3.03.2014

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Hollywood's big night has come and gone once more. This year's festivities? Pretty darned predictable. Yawn. The liveliest thing that happened during the three and a half hours would have to have been Ellen and all her selfies. But being so predictable as the awards were, I got 20/24 right for my Oscar Predictions which ain't bad as far as I'm concerned. I only wish it had been 22/24 (because the shorts I picked to win were robbed!) This year of the BP nominees, I saw 6 out of the 9 films....and I must say the most deserving film was crowned last night as 12 Years a Slave took home Oscar gold. As per my annual custom, here are my thoughts on it, as well as it's fellow nominees!

12 YEARS A SLAVE - This was far and away to me, the strongest film among a field of weak nominees (though I cannot speak for all the films nominated.) But here everything was in place. The performances were soulful and gut-wrenching from everyone involved (minus perhaps Brad who maybe arrogantly gives himself a small but crucial role,) the direction key, the cinematography top notch, the score affecting and most importantly the story was incredibly gripping. A powerful film that though by no means revolutionary, still manages to seem very important. Plus these types of stories are all the better when they tell about someone who really existed.

GRAVITY - Original review HERE. It's really hard to make my feelings about this film understood. On the one hand, I absolutely respect it and admire it as a film experience, but as something I love and adore as a film? That's another matter entirely. As a film, I can't help but feel that it is more spectacle and style over any sort of lasting or important substance. Sandra was fine. But............I feel any of the other Best Actress noms (particularly Amy Adams or Cate Blanchett) could have taken the film to a truly amazing level and actually made you care. Sandra just never pulled it off for me. So deserving it was of its technical awards and even direction...but I'm glad it didn't take anything TOO substantial.

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS - A fine film with great acting performances. It is my belief that Tom Hanks was snubbed, but I guess which guy do you cut out? It was a pretty good year for performances all the way around! (Shouldn't that mean it was also a good year for FILMS?? Weirdly it wasn't.) Anyway back to Cap Phillips. This film was pretty solid and in my opinion one of the better nominees. Kind of predictably good though if that makes any sense. It was pretty much just what I expected and nothing more. Not in a bad way or anything. It just never truly surprised me. Hanks certainly gave it his all though.

NEBRASKA - I enjoyed and respected this film. (Even more so after June Squibb favorited a tweet I made about it where I called her character "the quintessential old bag") Who doesn't love a good Daddy issues movie now and then? Like many of the other BP noms the acting here is all on display, but again...I don't know how it leaves me feeling about the actual FILM. Maybe it's just that so much stuff this year was Oscar bait in the acting categories? I really did like the feel of this movie and the characters, but I gotta be honest here: I feel that the use of black and white here was pure gimmick, and kind of distracting for me. Maybe it did serve some purpose to show these people in a colorless existence...but eh. So what. Just makes it somewhat drabber for the audience too.

PHILOMENA - Oh the influence of trailers. I must say I expected quite another film going into this one than the one I saw. While it was a very well told and interesting story (and also featured a very solid performance from Judi Dench,) it felt like the type of film that is there to hit you on the head with an agenda. And a lazy agnostic agenda at that. Some may think it clever or respectable to appeal to all by creating two characters of opposing faiths and temperaments; basically having the audience merely pick which side they think is right without committing to it themselves. It's an "everybody wins" type philosophy that to me kind of came off as cowardly. Trying to pose questions but refusing to take a stance so as not to offend anyone. It's pretty much exactly the type of film we can be used to seeing in our PC culture each and every year into the future.

DALLAS BUYER'S CLUB - This film more than any other of these nominees is way more about the performance than the movie. Once again, trailers have ruined me. The trailer had so much style and looked so entertaining. The movie? The first half was interesting and then it quickly slips into a formula. To be honest, the story kind of bored me to tears. Had it been told in an outrageous and bold way, I'd have enjoyed it a lot more. I understand there's a lot of heaviness in this story, but not everything has to be so solemnly told the entire time.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET - I loved the trailer for this film....but after hearing about it's content I probably won't ever see this nom. Unless through a tv edit replacing 500 or so f-bombs and a whole lotta nudity. Shame. I love me some Leo.

AMERICAN HUSTLE - Dying to see this one and I shall once it hits DVD in mere weeks.

HER - Her? Also anxiously awaiting this to come out on DVD. Hopefully within the next month or two it will be out and I can report back.

Thoughts on the rest of the awards? Well, I'm glad Gatsby's fabulous costume and production design got some love! Cate Blanchett was incredible in Blue Jasmine so I'm so glad she came out on top. I only wish Sally Hawkins could have gotten the same love; I feel that as great as Lupita was, Sally Hawkins impressed me more. Supporting actor may also have been one of the toughest categories. Michael Fassbender amazed me in 12 Years a Slave, but Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips was great as well. But Jared Leto pretty much left me stunned. Matthew McConaughey was pretty amazing (and honestly I'm still amazed that this guy suddenly decided to REALLY start acting after YEARS) but I almost would have given it to 12 Years a Slave's Chiwetel Ejiofor since the film, though packed with stars really relies on him for its soul. The shorts films winners were a travesty and we'll leave it at that.

3 comments:

Sarah said...

Well, the main things that I wanted to see (the "In Memoriam" segment and Idina Menzel singing "Let It Go"), I was actually able to see. The "In Memoriam" segment was spoiled by "The Wind Beneath My Wings." Seriously, why would anyone have picked that song? Terrible! Idina Menzel sang beautifully despite a bad sound ratio (her microphone should have been given more power compared to the background music) and the fact that John Travolta butchered her name. As for any of the performances or movies...I barely saw any of them, so I am not a good judge as to who the winners should have or could have been. :)

Joey said...

Good comments. Almost you persuade me away from Matthew Mc. Seriously a great year for actors. Tom Hanks should have been nominated, true dat. And I think Emma Thompson was snubbed badly, too.

I still think that the pizza delivery thing made me feel like I was in high school watching the cool kids have fun. As I said before, kind of like Liza Minelli trying to get in on the selfie.

Cate Blanchette blew me away more than any other acting job. How she could make you care about what happened to that self-absorbed, higher and mightier character is a miracle to me. And Sally Hawkins really did prove the perfect foil.

Now on to the movies for 2014. The only one I'm sure about is that The Lego Movie should get best animated. That would be AWESOME!

Emily said...

I think the Lego Movie did the most surprising feat of all: it made you embrace the word awesome.