As I started to write up this very late take on today’s Oscar nominations, some Frenkie de Jong news broke on Twitter and I was rightfully distracted. If the stories from the Catalan press to be believed then de Jong will be playing for FC Barcelona next summer. I had to search for any Dutch sports sites to confirm the story because if bloated, drawn out transfer sagas have taught me anything, it’s find a second source in the country that the player is connected to. The last few months have been an absolute roller coaster of emotions for me and Frenkie de Jong. It went from love to frustration (that was when it was reported he was going to go to P$G) and perhaps back to love? I am not 100% sure. Maybe I need to see the kid in the Barcelona team store customizing his jersey on Instagram stories to believe it’s real. Is it a good move for the club? In a way it is because de Jong could possibly replace Sergio Busquets in at the defensive midfiedler role or as a midfield work horse like Ivan Rakitic, but where does that leave promising La Masia talent, Oriol Busquets? Oriol, while not related to Sergio seems to destined to slide into the DM role. Then there’sCarles Alena, Arthur, Riqui Puig, Sergi Roberto and, Arturo Vidal all fighting it out for a spot in the midfield. Who leaves in the summer? Is it the right move for de Jong? In spite of my love of seeing de Jong in a Barcelona shirt, it seemed like a move to Manchester City would’ve been better for his career. It’s great to play with Messi, but come on, who doesn’t want to work with Pep Guardiola?
Okay, Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Sports Italy has now reported on the de Jong to Barca deal. I believe that we can call this is a done deal, but then again, we might need to see de Jong walking through Barcelona-El Prat Airport to believe it’s a done deal.
With that out of my system, let’s look at today’s nominations. My initial, blurry eyed, still in bed reaction was “these nominations fucking suck.” After some time to sit and think and connect with the sun, the sky and nature, these nominations still fucking suck. There are a lot of good to great pictures nominated and I’m absolutely glad that they were recoginzed, but I’m at a cross roads with my personal film going experience. I don’t know if I want to go an art house with a bunch of spoiled entitled retirees who treat the theater like it’s their living room just to watch a three hour German film.
I think the biggest problem for me is that last year, the Academy got so many things right. Sure, Three Toliet Seats was nominated and won awards, but it didn’t win Best Original Screenplay or Best Picture. Last year’s nominees for Best Director was incredible. You had Paul Thomas Anderson, the third greatest living American filmmaker; Christopher Nolan, Gulliermo del Toro, Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig.
As I started to get into the section of the take, a Dutch newspaper reported on the de Jong to Barcelona story and said it was for 90 million Euros. Once again, I apoglize for getting distracted. It’s a pretty big piece of news.
What I’m trying to say that is that I don’t feel that these nominations do enough justice to the quality of films released in 2018. When you choose to reward and honor films like Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody over something like Crazy Rich Asians, If Beale Street Could Talk, Leave No Trace, Eighth Grade or even, First Man, it just seems weird. There has been such a big push for diversity and youth into the Academy ranks and when the group decides to reward old fashion movies aobut white people, it just feels hollow.
The thing about de Jong, from the matches I’ve seen him play, he has reminded me of Barcelona legend Javier Mascherano. A silky Mache. I just wonder if he’s going to be able to play up to his price tag. 90 million! Dembele has started to reach the potential of his 2017 price tag and I wish the same could be said about Coutinho. Coutinho started off well, but well, the present is the present. Maybe Coutinho just needs to score a goal to get things back on track.
I don’t know if I want to spend four hours of my time on an award show where Peter Farrelly can get up at any moment and start yelling about stuff all over again. I don’t know if I have the energy to watch an award show that’ll probably reward Rami Malek’s impression that wouldn’t even get him a callback at an audition for Mad TV when our friend Ethan Hawke did such a great job in First Reformed. I know that John Bailey, current president of the Academy is very worried about growing the audience, but he doesn’t seem all that interested in retaining the loyal Oscar audience. Bailey doesn’t have any control over what does and what doesn’t get nominated, but I will still place all of the blame of the nominations onto his shoulders.
It’s not all negative though. Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira were both nominated for their great work in Roma. That’s a positive. Nicholas Britell was nominated for his perfect score to If Beale Street Could Talk. How does Green Book get nominated for Best Editing over Fallout? The Paris chase sequence in Fallout doesn’t just magically happen. It wasn’t edited in camera, but I guess it’s much harder to find the right take of Viggo Mortensen eating a pizza. An incredible piece of genre filmmaking is for the birds when you can celebrate a film that primarily cuts between master, close up and a two shot!
Obviously, Barcelona will have to make some sales in the summer window to accomedate de Jong’s fee, but who goes? It seems like Rakitic will be on the way and maybe Coutinho if he can’t turn his season around. Although it would be too early to give up on the Brazilian. It usually takes players a season or two to fully transition into the club.
So, Frenkie de Jong going to Barcelona is great. Most of the nominations are good, but there are a lot of stinkers in the mix and go Rams!