If you've been following along with my Picks & Predictions articles this week it should come as no surprise who I am picking here. Regardless, I'm not completely enamored with the front runner, The Artist
, as much as the critics and film snobs. Now relax, I'm not calling you a film snob if you liked The Artist, but I have no doubt that plenty of cinephiles are piling on this film simply because it's trendy to do so. I do not hate The Artist. I think it's a fantastic film for what it is. It's a bold concept for the 21st century. What it's not, is mainstream. 2 years from now no one is going to remember this film. It has little if any re-watch value. It's a critical darling that the Academy has embraced in part for it's concept, but also in part because it's safe. With all of that said, I have no real issue with The Artist being in the hunt for best picture. I do however, feel that this is a weak year for best picture caliber films, and if The Artist had come up against last year's films (Black Swan, True Grit, The King's Speech), or even 2010's Hurt Locker or Avatar, it might not have the vice grip it has on this year's crop of contenders. I think there are at least 4 other films on the list that have no business being there. I feel like Drive and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo are the most notable snubs of the year. For kicks and giggles, here is my impression of each of the nominees.
The Artist The Descendants Hugo The Tree Of Life Midnight In Paris Moneyball Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close War Horse The Help I've already stated that The Artist
is going to win this award. The hype train is moving at too fast a pace to be stopped at this late hour. It's an ambitious film and very well put together. The cast did a great job and director Michel Hazanavicius should be commended for his efforts. It just didn't do a lot for me. I respect it for what it is. It deserves to be here this year.
If I was allowed a vote, The Descendants
would get it. Beautifully written, acted and filmed, Alexander Payne's minimalist approach to film works so beautifully here. I'm off the opinion that George Clooney finds another level with this performance. Newcomer Shailene Woodley could make a case for being snubbed of a supporting actress nod. The Descendants was witty, emotional and heartfelt. I believe it was the most complete film of the year, but it will come in as runner up on Sunday night. Hugo
is Martin Scorsese's love letter to the golden age of cinema. His mastery of the 3-D medium almost makes the case for this nod on it's own. Add in the terrific cast and touching story and this film is no doubt a treat. Unfortunately, many critics and moviegoers can't get past the "kid's movie" stigma that Hugo carries. It's so much more than that. It should make a statement in many of the technical categories, and Scorsese is a modest contender for directing, but it would be a Crash level shocker if it pulled this award off. The Tree Of Life
is one of those films I don't get. This is like staring at a piece of abstract art for two hours and never getting the point. I saw the circle of life played out on screen before. It was called The Lion King, and I had a far better experience with that. The middle part of this film, with wonderful performances by Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, worked. The 20 minute earth science lecture, while pretty to look at, was a complete waste of time. And don't get me started on Sean Penn's role in the film. I still haven't bothered to try to figure that out. Another critics pick that mainstream audiences have little interest in.
Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris
was okay. I'm on the bubble on whether or not it rates a nom for best picture of the year. It's an incomplete film. It's certainly gorgeous to look at. The scenes of Paris make one want to visit the country. The concept of a streetcar pulling up and transporting the Wedding Crashers guy back in time to meet iconic literary figures is okay up front, but once we realize that we're never really going to understand why this all happens, Midnight In Paris sort of falls apart. The fiance and her parents served no purpose to the film. Owen Wilson is just meh'. It's a quaint film, like a sidewalk cafe in Paris. Best picture? No. Moneyball
is a good film with good performances. Nothing more, nothing less. In no way did I exit the theater thinking to myself, "Wow", and isn't that how we should be thinking of films that rate being considered for best picture? It's getting a lot more acclaim than I think it truly deserves and it has no chance to pull of an upset here. I'm sorry, but Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close
has no business being here. Just because Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are in your movie does not make it best picture worthy. More than half...HALF, of the critics who saw this filmed panned it. How does this film find it's way on this list? This seriously calls into question the Academy's connection with reality. It's basically saying here's a heartwarming 9/11 tale starring people that everybody loves, so who really cares if it's a good film. If I'm the studio and filmmakers behind Drive or Dragon Tattoo, I am pissed off when this film gets called out on nomination day. If this film pulls off the upset of the millennia on Oscar night, I'll never watch the show again.
Full disclosure...didn't see War Horse
. It's gotten positive reviews for the most part, but it simply feels like another feel good, heartwarming safe nomination, taking a spot a more edgier film should have gotten. I liked Seabiscuit. This looks like Seabiscuit goes to war. It stands no chance on Oscar night. Finally, The Help
is a movie that I can fully support for all of the accolades it is receiving. It's a movie that forces you to look at yourself as a human being. It should anger you. frustrate you and most of all make you want to be a better person. There are easily 5 performances in this film that can make a claim for being on a nominees list. I think Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis will both be recognized by the Academy, but it will fall a bit short in this category. Should Win - The DescendantsWill Win - The Artist
So there it is. Ultimately, this year just seems underwhelming compared to recent years. Too many of these best picture nominees feel forced, as if they HAD to pick something to make it interesting. I don't think this is going to be one of the more memorable years for Oscar winners in the long run. None of these films, including the great ones, seem to have much replay value. If the Academy truly wants to reach out to the younger audience, this isn't the year it's likely to happen. Enjoy the Oscars everyone.
Previously;Oscars 2012 Picks & Predictions: Best DirectorOscars 2012 Picks & Predictions: Best Acting CategoryOscars 2012 Picks & Predictions: Best Supporting Category