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.
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.
And maybe that's the problem.
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.