is doing.  Why is she bastardizing this beautiful planet?  Is there something here for her?

Of course, all of this is metaphor, and most of the story is left unexplained.  Under the Skin contains dialogue but it isn’t necessary, this could easily have been a silent film.  The connections made between Laura and the human world are spoken in hushed tones that are often covered up by the sounds of the city.  The men speak in thick Scottish brogues that are sometimes hard to decipher – we’re hearing it through her ears, making out words but straining to understand them as a whole

Best Actor

Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
The Nominees: Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Michael Keaton (Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Michael Keaton (Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
My Nominees: André Benjamin (Jimi: All is By My Side), Macon Blair (Blue Ruin), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Liam Neeson (A Walk Among the Tombstones), David Oyelowo (Selma), Joaquin Phoenix (Inherent Vice), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), Andy Sirkis (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)


For playing world-renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything British actor Eddie Redmayne became the ninth Best Actor winner of the millennium to play a real life person, and the only one of those nine actors to play someone who was still living. By all accounts, his performance is a checklist of all the things that the Academy voters like in a performance:

* He plays a real life person – check.
* He plays someone suffering from a debilitating affliction – check.
* He overcomes that affliction – check.
* He has a complicated relationship with his spouse – check.
* His story is inspiring – check.
* No one points out the movie’s flaws because everybody loves Stephen Hawking – double check.

I admit that I didn’t expect to like this performance quite as much as I did. I groaned when I first saw trailers for the film, feeling that it was just another overcoming-adversity story that was high on inspiration and low on the meaty bits of a life being lived. I was sort of right. While I liked Redmayne’s performance, I am not a great fan of the movie. It weighs heavy on Hawking’s struggles with ALS and how it affects his marriage to his supportive but frustrated wife Jane (Best Actress nominees Felicity Jones), but lite on Hawking’s theories, which are presented as a side-note. Here is a brilliant mind, a mind that is reaching to expand our minds about the vastness of the universe while being stuck in a body that is rapidly shutting down, and yet the movie treats his work like an interesting footnote.

I see the flaws in the movie, but I will not deny the power of Redmayne’s performance. He occupies the role of Stephen Hawking without asking for our sympathies – he doesn’t have to. The best scenes in the movie take place in the years when Hawking’s disability rapidly overtake his body – this is a very physical performance, and Redmayne is able to convince us physically and viscerally that we are looking at the real thing.

Redmayne’s win was something of an upset. He won the Oscar that everyone thought would go to my choice for Best Actor, Michael Keaton in a great comeback role in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). It was a joy to see Keaton back in form after a decade of admittedly dry sauce.

Keaton is one of the most approachable of actors, a man who had been a great screen comedian for 10 years, starting in 1982 with Nightshift and then hitting his peak in 1989 after being improbably cast as Batman, leading many angry fans to regard the news with “Really? Mr. Mom?” The movie would become a worldwide phenomenon, but also a height that Keaton never reached again. After the joyless sequel Batman Returns in 1992, he hung up the cape and cowl for good and then slipped into an acting career that kind of coasted.  Occasionally he would rebound slightly with critical praise for his performances in My Life, Out of Sight and Game 6, but nothing was very significant, until he was approached to play one of the strangest roles of his career, one that not only reinvigorated his career but also contained shadows of his biggest success.

In Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Keaton accepted a role that was, in part, art imitating life.  There is virtually no way that he could brush off comparisons between his own career and that of the character that he plays in Birdman, a once great box office star of a hit superhero franchise who walked away from the series at its height but never really found that level of success again. As moviegoers, we love connectivity – we love seeing actors parallel their lives on the screen. We love to ask “what if?” What if Keaton had continued his role as Batman under the direction of Joel Schumacher? Would he still be as beloved for the role of Batman if he continued as the series drowned itself in camp?

To ask those questions is to wonder if Keaton himself ever considered this. Alas, we shall never know what might have become of the series and that question is what gives a movie like Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) a bit of poignancy.

Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, a once great box office superstar who starred in the blockbuster Birdman series twenty-five years ago but walked away after three films, effectively giving up the fame and the money that went with it. Now, past 60, Riggan is the prime candidate for the “Where Are They Now?” files, a washed up actor who feels that he never reached his potential. Yet, something keeps pulling him back. He misses the notoriety that went with the role, and it doesn’t help that his brain is constantly infected with the gravelly voice of Birdman reminding him of this fact at every moment that he has a moment to think.

The urgent need to redeem himself and restore a degree of respectability is causing Riggan to lose his marbles. In a last ditch effort, he has staked his reputation and all of his money on writing, directing and starring in a flouncy Broadway adaptation of Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.”

