Monday, February 18, 2013

Howard ranks the Oscar nominees

It’s Oscar week, so here I am with my annual list.  This is one year when it turned out to be fairly easy to see all nine Academy Award Best Picture nominees.  They’re all pretty good – and when I say pretty good, that means they are movies that I like and/or admire, but what the heck do I know?

OK, here is how I rank them, from the ones I like best to the ones I like not as much.  Make your own list.  J

1.       Les Misérables.  OK, this isn’t going to win because there aren’t enough Academy voters who like film versions of Broadway musicals and there might be plenty who don’t like Les Miz music in particular, but I do and it’s my list, but, besides that, this is a great adaption from every aspect.  Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway deserve acting Oscars too.

2.       Silver Linings Playbook.  I loved everything about this movie, and maybe only a Philadelphia Eagles fan would say everything.  If Hugh Jackman doesn’t win Best Actor for Les Miz, then Bradley Cooper should win for his role in this film as a man with bipolar disorder, but of course neither one will win because Daniel Day-Lewis will for Lincoln and how much more room does that guy have on his mantle for statuettes?  Jennifer Lawrence should win the Best Actress Oscar.

3.       Django Unchained.  Hey, I’m not telling you to see this movie, because not all of you could handle it, but it’s sort of a work of brutal genius.  It’s a fantasy re-working of a time in the history of slavery in the U.S.  Christoph Waltz will probably win Best Supporting Actor for his part as a bounty hunter in this film (Although if Robert Deniro wins that Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook, I’ll probably stand up and cheer).

4.       Amour.  OK, you’re going to say, Isn’t it enough that this film will win the Best Foreign Film award?  And I know not many of you are going to go see a French movie with English subtitles, but this is an amazing film about aging and death and love.

5.       Life of Pi.  We saw Life of Pi in 3D, and I’m not sure if 3D is an addition or subtraction when comparing film quality.  Life of Pi is beautiful, though, and if David R. Russell doesn’t win Best Director for Silver Linings Playbook, then I’d like to see Ang Lee win for this movie (Although there is a case to be made for Michael Haneke for Amour)

6.       Argo.  This is another excellent film and is the odds-on favorite to win Best Picture, partly because Ben Affleck is so well liked in Hollywood. It just didn’t grab me the way my Top 5 did.  The scenes of the taking of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran feel very real.

7.       Lincoln.  Lincoln is great historical drama, and I can’t argue that Daniel Day-Lewis isn’t a perfect Abraham Lincoln.  The whole movie just feels awfully predictable to me, and I can’t stand the uplifting John Williams music.  As I’ve said before, that guy hasn’t written a creative soundtrack since the original Star Wars trilogy.

8.       Beasts of the Southern Wild.  A hard-to-describe film about people living in a very isolated swampland of southern Louisiana and, in particular, the interaction between a young girl and her father as they lose their homeland.  The actress playing the young girl is nominated for an Oscar.  The actor playing the dad should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor, in my opinion.

9.       Zero Dark Thirty.  While this is a film to see – it’s about the hunt for Obama bin Laden, I find it disappointing too.  The CIA agents seem too stereotypical, and the torture scenes are overdone and misleading.

The Oscar telecast is this Sunday.  Watching the red-carpet interviews beforehand is optional.

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