I have five good reasons for wanting Brooklyn to win the Best Picture Oscar at tonight's Academy Awards.
First, like everyone else, I love it. Brooklyn is remarkable for being the kind of film that rarely gets made these days, never mind seen and deeply appreciated by an international audience – and then nominated for three Oscars (Best Film, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay). That's a miraculous ascent for a modestly budgeted independent film.
Second, the fact that this simple on the surface tale about the hard choices made by an Irish emigrant has become such an international hit is a thing worth cheering in itself. Academy voters can't fail to have noticed how strongly the film has resonated with the public, which makes it competitive tonight against bookies favorite The Revenant.
Third, our movie theaters have been completely colonized by idiotic big budget superhero capers, by increasingly gory but increasingly predictable horror flicks, and by exhaustingly cliched action films featuring practically immortal heroes.
There’s not much room for subtlety or nuance left to us nowadays, in other words - and there’s almost no room at all left for the heart. Brooklyn is composed of all of these missing elements and so part of the pleasure of watching the film is its refreshing determination to take ordinary life seriously.
Fourth, it usually takes Academy voters a year to see what the public sees already, that Brooklyn features unforgettably expressive character work by Saoirse Ronan, 21, in a film that boasts what is unarguably her best performance to date.
Ronan plays Eilis, a bullied shop Irish girl who is clearly no one's priority, but as she finds her feet and slowly forges her own destiny you'll want to stand up and cheer as the doormat discovers the confidence that she once lacked and steps into her future and herself by the film's end.
Fifth, Brooklyn is the work of a celebrated Irish novelist, a gifted Irish director and features a distinguished company of Irish actors that all give pitch perfect performances from start to finish. Screenplay writer Nick Hornby's adaptation is literary but immediate, and Toibin's original story shows us both sides of the emigrants dilemma: what is lost versus what is found. The heart breaking, hard to fathom business of deciding which path to take has rarely been so well portrayed.
Alright there's a sixth reason, too. Domhnall Gleeson and Emory Cohen, the two parts of Eilis' love triangle deliver such convincing performances they make you feel the romantic dilemma that Ronan's character is facing. You won't know till the final frame who Eilis will make her future with, thanks to their affecting and deeply sensitive work.
Famously, the Oscars have a habit of getting the Best Picture award howlingly wrong. In 2006, the now forgotten film Crash won over Brokeback Mountain (which has become a classic) a travesty for the ages that even Crash's director has lamented himself.
This year The Revenant is tipped to pick up the golden statue, thanks to impenetrable tinsel town politics that few understand and less respect. Having received the nod at the Directors Guild of America and the BAFTA'S, Leonardo DiCaprio's vehicle has buzz and momentum, two conditions that Hollywood can rarely resist.
But what The Revenant manifestly does not have is longevity. In six months, I predict, it will not enjoy the same affection or stature as Brooklyn already does now.
In five years, The Revenant may be largely forgotten (critics have been less than enthused by it, after all). Meanwhile I predict that in the same time period Brooklyn will only cements its classic status.
What a Best Picture nod means nowadays is DVD sales, rentals, TV spots,and a global storefront opportunity for the director and actors. But Brooklyn won't need any of that to carve its place in the pantheon of classic pictures. That award has already been presented by the public.