by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
The Oscars did their thing last week, mostly as expected but with a few surprises. The Academy’s voters have their preferences for what they celebrate, and any of us might disagree for a wide variety of reasons. (My personal take: Frozen II and Little Women deserved better.) In any case, all of the winners and nominees are well-made movies on some level, and they spark conversations. Find out what the discussion is about by checking out some of them at your local library.
The Best Actress Oscar went to Renee Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland in the movie Judy, which is available to check out at the Litchfield Library and 17 other locations in Pioneerland Library System. This is her second Oscar; her first was for Supporting Actress in Cold Mountain. Reviewers generally said that the movie itself isn’t amazing but Zellweger’s performance is. She plays the beloved entertainer in 1968 as Garland performs a series of sold-out concerts, fights with management, begins a romance with her fifth husband, and struggles with anxiety and health problems.
Brad Pitt snagged a Best Supporting Actor Oscar this year for his performance in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, available on DVD at the Litchfield Library and 22 other libraries in our system. The film also won the Oscar for production design with its late 1960s setting. Pitt plays a stuntman and friend to a faded television star who is trying to make it in the film industry. This Quentin Tarantino movie places fictional people like Pitt’s character next to real-life people like actress Sharon Tate, played by Margot Robbie, and imagines how history could have gone differently. This was Pitt’s second Oscar but his first for acting; his other Oscar was for producing 12 Years a Slave.
Toy Story 4 won the award for Best Animated Feature, as Toy Story 3 did nine years ago. The series seemed to have ended with that third movie, but movie reviewers say this is the heartwarming sequel no one knew they needed. Woody’s new kid Bonnie makes a toy out of a fork, but Forky calls himself “trash” instead of a toy. This lively, beautifully-animated film addresses issues of finding your purpose and accepting mortality. You can check out Litchfield Library’s copy or borrow one from 21 other libraries.
The award for Best Original Song went to Elton John and Bernie Taupin for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman. This biopic includes elements of musical fantasy as it dramatizes the highs and lows of Elton John’s life story using his songs, complete with choreographed numbers. The Rocketman DVD is available to check out at Litchfield Library and 18 other locations.
Some of the other winners are available to order through the Pioneerland catalog, even though they haven’t yet made it to the shelf at our local library. Parasite was this year’s big winner, coming away with Best Picture, Best Director, Best International Feature Film, and Best Original Screenplay. Bong Joon Ho wrote, directed, and produced this South Korean film about two families that develop a symbiotic (or parasitic) relationship: the wealthy Parks and their modern-day servants, the Kims. This DVD is currently available in two libraries, but more copies will be coming.
Two more Oscar-winning movies are currently available to order in Pioneerland. Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor for his performance in Joker, an origin story for a character familiar from the Batman comics and movies. The film also won the award for original score. Ford v Ferrari won the awards for film editing and sound editing, dramatizing the true story of the Ford Motor Company’s quest to develop a race car to take on the Ferrari in automobile racing in 1966.
More of this year’s winners and nominees will become available as they are released on DVD, so check the catalog and the shelves in the coming months for the movies you are curious to see.