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Friday, February 17, 2012

The Year's Big 9 (a brief overview)

Every year I set out to watch the all of Oscar Best Picture nominations... and this year I finally did! It got to be a slightly tedious process there towards the end. But, I thought it only fitting 1 week (+ 2 days) out from the big day to share my run-down of the nominees.

Here are my choices from least likely to win to most likely to win. Enjoy

9) The Tree of Life - There's a reason why no one who's seen this movie can tell you what it's about... because it's about nothing. Sure, you can argue, it's about a kid who can't connect with his father, and the other mundane aspects of his life. But, then there's the evolution process, dinosaurs and other crazy "process of life" moments that are so vague, I could only be bored and wish I had the nerve to fast forward, or better yet, his "eject." Grade: D

8) War Horse - Steven Spielberg, World War I, and a horse. I couldn't help but think the entire time how I wished I was watching Black Beauty or even A Little Princess. But alas, I was not. I don't really have a criticism of any one part of the film... it's just that the whole thing was over-done. Sure there were moments of fright, sadness, or laughter, but as far as I'm concerned, this was just a spot filler in the nominations list. Grade: C-

7) Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - I don't remember a time I wanted to see a film less than I wanted to see this film. The ratings are terrible, and I couldn't believe the Academy would have the audacity to nominate it. And then I saw it. And while it wasn't a life-long-love, I didn't hate it. I was actually impressed by its quirkyness, which was something I wasn't expecting. It was beautiful and sad to watch. And while the topic of 9/11 is touchy, I truly believe this film did the "most terrible day" justice. Grade: B-

Source: imdb.com via Didem on Pinterest

6) Hugo - This was the best spectacle I saw of the bunch. Martin Scorsese did not disappoint. The story is solid, the story-telling is only beaten out by the visual effects, and Asa Butterfield won my blessing to play Ender. The downside? It's a kids movie, no matter which way you look at it. And while it may win Sound and Visual effect awards, I doubt it'll beat out the other contenders for the night's big honor. Grade: B+

5) Midnight in Paris - If you can believe it, this was my first Woody Allen film. And, not surprisingly, I wasn't able to really enjoy it. I immediately went out and rented Annie Hall, and then watched a PBS documentary on Woody, and am now a few months deep into a love affair with Mr. Allen. I went back and watched the film a second time, and was much more impressed and entertained by the piece. It may not be Woody Allen's greatest film, but of the movies this year, it deserves to be here. Grade: A-

4) Moneyball - Oh Brad Pitt, and the surprising performance by Jonah Hill. I don't think Moneyball was the best film to be made this year. I really enjoyed the story. I thought it was fantastically made, and I'd definitely watch it again. But it's a story that's been told in many different ways. Grade: B+

Source: google.com via Ryan on Pinterest

3) The Help - While I didn't fall absolutely head over heels for The Help (you can read my original review here), I was obviously in the minority. Octavia Spencer's probably going to win Best Supporting Actress, and good for her. I personally didn't think the film was gritty enough to be on this list... but once I compared it to the other nominees, it has earned its spot in the top 3. The majority wins! Grade: B-

2) The Descendants - Winning my "favorite movie of the year" award, I won't try to keep it a secret that I absolutely loved The Descendants. Judy Greer isn't getting any recognition for her role - but I'm giving that girl a shout out over here. She was incredible. As, of course, was George Clooney. Everything about the film was exactly the way I wanted it to be. The story was simple, yet intriguing; the music wasn't too over-powering, and moved the story along nicely; plus it had a good message. Grade: A+

1) The Artist - It's already sweeping awards show across the world - from the Golden Globes to the British Academy Film Awards, in both Best Picture wins and Best Actor wins. And I wholeheartedly agree that it deserves it. The Artist was in my opinion the most original and refreshing film made this year. I was on the edge of my seat every moment, feeling the emotions just seep from the silver screen. The sound editing, acting, and costumes were all a sight to see, and I left the theater with a tear in my eye and smile on my face. Grade: A+

Who do you think deserves to win?

{Have a Great Weekend!}


  1. I haven't even seen ANY of them. I usually see at least a couple of them before awards show season. Guess I've been slacking :)

  2. I LOVED Midnight in Paris. But I was also an Art History major...so just seeing all the old artists and writers come to life made it for me!

  3. I actually really enjoyed War Horse. It was different.

  4. While Ba.D.'s in show biz, I hardly keep up on movies. I happened to catch The Help because it was for sale at my grocery store, but the only other one I've really heard anything about is The Artist. Ba.D. saw that a few weeks ago and is still raving about it. Actually, I should probably catch it before it's out of the art theater near me in the next week or two!

    It feels a little ridiculous that I'm going to an Oscar party for a bunch of movies I haven't seen, but I'm calling it an excuse to catch up with girlfriends. :D