Friday, February 22, 2013

OSCAR in 2 Days - Best Picture

Going to drag this one out and share some thoughts today.  Predictions tomorrow. 

Best Picture
  • Amour – Margaret MenegozStefan ArndtVeit Heiduschka, and Michael Katz
    • Way too slow, too esoteric.  Not a chance to win.  Foreign Language for sure.
  • Argo – Grant HeslovBen Affleck, and George Clooney
    • This was a great movie.  My only complaint was the edge of your seat ending felt contrived.  (As I was writing an MSNBC story confirms that this is CONTRIVED.) That seems to be an issue with me in my dotage. I had the same issue with The Impossible. However this was a wonderful film.  Foriegn intrigue, a Hollywood connection and the inside working of a true story of national interest.  Can the snubbing of Affleck give this film a boost? 
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild – Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, and Michael Gottwald
    • Sorry, regardless of my education on the value of the film, its complexity and symbolism I just did not like it.  For me it was with Winter's Bone in the genre of Hollywood living in luxury and making what one commentator called Poverty Porn.  Child abuse, people reveling in their poverty and refusing help just makes me feel  hopeless.
  • Django Unchained – Stacey SherReginald Hudlin, and Pilar Savone
    • I'd like to speculate on which films would not have made the cut under the old system of 5 nominees.  I am afraid this still would be in the list, but not for me.  Tarantino's "I'm hip and you're not" attitude does not contribute to society let alone film making.  If I could shake off that prejudice and just see this film as Mel Brooks with gratuitous gore I might be able to like it.  That aside it was still about an hour too long.  More of Tarrantino basking in his own glow.
  • Les Misérables – Tim BevanEric FellnerDebra Hayward, and Cameron Mackintosh
    • I have been waiting and waiting for this film and the build up could only lead to disappointment.  But while others found lots of fault and it generated a plethora of Russell Crowing "signing" jokes I loved it. I tried to suspend comparison to the Broadway show, but in the end the comparison is what made me appreciate the show.  The film uses the big screen to make the experience more intimate.  Anne Hathaway's "I Dreamed a Dream" is the most celebrated example, but there are many more.  Eddie Redmayne delivered fine singing and a very personal "Empty Chairs."  Hugh Jackman's amazingly diverse ability was brought to a wider audience. Sorry to dis my secret boyfriend, but I find his singing to nasal to "enjoy," but his performance here and on Broadway make that objection melt away.  Russel Crow's thin voice added a level of dissonance which is a key part of Javert.  The story was skillfully edited to trim the music and fill in details from Hugo.  I found it a fresh look a theatrical masterpiece.
  • Life of Pi – Gil Netter, Ang Lee, and David Womark
    • Probably one of the few people that went into this not know the ending, I was swept away with the hero.  The 3D visuals were truly amazing and Ang Lee's masterful hand was certainly evident.  The awards for visual effects and sound editing are sure to go to this film  It was the veritable visual feast.
  • Lincoln – Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy
    • A great movie educates as well as entertains and enriches.  This movie does that with finess.  It is rampant with all the trappings of an amazing period piece.  The acting is superb.  All this transports the audience to the 1860s.  I do quibble with with the gaggle of African-American fans and some editing choices but I loved it.
    • Now I know my faithful readers want to know about the Capitol dome's  state of completion.  The current dome was constructed from 1855 to 1866.  So either Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Lincoln could be historically accurate, the former showing it under construction and the later show it to appear completed.  Although still under construction at Lincoln's death the exterior was most likely done.  I am laying my faith with Spielberg, since the research on the film was extensive.     
  • Silver Linings Playbook – Donna GigliottiBruce Cohen, and Jonathan Gordon
    • OK kids, this once again was far and away the most thoroughly engaging and entertaining experience of the year.  I was either smiling or laughing or crying from start to finish.  I never lost interest, not for one second.  Cooper and Lawrence played off of each other amazingly, both delivering very complex and balanced performances in a parts that could have easily been annoying and played over the top.That supported by Weaver and De Niro in a script that flowed as uninterrupted as my emotions and interest.
  • Zero Dark Thirty – Mark BoalKathryn Bigelow, and Megan Ellison
    • You have heard about the horrifying torture scenes in this movie.  Forget it.  It's a disgusting topic but it was not sensationalized. It was straight-forward and matter of fact, which made it more disturbing and Jessica Chastain's character reacts in ways that help reinforce that.  She is superb. The movie takes an unemotional look at recent historical events.  That is not to say that the characters don't respond with appropriate emotion -- or not respond -- it is just that the director and writers POV are not evident.  The audience is respected enough to react with the rage, sorrow, elation or disappointment that each person will.  There is also ambiguity where it is needed.  The ending of movie perfectly encapsulates this most dispassionate wild ride..  
    My predictions, tomorrow.

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