Post-Oscars: 2012

argoscar

Before looking back on last night’s Academy Awards telecast, a few notes:

1. I don’t know about you, but I tend to forget a lot about the substance of most awards shows about a week after I read the last article or hear the last podcast discussing them. Memorable moments always stand out and winners, upsets and surprises are not quickly forgotten, but if you were to ask me to give any more than a vague recollection and a “great/good/okay/bad/awful” rating for any past show, I’d be struggling to come up with much. I have enough trouble remembering what it is I think I want to say about the movies I see and write about here, it seems a waste to spend too much time thinking about the movie awards show and how things compare to previous years. Continue reading

Advertisements

Pre-Oscars: 2012

[As usual, this was written over a period of about a week and is going up last minute. If you’re kind enough to excuse my self-importance and actually read this post, please overlook the mechanical and grammatical errors as well. Also as usual, this is far too long.]

I wrote up a Pre-Oscars post last year and half of it was introduction plus a quarter of it was just a ranked list of Best Picture nominees. This year, I’m going to take a more conventional approach and look at the categories one by one. I’ll do what everyone else always does and give a Will Win/Should Win along with some reasons why. It helps because I already wrote most of this up in an email to a friend. So, apologies to that friend, but you’re going to see a lot of the same here.

I haven’t seen everything this year, though I do think I’ve seen more (prior to the awards) than any other year. Leaving out shorts, docs and foreign films, which are not always easy for average Joe to see, I currently have a record of 102 out of 111 nominations seen. Obviously, you already knock out 37 nominations when you see Lincoln, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook and Argo, but I still think that’s a good record for someone who doesn’t get paid to see movies.

Please keep in mind that this is all opinion, it is all changeable and I am by no means an expert. That said, I think the Oscars are a great way to start debates and discussions about movies. It’s fun to defend or deride the picks made by the Academy, whether the nominees include our favorite movies, or whether all of the wrong films were nominated again. Here we go! Continue reading

Lincoln

Beth and I finally saw Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln last night, something we’ve been planning to do at least twice a week since the film opened three months ago. Anchored by a strong lead performance and solid supporting work from a sea of recognizable character actors, Lincoln is Spielberg’s best film in a decade.

I know a few people who can’t stand Spielberg films because of their overt sentimentality. The director artificially elevates scenes, characters, events and moments to the point of head-shaking unreality through his use of music, lighting and the camera. He also highlights stilted dialog in moments of grand pomposity designed to tell a viewer to pay attention because This Is Important. But by golly if it doesn’t work much of the time. Spielberg is a master manipulator and while I often recognize these heightened moments–thankfully Spielberg gets one of the “worst” out of the way in the first five minutes of Lincoln–I find myself looking past or even being swept along with some of them. I have no trouble enjoying a movie with a beating heart, even if that heart is sometimes pumping sugar syrup.

As I watched Lincoln, one thing that stuck out to me was the set decoration. The world of the film is incredibly detailed, but something felt just a bit off to me. Continue reading