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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oscars : Best Picture Nominations Review

  • The Social Network :

First thing that I thought after reading an article on Fincher’s attempt on making a movie on Facebook was full of surprise and not-so-happy ness. I would have wanted to watch another movie by Fincher on the crime/thriller genre. It immediately struck me that probably that’s the reason why he is making this movie. Good directors repeat genres. Great directors prove themselves in as many genres as possible(I know there can be exceptions).
I watched this movie for the 4th time yesterday. Every time I watch it there is something new that I discover about it that amazes me more than the last time and makes me like it much much more.
How can one possibly make a movie about geeks and lawsuits to be so damn interesting and riveting? David Fincher needs no introduction as his earlier movies like Se7en, Zodiac and Fight club have overwhelmed us and have left us craving to watch lot more of his work.
The performances by 3 main men, Eisenberg, Garfield and Timberlake are very good and we would definitely wait to watch more movies of these 3 fellas.(The amazing Spiderman better be good as Garfield has set high standards for himself already)
This movie truly stands out because of the brilliant narration and the audacious treatment given to the story. So, it will definitely be a ‘way to go’ for the Academy to recognize the brilliant effort and encourage the movie makers to realize that not every second movie has to be about aliens / robberies /machines!!

One Interesting piece of TRIVIA  : The twins playing Winklewoss twins are actually the same person. Acror Armie Hammer’s face(Cameron) was super imposed on Josh Pence’s face(Tyler).
Total nominations received : 1
Our prediction : Stiff competition from ‘The Kings speech’ and ‘Inception’

  • 127 Hours :

Danny Boyle and Rahman made lotsa noise with Slumdog Millionaire and swept the Academy off its feet two years ago. Many of us felt that this movie didn’t really deserve all the accolades and was just above average. I personally liked the narrative and the background score in patches. Nothing more than that. I had expected a lot from the man who gave us Trainspotting(haven't watched his other movies yet)!!
So, when 127 hours was announced, I had my share of reservations only to be calmed down by Franco’s inclusion and getting to know that the story was based on a hiker’s real life story. I was waiting to see how Boyle would make a ‘guy stuck in canyon’ story into interesting cinema.
I must say this movie blew me away. Whattttta movie !! People loved it, critics appreciated it and yes all the negativity due to Slumdog had now vanished into thin air. Boyle is back in form and proven his class again!
Franco is awesome in a role of a lifetime and for sure has made Aron Ralston proud of his portrayal. Rahman has bettered his earlier work by miles and does pull the viewer straight into the Blue John Canyon with great poise and intensity.
Franco may not make the cut in leading actor’s category but with this talent he can be sure of great roles in futures and few oscar nominations as well. Something similar with Boyle as Fincher and Aronofsky loom large over their contenders.

One Interesting piece of TRIVIA  : The amputation scene was done in one take with multiple cameras because only one prosthetic arm was created.
Total nominations received : 6
Our prediction : Unlikely but ARR might bag the best song trophy and lose out to Sorkin in original score category.

  • Inception :

One word for people who don’t dare to dream – NOLAN ! For once, Academy should recognize his movies enough and make him feel good about his job(Not that the box office, critics and public reaction haven’t made him feel better).
Having watched all of his movies starting from the 8 min short movie ‘’, I always wait anxiously for his movies to release and immerse myself in his awesomeness of imagination and innovative story telling.
Inception is one of those rare movies that start with a feeling of “Are you frikkin kidding me ?” and end with “Holy mother of GOD!!”. Its an added responsibility on the viewer to pull his dropped jaw back to its original position and start thinking of his schedule in next 7-10 days so that he can take some time out to catch the movie again.
Inception has everything going for it. New story, brilliant performances, eye catchy and justified graphics that are ably handled perfectly by Mr.Nolan with ridiculous ease.

