Every year I watch the Academy Awards. And every year I’m not sure that I enjoy it. I love movies and think of the Oscars more of a celebration of cinema than of the specific movies that are nominated. I’ve usually only seen a select few of the nominees, but this year seems better. The movies nominated have more resonance with me than the usual “Oscar bait” that gets nominated based solely on its subject-matter. Not to say that there is none of that this year. The Kids Are All Right holds no interest to me, and Winter’s Bone is pushing it. The Academy loves Britain so The King’s Speech also seems like an obvious inclusion, but this case, I think it’s worthy. And this year, like each previous year, I have attempted to see all the best picture nominees, a task that has grown more difficult since the number of nominees was bumped to 10. Usually, I don’t fair so well in this endeavor, but this year has been good to me. Here’re my takes on the best picture nominees:
Black Swan: Not yet seen: I’ve always liked Aronofsky but last year’s The Wrestler did not impress. That said, Black Swan looks good. I’ve still got a week to see it.
The Fighter: B+: Like all boxing movies, it felt good to see a triumphant underdog. Christian Bale excelled.
Inception: A+: I am absolutely obsessed with Chris Nolan. I’m always skeptical about his casting choices but his movies are consistently amazing. The rotating hotel fight scene will forever be one of my favorite scenes in cinema.
The Kids Are All Right: Haven’t seen it: Don’t really want to.
The King’s Speech: A: I like speeches, and I like movies with a narrow focus. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s my prediction to take the Oscar.
127 Hours: A: Again, a narrow focus which works quite well. For such a seemingly limiting concept I was never bored or taken out of the movie.
The Social Network: B: I liked the portrayal of Zuckerberg but I think it got a bit over-hyped. A solid movie but not one I’d consider a must-see.
Toy Story 3: A-: Pixar can do no wrong apparently. I guess with the new 10 nominations, and the inclusion of last year’s Up, the Academy thinks an animated movie has to be a best picture nom. I think it detracts from the Best Animated Film category. If Toy Story 3 is nominated for best picture of course it’s going to win Best Animated.
True Grit: A: Another fun ride. Like most westerns, it’s a little meandering until the guns get drawn. Great characters though. Jeff Bridges played Cowboy Jeff Bridges and I thought Hailee Steinfeld was great.
Winter’s Bone: Haven’t seen yet: I’m not too excited about it, but it’s heading my way via Netflix as I type.