I am not the biggest proponent of the Academy Awards, but it is without a doubt, the biggest celebration of the cinematic medium, so it deserves some of my attention I suppose. With today’s announcement of the nominations I was immediately struck by several thoughts and have surprisingly seen many of the films and performances nominated. I will refrain from going on about films here that would probably be considered the “usual suspects”. To see Lincoln nominated for so many awards is fitting for a film of its stature and will probably be a lead contender. I enjoyed its understatement as much as anything and think it’s one of Spielberg’s very best films. But I want to direct my attention at the surprises…both of the pleasant and not so pleasant variety.
Beasts of the Southern Wild: Seriously? Well if this isn’t the most overrated film nominated, I’m not sure what is. I really disliked this film. I found that it never became comfortable with itself. There is a desire to combine the gritty with the fanciful here that just doesn’t work. Not to mention the shaky-cam all over the place which is so over-used these days. This is the dog of the bunch.
Amour: I haven’t seen it. What I’m really glad about is the fact that we have a foreign film nominated for best picture. If it allows the film to be seen and publicized across middle America, the nomination will be well worth it. I am hoping it comes to my town sometime soon and this nomination would probably have something to do with it (not that I'm holding my breath).
Silver Linings Playbook: Yes the film is a bit messy at times, but there is a lovable loser quality to it that is irresistible. The fact that the ensemble cast here is nominated nearly in totality is telling. It is an actor’s kind of film, despite the fact that David O. Russell is nominated for Director. I applaud the inclusion here of a film that is well written and well-acted and one of my favorites from 2012, even though it wasn’t perfect.
The Master: Why wasn't this one nominated? I know the film is somewhat maddening and frustrating. But was there a more memorable film this year? I still think this film contained the finest stretches of cinema in 2012, even if it couldn’t sustain it for the entire run-time.
Joaquin Phoenix: Wow I’m really glad they included this nomination because if they didn’t, it would have been a crime. Simply put, Phoenix nearly reinvents the term “acting”, right before our eyes. As spectacular as Day-Lewis was as Lincoln, it is Phoenix that gives the epic performance to go down with other legendary turns from Jannings, Brando, De Niro etc. It is the best performance by an actor of the millennium so far.
De Niro: Speaking of…..has he given a better performance in the last few decades? There was something about his character in Silver Linings that was so human and so right. He continually struck the right tone. I’m not sure there is a more deserving performance in this category this year, perhaps only Jones in Lincoln, but his was a scene stealing part to begin with.
Quvenzhane Wallis: I’m sorry. Nominating this 9 year-old girl is a nice story, but she has no business whatsoever being nominated here. She cries on cue. She hides behind trees and garbage. She recites some lines as narrator. It’s not a performance. It is what you would expect from any decent child actor. Nothing more.
Rachel Weisz: The fact that Wallis’s nomination is perhaps the reason for Weisz NOT getting nominated for The Deep Blue Sea makes Wallis’s nomination even MORE of a crime.
Emmanuelle Riva: Again, I haven’t seen Amour, but from the wonderful performances she gave so long ago in films like Kapo, and Hiroshima, Mon Amour, it makes me so happy for her. I will enjoy seeing her on the show.
I will inevitably tune into the Awards show even though I’m sure I will end up disappointed like usual. I guess part of the fun is arguing over who belongs and who doesn’t…..and that’s what I like best.