One Interesting piece of TRIVIA  : Nolan rejected producer’s suggestion of making this movie in 3D.
Total nominations received : 8
Our prediction : Stiff competition from ‘The Kings speech’ and ‘The Social Network’

  • The King's Speech :

With all the hoopla surrounding this movie, I couldn’t hold myself back to watch it before ‘The Fighter’ for which I had been waiting for more than a year.
I must say that the movie impressed me. A simple story told unpretentiously.  Its diffucult not to come away without appreciating the panache with which the royalty have been portrayed. Nothing over the top and everything is just of the right quantity and top quality. 
Lets be frank, it’s a good movie with great performances and should be acknowledged rightly. Its more than a given that Firth is going to be a good choice and a deserved one for the leading actor’s trophy. Geoffrey Rush in his brilliant depiction of a speech therapist would come a close second to Bale for supporting role but still has an outside chance of getting the trophy given the history of Academy ‘trying’ to throw surprises. Carter also has garnered enough praise for her role and rightly so. Even she would come a close second in supporting role’s trophy to Melissa Leo.
Many critics have predicted that this movie will win this trophy and that doesn’t make me feel good as I believe that as an end product, ‘Inception’ and ‘Social Network’ have a clear edge. But then, its Academy and you never know what they are going to come up with.

One Interesting piece of TRIVIA  : This film has an Australian actor (Guy Pearce) playing a Brit, a British actor (Eve Best) playing an American and an American actor (Jennifer Ehle) playing an Australian.
Total nominations received : 12
Our prediction : Stiff competition from ‘Inception’ and ‘The Social Network’

  • True Grit :

I haven’t watched the 1969 original starring John Wayne that fetched him an oscar for his portrayal for Rooster Cogburn. So, I’ll be subjective in the next few lines to follow.
Coen brothers have half the task cut out due to the good story. They couldn’t go much wrong getting oscar winning Jeff Bridges to play the oscar winning role of Cogburn and to given him company is Matt Damon. These 2 gentlemen live up to their names and deliver very good performances but it’s the 14 year old Hailee Steinfield who steals the limelight and does great job being the main pillar in the movie.
But, even without comparing this to the original, I honestly feel that this movie could have made way for Shutter Island or Blue Valentine in this category.Anyways, Steinfield has fetched a deserving nomination in supporting actress’ category and it should do a world of good to her future.

One Interesting piece of TRIVIA:  Because of child labor laws, the Coens were unable to film any scenes past midnight with Hailee Steinfeld (especially difficult because the movie contains many night scenes), and because of scheduling problems, any time there is a shot of another character over Mattie's shoulder or back, Mattie is played by an adult double, not Steinfeld.
Total nominations received:  10
Our prediction: Highly unlikely.

  • Toy Story 3 :

Some achievement for an animated movie to be even nominated in this category. Only the 3rd movie ever to be nominated in this category And yes, well deserved.
I should confess that I haven’t watched the earlier two movies of this trilogy and have never felt like either, thanks to my ‘I-prefer-short-animated-bits-than-movies’ approach which is as ridiculous as the Lady Gaga outfits.
This movie tells the age old “good vs evil” story but this time with a heart of gold. A simple story of good toys fighting against the bad ones and escaping from their clutches. In due course, story interlocks very well with pre-teen to adolescence transition of their owner.
Animation is top notch (Pixar FTW! ) and the voice-overs are apt with nothing in the movie going over the top or seeming unnecessary. The dialogues are very well written and I loved the Spanish bit in the end.
I’m pretty sure that this movie will win the animated category trophy but I wouldn’t bet on this movie making the cut and getting a lot of votes from Academy members for best movie category. All this can do (or has probably done) is make more people work on these kinda movies and equally make the audience watch those movies.

One Interesting piece of TRIVIA  : The screenplay took 2 1/2 years to write and storyboard. 
Total nominations received : 5
Our prediction : Chances next to none. Congrats on the animated movie trophy.

