At the Movies
If I picked the Oscars, part deux
By Ian Black
Special to The Sun
The Oscars will be airing on ABC this coming Sunday evening. Last week, we covered the four acting categories. For this installment, we’ll be looking at the Best Director and Best Picture nominees.
- Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris): I believe I have mentioned in the past that Woody Allen films often don’t appeal to me. I think “Midnight in Paris” was a stronger showing than usual for him, but not Best Director worth, and I think the academy agrees with me here.
- Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist): I can’t lie, this film was pretty amazingly directed. In fact, I would say it was probably directed better than it was anything else. There were some truly impressive shots and scenes in this film. He is certainly the front-runner and I have a hard time disagreeing with that.
- Terrence Malick (Tree of Life): Truth be told, while “Tree of Life” had some truly amazing cinematography, the actual “directing” in the film doesn’t necessarily hold up as well. Some of that is the script’s fault. Some of it isn’t.
- Alexander Payne (The Descendants): This was a truly fantastic film, and I think Payne did a wonderful job. However, it’s the acting and writing that really sell this film, and when it comes down to it I think others have more of a chance.
- Martin Scorsese (Hugo): Now, I liked “Hugo.” I didn’t really think it was Best Picture or Director caliber, but there you are. Scorsese is a pretty big name, but once again I think it’s just a nomination for him this year.
Who will win: Michel Hazanavicius, almost assuredly.
Who should win: Michel Hazanavicius, I think. As much as I love “The Descendants,” directing was the bread and butter of “The Artist.”
- The Artist: This is the one to beat. While I found the film charming and enjoyed many things about this film, I think others were a more complete package.
- The Descendants: In a perfect world, this movie would win. As a whole, it’s simply a fantastic representation of cinematic excellence. You’ve heard me gush already, though. There truly isn’t much more to say.
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: This film had some good moments, but in all fairness it should not be on this list. Frankly, the list could do with some trimming anyway, and if not, there were other, better films that should be here instead.
- The Help: This film was smartly written, well acted and a general all-around crowd pleaser. It’s not quite as high caliber as a few of the other films here, but it’s very impressive in its own right.
- Hugo: As I’ve said before, this film was entertaining enough, and an interesting walk down the lane of cinematic history, but I still think it’s a little out of place here. Not as much as some others, but it still feels a little strange. I think the Academy likes the film for the history more than the film itself.
- Midnight in Paris: One of the more oddball films about time travel you will likely see, this film recovers from a rocky start to be a fairly enjoyable quirky comedy. It’s certainly not Best Picture, but it has that in common with several of the crop of films here.
- Moneyball: One of the best sports films I’ve seen in years, “Moneyball” will make you care about parts of baseball you never thought you would. Or if you did, it will make you care more. As enlightening as it is entertaining, this is a worthy addition to the category, albeit one without much chance of winning.
- The Tree of Life: Two weeks later and this film is still a complete mystery to me. Odd existential imagery combined with a somewhat cohesive plot, this film is, simply put, a weird experience. It doesn’t really have any business being here, though.
- War Horse: Nearly sentimental to a fault, “War Horse” is one of those movies designed to make you feel good. Though there was much impressive about it, I don’t see this film having much of a shot at the award.
Who will win: “The Artist” is looking to be a near sure thing at this point. I don’t agree with it, but I’m not overly angry. There are far less deserving films on this list.
Who should win: “The Descendants,” for the innumerable reasons I have already stated.
That’s about it for the major awards.
For the slightly smaller, I think “The Artist” will easily win best score, to the point where that award is almost unfair.
Best original screenplay will probably be “Midnight in Paris” to give something to Woody Allen, though “The Artist” might upset, even though it shouldn’t.
Best Adapted Screenplay will go to “The Descendants” if there is any justice in the world.
And finally, best animation will probably go to “Rango.”
And there we have it. In about a week’s time we’ll know just how right or wrong I am about all of this. Enjoy the return of Billy Crystal to the podium and the Oscars.
I’ll be back next week with a return to regular reviews of more mainstream films.