It’s that time of year again. Academy Awards season is always something I enjoy, but also fear. Sometimes the Academy treats me just right, and something wonderful happens, like the Departed winning out over Little Miss Sunshine. Other times… well, “Academy Award Winner Crash” is a phrase that never ceases to depress me. It’s a relationship full of a lot of ups and downs.
Since the Best Picture Award has been expanded, it’s been increasingly harder and harder to see all of the nominees before the big day. So if you’re in need of a little catching up, or just a refresher on something you saw a while ago, follow us through the next few pages with our crash course in the 2013 Best Picture Nominees…
9. Life Of Pi
Based on Yann Martel’s 2001 novel of the same name, Life Of Pi recounts a story retold by an Indian man named Pi Patel. In his youth, Pi (short for Piscine) was on a boat trip, traveling to Winnipeg. When the ship capsized, along with the zoo animals it held as cargo, Pi found himself stranded on a life raft with his only companions being a zebra, orangutan, hyena and a tiger with a name akin to that of famed Edgar Allen Poe cabin-boy Richard Parker.
The movie attempts too hard to come off as deep or philosophical without ever achieving these feats. Though we see Pi early in the film reading Camus’ The Stranger, the existentialist themes of this movie manage to go no deeper than I Am Legend or Castaway. And while his father claims that religion is pointless in the face of reason, Pi subscribes to multiple religions in an attempt to know god even more deeply. Real pretentious college student nonsense.
Though some of the scenes and line deliveries by Suraj Sharma can be cringe-worthy, the gorgeous spectacle that Ang Lee creates is astounding. Along with cinematographer Claudio Miranda and the visual effects conducted by the Academy Award-winning Rhythm & Hues Studios, Lee creates in Life of Pi a vibrant and colorful world not seen since James Cameron’s Avatar.
It’s one of the few films in which I would actually recommend a 3D viewing in theaters. Unfortunately, like Avatar, this film focuses too much on style rather than substance, getting clunky and awkward with its motifs and having a notable absence of a stand-out acting performance.
Why It Will Win:
Ang Lee is owed a Best Picture win by the Academy after that horrific movie Crash tricked Hollywood into giving it something.
Why It Won’t Win:
As stated above, it lacks much depth and emotion when compared to the other nominees.
This article was first posted on February 18, 2013