Yes, we’re at it again. As has been the case the past two years, Candice and I are out to see all of the Best Picture nominees (or as many as possible) before the Academy Awards show. We began this new tradition two years ago after we became empty nesters, and I have to say it has raised my stock as a husband. One of my major failings in life before I came up with this brilliant idea was not making an effort to go to the movies. What can I say…
However, we got a late start this year. (Once again, the “sure things” we went to see early in the year – I’m looking at you Lee Daniels’ The Butler – didn’t make the final cut of the Academy.)
So here it is February 1st – with the awards show just weeks away, and we’ve only seen two. However, I’m pretty sure we’ve seen the winner.
If there is any justice in the world, 12 Years a Slave will win in a rout. I don’t care what the other movies have to offer, this is a film that should win in almost any year. It is difficult to watch, but 12 Years a Slave is powerful and compelling. The violence of the slave life/economy is shown in all its horror. As Candice said as we headed out of the AFI Silver Theatre and started our walk home – (by the way, it is great to have such a wonderful theatre in our neighborhood) – “You hear about violence today, but it has always been a part of life in America.” Yes. As a country we continue to pay for our original sin.
That’s the winner. I’m laying down that marker now.
We’ve also seen American Hustle, which many of the media pundits see as the only film that can upset 12 Years a Slave. The acting in American Hustle is terrific. Christian Bale has one of the great 1970s comb-overs of all time. Amy Adams…oh my. I’m still in love with Jennifer Lawrence. But…the film itself is disjointed. And while I found it ultimately satisfying, let’s face it: this isn’t a “Best Picture.” It is a vehicle for great ensemble acting, but the story isn’t compelling and it takes a while to sort it all out. Sorry, I wouldn’t mind if this crew took two or three of the acting awards they are up for, but Best Picture…I don’t think so.
Now that I’ve been so demonstrative after seeing just two, we’ll head out again and try to get as many of the others under our belt this month as possible. So we’ll see you at the movies!
More to come…