July 1, 2017

Hugo Voting: Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (or, Hugo Goes To the Movies)

To continue with my Hugo voting, here is my ballot for BDP-LF.

The nominees:

Arrival, screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short story by Ted Chiang, directed by Denis Villeneuve (21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films)

Deadpool, screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, directed by Tim Miller (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Marvel Entertainment/Kinberg Genre/The Donners’ Company/TSG Entertainment)

Ghostbusters, screenplay by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig, directed by Paul Feig (Columbia Pictures/LStar Capital/Village Roadshow Pictures/Pascal Pictures/Feigco Entertainment/Ghostcorps/The Montecito Picture Company)

Hidden Figures, screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, directed by Theodore Melfi (Fox 2000 Pictures/Chernin Entertainment/Levantine Films/TSG Entertainment)

Rogue One, screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, directed by Gareth Edwards (Lucasfilm/Allison Shearmur Productions/Black Hangar Studios/Stereo D/Walt Disney Pictures)

Stranger Things, Season One, created by the Duffer Brothers (21 Laps Entertainment/Monkey Massacre)

My rankings:

(Would that he had stayed there...)

7) Deadpool

Sometimes a snarky asshole is just a snarky asshole. I watched about fifteen minutes of this before I decided this one had no redeeming value.

6) No Award

(She should have been the real star.)

5) Ghostbusters

Laying aside the whole remake-ate-my-childhood kerfluffle, this was just...okay. I'm happy it got made, Holtzmann was awesome, and Chris Hemsworth stole the show with his end credits dancing. But it's not something I would buy and keep for repeat viewings (unlike, say, Wonder Woman).

(Hey, aren't you supposed to be blue, Felicity?)

4) Rogue One

This was a dark and gritty Star Wars tale, in the same ballpark as Empire if not the same rarefied air. That said, it was also a most egregious example of Smurfette Syndrome, and the more I think about it the more irritated I get. As much as I like Chirrut and Baze, there was no in-story reason for them to default to male. We could just as easily have had Chirruth and Bazi, or Bodhiya Rook. (I would keep Diego Luna, however, as he's cuter than a junebug.) Honestly, I can understand affirmative-action laws, as absent some stiff legal prodding (or public shame) Hollywood still reverts to the sausage-fest.

(The real stars, Winona Ryder notwithstanding.)

3) Stranger Things, Season One

I never played Dungeons and Dragons, but I remember the 80's, and I nominated this. Sometimes Netflix's series (looking at you, Luke Cage, and even the excellent Jessica Jones to a degree) sag and drag in the middle, but this series' eight-episode run is the perfect fit. Millie Bobby Brown is outstanding.

(I just realized two of the movie's characters are transposed in this photo. Dorothy Vaughan, played by Octavia Spencer, is the woman in green on the right, and Taraji P. Henson, in the center, portrayed Katherine Johnson.)

2) Hidden Figures

For me, the best moment from the 2017 Academy Awards was when they wheeled 94-year-old Katherine Johnson out on the stage. Can you imagine, living long enough to see a successful and Oscar-nominated film about your life (and the lives of two of your fellow black women at NASA)? Who would have thought that a story about calculations on a chalkboard could be so riveting?

(It's a good thing this film was made before the election. Otherwise, we would've had the president* bleating out "Space Octopussy! Sad!" on Twitter.)

1) Arrival

If it had been any other year, Hidden Figures would have done it for me. But this is the year of Arrival, which has already won the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation at the Nebulas. (Also, Amy Adams was simply cheated out of an Oscar nomination.) Not only is it based on one of the best SF stories ever written, Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life," it does a very good job of translating that story's twisty concepts to the screen, in a manner that richly rewards a second viewing. It's a breath of fresh air to see a movie resolve its conflicts by talking, and understanding, rather than fighting.

Next up: Best Novelette

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