Regarding the Oscars issue [Feb. 9]: I loved the front cover of Sunday Calendar. The nine frames with artistic images draped in yellow, green and pink are stunning. If the Oscars had a category for it, this would be my nomination, hands down.
Regarding “Is Oscar nominee Antonio Banderas a ‘person of color’? It’s complicated,” by Daniel Hernandez [Feb. 9]: Whether Antonio Banderas identifies as Hispanic or Latino doesn’t matter to me at all. A daughter of Mexican immigrants, I’ve been spellbound by Banderas’ career for decades.
Trying to find a label that we can agree upon? I’d like to think Ibero-Americans feel kinship with Antonio Banderas. Kinship has no labels.
Re: “Barrier-breaking wins for ‘Parasite’ by Justin Chang [Feb. 10]: Welcome to the affirmative action best picture award. I’m a lifelong liberal Democrat, and I’m all for inclusion and diversity. But I also wrote film reviews for alternative newspapers in San Francisco for 30 years, so I know what makes a movie worthy of an Oscar.
“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” “1917,” “Ford v Ferrari” and “Joker” all pass any critic’s test for best picture. The only test “Parasite” passed was the political correctness test.
All the new academy members hit delete on Oscar’s legacy with this undeserving choice.
“Parasite” is a wonderful foreign-language film. One of the very best. But that should not qualify it to be competitive in the Academy Awards best picture category.
Just as “Roma” was an inappropriate nominee last year, “Parasite” should have only been considered in the [international] category. It is truly outrageous and sets a very dangerous precedent to have foreign language films in the same category as English language films.
What’s next? An Oscar for the best actress in a Japanese film? An Oscar for the best actor in a Russian film? Where does it stop?
Re: “Review: Performers make the difference” by Lorraine Ali [Feb. 10]: This year’s Oscar show had a little bit of everything thrown in, including Jeff Bezos sitting in the audience.
Why was he there? Aside from having some very small parts in “Tooth Fairy” (2004) and “Star Trek Beyond” (2016), he really can’t be considered a movie star. But as the richest person on the planet at about $160 billion (even after his divorce) Jeff gets what Jeff wants.
I for one cheered loudest when “Jojo Rabbit” lost. Not now, not ever, will trivializing the monster that was Hitler be acceptable as humor or comedy.
The Oscars show boasted another hostless display, which denotes that having a bona fide full-time host for the show is not really necessary. The presenters for the awards did just fine.
There seemed to be two big surprises at Oscar night, one being the 10 nominations for “The Irishman” not garnering any wins and the four wins for “Parasite.”
The part where the recently departed are displayed on the screen was very sad as always, and even though a great number of people were on the list, many were absent. [“Lolita’s”] Sue Lyon, René Auberjonois [Father Mulcahy in Robert Altman’s “MASH”], Valerie Harper, Tim Conway, Peggy Lipton, Robert Walker Jr., [“Bonnie and Clyde” supporting actor nominee] Michael J. Pollard, Bill Macy, Carol Lynley, David Hedison, Arte Johnson, Georgia Engel, Luke Perry [in the Oscar-nominated “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” and the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” movie] , Albert Finney [the five-time Oscar nominee, who died in February 2019, was honored at the 2019 ceremony], Jan-Michael Vincent and Carol Channing did not make the list.
The Oscars: Hollywood’s self-congratulatory narcissism by white men.
War movies ranked and filed
How delightful to find Chris Erskine in the Calendar section [“Where Does ‘1917' Rank as a War Film?” Feb. 7]. He could write about any topic with aplomb, and he is one of the few journalists still writing who is literate and extremely entertaining and interesting.
Alternate Saturdays are not enough.
I saw “1917,” and, though an extremely well-done movie deserving of an Academy nomination for best picture, I was actually a bit let down.
The buzz and buildup did not live up to my lofty expectations. But, more importantly, I had happened to have seen Peter Jackson’s incredible “They Shall Not Grow Old” first. This masterpiece documentary of actual footage, stories, dialogue and conditions of the British army and their wretched lives in the trenches in battle-torn Europe during World War I took five years to produce.
It should be considered the benchmark for “real” war movies. This was not a dramatization, but the naked truth.
The less-known Kirk Douglas
In Kirk Douglas’ obituary [“Kirk Douglas, 1916-2020"] Dennis McLellan writes, “In 2003, Douglas realized a longtime dream of appearing on screen with son Michael when they costarred in ‘It Runs in the Family.’ ”
However, their first film together was actually “Cast a Giant Shadow” (1966), in which Kirk Douglas starred while Michael Douglas, in his film debut, had an uncredited cameo as a Jeep driver.
Stephen A. Silver
Regarding Kenneth Turan’s appreciation of Kirk Douglas “From a Humble Start, a Star,” Feb. 7: The movie “The Villain” was an amusing parody of the Roadrunner/Coyote cartoons. Kirk Douglas is the Coyote. It also featured Arnold Schwarzenegger as the pure good guy named Handsome Stranger (“I was named after my father”). Also, Ann-Margret.
This movie was so much fun, but it is never referenced in the Douglas works.
Worthy look at a set designer
Journalism is many things: current events, investigations, foreign affairs, business, sports.
Mary McNamara’s column [“Design, Then Adjust: He Rolls With Challenges on, off Stage,” Feb. 7] is an excellent example of a human interest story. Humor, pathos, drama, time, background, explanation, insight, an engaging character, McNamara’s personal connection, great parallel story arcs (the set itself, yes, but also the designer’s career and his medical issues), tight writing. This column had it all.
Halftime show split decision
Regarding “Dazzling Touchdown Dance” [Feb. 3]: I’m sure I wasn’t the only Latina who teared up watching Shakira and J-Lo during the halftime show.
I was overwhelmed with pride watching these two fierce Latinas representing us on the world’s largest stage. And they used every moment to make a statement.
Not only did they impress us with their extraordinary talent, they gave shout-outs to Puerto Rico and Colombia, their cultural heritage, women, Spanish speakers, and more.
My favorite part was the brief but powerful moment when children in cages sang “Born in the USA” followed by “Let’s Get Loud.” We heard you ladies, loud and clear.
I could not agree more with the sentiments of the letter writer who characterized the Super Bowl halftime show as “sleazy and disgusting” [“Calendar Feedback: Pole Swings,” Feb. 9].
Shame on “Latin American pride” if they think they have to stoop so low and waste their considerable talent on such a vulgar and crude production.
Elisabeth S. Lauchengco