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Movie Reviews: Oscar Nominations, My Thoughts by Cinema Scavarda

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I know, I know – everyone has an opinion on Oscar nominations today. If you can't beat them, join them.

Here's the difference with my Oscar reaction post. Most of the opinions today are critics who make a living seeing movies and get to see them for free. I watch and sometimes write a review because I love movies. And I paid to see them.

Picture

127 Hours
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
True Grit
Toy Story 3
Winter’s Bone

Seen all of them and believe 9 of the 10 nominees are truly wonderful films and make an impressive list.
The 1 out of the 10 that I didn't like is “The Fighter”. I know most people loved it but it felt like two hours of Jerry Springer to me. I found the Greek chorus of sisters particularly like nails on a blackboard. There is always one film where I seem to disagree with the masses. I was that gal who could not stand “Slumdog Millionaire”.
My top three films are “The Social Network”, “Inception” and “True Grit”, in no particular order. Any of these three grabs the big prize, fine by me. And “A King's Speech” win is equally okay. Most Oscar predictors think “The Social Network”. Personally, with how the Best Picture weighting works, I'm thinking “A King's Speech” is going to sneak in there and grab the statue.
My happiest moment this morning was “Winter's Bone” snagging that tenth spot. I was not a fan of “The Town”, largely rumored to be likely for the tenth spot. “Winter's Bone” is far more deserving; it's unique, moody and a kick in the gut.
Oh, and anyone who skipped “127 Hours” because of worries of squeamishness. The whole thing was completely overblown. The actual 'escape' is quick and not hard to watch. Catch this film.

Actress
Annette Bening The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman Black Swan
Michelle Williams Blue Valentine

A very good year for the women.
Any one follows the Oscars knows this is a two women race, Bening v Portman. For what it's worth, I'd cast a vote for Bening because her role asked for a wider ranging performance. Portman was terrific but acting crazy is easier than what was asked of Bening. It's possible Bening may sneak a win here although Portman is the flashier role in the more watched film. Plus, Portman had some fancy special effects that upped the scary of her portrayal. Bening is a Hollywood insider, which should count for something in the voting. At least I hope so.
I'm very excited for the recognition of Jennifer Lawrence. She was revelatory, poignant and plain old tough in “Winter's Bone”. If you missed it, “Winter's Bone” is out on DVD, rent it.
Much will be made of Julianne Moore's snub for her role in “Kids”. As I've said to many people, it isn't too hard to act smitten with Mark Ruffalo. Ok, I joke. She was great in the role and deserves to be on the list.

Actor
Javier Bardem Biutiful
Jeff Bridges True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg The Social Network
Colin Firth The King’s Speech
James Franco 127 Hours
For my money, Colin Firth is a shoe-in. He lost last year and followed up his performance in “A Single Man” with an even more impressive turn as stammering royalty.
Bardem grabbed that fifth slot. I guess Julia Robert telling the world that you should get nominated works?
I loved Franco in “127” but it's Firth's year (much like it was Bridges' a year ago).

Supporting Actress
Amy Adams The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld True Grit
Jacki Weaver Animal Kingdom
Melissa Leo is the frontrunner. As I've stated, I abhorred “The Fighter” and everything about it. With that said, I love Leo in “Frozen River” and in the HBO tv series “Treme”. So, her winner an Oscar, even for a role I didn't like, is okay by me.
Glad to see a nod for Hailee Steinfeld. She displayed grit and deserves the recognition. I just wish she was 16 instead of 14 so she could play Katniss Everdeen in the upcoming “Hunger Games” movie.
For my money, the best performance of the bunch is Helena Bonham Carter's Elizabeth, the stalwart wife who became queen with backbone and class.

Supporting Actor
Christian Bale The Fighter
John Hawkes Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner The Town
Mark Ruffalo The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush The King’s Speech
What I said about Melissa Leo above, goes for Christian Bale here. His performance was overwrought in my book. Yet, again he has such an impressive body of work with no previous nominations to his name, I am fine with his win.
I loved Renner in “The Hurt Locker”. His performance in that film elicited a very visceral reaction from me. But, I thought his character in “The Town” was predictable and uninteresting. I don't know why he's on this list.
As much as I loved “Winter's Bone”, I barely remember what John Hawkes looks like. I do not understand his nomination here.
Sam Rockwell was skipped over again. He deserved a nomination for “Moon” and brings a unique energy to all his roles. Rockwell is the new Bale.
Can say that skipping Andrew Garfield for his role in “The Social Network” is ridiculous. Garfield was the heart of that movie and drove the narrative.

Director
Darren Aronofsky Black Swan
Joel and Ethan Coen True Grit
David Fincher The Social Network
Tom Hooper The King’s Speech
David O'Russell The Fighter
After a woman won this category a year ago (Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker”), the Academy returns to typical form with an all male line-up. The only female contender was Lisa Cholodenko for “Kids”.
My pick for Director was Christopher Nolan. He makes visually stunning and striking films with a sure and steady hand, great performances and creativity. This would have been a nice recognition for the brilliance of “Inception” since it won't be winning Best Picture. BUT HE WASN'T EVEN NOMINATED. The Academy bias against sci-fi films has not diminished, clearly.

Anyway, the Oscar probably will go to Fincher here.

Original Screenplay
Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg The Kids Are All Right
Mike Leigh Another Year
Chris Nolan Inception
David Seidler The King’s Speech
Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson (Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson) The Fighter
David Seidler is the frontrunner for capturing a critical piece of history wrapped into a personal struggle. It's a fine piece of storytelling. In the unlikely event Seidler doesn't win, I would like to see Nolan grab a statue (see Director above).

Adapted Screenplay
Michael Arndt Toy Story 3
Simon Beaufoy and Danny Boyle 127 Hours
Joel and Ethan Coen True Grit
Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini Winter's Bone
Aaron Sorkin The Social Network
I'll be absolutely shocked if Sorkin doesn't win.

Animated Feature
Toy Story 3
How To Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
“Toy Story 3” is a lock.
I am a teeny bit surprised that “Tangled” failed to received the third slot. It's made a ton of money and Hollywood likes that. Instead the third slot went to “The Illusionist”, the French animated feature by the same person who made “Triplets of Belleville”. I've seen “Triplets” and think it is grand; haven't seen “The Illusionist” yet so don't know. The Academy clearly went for the artsy pick here. Or, figured one nomination for Disney (TS3) was enough?


I won't go through the rest of the categories. Mostly because I am no expert about Songs or Costumes and all the rest. And also because I don't want to bore you.
Thanks for sticking it out with me. Enjoy the Oscar telecast. I'm looking forward to Anne Hathaway and James Franco as hosts, are you?

Follow me on twitter at mary3s, cheers!


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