Evaluating the Nominees

For the films of 2011
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Cinemanolis
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Re: Evaluating the Nominees

Postby Cinemanolis » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:51 pm

Haven't seen Hugo

Picture
1. The Tree of Life
2. The Descendants
3. The Artist
4. Midnight in Paris
5. War Horse
6. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
7. Moneyball
8. The Help

Director
1. Terrence Malick
2. Michel Hazanavicious
3. Alexander Payne
4. Woody Allen

Actor
1. Jean Dujardin
2. George Clooney
3. Gary Oldman
4. Brad Pitt
5. Demian Bichir

Actress
1. Meryl Streep
2. Michelle Williams
3. Rooney Mara
4. Viola Davis
5. Glenn Close

Supporting Actor
1. Christopher Plummer
2. Max Von Sydow
3. Kenneth Branagh
4. Nick Nolte
5. Jonah Hill

Supporting Actress
1. Jessica Chastain
2. Janet McTeer
3. Octavia Spencer
4. Berenice Bejo
5. Melissa McCarthy

Original Screenplay
1. A Separation
2. Midnight In Paris
3. Margin Call
4. The Artist
5. Bridesmaids

Adapted Screenplay
1. The Descendants
2. Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy
3. Moneyball
4. The Ides of March

Uri
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Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 11:37 pm
Location: Israel

Evaluating the Nominees

Postby Uri » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:47 am

Yes, it's time for my highly anticipated/dreaded/who-cares-fored annual list.

I first came on this board during the '98 Oscar season, and in light of what we went through recently, it seems fitting that in a way I feel like we went a full circle and we had that race again. So I'll pull a Magilla here – once again we're having poor Nick Nolte, in a domestic drama about a father and his two troubled sons, who's up against an elderly gay guy and a, ahm, renown European playing a Holocaust victim assisting an annoying kid, and there's a twenty something guy in the race too (help me, I'm struggling here – a hefty price will be given for those who'd come up with any analogy between Hanks and Branah). And there's a cross dresser up for best actress, and an iron willed British female leader whose shining moment was defeating a Spanish speaking army, and Meryl in in the race again (but this is true with every Oscar race). Never mind.

Buy really, what makes this year's race a reminder of '98 is the fact that once one is not overblown by the Malick de jour one is left with no real contender to root for. It's a truly dismal list of nominees, all over the place.

Anyway, hopefully this closure sentiment I'm having is not an indication that the board has ran its course, and the recent lack of energy is just an understandable, yet temporary, post traumatic effect.

In each of the top 6 there's one nominee I probably won't be able to catch before Oscar night.

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.

Picture
1. The Artist – C. A for the initiative and the enthusiasm, and a great deal of it is indeed charming and genuinely manifests the celebration of Cinema it is, but when all is said and done there a sense that it doesn't fully succeeded in becoming more than the accumulation of its (mostly) endearing parts and being a great piece on its own.
2. Moneyball – C. A smart, efficient take on current as well as traditional American axioms. A lesson in how to, dogma wise, eat the cake and have it.
3. The Tree of Life – C. I'm still having my issues with this one. Huge issues. Still, there is a great deal of wonderful stuff in it, and let's face it – in this day and age it's either having this heavily flowed, yet substantial film on this list or Bridesmaids.
4. The descendants – D. A harmless tv movie of the weak.
5. Midnight in Paris – D. A delightful fun for smart 16 year olds who haven't seen any of Allen's films from the '70s and '80s.
6. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – F. Only in America. I saw it today in a preview screening and before the move we had a lecture by this psychologist about the concept of death in children and the way to deal with the lost of a parent. And it felt right since the film looks like it was made as an educational tool for good intentioned therapists. The fact that it has nothing to do with any kind of recognizable human reality is beside the point. And it had the benefit of a central character who gives the vibes of a highly mannered, posh drama queen.
7. The Help- F. Only in America, Part II. Good intentioned, liberal soft Racism. Black people should get equal rights for being good and noble. And boring.
8. War Horse – F. There's no narrative here, but a chain of narrative devises. There are no characters but cardboard clichés. There are no horses but mechanical puppets. Ye, ye, it should be read as a homage, as a cynicism free recreation of old tradition or something, but sometime a kitsch is a kitsch is a kitsch.

