The Academy Awards are here! Everyone is mildly excited!
I’m not quite sure why I enjoy watching the overlong ceremony of rich celebrities giving themselves awards, but I think it has to do with movies and “best of” s. I always get sucked into top ten lists and best of lists, because I like to compare my personal views with the masses.
As a child I would always rank everything I liked. This often was a seriously painful process, because usually things don’t fall in line that easily. Do I love Luke Skywalker more than Captain Kirk? Isn’t the Newsboys’ album Take Me to Your Leader just as great as DC Talks’ Jesus Freak? How do I choose between Dick Grayson and Tim Drake? Mexican food or Chinese food?
I just like to torture myself with these pointless questions. But when we are talking about art, can you really judge it? Is one really better than the other? Obviously there are really good movies out there, and also really crappy ones. But whose opinion counts? If I love a movie, but the majority of people say that movie is a turd, which is right? I guess that’s part of the fun of it all.
The best picture list this year looks different from the one I would make. It’s a pretty good batch of flicks though, and I enjoyed all of them. The only two I didn’t see were War Horse and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, because they didn’t interest me and they aren’t going to win anything. I have already talked about several of them on this blog, so go read those reviews if you haven’t already.
And the nominees for Best Picture are:
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
A few thoughts on those last two.
Based on a book that was read by every female I know, The Help tells the fictional story of a 1960’s southern white girl who wants to write a book about the lives of black maids. Set in Mississippi at its’ height of racistness, this is particularly dangerous for the maids. Talking smack about their white owners could get them fired or worse; it could get them kkk’ed. Even with its heavy themes, it’s a light-hearted movie, and does something fresh for the racism genre. The direction isn’t anything spectacular and the acting is all fine, with Bryce Dallas Howard getting the award for antagonist I would like to strangle with a rubber hose. You love to loath her racist heart, and long for the moment she gets her come-uppins.
The Descendants is the story of a man caring for his dying wife while juggling his two daughters and a large property deal in Hawaii involving his relatives. Now, if you read that sentence and imagined George Clooney literally juggling two females and a piece of Hawaiian land, I think that paints an inaccurate view of the comedy level in this movie. The Descendants is what we in the movie business call a “Dramedy”. It’s a mixture of drama and comedy. These films usually have heavy themes like death, sickness, affairs, alcoholism, growing up and feeling lost in life. They sprinkle humor into all of that. And they are always firmly grounded in reality. That means even if they filmed a scene of George Clooney juggling his daughters and a clod of dirt, as entertaining as that would be to watch, they would cut it. Which is a shame. But even without that scene (here’s hoping it’s in the special features) I thoroughly loved The Descendants and would go so far as to say that it’s my favorite of the best picture nominees. Why? I don’t feel like talking about. It has to do with my first wife and her tragic death in the ocean. It wasn’t a Jet Ski accident though, it was a megashark. I’m tearing up just thinking about it….
All the nominees this year are fine films. But none of them are very memorable. Not compared to years past. I really have no idea which film will take home the big award. Like I said, my favorite is The Descendants. There are lots of other categories but I’m bored with writing about the Academy Awards now. I can hear the exit music playing. I just want to say thank you to my mom, my unborn child, Mr. Weinstein and God. Thank you so much, this means so much. Thank you.