Sunday, February 19, 2012

Getting Ready for Oscar

I bet you thought I forgot.  Admit it.  Didn't you?
Yes, dear reader, it's time for the annual review getting ready for the Oscars.  
A disclaimer first--we haven't seen all the movies.  OK--now that the confession is out of the way, let's get down to business.

Now that the Academy allows up to 10 nominees for best movie, it is getting more difficult to see them all.  First, we just don't go to that many movies.  Second, by the time the nominees are announced, some of the theaters around here have already shown some of the eventual nominees, and for whatever reasons have not rebooked them.

And the nominees are: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse.

So, we want to see, but have not see, Hugo and Midnight in Paris.  Even if  Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, or The Tree of Life were to return, I am not sure we would go.  

I may as well take them in the order listed above.
The Artist--if my husband and I were Siskel & Ebert (yes, I know Siskel is dead) we would have one thumb up, and one down.  I liked it; my husband didn't.  Here's what I liked:  the way the actors were so expressive, without words; the way that black and white seemed so...colorful; the dog; the dancing; the sweet story line; and the way a silent movie told the story of the demise of silent movies.

The Descendants--two thumbs up.  Loved it!  Simply loved it--and, it goes without saying, this is my pick as winning movie of the year.  Here's what I liked:  George Clooney; the young actress who plays the elder daughter; the magnificent scenery of Hawaii; the wonderful story line; Beau Bridges; and the denouement of the plot.

The Help--two thumbs up.  Since this movie is an adaptation of the extremely successful book, it had a high bar to meet.  Here's what I liked:  Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer; Emma Stone as Skeeter; a strong female cast (you don't see that often); the chocolate pie scene (you know what I mean); the interweaving of historical events from the civil rights era--a light touch, but still it's there; the denouement of the plot.  I recently heard Viola Davis on Fresh Air, and I am now rooting for her as best actress.

Moneyball--sort of two thumbs up.  This is a thoroughly engaging story, but not really "best movie" material, in my opinion.  What I liked:  Brad Pitt; Jonah Hill; Philip Seymour Hoffman (who is always good, but in an atypical role here); a bit of an inside view of baseball.  What always mystifies me is how I enjoy movies about baseball when I don't really enjoy the game of baseball.

War Horse--mostly two thumbs up.  Oh, yes, it's formulaic, and at times gory, but there's a gorgeous horse in it...  OK, what I liked:  the horse; the happy ending; the horse; the thoroughly realistic and quite harrowing battle scenes; the horse; and .... the horse. 

And, now my picks for top prizes, understanding that I have not seen them all:
Best Movie--The Descendants
Best Actress--Viola Davis
Best Actor--Gary Oldman (in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)
Best Directing--The Artist

Not having seen all of the movies does limit my choices.  Martin Scorsese might take best directing, Michelle Williams might take best actress for playing Marilyn.  But, you go with what you have seen.

Happy watching until February 26.  And, joy of joys, Billy Crystal is back!


Beverly said...

Oh, I hadn't forgotten. I agree with you on most of the movies. I liked The Artist too. As you said, the horse was great. I loved the baseball story but don't really see it as a best movie.
I loved Skeeter and The Help. I haven't seen Tinker...
Thanks for posting your thoughts.

Anvilcloud said...

The only one I've seen in that list is The Help. We just saw Iron Lady on the weekend, and I think Streep must have the inside track for best actress even though the movie wasn't spectacular. I also heard Davis on Fresh Air, but Streep's performance was pretty doggone impressive.

Peruby said...

I did like the scenery in The Descendents but was not big on the movie.

Have seen all but The Artist. Not sure why I keep skipping that one.

I liked The Help the best I guess, then Moneyball, then WarHorse.

Hated Midnight, fell asleep during Hugo and Tree of Life.

Extremely Loud was poignant but not a favorite of mine.

Ruth said...

I have only seen The Help and The Artist and liked both of them very much. I like stories that recount history. Will have to see how your predictions hold out.

KGMom said...

Beverly--I do recall you are a baseball fan.

AC--I should have mentioned which ones we saw that featured nominated actors. We too saw Iron Lady and thought Meryl Streep was amazing--isn't she always?

Peruby--well, if I see Midnight in Paris or Hugo, I will see if I like either or stay awake.

Ruth--I am glad I don't have to earn my keep by my predictions.

NCmountainwoman said...

I always enjoy your Oscar posts. We never go to the movies so we haven't seen many of them...only the ones already on DVD.

Nance said...

Thumbs down on War Horse. Yes to Michelle Williams, but I also loved Rooney Mara and Viola Davis. My redneck city hasn't even shown The Descendents yet. Midnight in Paris was a delight, but not Best Picture material, methinks. It will be fun deconstructing Oscar night with you!

Ginnie said...

Well I've only seen two of them and it's strange. I thought the movie "The Help" was better than the book and just the reverse ... I absolutely LOVED the book "Extremely Close & Incredibly Loud" but thought the movie had too much of a Hollywood bent to it. (They added parts that weren't in the book and excluded some of the most important parts...go figure! )