Probably not a great idea to bloviate about the Oscar nominations if one hasn’t seen all of the nominated movies — but I will anyway. First, the ones I’ve seen:
- The Kids Are All Right
- The King’s Speech
- Toy Story 3
- True Grit
- Winter’s Bone
Hey, six out of 10 isn’t bad for me. Of course, three of those were already available on Netflix before the nominations were announced. Of these six, I’d have to rate True Grit as the most deserving and The Kids Are All Right as the least. Winter’s Bone would be the second-best of the lot, followed closely by The King’s Speech and Toy Story 3. Inception was interesting, but a muddled beginning and over-reliance on CGI removes it from consideration for Dave’s Homemade Oscars. The Kids — well, I hated it, for the reasons I list here. I realize I’m in the minority on this.
The remaining four movies I’ll see in this order, based solely on my personal interest:
- The Social Network
- Black Swan
- The Fighter
- 127 Hours
Social Network I pretty much have to see, just because everybody else has and it sort of defines the zeitgeist of 2010. Black Swan features a frequently nude Natalie Portman — ’nuff said. The Fighter … meh. Didn’t Mickey Rourke already do this? And 127 Hours: sorry, but a two-hour movie about a guy cutting off his own arm does not pique my intellectual interest.
Back to True Grit: this might be the last, best Western, and it is a great piece of filmmaking. I don’t think Jeff Bridges will get an Oscar for it, because the Academy bestows these things in a capricious way and he just got one last year. Also, I sense a bit of a Hollywood backlash against the Coen Brothers — they’re too consistently smart and talented.
Winter’s Bone might also be seen as a Western, pitting its lone protagonist against tall odds in the lawless wilderness of the Ozarks. Like True Grit, it benefits from great source material. While Annette Bening was pretty remarkable in the otherwise wretched Kids Are All Right, I’d say Jennifer Lawrence more than matches her in the best-actress category.
The King’s Speech is about as good a movie as you could make about a monarch who has trouble talking. I liked it a lot, particularly the great supporting cast, but still it seemed kind of small thematically. And it’s too bad that the Wallis Simpson thing, while peripheral to the story, still steals so much of the viewer’s interest.
And Toy Story 3: While I have little use for the endless stream of animated features from Disney/Pixar, this one is by far the best I’ve seen. I certainly wouldn’t call it one of the year’s best movies, but it has to be one of the year’s best animated movies. It’s occasionally funny and surprisingly moving. Let’s just say that if it wins a few technical Oscars, I won’t be throwing shoes at the TV.
How about you? Anything particularly gratifying or annoying about the nominations?