Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Mourning After The Mess


After the debacle that was the Academy Awards nominations, let's play a game of "which Best Picture doesn't belong". Here are some hints to help you out - as if you need any:

1) It received not a single nomination from the Golden Globes, SAG, DGA or PGA.

2) Its Rotten Tomatoes rating is 48% - 28% lower than its next lowest rival.

3) It was fittingly the last movie of the nine to be revealed.

If you said 'War Horse' - solid guess but incorrect. 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' is the paradigm for how the Academy, and more to the point, the members that vote, pick flicks that are safe rather than ones that take risks and are infinitely more worthy of a slot. Yes, I'm talking about 'Drive' - a movie that would never actually win due to politics but undoubtedly deserved recognition for the revelation it truly was.

Winners:

  • 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' for all of the aforementioned reasons. Now the movie can market itself as an "Academy Award Nominee for Best Picture" just like Sandra Bullock's other completely undeserving movie 'The Blind Side' did.
  • 'War Horse' - The Academy unable to separate the name "Spielberg" from the seemingly never-ending film.
  • Brad Pitt - His performance in 'Moneyball' was perfectly acceptable but nowhere near as intricate or difficult as Leonardo DiCaprio's in 'J. Edgar'.
  • Gary Oldman - Unfathomable that this is his first ever Oscar nomination. One of the finest pure "actors" in the game.
  • Demian Bichir - Considering 'A Better Life' has banked less than $2M and played on just 216 screens, the little known Mexican actor scored huge - getting on the Academy's radar via his SAG Award nomination.
  • Jonah Hill - Felt that Hill outshone Pitt in 'Moneyball' - a low-key performance that was perfectly nuanced.
  • Nick Nolte - Lionsgate spent big for the nomination and on the back of a SAG nom - Nolte is in.
  • Melissa McCarthy - Another beneficiary of a SAG nomination which the Academy clearly used to vote in rote in the Best Supporting Actress category - it's the exact same five nominees.
Losers:

  • Albert Brooks - The single biggest snub of all the nominations - in my estimation, there was no finer supporting performance by any actor. The funnyman's turn as a dagger-adoring gangster in 'Drive' was nothing short of revelatory.
  • 'Drive' - For a film that topped the vast majority of movie critics' "best of 2011" lists (yes, mine) to get a lone "Sound Editing" nomination is feloniously criminal.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio - For some bizarre reason, everyone decided to pile on 'J.Edgar' and declare it to be a mess. Here's the problem - it wasn't. Was it spectacular? No - but it was a much better film than what others would have you believe. DiCaprio enveloped the role and was without doubt deserving of a Best Actor slot.
  • Shailene Woodley - Another top performance thrown in the trash by the Academy. Woodley was nearly Octavia Spencer's equal - the eventual winner in the Supporting Actress category. McCarthy straight up stole a spot.
  • Best Song - Just two nominees? The saving grace - one of the two is from 'The Muppets' although the Academy, in accordance with how things went, picked the wrong song - should have gone with "Life's a Happy Song".