I am about to leave home. I am actually quite scared this time. Not horrified. Just feeling the stress of having to plan everything for myself. It doesn’t help that British Airways is… how to say kindly… screwing me over. Ie, I have received the worst customer service possible, which is not exaggeration. Ok, a little. They could cuss me out over the phone. Or try to harm me physically. But otherwise, it’s been horrible. Which adds to my stress. But I do have a beautiful family that is fully behind me. All that is vague, so note:
-British Airways wants me financially dead.
-My family, a more powerful entity, wants me alive and is more proactive toward that end.
So, while I’m headed to India soon, I am participating in a final indulgence. I am going to write a blog about the Oscar noms.
Last year I watched all Oscar noms in best pic and best performances categories. I went to that rickety Century 21, sat in the screens glow for a few hours, and effectively soaked in my movie experience for the year. Much better than a tan.
This year, I will be out of country for the Oscar month, so I watched a few of them and will say my piece on the Academy’s decisions.
BEN BUTTON!? WHAT THE!? I will say what thousands are saying across the nation. Didn’t I see that already? Except there was a floating feather instead of a hummingbird, leg braces instead of old crusty legs, etc., etc. Ah yes, back in ’94. And that guy’s mama said it best, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.” Or in Ben Button’s mama’s case, “You never know what’s comin’ for ya.” And who would have thought that this year’s Forrest Gump remake would get the most Oscar noms. A shot out from Hollywood to their favorite Pitt? A move from the Academy to get ordinary people to care this year by making a “blockbuster” the big contender this year? A shame? All of the above. I enjoyed it fine, but 13 noms. That’s an overstep. But I’ve already given this movie to much screen time here, as it were.
Doubt. Congrats to Streep, Hoffman, Davis, and Adams. What a team. There’s a movie completely driven by its characters who are acted very well. No movie I’ve seen since House of Sand and Fog moved me so much. So it didn’t have an old-man-baby. It did have an old man going after a baby. And it had a cross-bearing, screaming Streep. Beautiful.
The Reader. Not that great. Of course, I’m no Hollywood. But as far as story goes, I just didn’t care enough about it. Although, I love Kate, and I will be listening for the phonetic joy that is Kate saying, “Hanna Schmitz”.
The Golden Globes didn’t give any shout outs to Angelina Jolie, really. She got a nom, but no one cared. However, I remember seeing that movie, and I thought, if she gets no Oscar nom for this, I’m through. So, Oscars, you must have listened. You realized that you need me, and you put AJ up. Seriously though, AJ got me to feel the delicate line Christine Collins was trying to walk between a societally satisfying composure and sense of trust and her inner dread, distrust, and inklings of conspiracy. AJ dove deep there. Get it, AJ.
M.I.A. will be at the oscars this year! Well, her name will be. Maya Arulpragasam got her nom, and the years indie baby will represent! I have joined the millions digging her “Paper Planes” and others. And kudos to whoever it was that said that they needed this girl for the film. Be listening for her.
And of course, Heath, may he rest in peace, will walk with this one. We knew it before he died. That joker freaks us out. And for that give the guy the gold!
I’ve decided to have my say before I leave the country. So, my final list, should the awards be given based on my vote alone (and of course, the list is not exhaustive, just the ones I know and/or care about):
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:
Although Penn was phenomenal and biopics always carry a certain award-giving power (see Frank Langella’s nom as well), Rourke’s getting the hype. Hype, of course, is tricky and can swing awards away. Congrats to the usually supporting performer, Jenkins. Pitt was flat. I’ve seen the trailer for the The Wrestler, and THAT moved me. So, here’s to Rourke.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:
Hoffman, great. Brolin, meh. Downey, please. And I haven’t seen Rev Road, but you can’t beat Ledger in Dark Knight this year. Can’t be done.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Get it, Anne. Love AJ (See above). For me, although I didn’t think The Reader was that good, Kate does a fantastic emotional job. However, Meryl is utterly moving in Doubt. And with the GG going to Kate, I feel Meryl’s getting this one.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: With Kate out of this picture, I’m a little remiss to say who. Ben Button’s mom, sorry, no. And Cruz, you weren’t funny in the preview, you probably weren’t funny in the movie. So of the three left, as before, I lean Doubt. While Tomei as a compassionate stripper, I would almost throw my vote there, but in good conscience, it’s up to Davis and Adams. Because I was startled by Adams in Doubt, I’ll say the other nun is getting the statue.
Best Animated Feature Film: Come on.
Best Directing: Although Ron Howard is really getting the hype for Frost/Nixon and Slumdog Millionaire is quite the director’s challenge, I think more timely, bravely well handled and therefore better choice is Milk‘s Gus Van Sant.
Best Makeup: Because they did look really old.
Best Music (Song): Come one. The song is good. “O Saya” make you want to watch that movie. And of course I want M.I.A. to have an oscar. Just like Al Gore.
Best Picture: Well, BB is out. Do I need to keep saying that? Biopics are great. I’ll give up asking what Doubt‘s not doing there. The Reader? See above. But I think this is where everyone will throw their Slumdog love.
Best Adapted Screenplay: I don’t think you should get the statue for adapting a stage script for screen, so my vote won’t go to F/N, or Doubt. I haven’t read the books/stories that the other three are based on and while the adaptation of a short story to a movie seems like quite a jump, this writer seemed he had a trajectory already laid out for him in ’94. So, although Slumdog is a powerful story, I think the most moving part of The Reader other that Kate’s Schimtz is the writing.
Best Original Screenplay: Now here again I’m torn by the biopic pull. Frozen River seems intriguing and as a rogue entry, ie. not seen in the GG’s, it could pull the votes. And of course, comedy is getting the love, because comedy is harder than drama. With that point in mind, see Wall-E, where comedy plays out beautifully as well as drama, in a screenplay which doesn’t include talking for the first half of the film. Now that, I think, is acheivement.