The 84th Annual Academy Awards are Tonight

Posted by under *ambivalent, Movies |

The 84th Academy Awards ceremony airs on ABC tonight. Once again hosted by Billy Crystal, it’s sure to be a drama-free celebration of movies virtually no one saw. And when The Artist is declared the best movie of the year, millions of Americans who wake up and read about in the morning will just shrug. The nominees for Best Picture this year include The Artist, Midnight in Paris, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Warhorse, Tree of Life, The Help, Moneyball, and Hugo. While it seems inevitable that The Artist is going to win, after the break we’ll discuss whether it actually deserves the honor.

I was lucky enough to catch most of the films nominated for Best Picture this year with the exception of Warhorse and Tree of Life. Overall, I don’t think this year’s crop are nearly as enjoyable as films like True Grit, 127 Hours, Inception and The Social Network that were nominated last year. Too many of this year’s films seem bound and determined to just make the audience cry. The following is my ranking of the films I’ve seen based solely on how much I enjoyed them.

1) Hugo – Director Martin Scorsese just won the Best Picture Oscar in 2007 for The Departed. While that was a popular crime drama, Hugo is a far more imaginative and cohesive film as far as I’m concerned. It definitely has a stronger ending. Hugo is absolutely worth seeing and I’m actually looking forward to watching it again.

2) The Descendants – This George Clooney vehicle was marketed as a kind of off-beat comedy. In reality it’s a pretty sad story about a family struggling with some dark times and features few laughs. It’s a strong film, but I don’t know if there’s anything in it that would entice me to revisit it in the future. It’s just not a fun movie, but it’s worth seeing once.

3) The Help – This is a well executed film about how horribly African-American Maids were treated in the American South fifty or so years ago. It manages to be funnier than I expected while telling a pretty sad and embarrassing story. Also worth seeing once.

4) Moneyball – This is the only film this year that really had a broad appeal. This is an Brad Pitt/Jonah Hill vehicle that stands out from the rest of this year’s Oscar crowd in that it just aims to be enjoyable. This along with Hugo are the two films that are definitely rewatchable. Plus there are several cameos by actors portraying players who went on to play for the Phillies. Go Phils.

5) The Artist – While it’s impressive that this silent film manages to hold an audience’s attention as well as it does, I think it’s getting by completely on the silent gimmick. I don’t think it’s a particularly powerful film, but it’s relatively harmless. There’s no way I would support it for Best Picture.

6) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – This film is the most obsessed with trying to make the audience cry. I think that making you cry might be the film’s only goal and it is relentless in its pursuit. That said, I didn’t hate it as much as I expected, but I will NEVER watch it again. EVER.

7) Midnight in Paris – This is the one film I basically hated, which surprised me. I was really looking forward to seeing it. I didn’t think it was funny. I didn’t think it was interesting. I didn’t like the characters. It did make me want to buy a phonograph however.

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