And The Oscar Goes To…..


I have always had the goal of seeing all the movies nominated for Best Picture. I never succeeded when The Academy was nominating 5 movies. I think, one year, I saw 4 of the 5 and that’s the best I ever did. Now that they’re nominating up to 10, I’ll never see them all in one year – there’s just no way.

This year I have seen 4 of the 9 films nominated for Best Picture. However, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the winner. Here are my thoughts about the movies that have nominations…

Best Picture
Argo – This is an excellent movie about real life events. It’s not a documentary so Ben Afflek has simplified the story and added some extra stuff to heighten the suspense. I’m thinking this is going to win best picture. This is the coming out party for the new & improved Ben Afflek.

He won an oscar for writing Good Will Hunting and then made a series of progressively bad choices in the movies he starred in….Daredevil, Gigli, Pearl Harbor et al.  Afflek has reinvented himself as an actor, director and producer. I do find it odd that he’s not nominated for Best Directing for Argo, but I assume that’s because he’s pissed off too many Hollywood insiders over the years.

Lincoln – This is an outstanding movie. I walked out of the theatre feeling like I’d just spent 2+ hours actually watching Abraham Lincoln. Until a few weeks ago I thought it was a lead-pipe cinch for Best Picture but I’ve begun to rethink that. Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance is incredible. It’s quiet and subtle – he doesn’t hit you over the head with Lincoln. But, I think I was seeing an amazing performance and letting it overshadow the entire movie.

Is this the Best Picture? It certainly could be, but I think Argo will beat Lincoln. In either case, Lincoln or Argo, whichever wins there’s no shame to the loser – they are both excellent movies.

Zero Dark Thirty – Think The Hurt Locker with Osama. This is very good. It’s not going to win Best Picture. I’d give it 4 stars. I give them credit for not turning it into a big rah rah, wave the flag experience. Image

Les Miserables – I’m not convinced this would have been nominated if they limited the field to just 5 films. It was good. I’d give it a solid 3 stars but It’s not Best Picture material.

Life of Pi – I did not see this movie but I read the book. I can’t see any movie coming out of that book, winning Best Picture. I think this is another movie that doesn’t make the cut if they’re only doing 5 nominations.

Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook – I did not see these movies but I intend too.

Actor in a Leading Role
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln – No question, he will win the Oscar for his portrayal of the 16th President. One of the great performances of all time.

Denzel Washington, Flight – Here’s my thing about Denzel. He’s always playing Denzel. It’s just the way he acts. You always know it’s Denzel. Denzel the airline pilot, Denzel the lawyer, Denzel the gangster. I guess I’m saying he has limited range. He’s fun to watch, he’s very engaging but his acting range is limited.

Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables – He has to be one of the most talented men in show business today. He can play serious, he can play over the top fun, he can even sing and dance. He’s not going to win the Oscar this year, but he’s very talented.

Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty – I didn’t realize I had seen her in The Help. I guess this girl can act because there’s no mixing up her role as Celia Foot in The Help with the  son-of-a-bitch Maya in Zero Dark Thirty. She might just take home the Oscar this year.

Naomi Watts,  The Impossible – I thought she was very good in this. She’s one of those actors whose face I never recognize until way into the movie. Not sure if it’s me or if it’s them but there’s a group of actors who I always fail to recognize and Naomi Watts is at the top of that list.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln – He’s like Denzel in my book. I like him but he’s always the same. I don’t think his work in Lincoln was Oscar worthy. It was just another Tommy Lee Jones performance – good but the same as ever.

Alan Arkin, Argo – I think he’s going to win the Oscar for Actor in a Supporting Role. He was very, very good in this – love the line “If I’m gonna make a fake picture, it’s gonna be a fake hit.”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Sally Field, Lincoln – She was okay. Nothing to write home about. But, it’s not her fault – she’s a fine actress but Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance absolutely dominates the movie.

Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables – Not knowing the story, I was surprised when she died less than halfway through the movie. She was good but I don’t think she was on screen enough to earn the Oscar.  It’s a rare actor who can own a movie with such little screen time – Think Jack Nicholson in a A Few Good Men (even though he didn’t win the Oscar for that performance, he owns that movie with only 4 scenes).

Helen Hunt, The Sessions – I have not seen this yet but you can bet your bottom dollar I will. I’ve always had a thing for Helen Hunt and now she’s playing a sex surrogate, oh yeah, I’m there.

I’m no Gene Siskel or Roger Ebert, so you can take my thoughts with the grain of salt they deserve. But I do love the movies.

I love the way they transport you someplace else, even for just a few hours. How they introduce you to people you instantly care about. I love how you can watch a favorite movie over and over again and never get bored, even as you speak the dialogue a split second before the actors. I love how many movie lines have crept into the every day vernacular….”Bueller, Bueller, Bueller.”

To paraphrase Roman Polanski…..The best movies make you forget you are sitting in a theater.

That’s the way it ought to be.

One Response to “And The Oscar Goes To…..”

  1. Great post. Your comment about Ben Affleck’s poor choice of movies reminded me of taking my son to Pearl Harbor. He was probably 10ish – too young for the sex scenes (he closed his eyes) but a big history buff. When we left the movie he pointed out inaccuracies and told me liked the “original” better. Meaning Tora, Tora, Tora.

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