Saturday, February 23, 2013

Oscar Talk and My Category Favorites

I guess the Oscars are here, but since I don't intend to watch them, and barely even think about them, I suppose it best to do as I did last year, and use this as en excuse to offer up my favorites of 2012, in various categories. Though I suppose I could speculate on nominations...

Best Picture - somehow they managed, despite nominating 9 films, not to nominate the two best films of the year, The Master and Moonrise Kingdom. We are off to a bad start. Of the films nominated - Amour is very much the best; Lincoln is the most logical and appropriate pick (since it is the Oscars) - but I rather fear Argo will win. Harmless, but rather inane pick. I've somewhat moved away from my old idea that the worst film nominated will always win - I didn't see Life of Pi or Les Miserables - but the latter sounds like it's the worst film on the slate. Though Silver Linings Playbook annoyed me no end... I don't think it can win though, thank god. Not even sure how it got nominated, even in this context... The other nominations are pretty decent, though missing the two Andersons' pictures is unforgivable. I listed these back at the beginning of the year, though lots of films have come out since, so....

My top 5:
1. Moonrise Kingdom
2. The Master
3. Amour
4. Barbara
5. Oslo: August 31

Director: again, they're missing the Andersons, so who cares what they say? oddly - they are also missing Bigelow and Tarantino, who make very strange absences. Behind Russell and Zeitlin? how? Anyway - I rather assume Spielberg will win, and wouldn't complain if he did. Haneke, obviously, is in another world from this bunch, but what can you do?

My choices:

1. PT Anderson - reversing the usual order of the Andersons...
2. Wes Anderson - not that anyone else is getting between them.
3. the Dardennes, Kid With the Bike
4. Christian Petzold, Barbara
5. Haneke

Actor: I would think Daniel Day-Lewsi will win again; I would rather hope so. Though I will say, here at least, they nominated by favorite of the year - Joaquin Phoenix should win, and while I doubt he will, it is not completely impossible.

My choices:
1. Joaquin Phoenix
2. Denis Lavant
3. Daniel Day-Lewis
4. Anders Danielson Lee (Oslo: August 31)
5. John Hawkes [how did he get forgotten?]

Actress: not a bad set of nominations, though acknowledging the existence of The Impossible causes me pain... of the nominations - I guess I hope Jessica Chastain wins - she is genuinely extraordinary.

My Choices:
1. Greta Gerwig, Damsels in Distress - been a while, but really, she's the best performance in the best role of the year.
2. Isabella Huppert, In Another Country
3. Jessica Chastain
4. Emanuelle Riva
5. Nina Hoss, Barbara

Supporting Actor: this is odd - it is probably possible to make the case that Christophe Waltz is in a supporting role - but Philip Seymour Hoffman? it's a co-lead; how do you get around that? Anyway - it does make a tough choice.... the Academy is probably going to give it to Waltz, and that makes sense, I guess. I do like all the nominees, though, except maybe DeNiro - though he's good, the role is kind of stupid.

1. Philip Seymour Hoffman - though I think this should be a lead...
2. Christophe Waltz
3. Leonardo DiCaprio - hell, Samuel L. Jackson should be on here too maybe...
4. Bruce Willis, in Moonrise Kingdom
5. Edward Norton - or him...

Supporting Actress: I am blessed not to have seen Les Miserables, so I don't know what Anne Hathaway did - she seems to be the favorite though, and who am I to gainsay it? of the nominees - I would probably vote for Jacki Weaver, who's about the only thing I really liked about Silver Linings Playbook...

1. Annaleigh Tipton, Damsels in Distress
2. Jacki Weaver
3. Frances McDormand
4. Amy Adams
5. Tilda Swinton

Original Screenplay: Well, Wes Anderson got a nod here. I don't know who's going to win this - Amour is in French; Django Unchained would be an odd choice - it's amusing, but very weak for Tarantino; Flight - doesn't seem to be getting much attention (I didn't see it); Moonrise Kingdom, though the best film, seems a very long shot - leaving Zero Dark Thirty - which would be a deserving winner (I'd settle for it, that is) - but the backlash against that film is very strange... I don't know.

1. Moonrise Kingdom
2. Damsels in Distress
3. The Master
4. Amour
5. Zero Dark Thirty

Adapted Screenplay: I hope Lincoln wins; it should, though you never can tell...

1. Killing them Softly
2. Oslo: August 31
3. The Deep Blue Sea
4. Lincoln
5. Cosmopolis

Cinematography: I can never figure out what the academy is thinking in this category, so who cares what they think? I think:

1. The Master - this was something of a show stopper - it was a bit mindblowing in 35, and then I saw the 70 mm version...
2. Zero Dark Thirty
3. Moonrise Kingdom
4. This is Not a Film - cinematography should serve the work of art; what you make of it, what you use it for, is as important as the raw beauty or the technical elements of the photography. This is an extraordinary film...
5. Django Unchained

Music or Score: I'm not worried about the academy, partly because I don't want to care about eligibility. So just the votes - though this is hard: I have a harder time holding the music of a film in my head than most other elements... until I have seen it a few times, so - the ones I saw 3 times (plus) each tend to end up on top...

1. The Master (Jonny Greenwood)
2. Moonrise Kingdom
3. Damsels in Distress

And a couple more - I sort of assume Amour will win Foreign Language film - it should. It's rather startling to see a really good and important film nominated here... Documentary Feature - How to Survive a Plague would be a very deserving winner - that was a great film. 56 Up is better than any of them, but of course it's TV... Editing - Moonrise Kingdom, dammit. Animated feature - I even saw most of these. I would vote for Brave, I think - though they all seemed to be decent, but a bit underwhelming, films. Still... I have no idea what's going to win, though.

And now? I will finish up with 10 moments - because - I should... for the moment, I will generally limit myself to one moment per film...

1. The Master - the first processing between Freddy and the Master - though you could say the jail scene, Freddy's processing montage after he gets out of jail, Freddy and the master in England, especially the Master singing to him, Freddy and Doris' mother... there's so much...

2. Moonrise Kingdom - also full of shots and bits, that are maybe less show-stopping than in the Master, but that all connect and intertwine - picking one - might be a simple one - Edward Norton trying to do his audio journal, and too depressed to speak.... or Bill Murray snatching the tent away... or the policeman and Sam bonding over a burnt sausage and beer...

3. Amour - when Emmanuelle Riva refuses to drink, and Jean-Louis Trintingant slaps her - I would prefer to forget that moment.... there's also his shame and horror when his daughter visits, near the end - another moment of almost unbearable devastation.

4. Holy Motors - the accordions, of course

5. Damsels in Distress - another one full of joy - though I think the people jumping off the Ed building might be the peak...

6. The plot summary of the imaginary movie at the end of Argo - I guess it's completely made up, but damn, that's a cool moment...

7. How to Survive a Plague has a moment - a cut, from 1996, when all of the activists in the film thought they were going to die, very shortly - to the present, with all of them still alive. It's quite marvelous...

8. The crab eating scene in Beasts of the Southern Wild...

9. In Another Country - another film full of little moments - the lifeguard singing to Ann... or trying to read her note... the drunken seduction on a beach... though the winner, I think, would be the "something interesting" moment, that goes so hilariously wrong.

10. I'm going to end with two films I disliked quite intensely - but both have moments that almost made them worth seeing: first - the guy singing grand opera in the shower onstage in To Rome with Love - Woody Allen can still make a joke once in a while, a damned good one even.... and "You aren't being ironic?" in Dark Horse - Todd Solondz tries so hard to make you squirm - and once in a while, I admit it, he manages it...

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