Some of the movies up for Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars deserve a huge amount of praise; “Black Panther” is now the highest-grossing film by a black director, “A Star is Born” brought thousands of viewers to tears and “BlacKkKlansman” offers a biting critique of current events. Others deserve nothing. Lookin’ at you, “Vice.” You sucked. The best thing about you is the god of character acting, Christian Bale. He gained 40 pounds for you and you couldn’t even make a profit on your $60 million budget.
This year, my vote for Best Picture is Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite.” Easily his most digestible film — compared to the bonkers “The Lobster” and “Dogtooth” — “The Favourite” is at once hilarious, heart-warming and absolutely devastating. With a stellar cast of leading ladies, I was bound to love it from the get-go. Throw in a very healthy dose of lesbian relationships, and I am HERE FOR IT. It’s hard to imagine that I have enough room in my brain to feel as strongly as I do about “Vice” for anything else, but alas, here we are.
And it’s not only nominated for Best Picture. In all, it has 10 nominations at this year’s Oscars, tying with Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma.” The two films competed on Feb. 10 at the 72nd British Academy Film Awards, with “The Favourite” beating out “Roma” for most nominations and awards.
The two will go head-to-head again on Sunday at the 91st Academy Awards. Both are nominated for Best Picture, Actress in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting role (“The Favourite” has two nominations for supporting actress: Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz), Director, Most Original Screenplay, Cinematography and Production Design. So with these two movies competing in so many of the same categories, why does “The Favourite” deserve to win?
Set in 1708 while Britain was at war with France, “The Favourite” has an entirely female-led cast. Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) stars as the center of a turbulent love triangle, with Baroness Abigail Marsham (Emma Stone) and Sarah Churchill the Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz) fighting (sometimes violently) for her affection and approval. While the queen may not be as strong-headed as her two inferiors, Olivia Colman’s portrayal of an ailing and emotionally broken woman is so convincing, you can’t help but root for her.
Churchill basically runs the country through her relationship with the queen, who is struggling with her failing health. Marsham makes her way into the queen’s bedchambers and good graces when she collects herbs that help relieve the queen’s suffering. Both women will do anything to get ahead of the other (I won’t spoil anything for you). In short, they’re a couple of straight-up badass women who spend their time racing ducks and shooting pigeons.
The film is a period piece set in what some might think is a semi-boring period (I mean, who cares about the War of the Spanish Succession?) But the screenplay is anything but dull. Clever and scathing lines will have audiences doubled over in laughter, and exceptionally devastating conversations will make you tear up — like the queen’s 17 pet rabbits, each one representing a child she has lost. Audienc- es are constantly kept on their toes, and I distinctly remember nearly crying during the film because I just NEEDED it to end on a good note but the good note kept getting snatched away from me.
“The Favourite” deserves to win Best Picture and all the other awards it’s up for because all its components work in favor of the film’s bigger picture. The script provides relief that is immediately taken back, the characters build a world you can’t help but feel a part of and above all else, I believe we should exclusively fuck with female-led, lesbian-driven period pieces with guns and brothels and out-of-place but no less hilarious dance sequences.