dirac

Academy Award season thread

22 posts in this topic

Here they are.

Best Picture: “The Artist,” ‘’The Descendants,” ‘’Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” ‘’The Help,” ‘’Hugo,” ‘’Midnight in Paris,” ‘’Moneyball,” ‘’The Tree of Life,” ‘’War Horse.”

Photo gallery.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm shocked that "Tree of Life" got nominated. It's one of the worst films I've ever seen. But the great thrill is Gary Oldman's first AA nomination for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy". Long overdue recognition to a superb actor and a marvelous performance.

Share this post


Link to post

I agree in full, MakarovaFan. Oldman's nomination is a very pleasing surprise. He has to be considered a dark horse and generally speaking my support does my favored nominees no good, but I'm rooting for him. "Tinker, Tailor...." could have been fruitfully substituted for several of the Best Picture nominees on that list, as well.

I'm not surprised that "The Tree of Life" got a nod under the new system (now slightly revised). Don't worry, it won't win.

Share this post


Link to post

I feel your pain. A list of 10 is bound to have clunkers, but this one is particularly clunky. The Descendants, while fine for what it is, cannot possibly win best picture. And I notice that J. Edgar was completely ignored; I'm sorry, but Leonardo DiCaprio did a far better job than George Clooney.

Share this post


Link to post

I think you may be right about DiCaprio, although I thought J. Edgar was a holiday turkey par excellence. Clooney's performance in The Descendants tended to highlight his limitations -- and I was expecting to like him in it.

Share this post


Link to post

I think you may be right about DiCaprio, although I thought J. Edgar was a holiday turkey par excellence. Clooney's performance in The Descendants tended to highlight his limitations -- and I was expecting to like him in it.

Yes, J. Edgar is flawed on many levels, such as usingPsycho as its template. And Descendants is fine--in fact, what makes it OK is that it lives within its limitations. But that doesn't make it best picture material (whatever that means anymore).

Share this post


Link to post

Curious to see that the Tintin movie wasn't nominated in best animated film (nor the annual Pixar film, Cars 2) -- I heard someone comment on the radio today that "the Academy" was looking askance at motion capture work.

But it's a treat to see Sergio Mendes' name in the best song category, even if I didn't see the film he worked on!

Share this post


Link to post

I'm so happy to see a dance film, PINA, nominated for Best Documentary Feature Film. Hoorah!

Share this post


Link to post

Ray, in what sense is The Descendants not Best Picture material? Not trying to put you on the spot, just curious.

Share this post


Link to post

This is totally subjective, of course; a glance at past winners sobered me up fast (Crash? Driving Miss Daisy? yes, they were winners too!); and I was reminded that most films that win are primarily about men. So my sense of "Best Picture" is probably based more my own personal myth than reality.

That said, I guess I just expect a Best Picture to have bigger ambitions, somehow; to show us something new or even startling. Hurt Locker (09's winner) comes to mind or Midnight Cowboy ('69); or, if a lighter film, one that captures something significant about the time (Annie Hall in '77). Descendants is sweet, but a bit soft and sentimental for my taste. But I enjoyed it, for sure.

Share this post


Link to post

I loved The Descendants and thought George Clooney was fantastic in it. I really think he deserves the Oscar for Best Actor. I don't think The Descendants will win for best picture, however. I think The Artist (a movie I haven't seen yet) will take home Best Picture. I was really glad to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy nominated for some Oscars (best actor for Gary Oldman, best adapted screen play. I'm not sure what else.) I loved the John Le Carre novel and and the current movie. I don't think it's doing too well at the box office though. My husband and I saw it on a Sunday afternoon and there were only like seven people (including us) in the theater. Maybe the Oscar nominations will encourage more people to see it.

Share this post


Link to post

I see, thanks. I guess it does depend on perspective. The Hurt Locker didn't show anything new to this viewer, for example. But it was certainly an "appropriate" winner in the sense I think you intend.

Share this post


Link to post

Yesterday I saw "The Artist" and really, really loved it. I haven't seen The Help (but I would like to since I really enjoyed the book) but of the films nominated for best picture which I've seen (only "Warhorse", "The Descendants", and "The Artist") I thought "The Artist" was by far the best, and really deserves the Best Picture Oscar. For more of my thoughts, here is my review from my newly created movie blog.

http://colleenlovesmovies.blogspot.com/

Share this post


Link to post

Has anybody seen "Albert Nobbs"...? I saw it yesterday, and I think La Close to be a tough contender for La Streep on it...

