Friday, March 5, 2010


So none of these movies could have come out last year? After what may very well have been the worst year for Best Picture nominees in the history of the Oscars comes what may very well be the best year for Best Picture nominees. I guess the old adages is true, you really do have to go through hell to get to heaven.

Originally this post was going to be about how I simply have been unable to pick which film I want to win Best Picture (Hence the Monty Python inspired title). I’ve seen 9 of the 10 Best Picture nominees and in many ways almost every single one of them is deserving. What’s great about this years nominees, yet makes it so difficult is that they are all totally different from one another. For the most part the Academy picked 10 films that best represent every kind of story and story telling method one could possibly imagine and how do you whittle all those films down to the most deserving candidate? How do you judge a heart warming tale like UP versus the cold, bitter realities of war and the men who fight it as displayed in THE HURT LOCKER.? Quite simply, you can’t. It’s just not possible. Having come to realize that it dawned on me that I would have to judge by my own strange standards as filtered through my own strange mind. This doesn’t mean its right but when faced with such insurmountable indecision as this what other choice do I have than to embrace my own madness and have some fun with this whole thing? Below you’ll get a small glimpse of the strange twists and turns my brain took to come to this decision. Be afraid, be very afraid.

PRECIOUS: The only Best Picture nominee I couldn’t be bothered to see. I won’t go into the reasons why here, but that makes it the only one that’s automatically ruled out.

THE BLIND SIDE: One of the movies that’s surprised me the most in recent memory. If you remember I lambasted this movie when it first came out because I figured I would HATE it. Well, having seen it nothing could be further from the truth, in fact I kind of love this movie in a lot of ways. This is an interesting story told in an old fashioned, no nonsense kind of way. I’d almost love to see this win just because it would make all the snobs choke on their own vomit. Ultimately though I think there were still 10 better films that came out last year.

AN EDUCATION: One of the best “coming of age” stories I’ve seen in recent memory. I honestly can’t say why this shouldn’t win Best Picture I just liked some of the other films better.

A SERIOUS MAN: One of the most fascinating explorations of religion, sin and Jewish traditions I’ve ever seen, told in a way only the Coen Brothers could. There is a cadence and pacing to this film, and such an odd sense of humor to it all that made me immediately fall in love with it. In some ways I’d love to see this win Best Picture just because I think it would be one of the greatest upsets in the history of everything and the uncomfortable applause amongst the gathered elite in the Kodak would be priceless.

THE HURT LOCKER: One of the best war movies I’ve seen in recent memory and probably the best war movie since SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. This film is superb at every level and if it wins I’ll be more than ecstatic. Seriously there’s no reason this film doesn’t deserve to win. It really is as good as everyone says it is.

AVATAR: One of the best sci-fi films in recent memory (Are you noticing a pattern?). My colleagues have already said everything I could say about this movie and more. James Cameron’s film is a testament to the power of movies and why it is the greatest story telling medium of all time. This is the kind of film that captures a world’s imagination and deserves to be recognized for that. Also how cool would it be if the first science-fiction film to ever win Best Picture was made by one of the three greatest science-fiction directors of all time? My only issue is that I don’t think it was the best sci-fi film of the year.

UP IN THE AIR: One of the most topically resonant and poignant films I’ve ever seen. A perfect snapshot of our times over flowing with universal truths that will echo through the ages. If one thinks that a Best Picture winner should represent the year that it was released I can think of no better film.

DISTRICT 9: One of the best sci-fi films in recent memory. How cool would it be to have a first time director’s scrappy, violent little South African set sci-fi film win Best Picture? I also think this film probably had the single best character arc of any film I saw in 2009. The one issue though is while I think this is a better film than AVATAR, I don’t think I like the idea of some upstart beating out one of the three greatest sci-fi directors of all time for the Best Picture award. If someone’s going to be the first by God it should be James Cameron. Of course this film was produced by Peter Jackson so… Do you see why this is so hard?

UP: The best movie of the year and my second favorite film of 2009. If this movie wins justice was truly done. Having said that though we all know this film will most likely win Best Animated Feature so if this film picks up Best Picture as well that’s a missed opportunity for another movie to be honored and recognized. Besides, while I love Pete Docter and all that he did I’m not sure it’s right if he wins a Best Picture Oscar before Brad Bird.

INGLORISOUS BASTERDS: And that leaves us with Quentin Tarantino’s opus. Why this film, why is INGLORIOUS BASTERDS the one I want to see win out over all of the other obviously VERY qualified candidates? Simply because it would amuse me. Sure Tarantino’s film is well made in every aspect, heck out of the entire crop it is probably the single most masterfully made film of them all but that’s not why. At the end of the day it all boils down to this. How awesome would it be if a FANTASY WWII film done in like 6 different languages that ends with them KILLING HITLER actually won Best Picture? All the critics are so wrapped up in how brilliant the film is it’s like they sometimes forget that the movie is a WWII Spaghetti Western that is also every Jew’s wet dream! As you should be able to see by my meticulously insane breakdowns of all the other films, each and every one of them is worthy in some way but them winning doesn’t bring about the most awesomely surreal real-life ending ever as a bunch of peace loving hippies and dignified sons and daughters of Abraham all sit around in their Sunday best applauding and awarding one of the greatest, yet most insane revenge fantasies of all time! I mean if INGLORIOUS BASTERDS can win Best Picture then from this point forward ANYTHING can!

Either way, the outstanding field of nominees pretty much guarantees regardless of the outcome I’ll be a happy boy come Sunday night.

No comments: