Saturday, February 26, 2011

Academy Awards

Sunday night is the big awards show -- the Academy Awards or the Oscars.

Of course I'll be watching. I couldn't pass up an opportunity to see all those celebs in their fashion do's and don'ts. Okay, mostly I like the don'ts, so horribly fascinating.

But I do love movies, though these days I watch almost exclusively at home on DVD. I used to try and watch all the films nominated for Best Picture. However, since I've become a DVD watcher rather than a movie goer, I usually don't see everything. Plus, the academy went and doubled the number of films nominated so I've definitely faced an uphill battle the past couple of years.

This year, I've actually managed to see five of the ten nominated pictures:
The Kids Are All Right
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
Winter's Bone

From what I've heard and read, none of these are front runners to take home the Oscar for Best Picture. In fact, everyone I know who has seen The King's Speech has LURVED it. If it wins (as is predicted), I guess I won't be disappointed.

Of the five I've seen, Inception is the most likely winner, in my opinion, but I honestly don't think it is "Best Picture" worthy. Winter's Bone might be, but such small budget movies almost never take home the Oscar. Ditto on animated features, even though of the five contenders I've seen, I have to admit Toy Story 3 is my favorite of the bunch!

TS3 has wonderfully likable characters and a charming story line that teaches some powerful and important lessons without being preachy. Now honestly, what more can you ask of a film?

I'm sure I'd have enjoyed Inception more if I'd seen it on a big screen. All those mind-blowing special effects lost some of their oomph on my TV. On the other hand, I doubt I could have followed the extremely complicated and convoluted plot in the theater. As it was, I found myself hitting "rewind" several times because there was so much going on that I knew I'd missed some key ingredients. Also, by the last third of the movie, I found myself tracking what was going on out loud so that I could keep up with all the various layers and simultaneous happenings. I doubt anyone sitting near me in a theater would have appreciated my mutterings.

I did not share the critics' LURVE of The Social Network. Like Inception, it went on way too long, I could have easily edited 30 minutes out without losing a bit of story. And speaking of the story line, this one suffered from non-linear telling. The device of revealing the main story through flashbacks from two different legal proceedings felt way too cumbersome to me. Not that I would have enjoyed a straight forward telling much better because I simply did not like any of the characters. Worse, I had a hard time distinguishing who was who most of the time, and so did the DH who fell asleep halfway through and when I woke him up said, "Don't bother, it's just not holding my interest."

We both had a similar reaction to The Kids Are All Right. The title pretty much covered it -- all right. Basically, this was a cozy and well-done story of a family and how each member deals with the almost-grown children finding their birth father. The fact that the main couple at the nucleus of the story are homosexual women might have been new and different, or even controversial twenty years ago. But today? Not really, at least not for me or anyone else I know who saw the film. It was an enjoyable, if predictable, movie. But Oscar worthy? I didn't think so.

Finally, what can I say about Winter's Bone besides OMGosh?!?! I won't be forgetting this gripping and intense film for quite awhile. I happen to think it takes a lot to shock me and make me uncomfortable, but this movie did it. However, the gritty and graphic realism of this film will probably be too much for a lot of audience members, and I must admit, I thought it crossed the line into unnecessarily gross in more than one scene. Winter's Bone was one of those films that part of me hoped like heck wasn't totally realistic, while another part of me knew it was.

So there are my subjective opinions of some of the Best Picture nominees. What about you? Which movies have you seen lately and which do you think deserve the Best Picture award?


Jane said...

I love The Social Network and think it's can win. I loved The Black Swan, too. I wish they would have given Chris Nolan some love. The Academy never nominates him for Best Director.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Jane,
I'm DYING to see Black Swan. It looks really interesting and I happen to think Natalie is one of the best actresses working today.

Glad you liked Social Network. Thank goodness we don't all like the same things. ;-)

Only a few more hours and we'll know who won.