Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Will Blog for Oscar...

God I'm a sucker.

After months of half-hearted attempts at diving back in, it inevitably takes this year's official announcement of the Academy Award nominations to fully kick things back into gear.

I can't lie and say my enthusiasm matches that of years past, but I've also come to a peaceful acceptance that my knowledge of and devotion to this phenomenon is way too deep and ingrained to be passed off as some lingering fancy of my youth.

The most recent evidence of this was discovering that today's announcement has penciled in on my datebook since I purchased it just before the first of the year. Along with birthdays, my weekly writing group, my annual exam appointment from the appointment card affixed to the fridge, is the Academy Award nominations, announced the fourth Tuesday of January (which I am careful to confirm on oscar.com).

Then I try hard to ignore the Golden Globe buzz (don't get me started on the bullshittiness of the Golden Globes, an organization that, despite its fore-runner status to the award season, has chosen to nominate Patch Adams and LaBamba for Best Picture, went on to grant Madonna with a statue for Best Actress, and inevitably create misguided hope for some actor or film who/that never expected attention in the first place - Albert Brooks in Drive and 50/50, for example...) Alas I was not successful this year, but am committed to moving on.

Onto the awards...

I won't post a list, given that by now you can find it anywhere (12-year old Lia would have truly loved such a convenience).

What jumps out first is the charm (and justice) of the Artist. I haven't yet seen this film, but I find it a perfect example of how a film made by an unknown (and foreign unknown to boot), filled with unknowns can rise and get recognized seemingly on its creative merits alone. Can't wait to see it.

On the opposite end of the collective love spectrum is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Again, I haven't seen this film, so I can't properly comment. All I know is critics over-all hated it. To me, it feels like an example of people with exceptional influence muscling their way into an "Academy Award Nominated Film" credential to slap onto their marketing campaign. Of course I'm not naive enough to think this kind of stuff doesn't happen all the time, but I love when its blatancy is obvious.

Some of my favorite noms? Meryl, of course, that goes without saying. And I do think she has a good shot of winning this year (even though I say that every year, deep in my heart is feels more like a possibility than a hope this time...) Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids. I'd heard this rumored and dismissed it as one of those unlikely hangovers from the Golden Globes. But, unlike the other performances I simply didn't think were worthy of Oscar attention, I thought every moment of McCarthy in Bridesmaids was brilliant. She was so good that when I now see commercials for her sitcom Mike and Molly, I am constantly surprised at how pretty she actually is, based on how raw she was in the movie.

Of course I will always have a special place in my heart for what I refer to as all of the "non-famous" nominees - Best Live Action Short, Documentary Short, and Animated Short. What an absolute blast it must be to be at the award ceremony and enjoy all the pomp without having to wade through a sea of Melissa Rivers and Billy Bushes... And, those people always give the best speeches (one year a woman said, "You know you're in a different league when your dress to the event costs more than your film." Another thanked the Academy for seating her next to George Clooney during the nominees luncheon. Last year a winner no older than 25 shyly remarked that he really should have gotten a haircut (and he really should have...) Not that any of these speeches are particularly rousing, but certainly preferable to the blithering rambles that come from people you admire. That can be heartbreaking, truly.

My only disappointment was that the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo did not get a nom for Best Pic. Not that it deserved to be in that "top five" (match up the Best Director selections to see how it would have been had the whole top ten - another example of a blatant marketing manipulation) but it was scored better than Extremely Loud... I was pleased to see it get a Cinematography and Editing nomination (especially given my crush on Angus Wall.)

My next tasks are to see all of the films nominated for Best Pic. I went in with three under my belt. Six to go...

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