The Oscars post.

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I’m an opionated git, so this may take some time. Bare with me.

The Battle Of The Exes (Best Director/Film)

I find myself in a novel situation: Despite there being twice as many films up for the best pic this year, I’ve actually seen more of them than usual. In fact 80% of them. So apologies to Precious and The Blind Side, but also this bit is going to be about the two horses really in the race.

And, of those two horses: One was a movie where the director took all the latest avaiable technologies and built out of it something where the narrative was conveyed in a breathtaking way that felt like seeing something ground-breaking and new; the other was Avatar. Boom-tsch! But no, seriously. When I saw The Hurt Locker I genuinely felt like I was being told a story in a way it’d never been presented before. Yes, the elements were all familiar; the neo-docuemtary feel; the slo-mo explosions. They were just arranged in a new way. Y’know like someone taking the same old notes, instruments etc and creating something that feels like music’s just been invented. It’s an astounding piece of work. And, one of the tensest movie experiences ever.

I’m no Avatar hater: it’s a fun, sometimes thrilling (albeit waaaaaay too long) piece of work. But, this is the man that gave us Terminator, The Abyss, Aliens, Terminator 2, is that the best he can do with all that money? Really?

Is Hurt Locker a better film. Hell yeah.

The others: It’s nice to see District 9 in there, but c’mon Star Trek was miles better. And, of course, were it up to me A Serious Man would have won. But then, I’d just give the Coens the cast and a supply of gold bullion.

Some Dudes doing the thing we like them for (Best actor)

This seemed to be the theme for the three notables in the best actor category. (Seen Invictus. Usual Eastwood fare; do you buy into it? Good. Renner is very good in Hurt Locker, but not as good.) We get some well known actors doing what they do, only moreso. This is a tough one except for the factor that seems to have prevailed. But more of that later.

My mother insists that Up In The Air is a chick-flick. I don’t see it myself. Unless that means a film that abandons the belief in it’s message two-thirds of the way through for trite hollywood schmatltz. I suspect my mother’s a sexist. However, Clooney is splendid in it. As are his supporting cast. He does the thing of being George Clooney we all know and love. It’s an old-style movie star quality that doesn’t exist in many places. Harrison Ford was the last great proponent of it. So, despite the reservations (geddit?) it is still a very fine film.

A Single Man is a unfeasibly stylish work of heartbreaking beauty. Of the three I’m talking about in this category it might be my favourite. At the centre of it is the wonderful Mr Darcey doing his (literally) buttoned-down english thing to the max. Again an astounding supporting cast. Ah, Julianne Moore…let me count the ways. The guy from Skins is brilliant too.

And, then there’s Crazy Heart. If you don’t love Jeff Bridges you have no soul. And, he’s fantastic in a fairly pedestrian tale. Again the quality of the supporting cast (even Colin Farrell is good!) helps carry this. But, the Dude’s the star. [Aside: The Mirror Has Two Faces is an appalling piece of crap. It’s watchable because Bridges is in it.]

So, who’s best performance-wise? It’s hard to put something really thin between them. But, it is due for Bridges. And, we can’t argue with the decision.

I predict that Clooney will get one for direction, if you care.

The Rest

I’m a bit embarrassed about how little I can comment on the lady actors. But, I will say that Carey Mulligan is fantastic in An Education. Although to some of us she’ll forever be Sally Sparro. Again an excellent supporting cast. The underused Alfred Molina is beautifully troubled. And the beautiful Rosamund Pike is splendidly ditzy.

Supporting actor: Austria’s Christoph Waltz is the best thing in Inglorious Basterds. A film in which the first ‘chapter’ is possibly the finest piece of movie making I’ve seen in a long time. Unfortunately the rest is cartoon dross.

Animation: Similar thing could be said for Up. Well, except for the dross part. An astounding opening sequence which the rest of the film doesn’t live up to. But, it’s that good it’d be impossible to. And the rest is pretty brilliant. [Was Ponyo released too late? Will it be in next year?]

Short animation: Much as I love Wallace & Gromit, I have to admit that Logorama‘s better than A Matter Of Loaf & Death. Nice and twisted.

Song: The Weary Kind isn’t even the best song in Crazy Heart. It’s Falling and Flying.

Hmmm. Didn’t take anywhere near as long as I thought.


Written by Tony Kiernan

10 March 2010 at 10:18 pm

Posted in Film

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