I rarely make it, but the last few years I’ve really failed miserably. It’s become more difficult now that the Academy increased the nominations from its typical five films to include those that are not just artistic, but also appeal to the masses.
For 2011, nine filmed are nominated, I’ve seen six, and I’m happy with that achievement. The three I didn’t see, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”, “Hugo”, and “War Horse” held little appeal, so I skipped them. I’ve never been a huge Tom Hanks fan, a cardinal sin in Hollywood I realize, and although I’ve heard good things about “Hugo” and “War Horse”, they didn’t have what it takes to make me rush to the theater; I’ll wait to see them on cable.
Out of the remaining six, I thoroughly enjoyed five; the “Tree of Life” was a little too out there for me. Here’s a run down on the rest:
The Artist – I reviewed this film back in early February, and I believe it’s a shoo-in to win. The story may be a simple one, but it’s told in a unique way that’s never been done before, at least not since they started making “talkies”. That adds up to Hollywood gold.
The Descendants – George Clooney may be Hollywood royalty, but he has a better chance of taking home the Best Actor prize than this film being named Best Picture. I gave it a great review, which it deserved, but it has some pretty heavy competition that I don’t believe it can overcome.
The Help – I enjoyed this novel turned movie about the Southern Belles and their “help” at the dawn of the civil rights movement, and I gave it a glowing review. While it’s great to see the actors get their kudos for great performances, The Help’s chances of being named best picture are just as strong as this blog getting “Fresh Pressed” (the Academy Awards of the blog world).
Midnight in Paris – As Woody Allen movies go – and I love most of them – this is up there with the best. I still can’t say enough good things about how imaginative and fun it was, not to mention well written and well acted. I see the film winning for Best Original Screenplay, but I can almost guarantee a Best Picture win isn’t in its future.
Moneyball – I missed this one in the theaters, but thanks to the beauty of On Demand, I was able to catch it this week on cable. As a baseball fan, I liked this film a lot; it was interesting to be given an insider’s view of how small market teams can compete in the sport that has let players’ salaries get way out of hand.
Moneyball is one example of films nominated in the Best Picture category to appeal to the masses. In other words, it’s good, but it doesn’t have a chance to win. It was interesting to learn that ***** spoiler ahead ***** the Boston Red Sox credit their first World Series win to the logic Brad Pitt’s character, Billy Beane, used with the Oakland A’s in their 2002 season.
The Tree of Life – As stated previously this was a beautifully made film, but one that was more difficult for me to understand than 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is usually the type of film that Hollywood likes to reward with an Oscar, but I still think the trophy will go to “The Artist”.