Share this post


Link to post

Hi, Cristian. I'm sure Close is as good as you say, but she's a very long shot. Not many people have seen the picture. The race is generally considered to be between Streep and Michelle Williams (yeah, I know). If not one of those two, it's likely to be Viola Davis. There are very few opportunities for the Academy to reward African-Americans in the Best Actress category and they may seize on this opportunity to acknowledge a well-respected talent, even if her role wasn't a terribly demanding one. Also she just won the Screen Actors Guild award, in an unfortunate strapless number, so she may have some momentum going in.

Share this post


Link to post

dirac, I haven't seen Davis' film, but among the other three ladies, it was Close's performance the one that stood the most in my mind. Hers is a more intimate film, with way more screen time for the leading lady, dialogues and focus on the inner struggles of its heroine/hero, whereas Iron Lady has more of a big Hollywood flick flavor in its story telling of such huge historical figure by a hugely venerated actress. It is hard to decide, because Streep was amazing, but Close's story and characterization is a very sensitive, beautiful created one. Go and see it, and let me know.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGX_JKjG1dM

P.S. BTW...something weird is happening to this post. When I took a look at it, I discovered the words "mind" and "one" appearing as links. I didn't do that!, and then when I click on it, it shows some bogus propaganda that I don't know nothing about. What is that?! I tried to edit it, but there's nothing weird in the draft, and it keeps showing it, at least in my computer. Can anybody see it..? How can I get rid of it...? speechless-smiley-003.gifmad.gifdunno.gif

Share this post


Link to post

Hmm. I don't see it happening when I click around in your post, but it could be me.

"Albert Nobbs" isn't playing in my area yet, but I expect it will show up soon - at least the trailer is showing at local cinemas. I do plan to go.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't see any such links in your post, either, Cristian.

Share this post


Link to post

Ok...it's got to be my comuter then. Now another link shows in dirac's last post. When I point the mouse to it, it shows the phrase "powered by text-enhance". It must be one of those internet things I don't know anything about. Last night I was downloading updates and that thing might have been included without my knowledge. Oh well...happy.png

Share this post


Link to post

That sounds like a reasonable assumption, Cristian. I googled "text enhance" and it is apparently an application that is viewed by many as a virus - there was a link to a site purporting to describe how to remove it, but I was afraid to click on the link to see what it said.

Share this post


Link to post

I hope to see Albert Nobbs, but I don't know if it will come to Staten Island. I guess I can either make the trek into Manhattan or wait until the dvd comes out. During Oscar season, I wanted to recommend two more Oscar nominated movies - "War Horse" and "The Descendants". Here are my reviews.

TRAGEDY IN PARADISE - "THE DESCENDANTS"

Matt King’s (George Clooney) current life tests the view many of us have that Hawaii is a heaven on earth. Matt’s cousins want him to sell an unspoiled stretch of land on the island of Kauai to a development company. (Matt and his cousins own the land together, but, as the sole trustee, what to do with the land is eventually up to him.)

Much worse is the fact that Matt’s wife, Elizabeth (Patricia Hastie), is in an irreversible coma after a boating accident. Not long after the doctors tell Matt that his wife will not get better, he finds out that she’s been cheating on him. With his wife near death, Matt, “the understudy”, “the back-up parent” (as he describes himself), has to learn how to be a father to his two girls. Scottie (Amara Miller), the ten year old, is lost and confused over what’s happened to her mother. Alex, who is seventeen, is very angry, especially at her mother.

It is Alex who tells her father that Elizabeth has been having an affair. She also tells Matt who her mother’s lover is. Matt discovers that Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard), the man who has cuckolded him, is a realtor who’s presently staying on Kauai. Matt then decides to take his two girls, as well as Alex’s friend and sidekick, Sid (Nick Krause), to Kauai. It would be giving away too much to reveal what happens when Matt finally meets Brian. I also won’t tell how Matt deals with his cousins over the selling of the family plot on Kauai.

Matt does learn how to be a good parent, though he makes quite a few mistakes along the way. He also helps his girls to come to terms with their mother’s death. At the same time Matt learns how to forgive his wife and say goodbye to her.

“The Descendants” is a wonderful family drama, both heartbreaking and funny, often at the same time. As Matt, George Clooney is magnificent. As a father dealing with his daughters on his own and a husband dealing with both his wife’s coma and infidelity, he is so natural, so real. There is absolutely no artifice in his acting. Clooney becomes the character of Matt King.

