Sunday, February 27, 2011

So much change in just a month.

Remember... January? Remember how everything seemed to point in the direction of The Social Network? I remember buying the DVD, watching the movie a second time, and thinking "this could win it." Plus, it won best picture at the Golden Globes and those guys are way bigger squares than the Oscars. Then The King's Speech wins the DGAs, PGAs, and the SAGs... just like that. It garners 12 nominations at the Oscars compared to The Social Network's 8. 12 nominations? Really?


That has basically been my catchphrase for the past few weeks. "Whatever." I mean, forget it. Why get so caught up in this Oscar race? After about five years of the Oscars making respectable choices, they are resorting back to what they do best: picking the safest, least cinematically challenging film of the year. The other nine nominees? All cinematically challenging in some way, or at the very least, unconventional. Toy Story 3 had a very conventional plot but on the emotional front, very heightened in an almost unusual degree for an animated film. It felt real, yet it most definitely wasn't real. 127 Hours was most definitely challenging in almost every way from James Franco's performance to the way Danny Boyle manages to pull off this film being interesting for all of its 95 minutes. It was intensely emotional, visceral viewing experience.

The Kids Are All Right is kind of a conventional family comedy/drama... except for the fact that the family contained two matriarchs. You could argue that its conventionality was exactly the point. Winter's Bone, Black Swan, Inception... all cinematically challenging. True Grit... ok, pretty conventional... perhaps the most conventional of Coen Brothers films but... a 12 year old girl carries the film... that's somewhat challenging. David Fincher's superb, flawless direction elevated The Social Network to greatness. The story, the themes may be conventional, but the way David Fincher is able to keep the dialogue, the computer hacking, and the courtroom battles so tense is an accomplishment of itself. The Fighter is perhaps the second most conventional film out of the nominees but Christian Bale's unpredictable performance constantly keeps everyone on their toes.

I know some of that may have been a stretch, but let's face it... The King's Speech is indeed the most conventional film out of the nominees. The only challenge it faced was Colin Firth's stuttering/stammering performance and he nailed it. That's why he should win Best Actor and he will. But to say it was the best written, best directed, best edited, and best picture of the year just sounds off to me. But whatever, right? Whatever.

The fact of the matter is that unless you are below the age of 40, The King's Speech should not have been your favorite film of the year. Helena Bonham Carter's performance was not better than Melissa Leo's or Hailee Steinfeld's. Geoffrey Rush, as lovable as he is, was merely good in his role as the dialect coach. Christian Bale stole "The Fighter" from all the other actors. If he had to win the Oscar for any role, it should be for portraying Dicky.

The King's Speech has its merits, it's a very good film. I guarantee you, however, that it won't be remembered five years from now. Do you remember what won the Oscars five years ago? Crash. I doubt that was on anyone's top films of the decade list last year. Black Swan, The Social Network, Inception, 127 Hours are all great films that will stand the test of time. And you know what? There are a lot of films that didn't win Best Picture that have stood the test of time. Unfortunately, this will be another one of those years. Whatever.

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