Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's An Honor Just Being Nominated

I'm almost - but not quite - done talking about movies.

I just got off the phone doing an interview for the news in Kansas City, giving my Oscar predictions (pre-announcement) and conclusions (post-announcement). See? I'm kind of a big deal. In Kansas City. I may post the interview later, but probably not because hearing myself talk makes me squirm. Luckily I did not make an ass of myself on live TV and apparently sounded like I knew what I was talking about. Though actually, there are few topics I could talk more about than the Academy Awards (who would have guessed?) so I was more worried about not being able to shut up than having nothing to say.

Milk being nominated for Best Picture is no surprise, but The Reader? Sure, it was nominated for a Golden Globe, but nobody is talking about The Reader. I liked the movie, but it's an odd choice given what else could have taken its place. And though competent, it sure was no amazing feat of direction, so Stephen Daldry's nomination is also a bit mystifying. I'm of the opinion that Milk is also wildly overrated (I watched it twice, just to be sure). The good performances kind of hide the fact that the movie isn't really about anything and its screenplay is actually rather weak. (Trust me.) But the nominations it got were not surprising.

Frozen River pulled a few surprise punches, and I actually haven't seen it. I certainly don't begrudge Melissa Leo her Best Actress nomination, but why didn't they kick out Angelina Jolie in favor of Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins for Happy-Go-Lucky? Nobody liked Changeling, anyway. Richard Jenkins was a somewhat pleasant surprise (he was on my short-list awhile back, but I figured the buzz had cooled). No surprises in the Screenplay category, save Frozen River again (no Woody Allen...hmm). The Dark Knight got surprisingly little love. And Kate Winslet as Best Actress for The Reader? I thought she was up for a Supporting Actress Award for that one and Best Actress for Revolutionary Road? Who are these mysterious people who absolutely adored The Reader? I love how the Academy always manages to pick one really conventional movie that pretty much nobody is that passionate about.

This probably makes me sound like I enjoyed The Reader a lot less than I did - it only missed my Top 10 by two slots - but combined with the underwhelming Milk, I have to say the Best Picture category is somewhat of a disappointment this year. Ah well. At least Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, and Slumdog Millionaire are in the running, and Slumdog Millionaire is still the favorite to win anyhow.

And if you must watch my interview, here it is (Part 2): though I for one can't watch it, because it will be too painful and awkward.

1 comment:

  1. I was actually thinking about Milk before sleeping last night (er, this morning).

    I think it did what a lot of historic biopics fail to do: Capture the importance of the individual while contextualizing that importance within the historical moment.

    Most pictures of this nature are EPICALLY long, blugeoning the audience with superfluous facts (most of which are loose at best).

    Moreover, Gus Van Sant didn't make this an egomaniacal homage to himself thinly disguised as honoring the fallen/great/misunderstood/etc.

    This is a nice departure from the masturbatory film-making of Spielberg (you propaganda spouting demon) or Scorsese (no one cares about Howard Hughes).

    That's about all I got. I'd like to thank the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and my sister for buying the chocolate chip muffin I ate while commenting.