Thursday, February 24, 2011


So, I could write a 10,000 word Oscar preview but my prose is not feeling very sharp. So how about a simple series of lists with the people/movie I think are gonna win in bold and, much more importantly, listed in my order of preference.


- Toy Story 3 (Genuinely shocking)
- The Social Network (Makes an honest effort to explore the relationship between the public and the personal)
- Black Swan (Wonderful trash horror about the relationship between art and personal sacrifice)
- Winter's Bone (Ozark noir, another sub-genre I never knew I wanted until I got it)
- The Kids Are All Right (It's really funny!)
- The Fighter (D.O.R. doesn't explode the Boston Movie or Boxing Picture, instead lovingly makes great ones)
- True Grit (fun, gorgeous, and well-acted, if not particularly revelatory)
- 127 Hours (50/50 between the great desert/rock scenes and the annoying Boyled flashbacks)
- Inception (Plotted very neatly, but oh how I wish so much of the plot didn't hinge on the Leo/Cotillard love stuff)
- The King's Speech (not all bad, but it looks terrible and doesn't quite attempt to say anything about anything)


- Jesse Eisenberg (brilliant, brilliant, brilliant)
- James Franco (absolutely nails the big interview scene)
- Colin Firth (better than the material required)
- Jeff Bridges (good, you know)

*Haven't seen the Javier Bardem one, realized I haven't really altogether liked an Iñárittu movie and it probably wouldn't worth it for me


- Natalie Portman (uses her Portman-ness to great effect)
- Annette Bening (the Joni Mitchell scene is is jaw-dropping)
- Jennifer Lawrence (works hard throughout the movie for the big emotional payoff at the end)
- Michelle Williams (maybe the structure makes it easier to see what she's doing, but she does it real well)
- Nicole Kidman (the Kidman Forehead isn't altogether unrealistic for the character, actually)

- Christian Bale (not subtle, obvi, but the physicality is awesome)
- Jeremy Renner (like a little Boston pitbull James Cagney, so entertaining)
- John Hawkes (emotionally mysterious and excellent, like most of the supporting performances in Winter's Bone)
- Mark Ruffalo (subtle Cali bro skills)
- Geoffrey Rush (charming)

- Amy Adams (plays the Supportive Girlfriend type, but makes sure you know there's more going on than just Standing By Her Man)
- Jacki Weaver (the escalation of menace throughout the movie is gr8)
- Hailee Steinfeld (great shit-talking, though again, this is in every appreciable way a Lead Performance)
- Melissa Leo (fun, but I think less convincing in her mannerism than her opposite number Bale)
- Helena Bonham Carter (a decent performance in a nothing role)

- David Fincher (not an achievement on the level of Zodiac, but shapes the Sorkin script into a super fast yet super clear stunner)
- Darren Aronofsky (great delirium)
- David O. Russell (manages the tone brilliantly, throwing in some screwball along with the inspirational and dramatic)
- Joel and Ethan Coen (pretty landscapes and the usual Coen skill for creating fun supporting characters)
- Tom Hooper (movie is carried by the acting, can't tell that Hooper did anything positive, to be honest)

- Toy Story 3 (the dialogue is great, the story is perfect)
- The Social Network (I was very worried when I heard Sorkin was writing this, but he did a great job, though I suspect the editing, acting, and direction aren't getting enough credit for how well they make his writing work)
- Winter's Bone (maintains both an air of mystery and emotional insight)
- True Grit (the broad comedy stuff might be my favorite, actually)
- 127 Hours (a lot of the Franco talking to himself stuff works, a lot of the psychoanalysis really doesn't)

- The Kids Are All Right (to say that it's just a family dramedy and not a lesbian family dramedy undersells what it accomplishes)
- Another Year (insightful about aging, and much more insightful about friendship and other complicated interpersonal relationships)
- The Fighter (solid take on the various genres, but I think it's the direction and acting that's really special)
- Inception (the exposition is pretty good under the circumstances, but the character interactions don't interest me all that much)
- The King's Speech (solid prestige movie dialogue, as corny as expected, but solid)

- Inside Job (Very neatly laid out, super-intense, and even manages to justify its blood thirst)
- Restrepo (the editing is done really well; the quality of and balance between the art and journalism is dope)
- Gasland (makes a very compelling argument against fracking, narrator really sounds like Johnny Depp)
- Exit Through the Gift Shop (quite entertaining, however, there lingers a suspicion that's it's not actually saying anything about anything)

*Didn't get to see Wasteland


- Alexandre Desplat will probably win for his score for The King's Speech. He totally deserves it...for his score for The Ghost Writer.
- Alice in Wonderland is not the worst movie ever made (Helena Bonham-Carter is probably actually better in it than she is in The King's Speech), but it might just be one of the ugliest. Any technical awards for it will be sad.
- I don't mind the Art Direction in The King's Speech at all, but the cinematography, with its low angle street shots and slightly off center close-ups, is horrendous. I really hope Roger Deakins finally gets his Cinematography Oscar instead of dude from King's Speech.
- Will be cheering against Let's Pollute for Best Animated Short. It's not nearly as bad as last year's Logorama, whose Political niche it fills, but it does seem to me rather half-baked. All of the other nominees are better than it, including the big-budget, 30 minute long British-Actor-Filled adaptation of kids' book The Gruffalo, Pixar's Day & Night, and especially Madagascar, carnet de voyage, which you should totally watch.

God I hope the King's Speech doesn't win. But it will. Let's drink!

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