Sunday, January 20, 2013

Catching Up with Oscar Best Pic Nominees

Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry in Beasts of the Southern Wild
For the first time in years I have a noble goal in sight: catching all of the nominees for Best Picture before the Oscar telecast. When there were only five candidates, it wasn't much of a problem. But then they went and stretched it to ten and I fell hopelessly behind--Did I really need to see The Blind Side? This year, there are nine--they changed the rules again last year so that the number can vary from five to ten for some weird statistical reason--and I have caught eight of them. 

Most recently I had a one-day cram session with a matinee of Les Miz for $7 at the local upstate triplex and then a download of Beasts of the Southern Wild on Amazon Prime for $4. Just last night we saw Silver Linings Playbook at the Angelika where it was playing on three screens--That was kinda weird. Normally the Angelika is an art-house type place showing indies, foreign films and documentaries. But this was like being at the mall. It was Saturday night, there were long lines, and almost everyone was younger than me. Silver Linings is a rare bird, a little indie film with a major cast which waited for Oscar buzz before it went into a wide release.

For the first hour, I enjoyed Les Miserables with Tim Hooper's inventive direction, then it settled down into endless smash close-ups and weeping. After Hugh Jackman finally died and went to heaven with Anne Hathaway, I thought, "The afterlife consists of standing on a pile of broken furniture singing your lungs out?" 

Beasts of the Southern Wild was weird, scattered, jagged, and I was shocked it got some many Oscar nods.  The reason they expanded the number of eligible Best Picture candidates was so that the Dark Knight and James Bond could say in their ads they were up for the top Oscar. The hero of Beasts is not a comic book stud, but a bayou little girl coping with her backwater community being flooded and her father dying. It's sort like a dream with impossible scenes flowing into one another and huge beasts following the little girl around. 

Oscar loves Silver Linings having given it all four acting nominees. Although Jacki Weaver's nod for her work as the mother is a mystery, it's a such a tiny role. This is especially head-scratching when you consider they could have nominated Maggie Smith for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The argument that Hotel came out in the summer and everyone forgot doesn't work because Beasts had a June release.

I think Jennifer Lawrence has a good chance of winning Best Actress since her main competition Jessica Chastain is in a picture (Zero Dark Thirty) liberal Hollywood is mad at for seeming to condone torture.

The only Best Picture nominee I have left is Django Unchained which will be bypassed at awards time because Hollywood doesn't want to appear to condone violence. 

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