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Monday, 28 February 2011

What are you up to, Oscar?

So, the 2011 Oscars have been awarded, and as I have mentioned previously, it is nice to have an award season in which one is so spoilt for choice!  2010 saw some terrific cinema in all categories and competition was always going to be close this year; it is an honour for all film makers to be recognised for work done, and winners are able to feel they had competition.  Dustin Hoffman once pointed out that there are so many people involved in the making of a picture, so much heart and soul going into something these people love, that it is impossible to recognise everyone; in an industry where true success is creating something you can be proud of, nobody who succeeds in this goal has truly lost, and awards are simply a bonus.  I do not disagree with this notion, but while the Academy are voting and those golden statues are being placed in grateful hands, there will always be the chance for people (and specifically film lovers) to debate.  I am no expert in fringe categories, such as "Short Film" and "Foreign Language", partly due to not being able to access all the films nominated in time for the awards season, but it is great that these categories are always present.  With all that said, here are my thoughts on all the major category results.....for what they're worth ;)

Best Picture - "The King's Speech".  I have seen seven of the nominated films in this category, and of those seven, I cannot say I agree that this is the winner.  I really enjoyed "The King's Speech"  a lot; an important story, told well, and a film that will undoubtedly find its way into my collection, but ultimately quite a straightforward movie that is primarily a performance piece.  When all said and done, though this result did not surprise me because there is a fawning over any story about royalty, I do think Oscar was blinded somewhat by some great performances and the hype.  My choice: "Inception" / "Black Swan"

Actor In A Leading Role - Colin Firth.  Anyone surprised?  Completed deserved.  Regardless of my love of Jeff Bridges in general, and despite the fact Jesse Eisenberg was surprisingly captivating as Mark Zucherberg, the dedication Firth gave to perfecting King George VI's speech impediment, and a very balanced delivery of the emotional beats in this role meant there could be no other contender. Well done, Mr Firth.

Actor In A Supporting Role - Christian Bale.  I have seen three of the five, but crucially not the winner's performance yet, so I cannot give a balanced argument.  I do not mind Ruffalo, but find it hard to picture him ever winning anything when put alongside heavyweight actors.  If Bale really is as good as they say in "The Fighter" then I am sure it is well deserved (he is, after all, famous for being rather dedicated to a role), but I must say I am sad to see Geoffrey Rush miss out, as he is just as big a part in "The King's Speech", and is just as deserving.  I also think Jeremy Renner was outstanding in "The Town", and please see my previous entry about Ben Affleck for my views on that film, as it never garnered enough attention.  Of what I have seen, my choice: Geoffrey Rush

Actress In A Leading Role - Natalie Portman.  Very similar response to this as for Colin Firth, and oddly, for similar reasons.  She had a strong contender in Jennifer Lawrence (again, see my previous entry about the Oscars for my thoughts on her), and she is one to keep an eye out for....she will win this award one day. Nevertheless, well deserved by Portman!

Actress In A Supporting Role - Melissa Leo.  Again, I have not seen the winner, so cannot say much.  What I will say is people need to stop going all stroppy over the fact Bonham Carter missed out; a great performance yes, but check out "True Grit" to understand why my choice, again of what I have seen, was Hailee Steinfield.

Art Direction - Alice In Wonderland.  ????????????????????????????????????????????????????  Where, may I ask, was "Black Swan"?  My choice: "Inception" / "The King's Speech"

Cinematography - Inception.  All starting to go a bit wrong, isn't it?  What's with awards going to great films for the wrong reasons?  My choice, without a second thought, and I will add that I am shocked it didn't win: "True Grit"

Costume Design - Alice In Wonderland.  I really did not like this film, but as much as I thought the costumes for "The King's Speech" were superb, I will concede this one......fair dos.

Directing - Tom Hooper.  Okay so Christopher Nolan, a director who created unarguably the greatest Batman incarnation, who otherwise has never made a bad movie (even his no budget debut is impressive!), and who, most importantly, created the smartest, most challenging summer blockbuster for a long time, is snubbed for this category?  Fair enough, so of those who did get a nod, one assumes the winner will be one of the best....directed films....seeing how this is a category for....director?  Ok, let's give it to Tom Hooper for "The King's Speech" :/  My choice: David Fincher / Darren Aronofsky

Film Editing - The Social Network.  Once again, "Inception" doesn't even get a nod....something's up.  Still, the winner is a good job, and the behind the scenes features really do open your eyes to just how good.  Well done, Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter
Original Score - The Social Network.  I'm just happy "The King's Speech" didn't take it, the most notable music for this film is not original.  As for the other nominees, it was a toss up; one of those rare occasions where you simply cannot make a choice.  Both top contenders' score worked perfectly and I enjoyed both equally.  I would have also been happy with  "Inception".

Sound Editing - Inception.  Not much to say, the other nominees did not stand much of a chance.

Sound Mixing - Inception.  So here I do have a problem.  Once again we're seeing awards go to good films for the wrong reason.  There is no excuse, and as far as I am concerned no other contender; my choice: "The Social Network"

Visual Effects - InceptionJust yes :)  "Alice In Wonderland" did not look good, so don't even start thinking it.

Adapted Screenplay - The Social Network.  No other contender, Sorkin is the definitely the man!

Original Screenplay - The King's Speech.  Oh, they were doing so well there, weren't they?  Given the fact he was snubbed for "Director", I would have thought Nolan would take this one at least.  This means that the clever, challenging, exciting blockbuster of the year was not the best film, was not best directed, and was not best screenplay.....I'm starting to wonder what everyone liked about "Inception" so much, really ;)  It will come as no shock that I think the winner was: "Inception"

 So, 9/16.  I guess it could have been worse.  In summary, I am glad that the year gave us so much to enjoy, but sad that some of these major decision were probably swayed a bit by hype, meaning certain people who should have walked away with a little golden man, did not.  Though I have not seen it myself, I am surprised that "127 Hours" was completely blanked, although that said, Boyle had his fair share of glory with his last film.  I am sorely disappointed for Mr Nolan, who really deserved more recognition; to not even be nominated where David O. Russell is is a huge crime.  Still, these controversies happen all the time, and I do not doubt Nolan will just keep doing what he does well, and knock all our socks off again with a near-perfect "Batman" movie.  Perhaps then he can come back with a nice little romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston, and clean up at the Oscars next time round ;)

Bring on another year like last one; if cinema was of this quality all the time, I would be a happy man.




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