Full services resume tomorrow: As expected, the monster movie/Cold War espionage thriller/romantic fairy tale won the Oscar for Best Picture last night.
At Slate, Aisha Harris sidesteps a minor point of interest:
HARRIS (3/5/18): At the conclusion of a typically long and mostly predictable ceremony, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, the Cold War–era fantasy about a mute woman (Sally Hawkins) whose love for a fishman disrupts the lives of her gay best friend and black co-worker, was crowned Best Picture. On the one hand, the win broke the mold: For the first time in Oscar’s 90-year history, a science-fiction film won in this category. Yet the movie’s triumph feels like a cold, scaly disappointment. It’s liked well enough by critics and audiences (this writer included), but in such a politically charged year, even the fish-monster sex movie feels boringly safe.Personal opinions to the side, was The Shape of Water "liked well enough by critics?" As evidence, Harris links to Dana Stevens' original review for Slate, which wasn't a slam.
That said, The Shape of Water didn't make Stevens' top ten list, which included five runners-up. In fact, critics didn't seem to like the film a whole lot given the status it came to attain. For us, this remains a minor point of puzzlement and interest.
At any rate:
We'd planned to preview The Shape of Water's win before Friday's storm created so much chaos and confusion. Tomorrow, we start discussing the various shapes of Monster, and our floundering species' unhelpful need for same.
We'll start with what a monster the Times can be when its work doesn't make sense. Example:
Did this essay make sense to you? We'll admit that, to us, it pretty much didn't—except as an example of our eternal longing for Villain, a species resembling Monster.
Also for your consideration: Inkoo Kang says it's that same old leering sexploitation, from Jennifer Lawrence this time.
Could Kang possibly be right about that? At this point, even in this year, we'd have to guess that she is.