Posts Tagged ‘Best Picture’
It’s that time of year again – time to predict who will win the ultimate Hollywood prize at the grandest award show in the world. The 85th Academy Awards are going to be a place where young careers get made, long careers get rewarded, and viewers get incensed that their favorites didn’t win. We’ll get ready to hear, “I’ve never even heard of that movie,” “How could she win, she didn’t even deserve to be nominated,” and of course the old favorite, “Of course that would win. The Academy doesn’t know what people actually like.”
We must keep in mind two very important things: 1) “The Academy” is not some shadowy panel of a dozen or so anonymous judges, but hundreds of well-known industry participants. 2) The winners are not meant to represent what American culutre’s favorites are. If only box office favorites were ever nominated, we’d have The Avengers going up against The Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games – none of which objectively deserve to be called Best Picture.
Figuring out who will win for which category takes a special sense of reasoning. So special, in fact, that all three of our writers – Dan Supanik, Marisa Carpico, and Cliff Bugle – claim to be the only one to have that sense. And yet, they disagree about who will in the six most important categories. Read on to see what the chances are of your favorites winning, and which of them will be left sitting in their seats giving disappointed claps of congratulations.
Let us not waste time by going over all ten nominees for Best Picture. In all seriousness, not each film has an equal chance of winning this coveted Oscar. In any given year one can usually narrow the competition down to about three, and the fact that the Academy has expanded the number of nominees to ten has not changed this. This year we have narrowed the number of truly possible winners down to two. Both are equally likely to win for reasons you can read below. Because of this adequation we refrained from picking a likely winner, but regardless of our indecision whichever film does win will most surely deserve to.
The Social Network
Directed by David Fincher
When the film was released in October it earned a lot of buzz for being the “frontrunner to win Best Picture.” That its director, leading actor, writer, cinematographer, and sound editors have been nominated for Academy Awards for their respective categories we can see there is palpable substantiation for such hype. Based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, the film boldly places a critical gaze upon what I shall reluctantly call the Facebook generation. The character of Mark Zuckerberg appears to create Facebook as an effort to produce cyber relationships and validate them by equating them with interpersonal ones, and in the process he destroys what real interpersonal relationships he has. In the end, Zuckerberg has all the power and influence he could want except for the kind that would allow him to rebuild meaningful relationships with the people who grew to hate him, who are the same people he most wishes to be close to. Such a story could potentially be successfully told in a variety of ways, but David Fincher’s patient and astute direction, the exceptional acting, and Jeff Cronenweth’s effectual cinematography, which often oscillates between delusive warmth and numb, cold sterility, make The Social Network a film that will be studied for years and watched for generations. It is not a film that will be swiftly forgotten.
The King’s Speech
Directed by Tom Hooper
The King’s Speech is the critical darling of the year. Released only two months ago on Christmas Eve its Oscar buzz didn’t have much time to gain momentum, however nearly every critic worth listening to has had it in his or her top five list of best films of the year. Its reputation soared quickly and has been able to stay high thanks in no small part to enthusiastic acclaim from audiences. Director Tom Hooper’s visual style for the film is admittedly not very impressive – that is, in comparison to the other nominees – but his management of the film’s performances by its actors, which include Oscar nominees Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter, certainly is. Hooper’s command of detail and judgment of timing is impeccable in areas outside of the actors’ performances, but such mastery obviously translates to that arena as well. Unlike The Social Network, this film is unquestionably more uplifting. Both are based on true stories, but while the former is about a young man falling victim to his own flaws the other is about a man overcoming them. Critics are sometimes called ineffectual, but just over the past several years we can see that the Academy voters’ consensus is usually in alignment with theirs. Best Picture winners Million Dollar Baby, Crash, Slumdog Millionaire, No Country for Old Men, and The Hurt Locker can all justifiably be labeled the “critical darlings” of their years, which should strongly encourage those pulling for The King’s Speech.
It’s a question that’s plagued me for a while now: whatever happened to big Hollywood movie musicals? Movie genres typically go through cycles of popularity and I think we’re due for another round of flashy, dance-filled musicals.
Musicals have been a long-enduring genre since the early days of film. In fact, the very first sound film was a musical—1927’s The Jazz Singer. When it became a runaway success, studios rushed to create more musicals, some of which became the beginnings of a series. Warner Brothers’ triumph with The Gold Diggers of Broadway led to The Gold Diggers of 1933, which became one of the most celebrated musicals of all time thanks in large part to Busby Berkeley’s intricate choreography. RKO Radio Pictures first paired dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers—who danced together in nine films—in 1933 in Flying Down to Rio, creating arguably the most famous dancing couple in film history. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released The Broadway Melody in 1929, which not only started a series but also won the Academy Award for Best Picture. As time went on, production companies made more and more musicals until the genre reached its greatest popularity in the 1940’s and ‘50s.
Though many studios made musicals during that time, MGM arguably became the company most associated with producing expensive, opulent and immensely successful musicals. They produced Easter Parade, Summer Stock, An American in Paris, Singin’ in the Rain, The Band Wagon, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Guys and Dolls, as well as numerous others. Those films were a mixture of song and dance and while they weren’t exactly realistic, they were always entertaining. MGM musicals have always been my favorites and when I think of the kind of musicals I’d love to see now, I imagine huge productions with the same glamour and spectacle as MGM’s greatest musicals. I’m talking musicals with big, expensive set pieces and extended dance sequences with dancers wearing costumes of every conceivable color. I’m talking great songs that not only convey exactly what the character feels, but are also catchy and make the audience want to sing along.
Well the Oscars are now over, so it’s time to recap how we did in predicting the winners. All in all we didn’t do too bad. But who out there guessed all of them correctly? Did you? Tell us about how you picked the winners to win, and we might seek you out for your opinions next year!
Here is how things shaped up.
Best Picture: Avatar or The Hurt Locker
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker
Best Original Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen for A Serious Man
Best Leading Actor: Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart
Best Leading Actress: Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer for The Last Station
Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique for Precious
Best Picture – The Hurt Locker
Best Director – Kathryn BigelowÂ Â (*she is the first woman to receive this award)
Best Original Screenplay – Mark Boal for The Hurt Locker
Best Leading Actor – Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart
Best Leading Actress – Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side
Best Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds
Best Supporting Actress – Mo’Nique for Precious
View all of the winners here.
It’s been a fun Oscar season for sure, but it’s almost sad to see it all over and done with. Here at Movie-Thoughts we’ll soon switch gears to get you all ready for the upcoming summer blockbuster season, which is shaping up to be a good one. Be sure to stay tuned with all the news, reviews, and various articles we’ll be posting to keep you informed and thinking. See you around!