And the Academy Award Goes To...

Well. It's that time of year. The Academy Awards have come and gone. This year I managed to watch 6 out of the 9 nominated films for Best Picture. Of last year's nominees, I eventually was 10 for 10... but with the inclusion of War Horse in the nominees I knew I probably wouldn't be able to go 100% two years in a row (helllllo movies about horses are among my least favorite genres!!) I actually meant to do a blog on this last year but never got around to it...so maybe for this post I'll compare and contrast some of my thoughts on the nominees of the 2010 year, to the films of 2011.

2010 was a great year for movies. I felt that practically every nominated film and performance were so strong in their own right and were completely deserving of their nominations (with the possible exception of The Kids Are All Right besting The Town and Blue Valentine for a nomination.) With the 2011 pack there seemed to be 3 or so films that didn't really seem to be up to the par for the label of a best picture nominee. You could almost put any 2011 film next to the 2010 noms and they (for the most part..) just don't compare. But here's what I thought of the films of 2011 and the performances in them.

THE ARTIST - Why oh why must I ever have expectations? I really wanted to blown away by this. I liked it an awful lot, but somehow I thought the whole movie would be like what Hugo decided to be in the second half. Still though, it was entertaining and very likable. The actors deserved their nominations since even more than usual was on their shoulders. There are a few moments that just make this movie for me and really made me reflect on my love for film. I really liked it...but somehow I was wanting more. Of the nominees that I've seen though...I think probably it deserved the win.

THE DESCENDANTS - Haven't seen yet, but really want to see. Priority list when it comes out on DVD.

EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE - Haven't seen, but the reviews didn't make me feel like I needed to. I'd still like to catch it eventually though...so it'll probably be a $ theater run...

THE HELP - Very entertaining film with solid performances from everyone involved. I wrote an earlier review on it HERE While this film was very good and engaging, I don't really feel it had what it takes to be a best picture nominee. The actresses all deserved their acting nods, but you put The Help up against the likes of 127 Hours, Black Swan or The Social Network and you see this really is more of a popcorn pleasing, feel good entertainment film (not that there's anything wrong with that)...but is it teaching us anything that's never been taught before? I don't think so. Oddly enough though, you put this one up against The Kids Are All Right and it seems to be somewhat of a similar film study....the pondering of social issues merely for the sake of pondering....and not reallllly exploring the issues....just telling what's obvious and has already been told.

MONEYBALL - Definitely the film I had the least expectations for (minus perhaps The Help,) and, as a result, was probably one of the most enjoyable. And this is coming from a girl who isn't the biggest fan of baseball (give me football or basketball any day of the week.) OR math for that matter. The film owes a lot to its screenplay as well as its extremely strong performances from its two leads. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill make it work by selling their unusual bro chemistry. I found it to be entertaining and solid.

HUGO - You can read my original post HERE My feelings haven't really changed much since I saw it the first time. I adore what this movie becomes in the end, it just takes awhile to get there which is what keeps me from adoring it as a whole. I still am awfully fond of it...I just wish the editing and pacing had been a tad tighter.

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS - Another movie I was awfully fond of, but couldn't quite say I loved. That's the thing with expectations. I had a view of what I wanted it to be in my head that I still really can't quite let go of. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED what the movie had to say, and the scenery was to die for. I just wish somehow it could be more. It was understated and I wanted it to blow me away. Still...it's not bad...it's just my own expectations getting in the way!

THE TREE OF LIFE - I have a love/hate relationship with this film. I'm so conflicted. On the one hand, it is absolutely gorgeous to behold. No doubt about it, the imagery is spectacular. So are the honest moments it portrays. I was warned of the lengthy nature segment, so that didn't bother me....but still it was just too bizarre and looooooong. I have a hard time with movies that are THAT abstract. I like that it challenged me to do my part in interpreting, but at the same time I don't want to feel like I have to read some 50 page essay to be able to understand a movie. All the elements should be in place for an audience to pick up on the message in the film without having to study it out for weeks. I got an insight into the film after reading up some sites...but it shouldn't be THAT hard to figure out without reading anything.

WAR HORSE - Of course I didn't see this one. Wars and horses? Boooooooring. No desire whatsoever.

And as far as 2010 went?
Inception? One of the greatest film experiences of the last decade...incredibly superb.
Black Swan? A fascinating portrait of sin and the destruction of one's sanity.
127 Hours? An incredibly inspiring story of one man's survival against all odds (okay that one sounded so cliche....but it really was.)
 Toy Story 3? A film almost anyone could love that reminds us of the things we left behind when we entered adulthood...but how precious that time was.

The Kids Are All Right? Well, I covered the negative feelings of that...but even so, it was definitely a very entertaining and interesting film...I just wished they would have examined more of the effects.
Winter's Bone? An admittedly slower film....but featuring very strong performances. Definitely some chilling moments about in this one.
True Grit? Incredible performances and very compelling...if only they'd made a bit stronger ending.
The Fighter? Another one with knockout performances....and fascinating to boot.

The King's Speech? Another inspirational film with incredible acting, and careful use of humor and drama.
The Social Network? The film that reallllly should have one. Again, great performances....but the pacing is just perfect and draws you in. Incredibly gripping and very important to understand the lessons taught here.

Well....that about wraps it up. I still have a lot of films to see from 2011 and maybe once I do I might find that it wasn't quite an inferior year as I thought. Still mad about all the 50/50 snubs though! Ah well....that's the Academy for ya. I guess we'll just have to see what happens next year with the movies...and I can hardly wait :)


Joey said...

Don't you dare watch Destruction without me. Just sayin!

Yes, compared to The Social Network, none of the ones I've seen packed the same punch or engaged me. I did really like The Artist. I've heard that when you go back, there's more there than you saw the first time. Let's do it! After I've done more of your laundry. :)

Emily said...

I forgot to add Moneyball! I'll add that later. And yeah...I'd be up for seeing it again :)

Amelia said...

I probably won't ever watch war horse either. Horse movies are just not my thing.

Sarah said...

Thanks for your breakdown! I'm very interested in seeing The Artist and everyone keeps asking me if I've seen The Help. And since I haven't seen it, everyone keeps asking me when I will. :)

You'll have to come over for a movie night some weekend night after my boys are in bed!

Laurie & Clint said...

When did you watch tree of life? Should I see it?