Documentary: “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”

Abacus Small Enough to Jail Poster Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2017)

Nobody gets justice. People only get good luck or bad luck” (Orson Welles). It seems that this quote is particularly applicable to the story, where one financial institution based in Chinatown, New York – Abacus, became the centre of the government’s prosecution in 2012, and still remains to this day “the only US bank indicted for mortgage fraud related to the 2008 crisis”. Perhaps, Abacus just has not been lucky, but did they really deserve such a massive, million-dollar prosecution against them, with definite prison sentences hanging over their heads if they found convicted? No. They say that “selective justice” is the worst there is, but what is here even more shocking is that “the targeting for justice” by the American government was not too unreasonable – Abacus was both small enough and, actually, – foreign enough. Hence, the justification for all the criminal charges, whereas other massive banks committing even worse crimes can escape with a fine. Director Steve James made this thought-provoking documentary about one small financial institution’s fight against injustice and it already has the distinction to be nominated for an Academy Award. This well-made documentary piece, packed with insightful interviews, fascinating legal processes, human stories and warmth towards other culture, is a real eye-opener.

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10 Oscar Injustices of 2018

If last year the Academy Awards ceremony surprised us all with an unbelievable envelopes’ swap, and hence, provided a lot of entertainment as a result, this year the Academy Awards had the distinction to be so predictable as to verge on absolute boredom. I am glad though that “The Shape of Water” won the Best Picture Award and that “Coco” was considered the Best Animation. However, the question still remains – what injustices the Academy committed this year? What great films and performances it unjustly ignored? The following films, scripts and performances were arguably so good that they should have been acknowledged.  

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1. “The Florida Project

First of all, the fact that “The Florida Project” was not among the Best Picture Oscar nominees is one of the greatest Academy Awards’ injustices. This movie was just one of a kind: emotional, inspiring, insightful. Sean Baker has done a tremendous job with a relatively small budget, and the acting was excellent, especially from little star Brooklynn Prince and from Bria Vinaite. The movie was not only well-made, it has a social importance, and, yet, the Academy only nominated Willem Dafoe in the category of the Best Supporting Actor. “The Florida Project” is such a great movie that the Academy should have nominated it not only in the category of the Best Picture, but Sean Baker should have also received his Best Director nomination.    

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2. “Blade Runner 2049”  

For all intents and purposes, “Blade Runner 2049” is the movie of great significance cinema-wise. It was ambitious enough to break from many previous cinema traditions and risked a more thought-provoking, nuanced and aesthetic look/approach. It is definitely the movie to show aliens out there what cinema is capable of here on Earth. It is true that the film’s length is worrying and its story is not that well thought-out, but there were certainly far worse Best Picture nominees in the past. All reason point to “Blade Runner 2049” being recognised in the category of Best Picture. “Get Out” was recognised in the Best Picture category as a mix of horror and social satire, so this science-fiction sequel should also had a chance to compete (on top of its Oscar tech nominations). 

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