Up next in our Oscars Watch of Best Picture nominations is Darkest Hour. The film about Winston Churchill becoming Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after the ousting and resignation of Neville Chamberlain in May 1940.
Now here’s a few caveats, 1) I’m a history nut, WWII is one of my favorite time periods of history to explore, study, and learn about. However, it’s been mostly done from the US point of view 2) In some of this research I discovered I was very distantly related to Sir Winston Churchill. His 9th Great-Grandfather is my 11th Great-Grandfather, Henry Howland. it goes all the way back to two brothers, Arthur and John Howland, who came to the US via the Mayflower and other early pilgrim settlements in the early 1600’s. I think that makes us some sort of cousins two times removed. I don’t get that whole thing but being a genealogy nut I should I know how to calculate this. 3) I love Sirius Black, I mean, Gary Oldman.
I tell you this because this post will come off a bit more Ravenclaw parchment scroll.
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I don’t think this movie will win Best Picture and I’m not alone. While it was a fascinating movie, it took place over the course of four weeks. Literally that’s it, May 1940. Now, a lot happened during that time, but one thing that seemed odd to me was how much was actually crammed into this movie. As I mentioned, I love this time period and I learned a lot from this film— the US hadn’t entered WWII yet. I didn’t realize that Churchill’s first rise to Prime Minister was due the resignation and vote of no confidence against the other guy.
Not being British or understanding the intricacies of how Parliament works, it was interesting to see how that went down and since no one could agree on a candidate, they all settled on Churchill. There was infighting in the party and members of the cabinet plotting to over-throw him. Weekly meetings with the King were scheduled around Winston’s naps.
Okay, okay, enough with the history. The movie is aptly called Darkest Hour because one overwhelming thing I kept thinking during this was how dark the film was, cinematographically speaking. If it was an intentional choice it just made May 1940 London look really drab, however, it’s nominated for an Oscar so maybe I’m missing the point on that.
What we all know is that Gary Oldman is a talented Animagus. But instead of turning into Padfoot, this time, he transformed into Winston Churchill through hours of makeup and prosthetics. If the film is going to win anything at Sunday’s award show, it will be for Gary’s performance as Best Actor. Maybe Best Makeup, but winning over The Shape of Water will be hard.
Let’s look at Britain’s best talkshow host, Graham Norton, talk about the makeup with Gary.
The film ended just as Operation Dynamo was about to begin. What is Operation Dynamo? The code name for the Dunkirk evacuation, which you can see in the other Oscar nominated film Dunkirk. Check out our Oscars Watch post about that film tomorrow!
Darkest Hour is available on DVD or BluRay and streaming devices now.
Feature Image courtesy of Focus Features