Shailene Woodley, in the role of Matt’s older daughter, Alex, is a real standout. Nick Krause, who plays Alex’s goofy friend Nick, is also very good. Judy Greer, as the wife of Elizabeth’s lover, only has a few scenes but her performance is heartbreaking.

Alexander Payne has done a great job directing “The Descendants”. Payne, along with Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, has also adapted the film from the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings.

Anyone who’s ever been part of a family (and that’s all of us) can relate to “The Descendants”. At the very end of the movie we see Matt, Alex and Scottie watching “The March of the Penguins” on tv. They’re eating ice cream, totally at ease with one another. It’s both amazing and wonderful to see how far Matt has come as a father.

The Bond Between a Boy and his Horse Can Never Be Broken

First, there was the children’s book written by Michael Murpurgo. Next came the very popular stage version, with Joey, the half-Thoroughbred, played by huge puppets. Now “War Horse” is a gorgeously heartwarming film directed by Steven Spielberg.

It is the early twentieth century. In the British countryside (Devon) Joey is one of the horses put up for sale. Ted Narracott (Peter Mullan) has come to the auction to buy a plow horse. Ted is a proud man, however, and when it looks like his landlord, Lyons (David Thewlis), is going to buy the half-Thoroughbred Ted outbids him. Now Ted has a race horse instead of a horse suitable for farming. He’s also spent the rent money in order to buy Joey.

Ted’s stern but loving wife, Rosie (Emily Watson), wants her husband to return the horse and get their money back. Their son, Albert (Jeremy Irvine), forms an immediate bond with Joey and swears he can turn him into a farm animal. With the whole village watching, sure that the boy and horse will fail, Albert patiently trains Joey to pull a plow.

All is going well for Albert and Joey until World War I begins. Ted sells Joey to an officer in the British army and the horse is shipped off to the battlefields of Flanders and France. Joey doesn’t stay with the British officer for very long. He is part of a huge cavalry charge against the German army. It looks like the British have completely surprised the Germans and will easily win the battle. That is until the English cavalry run straight into a German machine gun nest. Most of the English officers and their animals are slaughtered.

Joey survives, however, along with his friend, a beautiful black Thoroughbred named Topthorn. After the British defeat, the two horses are owned by the German army, but then run away to be taken care of by a French farmer (Niels Arestrup) and his granddaughter (Celine Buckens). German soldiers invade the farm in search of food. Joey and Topthorn escape from these Germans but Topthorn dies.

The terrified Joey runs from battlefield to battlefield until he is trapped in the barbed wire separating the British and French trenches from the German trenches. In an amazing collaborative effort, a British soldier and a German soldier work together to free Joey from the barbed wire. Joey is then reunited with Albert who is now fighting on the Western front. Albert just happens to be in the British trench closest to where Joey has been trapped by the barbed wire.

Joey and Albert remain together until the end of the war. The half-Thoroughbred is again put up for auction, but not being an officer Albert cannot purchase his friend. The highest bidder that day happens to be the French farmer who sheltered Joey and Topthorn earlier in the war. His granddaughter has died and the Frenchman buys Joey in her memory. When the grief-stricken grandfather sees the love between the horse and Albert, however, he realizes he cannot keep him. Joey is back with Albert and they both return home to their Devon farm.

“War Horse” is a stirringly beautiful movie. It’s the kind of picture Hollywood doesn’t make anymore, but fortunately Steven Spielberg does. The motion picture is gorgeously filmed, both the early pastoral scenes and the bloody World War I scenes. Spielberg’s usual cinematographer, Januz Kaminski, does a magnificent job. The script, adapted from the 1982 Michael Morpugo novel by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis, is literate and intelligent.

All the actors are wonderful, especially Jeremy Irvine as Albert and Niels Arestrup as the French grandfather. Joey (said to be portrayed by eight different horses) is a wonderful animal actor. We really feel the horse’s bond with Albert and his terror when he is caught in the barbed wire is palpable.

Most of the real life war horses did not survive World War I. Of the one million British horses fighting in World War I, only 62,000 remained at the war’s end. Most were either killed in battle or slaughtered for their meat.

Thankfully “War Horse” has a happy ending. Such an inspirational and stunningly produced movie is definitely worth seeing. That something positive can come of the horrors of war is a very hopeful message, one we can all relate to.

If anyone is interested, the address for my movie blog is colleenlovesmovies.blogspot.com. I only have five reviews on it. Oscar season is usually the only time of the year there are actually movies that I want to see.

Share this post


Link to post