Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oscar Afternoon!

In about five hours, I will be sitting on the couch in my parent's living room, a piece of Domino's pizza in hand, waiting to hear the orchestra open the 82nd Academy Awards.

I've been a fan since before I was old enough to keep myself awake to see the whole broadcast (God knows I tried.) Since my enthusiasms for the show are so tightly woven into my family, I don't think any of us knew how we would proceed once my brother passed away three years ago. I skipped that first one altogether, as it was only a few weeks after the funeral. The next year, I think we were all pleasantly surprised after our initial reluctance. Last year was a blur, I had prepared by watching films, but when it came right down to it, I laid on the couch and drifted in and out of sleep.

But not this year.

This year, I am fully in. And I have preferences.

To begin, I will offer this update on the result of my Meryl-Streep-a-thon, my gimmick for this year. How did I do? Pretty well, I think, considering the sheer volume of films to consider and some availability hurdles.

Streep has made 42 films. Before my quest, I'd seen 19. I then watched 18 (that includes a re-watching of 3 films I hadn't seen for many years.) Not bad for four weeks. My favorite? Probably Sophie's Choice. You could say that was an easy answer, given it is considered her very finest performance. However, I had avoided the film for so many years, thinking it was too heavy to even watch, but found myself caught up in so many awesome elements.

The River Wild was another I was surprised to like. I knew it was an action/adventure show, but it hadn't gotten a lot of notice beyond that. But the script is tight, the tension taut throughout. Totally worth putting in your Netflix. I would also recommend Silkwood (still holds up), Postcards from the Edge (my personal favorite), One True Thing, Angels in America (where she outdoes even herself by playing an elderly rabbi and Ethel Rossenberg), Adaptation, The Devil Wears Prada, Julie & Julia, and It's Complicated.

What I would not recommend are: Falling in Love (bottom of the heap, uninteresting 1980s romance with Robert Dinero), Defending Your Life (Albert Brooks is a whiny boob and ends up with Streep anyway), Before and After (the kid from the Terminator does his best James Dean and makes you want to punch him in the face...on the plus side, Liam Neeson plays Streep's firey artist husband...), and Rendition (great cinematography, but a totally predictable post 9/11 political "drama.")

So I'm hoping that this effort has created some kind of karmic push in Streep's honor tonight.

As for the other films, while I was not thrilled by the addition of five more films into the Best Picture category (I will concede if anyone can convince me this was anything but a PR move...), I did manage to see eight of them. My favorite? Inglourious Basterds. I can't believe it has gotten no attention. It is a superb film, and completely worthy. However, I will not submit to the who will/who should debates. It is a peeve of mine. I believe that if you favor a particular film, you should stand by it, and that's what I'm doing. In the mean time, I will not be upset if any of the other front-runners win.

Except for the Blind Side. I will say, for the record, that if The Blind Side wins for Best Picture, I will stop watching the Academy Awards altogether...

Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

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