  • Black Swan :
What does Natalie Portman do when she gets a potential oscar worthy role ? She makes it worth every inch of that trophy. There is only one sight that stays on your mind after watching the movie, Portman spinning and flexing her body to make those beautiful ballet moves. That’s when you realize that the actress has done a tremendous job.
Aronofsky has based the movie on a tight screenplay and doesn’t let the proceedings seem slow at any point in time. Of course, there are lot of moments where silence speaks more than words and that is precisely what adds strength to this movie.
The supporting cast has done a tremendous job and Barbara leaves a lasting impact with her protective mother’s role. Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassell have done a fab job as well and deserve a mention here.
In all likelihood, this movie will come very close to winning the trophy but may lose out to other strong contenders. Aronofsky must be having his oscar speech ready for the director’s trophy but for sure he’ll have to slug it out with atleast 2 other fellas.

One Interesting piece of TRIVIA:  Darren Aronofsky offered Mila Kunis the role of Lily over Skype, without an audition.
Total nominations received:  5
Our prediction: Chances are bleak. Portman will get the actress trophy for sure after stiff competition from Michelle Williams. Aronofsky will be in a 3-way battle with Fincher and Hooper.

  • Winter's bone:

It’s a small and smart film. Jennifer Lawrence plays the 17 yr old burdened by the responsibilities of the family with her father is running from the law , sick mother and two kid siblings. They are facing the challenge of trying to retain their property that could be seized by the law.
Jennifer Lawrence puts in a commendable performance and displays the haplessness, grit, determination and hope with equal poise and finesse. Shes in the frame for almost 95% of the movie and never does she let the director down. She has got a deserving nomination in leading actress’ category.
Winter’s bone is possibly the least watched of all the nominations this year but for sure its an encouragement to indie movie makers because of all the appreciation it has garnered. 

One Interesting piece of TRIVIA:  For her role as Ree Dolly, Jennifer Lawrence had to learn how to skin squirrels, chop wood, and fight. 
Total nominations received:  4 
Our prediction: Highly unlikely. 

  • The Kids are all right :

It’s a fine mix of drama and comedy with not going overboard in either directions. Doesn’t try to be too preachy in the lesbian parents issues that it tried to depict.
Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo are deservedly nominated in acting categories. Julianne Moore gives a fine performance too and its these 3 people who elevate the movie with their acts. The kids deserve a special mention who could have easily made this movie fall apart but not in this case. Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson deliver good performances as well and its heartening to see everyone gel so well with the story and characters.
Coming to the chances, it’s a tough battle against heavy weights but this movie has already made its mark in terms of critics and audience reactions.

One Interesting piece of TRIVIA:  Although this movie only played in 7 theaters during its first weekend of North American release (3 in New York City and 1 each in San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, and Los Angeles), in terms of per-screen average, it was the box-office winner for the weekend.
Total nominations received:  4
Our prediction: Highly unlikely.

  •  The Fighter :


This movie featured very high on my ‘most anticipated movies of 2010’ list. Did make me wait till early this year but it was all worth it.
Bale in his obnoxious and loud character took the centre stage with Wahlberg complimenting perfectly well. Melisa Leo in their mother’s role is one of the highlights of the movie and should beat everyone else to the supporting category’s trophy.
Based on the true story of boxer Micky Ward  , it does well not to sensationalize the actual events and keep the proceedings as real as possible.
The boxing matches and the training sequences have been picturised very well and give that sporty touch to this movie in a great manner. But, that’s not all that’s there in this movie as it mainly deals with the mother-sons relationship and how an underdog fights all shortcomings and problems in personal and professional life to reach the pinnacle of success.
I would be devastated if Academy denies Bale of the supporting category’s trophy. As mentioned earlier, Geoffrey Rush poses a threat but it would be grave injustice to look beyond Bale.
Special mention to Wahlberg as it was due to his relentless efforts that this movie was made and all the awards won should have some share belonging to him.     

One Interesting piece of TRIVIA : Mark Wahlberg sent the script to Martin Scorsese hoping he would direct but Scorsese turned it down.
Total nominations received : 7
Our prediction : Doesn’t seem a likely choice but will go down as one of the better movies made in the Hollywood. 

Bottom Line : We like most of the movies here!! Inception, 127 Hours and Social Network winning will please us. Surprises will be kinda disappointing.

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