Though it might not always come off this way, I really don't want to be negative all the time. So, I'll do things like pour loads of thoughts into a post about A24's The Florida Project, which is without a doubt 2017's best film (don't @ me) (OK, go ahead and @ me). Director Sean Baker found a way to pull two soul-crushing performances out of relative unknown actresses like Bria Vinaite and Brooklynn Prince, who is so young yet acts like she's been here before. It also found a way to give Willem Defoe enough to shine, which he did; during this morning's Oscar nominations, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for this very film. This film that deserved to get all kinds of nominations but, for some reason, is left with a lone nom for this year's Academy Awards. And it pisses me off.
I had a lot to be happy for, mind you: Jordan Peele's Get Out had a great showing when it came to nominations (although, realistically, it feels like the film's chances of securing multiple Oscars, if any, are slim), and even Logan got a nom for Best Adapted Screenplay (which shouldn't surprise you at all). The problem is, I don't give a fuck about any of that: The Florida Project was the gut-punch America needed in 2017, and for some reason, the film didn't get its due when it came to Oscar noms. And if you think this is all just me blowing smoke about a film I enjoyed, you're bugging.
I think THE FLORIDA PROJECT is a film that's going to stick around, and will be remembered as one the Academy royally stiffed.— Guy Lodge (@GuyLodge) January 23, 2018
Sorry The Florida Project, you were a subtle and humane look at living poverty, but Three Billboards had a hilarious racist cop and kept saying "retard" a bunch of times— Alex Blagg (@alexblagg) January 23, 2018
*clears throat*— Joon Lee (@iamjoonlee) January 23, 2018
*steps up to the mic*
THE FLORIDA PROJECT GOT ROBBED AND THE POST IS THE CORNIEST MOVIE I’VE SEEN IN YEARS https://t.co/T5nXNAPNqC
Only one nomination for The Florida Project, baffling. Should have got a Best Picture nod and both the adult and child leads were incredible.— Darren Richman (@darrenrichman) January 23, 2018
We live in a world where DARKEST HOUR gets nominated for Best Picture, but THE FLORIDA PROJECT doesn't. So unfortunate.— Brad Mellesmoen (@Mellemental) January 23, 2018
When The Florida Project isn’t nominated for Best Picture. pic.twitter.com/Cv4j0dW8bJ— Josh Kurp (@JoshKurp) January 23, 2018
Nothing but respect for MY best picture nominee!!!!!— Tim Federle (@TimFederle) January 23, 2018
*grabs your shoulders*
Seriously see “The Florida Project” and see it often. pic.twitter.com/ciRePFSuuB
Now, I don't want to spend any of this post badmouthing these other films. And I truly hope Jordan Peele's Get Out takes all of the awards, even if it's just to see Peele throw all of these feels into an acceptance speech. But you're not going to sit here and tell me someone had a better performance than Brooklynn Prince as young Moonee did in 2017. You're not going to tell me that she doesn't deserve some solo recognition. Academy, you fucked up by not allowing a larger audience see Prince win everyone's hearts, like she did during her Best Young Performer acceptance speech at this year's Critic's Choice Awards.
She's seven, fam. And it isn't even just about Prince's dynamic performance. The movie is a feast for the eyes.
So happy for Willem Dafoe’s well-deserved Oscar nom, but The Florida Project also deserved Best Picture, Brooklynn Prince deserved Best Actress and come ON Alexis Zabe for Best Cinematography. Seriously.— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) January 23, 2018
the florida project not being nominated for cinematography is the worst snub .. ever pic.twitter.com/5xm5Gwi7P6— molly (@billowyshirt) January 23, 2018
And maybe that's the problem.
I was legitimately stunned "The Florida Project" wasn't nominated for Best Picture.— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) January 23, 2018
Then I remembered it's a gritty, unromantic look at poverty that forces the viewer to recognize conditions that actually exist in this country for millions of children.#Oscars2018
Were the Oscars shook? Was The Florida Project a bit too real for the Academy to seriously consider for more than one award nomination? That ending is some of the most heart-wrenching cinema I've seen in a bit, and without spoiling it, it definitely deals with issues of class and terrible parenting that will have you weeping. Could that just be a bit too honest for this year's Oscars?
Ultimately, it could just boil down to a surplus of "Oscar-worthy" films out there right now. Maybe cinema was that good in 2017 (though the box office numbers suggest otherwise). Whatever the case may be, you should at least see The Florida Project, and hope that either Brooklynn's future is going to be even bigger and brighter or that, at some point, the brutal honesty that's weaved within The Florida Project is better understood years from now.