Tonight is when the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announce their awards, and for once I’m ready!
Friends who have known me for a long time will find it impossible to believe that I’ve seen eight of the nine Best Picture nominees BEFORE the Oscars are awarded…much less that I have an opinion on them. I’m just not a film junkie.
But empty nestdom brought a change in habits, and Candice and I made a pledge to see all the nominees. We made it through eight before life, health and work kept us from closing out our pledge…but since Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is NEVER mentioned in all the pre-Oscar write-ups as having a chance of winning, I think we’re on safe ground here.
Number eight in our marathon was The Tree of Life – which we watched today thanks to iTunes. Easily the most complex of the nominees, Terrence Malick’s film was not among my favorites even though it attempted to explore greater depths on issues of life and loss than some of the other, more celebrated, nominees (read The Descendents).
But let’s cut to the chase: which picture deserves to win the Best Picture award?
The buzz says that The Artist has a lock, due to a strong publicity campaign by the distributor and that cute little dog. I’m okay with that, but I feel that Hugo is the better picture. Too bad it has been publicized as a children’s film, because it is wonderful. The story is lovingly told and the 3-D production is terrific. I’m not among those who thinks The Descendents is a strong second choice. It was nice, but not really Best Picture quality. My rankings of the eight I saw came in as follows:
- The Artist
- The Help
- The Descendents
- Midnight in Paris
- The Tree of Life
- War Horse
I had dinner Friday night with someone who is intimately connected with the film business, and her assessment that there is no truly worthy Best Picture this year rang true to me. I’d probably watch my top three, Midnight in Paris, and Moneyball again (hey, I am a baseball fan), but I don’t think that I’ll be seeking them out two or there years from now.
So, a few other observations: Brad Pitt won’t win Best Actor for Moneyball, but he should. If Viola Davis wins Best Actress for The Help, she’s a deserving winner. That was a terrific performance. And in another pitch for Moneyball (which was a good film – just not the Best Picture), Jonah Hill should absolutely win Best Supporting Actor. And finally, I hope that Midnight in Paris wins at least one award for Woody Allen. I thought it was a fine picture and is probably the first one I’d pick to see a second time.
There you have it…a true layman’s (if not idiot’s) guide to the Academy Awards. Bring on the popcorn!
More to come…