On the Oscars

I’m finishing up this kick of writing about last year’s movies. This will be the last post on this subject for a while, I promise.

I don’t see much point in predicting what WILL win, so instead I’m going to write about what I think SHOULD win, both from what the nominees actually are, and from a theoretical universe where I can choose from whatever I want.

BEST PICTURE

From the nominees: THE TREE OF LIFE

From everything: THE TREE OF LIFE

A weird set of nominees. I’ve seen six of them, and I think Tree of Life is certainly, the best, though The Artist, Hugo, and Moneyball are all very good. Martha Marcy May Marlene really ought to have been at least nominated. I think it was pretty much shut out, which is a real pity. And though The Arbor is still my absolute top pick, it’s disqualified from this for being a documentary. (And possibly for being released in the UK in 2010?)

BEST ACTOR

From the nominees: BRAD PITT (for Moneyball)

From everything: BRAD PITT (for The Tree of Life)

I’ve seen all the movies with best actor nominees except for Demian Bichir in A Better Life. This is a tough one; I just wasn’t that blown away by any male actor in a clearly leading role this year. Out of the nominees, I think Brad Pitt in Moneyball just edges out Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. In the world of infinite freedom, I would choose Brad Pitt for his performance in Tree of Life, though I think it’s slightly unclear whether he’s actually the lead in that film. It’s always seemed tricky to me to determine what’s a lead and what isn’t.

BEST ACTRESS

From the nominees: ???

From everything: ELIZABETH OLSEN (for Martha Marcy May Marlene)

I actually haven’t seen any of the movies nominated for best actress, so I can’t render an opinion on that. Ignoring the nominations, I think it has to be Elizabeth Olsen, for her very believable and very scary performance in poor shut-out Martha Marcy May Marlene. Would have been nice to see a nomination for Charlize Theron for Young Adult or Adepero Oduye for Pariah, who were both also great.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

From the nominees: CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER (for Beginners)

From everything: BEN KINGSLEY (for Hugo)

I liked Jonah Hill and Christopher Plummer, but how about John Hawkes for Martha Marcy May Marlene, Ben Kingsley for Hugo, Charles Parnell for Pariah, John Hurt for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, or Patton Oswalt for Young Adult? Out of the nominees, I like Christopher Plummer. Out of everything there are almost too many options. I’ll go with Ben Kingsley, partially because I’m just very surprised that he wasn’t even nominated; Hugo was not a small movie…

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

From the nominees: MELISSA MCCARTHY (for Bridesmaids)

From everything: MELISSA MCCARTHY (for Bridesmaids)

I think it’s awesome and a little unexpected that Melissa McCarthy got this nod for Bridesmaids. I hope she wins.

BEST DIRECTOR

From the nominees: TERRENCE MALICK (for The Tree of Life)

From everything: TERRENCE MALICK (for The Tree of Life)

Malick really deserves to win this.  See my earlier post.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

From the nominees: KRISTIN WIIG AND ANNIE MUMOLO (for Bridesmaids)

From everything: SEAN DURKIN (for Martha Marcy May Marlene)

Bridesmaids’ screenplay was great, and it’s nice to see a straight-up comedy nominated for this. I also wish Diablo Cody’s script for Young Adult got at least a nomination.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

From the nominees: BRIDGET O’CONNOR AND PETER STRAUGHN (for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)

From everything: DEE REES (for Pariah)

The Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy crew deserve serious credit for making an understandable movie out of a story that can seem crowded in a BBC miniseries.  I think the best screenplay of any movie I saw this year was Pariah, though, which I assume counts as adapted since it was based on an earlier short film.

***

I think this is about where I stop having any idea what I’m talking about in terms of categories. I will say, I hope Planet of the Apes wins for special effects, and I will be incredibly happy if Man or Muppet wins best original song. Will it be performed at the ceremony? If so, that’s amazing. (Also why are there only two songs nominated this year? I’m not complaining, but all these rule changes are very mysterious to the layperson.)

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