Last year, I stood outside a movie theatre in the still of the parking lot. Up in the dark night sky, sat the eclipsed moon emitting the deepest of warm reds and I was thoroughly transfixed. Lost track of time, wrapped up in thought staring above, until I heard someone ask, “Hey, what’s she starin’ at?” Looked down to find near twenty others standing around then as well all gazing up at the moon giving it its due. It was the start to an adventurous night filled with a handful of strange and wonderful happenings. It was just one in a line of similarly joyous outings to here, there and everywhere to view and then check yet another Oscar nomination from the list. It was with these memories that I looked forward to this year’s outings as well. Am sad to say, very few met my expectations this time around. As for the films viewed? The same could be said.
My number one take-away from the night is in the form of a negative- so glad that Avatar didn’t win Best Picture! Great movie, thoroughly enjoyed it. Oscar worthy? Technically speaking, give ’em a whole slew of awards for breaking new ground, and what not. The plot was more than decent, but even so, that extra Oscar “something” was missing. It’s the Academy Awards, not the People’s Choice.
Were I forced to choose a Best Picture this time around, it’d be a hard go. Was on board with Inglorious Basterds for some time, but then that may merely be based on a penchant for Nazi history and all things theatre. Shortly entertained District 9 and Shane even got a temporary nickname out of it- the Sweetie Man (“hi, little guy!”). Enjoyed the satirical comparisons to society for one, and the action-adventure buddy schtick along with the deeper theme of a true love woven in, for another. Up was flippin’ wonderful, but I don’t envision ever rooting for a purely animated film as Best Picture. Though, who’s to say. Ultimately, may’ve chosen A Serious Man for Best, with its quirky dark humor and well set scenes. The Hurt Locker, winner of the bunch, I found to have some serious plot issues overall, though, I held high expectations throughout the first half of viewing. Couldn’t place Renner the entire time even after having seen him in 28 Weeks Later and S.W.A.T., until at last, discovered he’d portrayed Jeffrey in Dahmer, and the face was then placed.
In the acting department, Mo’Nique gave it good as an abusive mother in Precious. Her final scene in the film is what clinched her win for Best Supporting Actress for me. So difficult to sit and take in the venom she doled out time and again, most especially a scene including a newborn. I’ve cried at many a movie, but always well within containment. In viewing that scene, actual audible sound escaped my mouth. The only other film to elicit such a reaction was Saving Private Ryan in which I outright sobbed at the opening scene. So very glad that Precious was made as it gives a voice to more kids than can be named and the toxic environment that harbors their daily to-doings.Just one of the many reasons I partake in this little Oscar ritual of mine
And to think I thought Penelope Cruz was a shoe-in as my pick for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Nine. Until I actually viewed Nine, that is. Nine‘s the big screen adaptation of the musical based on Fellini’s film 8½, and follows a film director struggling with a creative block of sorts as he juggles a variety of women in his life. A musical taking place during the 60’s in Italy about the film industry and creativity, and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, talk about a near made-to-order film pour moi! Alas, no. Fair at best with few highlights. Just one of the many reasons I partake in this little Oscar ritual of mine, finding it eye opening to enter into something with certain ideas only to then come away with an entirely different view. Important practice for life.
Meryl, Meryl, Meryl. Streep! That woman, she continues to grow on me. She was excellent in her portrayal of Julia Child in Julie & Julia, she gave heart and wit to the woman, more than just an impersonation by far. Deserved the win for Best Actress. That said, am eternally torn between the thought that the best should win, as that’s the whole point, and the thought that it’s certainly nice to spread the wealth and allow others their shining moment as well. Enter, Sandra Bullock. A complete delight to behold- warm, funny, relatable, and darn pretty, yet not afraid to make an utter arse of herself in the name of comedy (yay!). But, always Sandra. Just as Julia Roberts is always Julia. Many actors are, which is totally fine (are themselves, not Julia). So it was with ambivalence that I viewed her nomination. In winning for her role in The Blind Side, her acceptance speech proved her to be eloquent, intelligent, generous, self aware, and script-free funny! Provided the speech wasn’t scripted …
Must say that Stanley Tucci was excellent in The Lovely Bones and was second only to Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor in my book. Christoph portrayed his Basterds Natzi role with such relish! I was riveted to the screen whenever he appeared and he did well in making me despise the tines of that fork, in particular. For Best Actor, I’d like to have seen Colin Firth win for his role in A Single Man, he was subtle and nuanced, and the film itself was exquisitely filmed! The score along with many tightly cropped, classically captured close-ups, absolutely made it.
Found that the foreign language, documentary, and short film categories held more interest this year than the full length features did perhaps leaving me with a new focus in the year ahead. We shall see. ♦