Thursday, January 27, 2011


Now that I've got a blog again, I might as well say a little something about my passion for film, especially considering that the Oscar nominations were just released. Here are my picks for the big categories. These are the films I'd like to win, not the ones I think will.

  • Best Picture: Black Swan. It's so cool to see this magnificent film here in the top 10. It's my favorite film of 2010 (that I've seen so far) and definitely the top of these 10. Of the rest I wouldn't mind The Kids Are All Right, The Social Network, Toy Story 3 or True Grit taking home the prize.
  • Best Actor: While I haven't seen Biutiful yet, I find it hard to imagine anyone outshining James Franco this year. 127 Hours was a one man show and he made it great.
  • Supporting Actor: Hands down, this should go to Christian Bale for The Fighter. I knew this was going to be a great performance the second I saw the haunted look in his eyes in the opening scene. He's had a great career and this is his best performance yet. Mark Ruffalo is definitely a worthy runner up with a subtle and beautiful performance in The Kids Are All Right. I am disappointed not to see Justin Timberlake here for The Social Network. Is it just because of his *NSYNC past? Whatever the reason, it's shameful to dis him like that. It's a very strong group of men, though, and I'm not sure who I'd drop out to find a spot for JT.
  • Best Actress: I haven't yet seen Rabbit Hole or Blue Valentine, but I haven't seen a better actress this year than Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right. She is pitch perfect as a mother trying so hard, too hard, to hold her family together all the while knowing that her desperation is part of what is pulling them apart. On top of that, I didn't even notice her "glasses behavior", but I might have to watch it again just to check that out.
  • Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld should win for True Grit. She's the heart of the film. Man, the Coens can cast. I'm seriously pissed that she didn't get a nod for Best Actress, though; she was in the film more than Jeff Bridges who got the Best Actor nomination. WTF Academy?!? I have to say I wasn't terribly impressed with Amy Adams or Melissa Leo in The Fighter, both excellent actors who just didn't have enough material to work with. I liked Helena Bonham Carter in The King's Speech, but frankly the character didn't have much to do except be supportive of Bertie. Overall I'm impressed with the caliber of nominations, but this category seems underwhelming overall. But I haven't seen Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom yet. I've heard great things and I really hope to see it before the big night.
  • Animated Feature: I enjoyed both Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon, and of the two I have a very soft spot for Toy Story. But I'm dying to see The Illusionist, as I love both the director, Sylvain Chomet, for his wonderful film The Triplets of Belleville and the late Jacques Tati who wrote the original screenplay and is the basis for the main character. Just based on the previews The Illusionist looks like it could be one of my favorite films of the year. I'm going to reserve judgement on this category for the time being.
  • Cinematography: Matthew Libatique should win just for the opening scene of Black Swan; simultaneously lovely and deeply disturbing.
  • Directing: This is Aronofsky's moment for Black Swan. It's a film that I just can't shake.
  • Documentary Feature: Restrepo is a riveting look at the Afghanistan war from the front lines. Tim Heatherington and Sebastian Junger spent an entire tour of duty with the troops. There were other good documentaries this year, but I've never seen anything like Restrepo before. It is a must see. (I hadn't even heard of Gasland or Waste Land. Hopefully I can find them somehow.)
  • Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network worked for me all because of the screenplay. Just listen to the words being used like weapons in this film. It reminded me of one of those classics from the '40s like His Girl Friday where everyone in the movie is smarter and can think more quickly on their feet than anyone in the audience. By the time you get one joke, you've missed two in the meantime.
  • Original Screenplay: I haven't seen Another Year yet, and I hear it's one of Mike Leigh's best. But for my money, The Kids Are All Right is the choice. It's the best screenplay I've seen all year. It went from great to transcendent right in the middle of Jules' (Julianne Moore's) apologetic speech to the family when she starts talking about reading Russian novels. It made no sense and made perfect sense. If I knew how to write like that, well, I guess I'd be Lisa Cholodenko or Stuart Blumberg.
All in all, it was a great year for film.

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