Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Oscar Season Begins!

Sunday afternoon I was sitting at the bar at Max & Erma's having a late lunch, and the bartender asked me who I favored for one of the NFL playoff games. I smiled, knowing I had no good answer for this man who was surely just making friendly conversation. "Well, if you'll tell me whose playing," I said, "I can take a good guess."

I do, however, know that the nominations for the Academy Awards are announced on the last Tuesday of January...

Most of the nominees this year are a surprise to no one. But I think that has become a sign of the times. There is so much more media now-days that it is impossible for something to be "dug up" that hasn't already gotten a lot of attention.

One thing is for sure, 2010 was a good year for movies.

As far as the Best Pic nominees, I was hoping that the decision to have ten nominees (started last year) would have reverted back to five. But no. I'm not at all a fan of this decision, but I will refrain from this rant because no real good or insight can come from it.

As to the films nominated, there is no obvious "dud" or commercial favorite that has no business on the list, which is nice. For me, the clear forerunners are - The Social Network, The King's Speech, and True Grit. My personal favorite for the win is The Social Network. It has an engaging script (by Aaron Sorkin of West Wing fame) and great performances. But more than that, it is one of those rare "contemporary" films that manages to capture the essence of a not-so-distant past/present that feels very timely. What makes it intriguing is that we are able to view its success alongside a sea of less notable films, television shows, music, and books that are attempting to do the same thing and failing.

The King's Speech was very solid all-round, but I couldn't help feeling like it was very dated. The story is very linear and predictable (flawed noble underdog gets help from unlikely source and ultimately triumphs...) but Colin Firth deserves everything he's got coming to him, and there were a few scenes that were simply breathtaking in its cinematography. True Grit was also solid and touching. I'd love to see Hailee Steinfield (the fourteen year old making her debut) take home the Oscar for Supporting, but that category is exceptionally strong this year.

I won't go through the whole list, that gets tedious and boring. I can say that I only have four out of the ten shows to see (127 Hours, The Fighter, Inception, and Winter's Bone).

Last year, my gearing-up-for-the-Oscars project was to see as many Meryl Streep movies as I could to tip the proverbial scales in hope of a win for Streep for Julie and Julia. Alas, my efforts were in vain, but I have not given up the pursuit of a new project.

Tune in for further developments...

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