This year I'm going to be quite ill equipped come Oscar night. The Blind Side, Crazy Heart, The Last Station, The Messenger and District 9 haven't opened here yet. The Hurt Locker wasn't supposed to be shown here in theaters - although now, due to its predicted Oscar glory it probably will – but I asked my sister to bring me the DVD from the States, and I did see it yesterday, so with the fact that I was hugely lucky to be able to see The Lovely Bones the day before, it's time for my annual list.
My rating: A- the ultimate best of the year, B- very good, would make a decent, worthy winner, C- a nomination should suffice, D- not necessarily bad, but not award material, F- a failure.
1. En Education – C. A lovely, smart with quite a few sly social, historical and cultural (minor) remarks. Not a major work by any mean, but the most successfully executed piece of work of the nominees.
2. Up in the Air – C. I really enjoyed this one, and I found the fact that it somehow lost its way as it went along rather endearing and in a way fitting with the story. Extra point for the fact that I actually sat their laughing from time to time – not that common for me these days.
3. A Serious Man – C. An intellectual home movie. A relaxed, entertaining, sharply observant at times, pissing on conventional expectations - which is great – but it is an obscure and quirky inner joke – one I was happy to share, but for all its merit as a sincere and poignant meditation, it's not a fully worked out film (intentionally).
4. The Hurt Locker – D. I can see why Israeli distributors passed on it when they first saw it. Here we have our annual war-is-bad entries which are as good if not better, and just like Beaufort, Waltz with Bashir or Lebanon, this one too is avoiding any attempt at trying to figure out the bigger picture, self congratulatoringlly(?) dwelling in the damage war has on our poor boys. And while it is definitely well made, I didn't really believe the (rather cliché) situations or buy the attitude of these characters. And for those who find this such a grand film – was this the first war movie you ever saw?
5. Inglorious Basterds – D. I was totally antagonized by this one. My fault.
6. Precious – D. This one is not a cinematic entity, it's a catalogue of issues. And as such it strives to be as complete as possible. I saw it with my niece, who's much more sensitive and compassionate than I, and even she said they lost her with the AIDS stuff. And I was reminded of my favorite movie of all times – The Color Purple – when it turns out that for black women to be happy all they need is to be able to live in a men free Lesbian fantasy.
7. Avatar – F. A brainless, aggressive theme park ride.
I happened to miss Up. Not the end of the world, I guess.
Should've been: They could go with Invictus, A Single Man and then what? Dreadful year indeed.
1. Jason Reitman – C. A pleasant surprise – I haven't seen Thank You for Smoking and I loathed Juno, but this one is nicely enough navigated.
2. Quantin Tarantino – D. So the man can make movies. Let him go back to his usual frivolous stuff and I'll be happy to embrace him again.
3. Kathryn Bigelow– D. So she has balls. Great. If this must be the year for the first woman to be crowned best director (directress?), they could go with Lone Schering.
4. Lee Daniels – F. For all its limitations, Precious could have been made into a much more acceptable piece in the hands of a more capable film maker.
5. James Cameron – F. I don't want to have anything to do with this man, on or off screen.
Should've been: Tom Ford for best director? The stretches one must succumb to this year.
1. Colin Firth– A. I've never been a fan – his Darcy is a minor travesty – and I don't like to use the term "a revelation", but he is great here.
2. George Cloony – B. I've always been a fan, and he is rather perfect here.
3. Morgan Freeman – C. I've said elsewhere Invictus is not about its components being exceptionally flashy or overwhelmingly outstanding. This is a serviceable performance, and this time I use the term as a very high praise. A very wise performance.
4. Jeremy Renner –C. I was not impressed with his film nor did I found the character he played a very believable one, but he did a very creditable job in these circumstances. I'd like to see him in better parts.
Should've been: first, let me say I'll be overjoyed this coming Sunday(actually Monday here) when Bridges walks away with the Oscar, even if this one was for Against all Odds or King Kong. And this is a rather solid list. I guess I'd replace Renner with Matt Damon once I have the chance to see The Informant.
1. Carey Mulligan – B. Smart, sly and deceptively complex characterizing.
2. Meryl Streep – B. So it's not Medea nor Lady Macbeth. A captivatingly joyous turn.
3. Gaboury Sidibe – D. Between the harrowing elements of the character she portrays and the shear poignancy and sensation in the fact a person of her attributes is allowed to have center stage in a motion picture, what we are left with is nice natural presence, one which should have been used for a better movie.
Should've been: If ever there was a "should've been" it's Tilda Swinton.
Best Supporting Actor
1. Matt Damon –C. A serviceable turn by an actor I'm a big fan of. And it's not a category fraud!
2. Christoph Waltz – D. A tedious, hard labored attempt at being both menace and funny.
3. Stanley Tucci – D. So before the film was made, the character and the casting suggested a shoe in nomination. How lazy could academy members get? A (bland) nothing of a performance in a (dreadful) nothing of a film.
Should've been: The guys from En Education, especially Sarsgaard. And there seem to be plenty of good ones in the films I haven't seen yet.
Best Supporting Actress
1. Vera Farmiga – B. A fine turn - mature, intelligent, sensual and non sentimental.
2. Anna Kendrick – C. Nicely if not sensationally performing a nicely if not sensationally written role.
3. Mo'Nueiq– D. Wow, guilt and sensationalism can get you a long way, can't they? The shock value is certainly there, and to her credit she doesn’t over sell it, and as is the case with Sidibe, I guess she would have been better had the material been better.
4. Penelope Cruz – F. Last year I called her turn in VCB a noisy cliché and gave it a D. This year she gives the same performance AND clumsily sings and dance, hence the F.
Should've been: Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike.
Edited By Uri on 1267866210