Already today it is clear that the films nominated in several nominations will not remain without awards - "Mank" by David Fincher, "Another Round" by Thomas Winterberg, "Promising Young Woman" by Emiralda Fennell, "The United States vs. Billie Holiday" by Lee Daniels. The theme of alcoholism and personality revolt against the system is a common thread in the leading films. Moreover, every second picture from the short list of nominees combines the problems of total drunkenness and a conscious struggle with one form or another of injustice and lawlessness.
Hero of the film "Mank" (10 nominations) - winner of the "Oscar" for the script for the film Orson Welles "Citizen Kane" Herman Mankiewicz. Citizen Kane has been recognized as the "best film of all time" for many decades. Mank's alcohol addiction, from which he did not really want to get rid of, is dedicated to a black and white painting by David Fincher. Alcohol kills Mank, but not his talent. Under the influence of the "green serpent" Mank sarcastic even more sharply, caustically and mercilessly. He even scoffs at Hemingway, who teaches newbies how and what to write about, with the cruel phrase "I don't know such a writer".
Mank does not tell anyone about his exploits, although, according to his stenographer, "he saved people from the persecutions of Nazi Germany", and was a kind of eccentric, who knows a lot, understands, feels, but by and large cannot do anything. He is trapped in his vice, and not the master of his life. But Mank has a human advantage - both over the billionaire Kane and over Orson Welles (all of them are the heroes of "Mank") in that the screenwriter does not use anyone, does not destroy, does not exploit. Mank defends only one right - to his own authorship of the script for the film "Citizen Kane" (Orson Welles argued that he wrote and filmed everything himself). Mank does not come for his Oscar in 1942 because it was not his goal. He beautifully defeated the Hollywood he hated without becoming his cog. “He is a good man, and what he drinks is his own business” - such a verdict was given to him by the stenographer, and with her by David Fincher. Gary Oldman creates the image of an incredibly bright, talented, intelligent, courageous, honest person who could not look at this world with sober eyes.
The main character of the film "The United States vs. Billie Holiday" was very fond of the aristocratic, graceful movie star Billy Dove, whom, by the way, Herman Mankiewicz knew well, and took her name as her stage name. Billy lived an even shorter life than Mankiewicz - only 44 years old, died from a horse dose of drugs and alcohol, and became the first black "Lady Day". Alcohol and heroin caused great harm to Billy's voice, depriving him of tenderness, strength, beauty. Incredibly beautiful, smart, daring, courageous Billy was more vulnerable because of her skin color than Herman Mankiewicz, who lived at about the same time and in the same America. She was imprisoned for drugs, bullied, and was not allowed to perform. The US authorities hit her sore spot, regardless of her talent and gender. Every humiliation Billy was subjected to made her want to get drunk and forget. Billie Holiday is played by contemporary singer Andhra Day, and for this role she was nominated for an Oscar (Andhra Day has already won a Golden Globe for her role in this film).
British film star, winner of the most prestigious film awards Carey Mulligan plays a young woman Cassandra in Emiralda Fennell's debut film "Promising Young Woman", who pretends to be dead drunk in order to once again be convinced of the natural cruelty of a man endowed with strength and power. She wanted to be a doctor, studied at the Lyceum, but after her comrades abused her friend, when she got drunk for the first and last time in her life, she dropped everything and disappeared.
Cassandra is accumulating strength in order to take revenge on everyone who is somehow guilty of the death of her friend. There are so many involved that she is completely disappointed in people, and sacrifices herself in order to identify and punish the bastard. Cassandra proves that whoever committed violence once will do it again. The film "Promising Young Woman" is also about the fact that only very rare people will not take advantage of the weakness of another, so as not to stab him. Everyone will either kick the one lying down, or pass by. Only a few will fight to restore justice. People do not care about others, even the closest ones - and this is the whole horror of the modern world. Cassandra proves that “one warrior in the field”, but at the cost of her life. It is impossible to look at the murder of the main character without tears. She is the best, ideal, beautiful, and deeply unhappy in our world of evil and violence. If about Billie Holiday we can say: “Yes, she’s sorry, but in many ways she is to blame”, then Cassandra is only to blame for not resigning herself to the violence and death of a close friend.
But who is seriously to blame for the death of their friend is a trio of school teachers from Copenhagen. - the heroes of Thomas Winterberg's film "Another Round". Four comrades conducted an experiment on the theory of scientist and psychotherapist Finn Skerderud that "0.5 ppm of alcohol in the blood helps a person to be more efficient at work and happiness", and also according to the example of Ernest Hemingway, who did not drink after 8 pm to in the morning, with a fresh mind, to write. The teachers went for it for the sake of Martin's friend, who became so boring, so correct that in his history lessons, high school students fell asleep, and his wife made a lover. Under the influence of alcohol, Martin became a favorite of the school, and his friend, a physical education teacher, turned into an alcoholic and died. Fast and scary.
But the physical education teacher in terms of human qualities was the best of the four. The creation of the film was accompanied by the director's personal tragedy - his own daughter Ida crashed, who told him the theme of the film - about drinking in high school at her school, and he dedicated the picture to her. The filming of the history lessons in the film took place in the class where Ida studied, with her friends. The director in his film shows how adults not only set a bad example for children by drinking large amounts of alcohol, but also involuntarily give the child the first sip. Martin's wife gives a verdict to the drunken teachers: "The problem is not with you, but that our whole country is drinking too much." The director of the film "Another Round" at a time" subtly and accurately shows the process of turning a sober person into a drunk, forcing the viewer to be not only a witness, but also a participant in this study. Unwittingly, everyone will remember the first time he got drunk and lost control of his behavior when his child saw it. Martin Mads Mikkelsen is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor and Thomas Winterberg for Director. It is curious that the American film "Mank" about the 40s of the last century is consonant with the Danish film about our time. Curiously, in both films Ernest Hemingway appears as a victim of alcohol addiction. In honor of Ham, bars and cocktails are named all over the world, and he himself considered drunkenness a huge disaster and shame:
“The drunkard is the disgusting thing. A thief, when he does not steal, is a person as a person. A fraudster will not deceive his own people. The killer will come home and wash his hands. But the drunkard stinks and vomits in his own bed and burns his insides with alcohol" (from the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls).
Film critic Anton Dolin's opinion:
- "Mank" Fincher is the leader in the number of nominations (there are ten), which is not surprising. Against the backdrop of modest and most often independent films, his film turned out to be the embodiment of all the splendor, pain and glory of Hollywood, both the golden age and the current one. This may turn out to be his main problem. Cinematography and the audience are looking for consonance with the current situation, and Fincher's eternal questions against this background may seem untimely and even irrelevant.
Undoubtedly, a bad sign is that the script for "Mank", written by the director's father, the late Jack Fincher, about the fate of screenwriter Herman Mankevich (and ending, recall, with his triumph at the "Oscars"), has not been nominated. From this, of course, it does not follow that "Mank" will miss the awards: at least Amanda Seyfred has a very realistic chance of getting a statuette for the amazing role of Marion Davis. And in general it is not out of place to recall the historical love of the American Academy for "cinema about cinema", which gives "Mank" some hope for prizes.