Oscar Night in America, week one

Posted by under *mixed, Movies | Leave a Comment |

Over the next three weeks, I will be doing a little bit of an Oscar preview for MLD, posted every Friday.  The Oscars will be televised on March 7 at 8pm on ABC.  I do not know who will be hosting, but I am sure it will be someone hilarious.  This year the Academy decided to change the number of Oscar nominees for Best Picture from five to ten, since every year we have so many great movies.  Each of the ten movies will be discussed at length (I’m sure at too much length for some people’s attention span).  The third week will have Oscar Predictions along with several other movies that will be remembered from 2009.

And to the list:

Everyone loves Avatar. It is beautifully shot, well directed, but too long. Netflix tells me if I like this movie I’d like Aliens (Liked), Alien (Liked), Battle for Terra (Never Saw), and The Fifth Element (Liked). Since I liked three of the four recommendations, it is clear that I probably should like Avatar. The truth is the Alien movies are tightly constructed pieces of sci-fi horror. The Fifth Element is campy sci fi, through and through. They know what they are and executed it well. Avatar, on the other hand, tries to be everything to everybody. It really is just a bloated mess with a lot of shiny objects.

Avatar should win all of the technical achievement Oscars, though it may not deserve it. I always thought Cameron’s underwater documentaries created the 3D tech for Avatar, but this may be overlooked come voting time. It has a shot at Best Director, even if the movie has a weak script. Best Picture: Probably not. You need a great writing. The other action-oriented epics that won Best Picture had better writing. See: Brave Heart, Gladiator. Yes, Gladiator is a better film. Pitch Black is a better film, but that is another discussion for another day.

An Education
I never saw An Education. Hopefully it is great and I will be blown away when it comes around on Lifetime three years from now.  I know nothing about it, so I will relay the synopsis: A girl is in school (high school, I think) and meets an older guy.  They have a relationship of some sort and it may be bad for her.  It sounds like garbage and I will not watch it unless they sneak it into a Saturday marathon of Top Chef.

Netflix tells me that the movies like this are Almost Famous (Liked), Lady Jane (Never saw), Big (Liked), and American Graffiti (Mixed). That can’t be right. I want to refresh this list and try another, but I cant. This movie cannot be as funny as Almost Famous or Big. After reading the description, I’m starting to wonder whether Netflix knows anything about movies.

An Education will not win Best Picture. The lead in this movie is some girl named Carey Mulligan. She has no shot at winning Best Actress. She’s up against Sandra Bullock and her fake blonde hair, Helen Mirren, Gabourney Sibide from Precious, and Meryl Streep. Actually, I hope Carey Mulligan wins after reading the list of nominees. The Best Actress nominees are getting as bad as baseball’s Gold Glove winners: It is the same people every year regardless of how good they are. I’m officially on Team Carey.

Inglourious Basterds
This is the best all around movie of the year. It was a Tarantino film, which means it could be bloated and talky for some people’s tastes. For the first time, though, this QT movie had a well-constructed central plot. The dialogue built character, rather than reinforced a level of “cool” that permeates other QT pictures. It may be his best movie. Not his most influential. Not his most quotable. His best.

It will win Best Supporting Actor, Christoph Waltz. It is a strong contender for Best Picture, along with The Hurt Locker and Avatar. With three strong contenders, this could become one of those Give-Everyone-An-Award Years. Cameron could get Director, Hurt Locker could win Best Picture, and QT would walk away with Original Screenplay and Cinematography. Kathryn Bigelow, from The Hurt Locker, may win Best Director, which would be the first time a woman has ever won the award. The Academy likes first time-things. It shows they are progressive. Anyway, we will see if this ends up being a spread-the-wealth year.

Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
I never will see this movie. Okay. Maybe I will come around to it. It’s about some girl that had a rough life. One of the problems with movies like this one is that they always try to one up each other. In a few years there will be a movie about a person with a more fucked up life than Precious, or whoever the worst-life-ever “it” boy/girl is at the time. That is why I will not watch it. I know I have seen it before, but with a life a notch less crappy.

Mo’Nique should be the only Oscar winner. The rest of the categories appear out of reach. This seems like a movie that may have a Best Song or something. I wouldn’t know. I am not even going to check. This could win Best Song.  I think Mariah Carey is in it.  She has to sing something.  Netflix names similar movies as Milk (Never Saw), A Walk on the Moon (Never Saw, though I probably should… Diane Lane), Quinceanera (What?), and The Kite Runner (Never Saw). All of these movies smell like awards garbage. Precious seems terrible by association.

Up! was great. There really is nothing bad to say about this movie. It is sad at the beginning, it is very funny in the middle, and it is touching at the end. I hate the term “life affirming” because I am only 28 and nothing bad has ever happened to me, but this movie seems like it fits the term.

Up! should not have worked. Talking dogs should have been corny. Quirky colorful birds should have been cheesy. The fat kid should have been annoying. The old cranky guy should have been cliché. None of this should have worked, but it did. It all did. It was great.

Up! should win best Animated Feature. It has no shot at Best Picture, though I would rank it either #2 or #3 behind Inglourious Basterds. If it won, which it wont, then no film should feel slighted.

Go to Oscar Night In America, week two.