I finished watching all the Best Picture Oscar nomination movies last night. Maybe I’ll actually watch the show this year. I usually don’t. One thing is that it’s hella long, but also I’ve usually not seen most of the movies, so I don’t really care. This year I had seen a few and wanted to see a lot of the others, so I decided to watch them all. So since I did watch them, I figured I’d give you my take on them. Here they are in order of how I liked them, worst to best:
10 – The Fighter – Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams – A look at the early years of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward and his brother who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s. A movie about boxing is not something I’d normally seek out. In fact, this was the last one I watched and the one I was least looking forward to. I didn’t enjoy the story at all. Still, I can see that Bale did an unbelievable job as Dicky and Adams did a pretty good job too. Still, this story isn’t one I could get behind or care about. That’s why it made it last on my list.
9 – 127 Hours – James Franco – A mountain climber becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive. These survivalist stories aren’t generally my favorite either. Also, the last thing I wanted to see was someone cut their own arm off. In fact, I confess that I fast-forwarded through a lot of that scene in the end because EW. Also, I’m not a big fan of James Franco and his squinty eyes and jaundiced complextion. But still, I can see that Franco did an excellent job here. I’d definitely give him a nomination for his acting, but this as Best Picture? No thanks.
8 – Winter’s Bone – Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes – An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact. I’m not sure I’d even heard of this movie before I started looking into watching all these movies. The story was depressing. It also feels recycled. There wasn’t a lot to it. Still it was interesting enough and the actors all did a great job. The cold landscape was beautifully shot.
7 – The Kids are All Right – Annette Benning, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska – Two children conceived by artificial insemination bring their birth father into their family life. I was really looking forward to this one for a while because I’d heard such good things. When it came down to the actual movie, though, I was disappointed. I can’t exactly explain it, but overall the movie just felt lacking. I don’t see what the fuss over Ruffalo in this movie is. Moore did and excellent job with her role, but still, this movie fell flat for me.
6 – The Social Network – Jesse Eisenberg – A chronicle of the founding of Facebook, the social-networking Web site. This was probably one of the first movies on this list that I watched. I was genuinely interested in hearing this story. And while it was interesting, I really don’t get what the fuss is over this movie. I would never have guessed it’d be an Oscar contender.
5 – Toy Story 3 – Tom Hangs, Tim Allen – The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it’s up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren’t abandoned and to return home. So sweet. I don’t know anyone who didn’t tear up at this movie. It’s fun and every bit as good as the first two Toy Story movies. It’s also a beautiful movie, visually, just like all the Pixar movies. We have this one on BluRay and love watching it again and again.
4 – Black Swan – Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis – A ballet dancer wins the lead in “Swan Lake” and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan – Princess Odette – but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odile the Black Swan, daughter of an evil magician. Creepy, weird, good. This is a strange movie that in the end leaves you guessing as to what’s real and what was actually in the head of the main character. Also, the way the movie was shot, it looks more independent rather than shiny and polished and I think it helps with the tone of this movie. (So sorry, I’m sure there’s a term for a lot of the things I’m saying, but I’m not ‘in the know’ and have no idea what all the terms and such are.)
3 – The King’s Speech – Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham-Carter – The story of King George VI of Britain, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it. I was really looking forward to this one for a while. I adore Colin Firth and I like Helena Bonham-Carter a lot too. Firth is excellent at the romantic comedy/drama, but he also excels in a period piece like this. Still, I got to the end of this one and I wondered if I’d have been as enamored with this movie if it had been an equally talented actor in the main role instead of Firth. Still, loved it.
2 – True Grit – Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld – A tough U.S. Marshal helps a stubborn young woman track down her father’s murderer. This is the biggest surprise on this list for me. I don’t generally like Westerns. I never saw the original of this at all. This was one that I saw near the end because I didn’t think I’d like it so I held off. I’m also not a huge Jeff Bridges fan. His normal voice is awful and whiny and sets my teeth on edge. Of course, he’s got a weird, gruff voice in this one, so that wasn’t an issue. Damon did a great job too as the pompous, clueless ranger-guy. The standout in this movie was Hailee Steinfeld, though. She did SUCH a great job.
1 – Inception – Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy – In a world where technology exists to enter the human mind through dream invasion, a highly skilled thief is given a final chance at redemption which involves executing his toughest job to date: Inception. At the heart of it, for me, it’s not about which story was the best told or which cinematography was the best or which story was the most powerful. Because if it was, this probably wouldn’t be the top pick for me. In the end, it’s about which one I enjoyed the most and Inception is by far the best. I’m not particular a Leo fan. I don’t mean that I DON’T like him, just that he’s not one of those people that I think ‘Oh, it’s got Leo in it, it’ll be great.’ But I do have to say that I love a lot of his movies. Joseph Gordon-Levitt did fab in this movie too. I think this may be the first time I remember seeing much of Tom Hardy also and I loved him. Cillian Murphy always creeps me out. I LOVED this movie a lot. I think I saw it twice in the theatre. We’ve got it at home on BluRay. LOVED it. I doubt it will win. Isn’t the winner usually more arty and such. This movie seems like it’s too commercial to win. But it wins with me. 🙂