Riggan always seems on edge. Like a tight-rope walker afraid he’ll stumble and fall, he’s always shaking, always fearful that he will get knocked on the floor and won’t be able to get back up. His career is only the surface of his problems. We watch the backstage preparation for a play that everyone believes is shaping up to be a disaster. Every conceivable misstep and mishap is resting on Riggan’s shoulders, and the people around him are not exactly comforting. His daughter Sam (Emma Stone) is now his personal assistant – and a reminder of his lousy parenting skills. Laura, his leading lady (Andrea Riseborough), may be carrying his child. One of the cast members (Jeremy Shamos) has been struck dead by a falling stage light. That leads to his biggest stumbling block, the casting of Mike Shiner (Edward Norton), the self-involved leading man who is not only bedding one of the other cast members (Noami Watts), but is known to unexpectedly improvise.

To watch Riggan is to watch an actor adrift in his own public image, whose most prolific moments have nothing to do with his work, like a video that goes viral after he accidentally locks himself out of his dressing room and ends up in the street in nothing but his underwear. When he’s alone, his mind takes flights of fancy and the Birdman persona engulfs him. In fact, the first time we see him, he’s alone in his dressing room seated in the lotus position floating three feet off the floor. Later, as he walks down the busy New York sidewalks, Birdman appears over his shoulder and whispers venomous poison into his ear.

Thomson’s escape into the Birdman persona is off-set by the inescapable reality that his attempts to gain respectability are doomed to fail. That reality, by the way, is established by Iñárritu’s staging, which (through some creative editing) makes the movie look like one continuous shot that takes us down corridors and around corners and eventually between the skyscrapers of New York City. Yet, Riggan cannot escape his own skin; he cannot fly away from the reality that has him bound to the terra firma.

As opening night approaches and the pressure on Riggan mounts, the taunting voice in his head grows louder until it’s unclear what’s real and what’s imaginary. The film breaks with reality too, jackknifing into a trippy detour that audiences will either go with or not. For me, there was never any question. I was so all-in on Keaton’s vanity-free, go-for-broke metamorphosis I would have followed him, or the movie, anywhere. Which is pretty much where it asks you to go.

The beauty of watching Keaton in this role is seeing the culmination of his career. Riggan Thomson can be seen as a sort of George Bailey-esque reflection of what Keaton has been through – on the negative side of course. We see in Riggan the funny, twitchy sharp-tongued wit that made us fall in love with Keaton in the first place – it’s still present after all these years. Then we are given constant reminders of the peak of his career with the winged pestilence that forever hangs around neck, reminding him of what he gave up and the years of insignificance that followed, and his shot at redemption that comes at an age when most actors are slipping into semi-retirement.

Batman will practically be on Keaton’s headstone – it’s inevitable. So, it is a relief that he got this shot to prove that he was much more than a movie superhero. Riggan feared that in giving himself over to his on-screen persona that he lost much of his great potential. That may be true of Michael Keaton. Perhaps he had reached that height and then was never able to match it in the years that immediately followed. The connectivity of his career, his persona, and his shot at redemption in Birdman gives us the feeling that whatever his career may have been through, it wasn’t for nothing.

Best Actress

Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
The Nominees:
Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

Jennifer Anniston (Cake)
My Nominees: Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Scarlett Johansson (Under the Skin), Rhoda Jordan (Living Things), Rinko Kikuchi (Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter), Agata Kulsza (Ida), Guga Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive)


Anyone who follows “Armchair Oscars,” at least in the last 20 or so Best Actress choices, will note that I have a particular – and somewhat shameless – affection for Julianne Moore.   This is something that I embrace without apology.  Her name turns up quite often here for her performances in Safe, Far From Heaven and the under-appreciated gem The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio.

I don’t know why I gush.  Yes, she’s beautiful but there is something else going on there.  You can always sense that her characters have intelligence tinged with a hint of vulnerability.  There’s nothing guarded about her, she seems open and so you can always feel what she’s feeling.

As to the Oscars, Moore had to spend many years as an Oscar bridesmaid with nominations for seminal work in Boogie Nights, The End of the Affair, The Hours and Far From Heaven.  Yet, it would take a disease to finally get her the award for Best Actress.

Based on the book by Lisa Genova, Still Alice follows the uneasy trek of Alice Howland, a celebrated Columbia linguistics professor who, at only 50 years of age, is suddenly diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s Disease.  The movie is a sad journey through the inevitable downfall as Alice struggles with a disease that will eventually rob her of her faculties, and worse is the fact that she gets to see it all happen first-hand.  Where Moore’s skill comes into play is in the realization that Alice is completely alert and aware that her condition is robbing her of her identity and her faculties.  Late in the film, she plays the role all in her eyes.  As her brain begins to become non-functional, we can see in her eyes the Alice that is struggling to get out.

Standing back from the film, it might be easy to write off Moore’s performance as just another woe-is-me-disease-role that Oscar voters seem to gravitate toward, especially when you consider that this is the fifth Best Actress performance in a row from an actress playing someone with a mental disorder – after Natalie Portman in Black Swan (schizophrenia), Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady (dementia), Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook (neurosis), and Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine (mental breakdown).

