Academy snubs one of the best movies of the year - 'Patriots Day'

Grade A

By: 
AARON JENNINGS AARON@LEBANONDAILYRECORD.COM

After the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, representatives announced the nominees for 89th Academy Awards Tuesday morning, thousands of movie buffs and industry workers from across the world got on their phones and computers to check out the list. The first thing every serious fan looks for is their personal favorites. A movie that moved you deeply. You know? That one that made you cry in public for the first time since “Titanic.”
 
 
Maybe it was the box office sensation that reminded you Disney can still make wholesome live-action PG-rated movies like “Secretariat,” “Old Yeller,” and “Glory Road?” Or maybe, the only reason you looked at the list was to count the number of movies you didn't know existed. Whatever the reason, Tuesday provided several surprises.
 
 
Aside from the shock that Hollywood seems to have forgiven Mel Gibson (his movie "Hacksaw Ridge" received six nominations), the biggest revelation of the week is the one movie that didn't get nominated — “Patriots Day.” If ever there was a movie for America at this time in history that deserved an Academy Award nomination, it’s “Patriots Day.”
 
 
“The only weapon you have to fight back with is love … If we wrap our arms around each other, I don’t think that there’s any way that they could ever win,” Mark Wahlberg’s character states in a heartfelt monologue.
 
 
On April 15, 2013, two homemade bombs went off 12 seconds and 210 yards apart near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The two blasts killed three people and injured a couple hundred others. Sixteen of those lost limbs. If this were a horror film, it would have ended there. But this isn't that kind of movie. This is a story of how a community rallied together to find the two evil men responsible for the devastating carnage.
 
 
In “Hacksaw Ridge,” I was amazed at how one man decided to run into the storm to save the lives of others. In horrific circumstances, he chose that path less traveled. This is the one thing that separated this film from all others of 2016. Until that is, I saw “Patriots Day.” In “Patriots Day,” an entire crowd of people runs toward the explosions. There’s a possibility of a third explosion, but that doesn’t matter. 
Dozens of brave men and women rush into the smoke to do what they can and see who they can help. Many runners didn’t stop when they crossed the finish line. They continued to run to the nearest hospital to donate blood.
 
 
What happens at the marathon is only about 25 percent of the story. An investigation begins as Boston Police officers and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents attempt to find out who is responsible for the bombs, and whether or not they will strike again. This process proves difficult, and Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons and Kevin Bacon all play their parts well.
 
 
This is especially true for Wahlberg. How Viggo Mortensen got a nomination for playing a left-wing peace-loving extremist in “Captain Fantastic” and not Wahlberg is beyond me. 
 
 
There are many individuals in the film who appear to have nothing to do with the story, but they soon become especially crucial characters.
 
 
They are mothers, fathers, friends, and neighbors. Their story may be small, but it’s beautifully weaved in this faithfully dramatic script.
While some viewers may find it too violent for the screen and several monologues overcooked, I believe this is a story that needed to be told exactly how director Peter Berg filmed it. Berg uncompromisingly declares the characters in his film working-class heroes.
 
 
You won't find them wearing a cape and standing over their city, but they might as well. As these Oscar-worthy heroes continue the manhunt, every moment bounces to the rhythm of composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ ambient score.
 
 
Whoever is to blame for the lack of nominations, whether it's the Academy members or a poor marketing strategy, viewers should feel at ease that films as thoughtful and moving as "Patriots Day" still get made. It’s unfortunate that it was snubbed. But let’s face it, nobody cares who wins a trophy. Nobody.

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“Patriots Day” is currently playing in select theaters.

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