Thursday, February 3, 2011

Herr Wozzeck Muses: On the Oscar Nominees

Okay, I've held this off long enough. Fortunately, it's not as delayed as my article on my thoughts on 3D, so there you go.

Anyhow... as you know, the Oscar Nominees for 2010 were announced last week. So by now, we've got plenty of time to look at them. (It's one of the reasons I opted to see The King's Speech last week instead of something more recent: I think it's only fair to the Oscar people that I review the frontronner of this year.) And then there are lots of things to consider.

So what do I think? I'll go down the major categories, however I feel like it.

For reference, here is a list of the Oscar nominees:

And here are my thoughts:

Original and Adapted Screenplay

Okay, I don't really have too much to offer on this. Social Network is probably going to win for Adapted, and it could be a toss-up for Original. As for my thoughts on the lists themselves, I have no idea why Toy Story 3 is considered an "adapted" screenplay: as far as I can tell, sequels continued a story, not adapted from them. True Grit, I can see why seeing as how that was a remake of a John Wayne movie (for which, coincidentally, he got an Oscar as Rooster Cogburn) which itself was an adaptation of a novel. As for original screenplay, that's a little up in the air, but I'm really hoping Inception wins. That was one very complicated screenplay, and it took Nolan ten years to perfect it. And for that much effort, I think he deserves some recognition by the academy, yes?

Visual Effects

What, no Tron: Legacy, Academy? If Transformers was nominated for visual effects in years past, then there is absolutely no excuse to not nominate Tron: Legacy. Coincidentally, though, the original Tron was also snubbed of an Oscar when it came out way back in 1982 since it was considered "cheating" to use a computer back then. Do they have something against people being sucked into digital worlds or something? I'm also summarily disappointed that Alice in Wonderland and Hereafter are on the list. Alice in Wonderland wasn't really a good film and I didn't particularly think the effects were that mindblowing myself. And Hereafter's CGI was fairly conspicuous. You have to give them credit for reconstructing an entire tsunami, but I could really tell that it was CG.

So my hope is that the Oscar for this goes to Inception, as Chris Nolan did as many things with practical effects as he possibly could. And besides, you have to admit that the rotating hallway scene was nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Animated Feature

Hey, How to Train Your Dragon got nominated! Toy Story 3 is going to win this award, no doubt, seeing as how Pixar has always won the award. So if someone else wins, that'll be a huge upset.

Supporting Actress

I have a few complaints about this list. First of all: Academy, what the hell are you thinking, snubbing Mila Kunis like that for Black Swan? She managed to be a bitch to Mila's character without actually coming across as one to the audience. I think she deserves some form of credit for that, right? Second, why is Hailee Steinfeld in Supporting Actress despite the fact that True Grit is Mattie Ross' story and Hailee is the center of attention for basically the entire film? Although... I won't really fault you for this: Hailee might have a better chance in this race than in the Actress race.

As for who will win? Well... I don't really know. I haven't seen The Fighter, so I can't really tell you what will go down with this. I'm hoping that either Steinfeld or Helena Bonham-Carter win, though, so we'll see.

Supporting Actor

I don't really have a whole lot to say about this list. I'm surprised John Hawkes is there for Winter's Bone, though, as his character didn't really appear all that often. I think I counted five times that he appeared in the movie. I'm also a little saddened that Justin Timberlake wasn't nominated for The Social Network. I saw Timberlake almost indistinguishably as Sean Parker, and the role showed that Timberlake can actually act. So to get no recognition...

Still, though, the Oscar is probably going to go to Christian Bale, and I can't judge for that as I haven't seen him as Dickie Ecklund. If Bale doesn't win, I hope it goes to Geoffrey Rush: his Lionel Logue was one of the best parts of The King's Speech, and made the entire enterprise worth watching almost for that interaction between Firth and Rush.


Excellent, you've got Natalie Portman in there. Can we just give her the Oscar already for her incredible performance in Black Swan? She's the front-runner for Black Swan anyhow, as she's won both the Golden Globe and the Screen Actor's Guild award for that role already.

I'm also very pleased that Lawrence got nominated for Winter's Bone, as she really carried that film on her shoulders. She's probably not going to win, though, what with being in the same year as Portman. But hey, she got recognized, so that makes me happy.


Well, now there's a surprise. What is Biutiful? I may have to check it out if it ever becomes available around here...

Other than that, I don't really have much to say about this list. Colin Firth is probably going to win, though my preferred winner in this category is Jesse Eisenberg. We'll see.


Academy, let me ask you something: do you have something against Chris Nolan as a director? Inception could have fallen apart without Nolan's incredibly keen direction. And this is the second time you've snubbed him in recent memory. Why, Academy? Why? And with Tom Hooper? I didn't think The King's Speech was that great, and I definitely wouldn't have seen it as a director's movie, so color me baffled by that nomination.

Everything else, I can more or less bite into. If the Oscar goes to Aronofsky, the Coen brothers, or David Fincher, I won't mind any of those. Especially not Aronofsky. But please, Academy, don't give it to Hooper.

Best Picture

And now we get to this. The big category of the night, with ten nominees now.

Well, we avoided the Best Picture snub for Inception this time around, at least. So thank you for at least recognizing the film itself, Academy. It's also nice to see Winter's Bone on the list, as that was a genuinely great movie that so very few people saw it's almost a sin. I would refer you to the ordering on my top ten list of 2010 for my preferred picks (hint: it's Inception), but at the moment it's between The King's Speech and The Social Network. And between those two, my bet is on The Social Network. Sure, King's Speech had great acting, but Social Network did too. And it also managed to encapsulate an entire generation of people in one two-hour stretch instead of being kind of 'eh'. And Social Network felt just a little too short, which is usually a great sign when it comes to film-making. So if it doesn't go to Inception (which it probably won't), it better go to Social Network.


And those are my thoughts on the nominees. I don't have much to think about for the lesser awards, so I'll let speculation of those run rampant and whatever.

This is Herr Wozzeck Muses. I'll see you guys next time.

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