Although I liked Moore’s performance, I’d have to say that out of these five women, her role was the most conventional.  Not that it was bad, Moore’s best asset in the performance is that we see the character first and the disease second.  Yet, as much as I liked Moore, I know I’m going to see greatness from her.  My choice comes from a completely unexpected source because, truth be told, I never thought much about Jennifer Anniston.  I never saw “Friends” so I only know her from her film work which has resulted in a not-so-enviable filmography weighed down mostly by superfluous romantic comedies.  Yet, I like her, I’ve liked her in comedies like Office Space and The Good Girl and Horrible Bosses, but then she blind-sided me with a surprisingly good dramatic turn in Daniel Barnz human drama called Cake.

One of the toughest jobs that a comedian can have in turning to drama is to convince us that it is not just a stunt.  Anniston meets this challenge but also manages to convince us that she can play a character who is basically unlikable.  That is a tricky mixture, like walking a high-wire that will either endear the audience or repel them.  This is a brilliant dramatic turn for Anniston who, after two decades of playing light comedy, dares to delve into drama in which she is unglamorous, devoid of make-up and sporting flattering clothes, and even leaves her trademark Rachel Hair an unkempt mess.

In Cake, Anniston plays Claire Bennett, whom we first meet seated her own private nest of cynicism and self-pity.  She’s a bitter pill to take.  As the movie opens we see her seated in a support group for women in chronic pain.  The group’s simpering leader (Felicity Huffman) is fumbling unsuccessfully to explain how a former group member who recently committed suicide is some kind of hero. Claire is having none of this. Asked to express her feelings, she launches into a tragically humorous verbal reenactment of the girl’s suicide, a fatal jump from an L.A. overpass that ended in an irony so bitter and so funny that you will feel ashamed for laughing. Claire sees the irony in the situation, others in the group do not. She is asked to leave the group.

Claire is  angry, bitter and disagreeable to the point that even her physical therapist quietly dismisses her. We can see how difficult she is, but because of what she’s been through we don’t completely dismiss her as a hollow shell of a person. Not long ago Claire was in a car accident that left her body covered in scars, and left her with physical pain so severe that she has developed an addiction to her pain medication. She has no simplistic, religious or even organic tools to deal with the tragedy that she has suffered.

There was something else lost in that accident that the movie is slow to reveal.  The particulars of Claire’s situation are doled out slowly so we have time to get to know her before we get a complete picture of her circumstances. Claire is obviously a damaged person who we have trouble taking a shine to but more and more, little by little throughout the movie pieces of her puzzle come to light, so that by the end what we’ve seen of Claire’s disagreeable attitude make complete sense.

Despite a fighting spirit hell-bent on not dealing with the situation, Claire becomes otherwise obsessed with the suicide of the girl from the group, named Nina (Anna Kendrick), whom she imagines in ghost form as she attempts to make sense of why someone would choose this final option. Claire herself has several trips to the edge of her own suicide, but something is holding her back, some passionate need to get a handle on what has happened to her. She takes a dangerous road to recovery in making friends with the girl’s husband Roy (Sam Worthington) and her young son, a union that doesn’t quite go where we expect.

To everyone else, Claire seems a lost cause, but one person cares deeply about her, her hired nurse Silvana (Adriana Barazza), a Mexican immigrant whose passionate faith won’t let her give up on this woman despite her employer’s indifference and constant verbal abuse, Silvana refuses to leave her side. This relationship too is not what we expect. Silvana has a life of her own outside of taking care of her employer, and Barazza (who was nominated for an Oscar in 2006 for Babel) gives a wonderful supporting performance as a Godly woman dealing with a difficult assignment.

The screenplay here, written by Patrick Tobin is free of gimmicks and emotional trickery. He’s written a story that has a nice flow. It doesn’t feel gummed up, but is thin enough to let the characters breathe. You feel the flow of real life in these characters, and even if the dialogue gets a little too poetic, you don’t mind because you become invested in Claire’s journey. If the movie has a weakness, it might be that it wears out its welcome at the end. The last half hour probably could have been shorter and a little bit cleaner, and there’s a minor subplot involving a teenage hitchhiker that feels a little tacked on.

Those problems aside, I’m happy for what the film is. Cake could have gone wrong in so many different ways. It could have turned into a pandering mess of heroic clichés and good feeling. But the script is smarter than that. This is the story of a very specific person with a very specific life who wallows in her misery until she finds a reason to keep going. Through Jennifer Anniston’s wonderful performance we see that Claire is not a wounded angel, she’s just a woman trying to find a measure of clarity. By the end, she’s still a bitter pill to take, but we care about her because of how far she’s come.


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About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
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