I have a little tradition with myself that after the Academy Award nominees are announced, I try to see as all of the best picture nominees. It's become next to impossible to do since they've increased the number of nominees in the best picture category from five to up to ten, but I still try to see as many as I can. It's a fun little thing to do since I see almost no movies (in the theater) all year and then I go to the movies multiple times a week for a couple of weeks. It's a movie marathon.
Here are my thoughts on this year's nominees:
The Artist wasn't a novel plot line. This same story has been told over and over again in countless movies. I think the reason The Artist is getting more critical acclaim than other similar movies is because it's in black and white and it's silent. Both of which I think are gimmicks. Having said that, I did like the movie. I thought it was cute and I loved the dancing and costumes.
The Descendants was hard for me to watch for the first half. I think it's because I hated the two daughters and that random friend so much. I wanted to smack them all. I gradually warmed up to the movie though. The kids all became less annoying and I was able to focus more on George Clooney's character's acceptance of and decisions regarding the course of his life. I really liked the way this movie explored how complicated family life can be and the struggles one faces in coming to terms with the death of a loved one who wasn't perfect. There is a mixture of profound grief and relief, the latter which I think is often very taboo to talk about, but is no less real.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was one I didn't get a chance to see. Jonathan Safron Foer's work is sometimes a little too kooky for me, but I am a big fan of the director, Stephen Daldry, so I think I would have liked this movie.
The Help was good, if somewhat overrated. It was well-acted and I felt invested in the characters. I didn't like that white people had to save the day and I thought some of the roles were overly archetypal and stereotypical.
Hugo looked dumb to me and I had no desire to see it. I don't tend to go for magical or kids' fantasy type movies. Personal bias.
Midnight in Paris was another one I intentionally skipped. I've never seen a Woody Allen movie I liked, ever. Also, am I still the only person who thinks he's a dirty, creepy old man?
Moneyball was a surprising hit for me. I'm not a big sports fan, but I thought the storyline was great. I didn't think the side story about Brad Pitt's character's daughter and ex-wife added anything to the film, but it was easy enough to ignore.
I had never even heard of Tree of Life until the Academy Award nominees were announced. I tried to rent it from redbox on Thursday but they were all out. Bummer. Everyone I know who has seen this movie has described it as boring.
I didn't see War Horse either. Again, the trailers didn't make the movie seem appealing to me and (I can't believe I'm going to admit this) the Saturday Night Live sketch about it made me want to see it even less.
So even though I've seen fewer than half of the Best Picture nominees this year (pregnancy is slowing me down!) I'm going to be rooting for:
Moneyball for Best Picture
George Clooney for Lead Actor
Meryl Streep for Lead Actress (I haven't seen Iron Lady, but I'm dying to) though I think Glenn Close is probably fantastic in Albert Noobs and I really want to see that movie too
No pick for Supporting Actor
Melissa McCarthy for Supporting Actress
Moneyball for Adapted Screenplay
Bridesmaids for Original Screenplay
I'm also rooting for the Academy to go back to just five picks for Best Picture. They have NINE movies competing in the category and of the ones I've seen, I didn't think any were exceptional. I would describe all four that I saw as good but not great. Don't they know even matinees are now $10? They're trying to bankrupt us. (I try to see all the movies I can from Redbox or Netflix, but if I do go to the movie theater I buy discounted tickets from Costco. They're "only" $7.50.)
What movies did you like this year? What didn't you like?