Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Academy Award Nominations

The 2011 Academy Award nominations were released today.

I don't know about you, but no movie I saw this year blew me away like movies have in previous years. I have yet to see 127 Hours, The King's Speech and Toy Story 3, but all the other nominated films left me just pleased instead of awed. The closest any movie came to blowing me away was Inception, for obvious reasons, but it was emotionally empty.

The Kids Are Alright would get my vote, but it seems like The Social Network or The King's Speech are the current front runners. I expected more out of True Grit, and was slightly disappointed when its tone was so light compared to some of the Coen Bros. darker films such as No Country for Old Men or Miller's Crossing. Winter's Bone was more of a Coen Bros. movie and could have filled the void, but I was disappointed the way the film's mystery fizzled instead of building into a suspenseful climax.

I really wanted to root for The Fighter since I love boxing films and it has the best acting of any of the films nominated, but instead of becoming a Rocky for Massachusetts, the inter-family drama in the film was swept under the rug too easily.

Thankfully, there were a lot of great performances in films this year. My money's on Jessie Eisenberg, since this is likely the only time he will ever be nominated, and Natalie Portman -- Hollywood's hottest current commodity. It will allow the academy to celebrate young Hollywood and pass the torch from one generation to the next. The supporting actresses from The Fighter will probably split their votes, meaning that Hailee Steinfeld will win for True Grit. Christian Bale is the only lock of the Oscar's so far, winning for his portrayal of Micky Ward's drug addict brother in The Fighter.

For best director (where's Christopher Nolan for Inception?), I think David Fincher will take home the statue for The Social Network for his ability to condense a real-life multi-faceted drama into an engrossing film -- like he did in Zodiac. And despite The Fighter's flaws, I think David O. Russell deserves the recognition for getting three Oscar-worthy performances from his supporting cast in a sports movie -- something usually populated with cliched characters.

And on a final note, did Toy Story 3 really need to be nominated for both best animated film and best film?

So there you have it. I do feel like there are a lot of good films this year, but no great ones, unless the ones I have yet to see are the best of the bunch.

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