I'm yet to see Hugo. Fingers crossed, though the last time I really appreciated a Scrosese film was 1993. As for alternatives – J. Edgar is probably the only traditional Oscar film I saw this year I actually liked. And I was favorable towards Melancholia.

Actress
1. Meryl Streep – B. Just like the elderly Thatcher, who's practically imprisoned in her home, this grand, epic performance is wandering aimlessly in the confinements of the busy busy busy petty film it's in.
2. Michele Williams – C. No, it's not THE Marilyn, but it's a highly acceptable, at times even a perceptive one.
3. Viola Davis – D. And when it comes to black people, no one is as good or noble as she is here. It's hardly anything but a stereotype manifestation of a stereotype role.
4. Rooney Mara – D. She maybe the greatest actress of her generation. Or not. One can learn nothing from her turn here. It's a mechanical catharsis devise and so is her acting.

I haven't seen Albert Nobbs or any of the numerous young actresses hailed for all these indy films. But one knows we're in troubles when even the yearly Tildathon is under par. Probably the ladies from Melancholia, particularly Gainsbourg, should be on the list.

Actor
1. Jean Dujardin – B. A joyous turn. He really nails it and he is the best part of the artist.
2. Brad Pitt – B. A quite perfect match of a role and a star/actor in the prime of his very particular acting abilities
3. Garry Oldman – D. A perfectly fine, if somehow generic, performance one is expecting of an English renowned actor of a certain age to give. Why this particular turn became the second coming, acting wise, is beyond me.
4. George Clooney – D. What I said about Pitt, only backward. An uneasy marriage of an actor's persona and an underwritten, not that interesting character.

I guess I'll see Bichir on cables one day. And really, for the first time DeCaprio was actually worthy of a nomination as a lead and they missed it.

Supporting Actress
1. Berenice Bejo – D. She's likeable and nice, but majorly miscast. Her looks and presence are distractingly anachronistic. And it's no coincident that in all the versions of A Star is Born the young, unknown wanabe is played by a major, established star. We must be aware of the existence of an unmistakable superstardom potential, and with Bejo we don't.
2. Octavia Spencer – D. In the book, her character is all about rage. Here she's a comic relief. Not her fault, and it seems she could have managed a more complex role, but as it is, it's not enough.
3. Melissa McCarthy – D. It's a noisy SNL kind of turn, and I guess it works as such, but it really, really shouldn't have been on a list like this.
4. Jessica Chastain – D. I only saw her in this and in TToL, and I'm afraid to say I haven't seen the light yet. This is a hard labored, uninspired take on a not very convincing role.

I have high hopes for McTeer. Can't think of other candidates right now.

Supporting Actor
1. Nick Nolte - ?. Ok, I haven't seen the film, but I saw the trailer and nowadays it's practically the same. And since I'm not crazy about any of the other nominees, I'll be rooting for him.
2. Christopher Plummer – C. A perfectly fine performance. To his credit it should be said he doesn't over sell it, but still it's a minor achievement.
3. Jonah Hill – C. I understand he's quite known for being part of this comedic universe I never frequent. This is the first time I ever saw him in a film and he's pitch perfect. I can't really say if there's much more to it than an inspired casting, though.
4. Kenneth Branah – D. He could have done this in his sleep, couldn't he?
5. Max von Sydov – unranked. I'll forgive him. Eventually. But – one (YOU know I'm talking to you) is not allowed to root for him come Oscar night unless one is rooting for Viola Davis too.

Armie Hammer should have been here. And Brad Pitt. Big time.

Director
The same ranking and the same reasoning as with their respective films, so it's Hazanavicious(C), Malick(C- but please, please, get a grip), Payen(D) and Allen (D – and please, please retire). And I'm afraid I'm somewhat apprehensive when it comes to Scrosese. Eastwood and Von Trear should have been here and I wouldn't mind Miller too.


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