"Before you can search for truth, you must be interested in finding it." -Miroslav Volf

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Oscar Picks, No, My Favorites

As of this weekend, Joann and I have now seen all ten best picture nominees. It’s an annual goal of mine to see all the nominees (harder now because there are ten) so that I can be well-informed on Oscar night (next Sunday). Because being well-informed on Oscar night matters so much!

The title of this post is qualified with “my favorites” because I’m not really claiming to present the opinion of a movie critic here. I’m sure that cinematography, editing, acting, sound, writing, score, etc, all play a role in why I rank these movies in the order I do.

But I’m not offering my opinions based on a critical analysis on these elements. This is not about who will win or should win. Simply put: my rankings are based on which movies I enjoyed the most.

I offer this list partly as a form of self-indulgence, and partly to suggest to anyone who enjoys quality movies that each of the nominees are worth watching. There are no bad nominations this year, in my opinion.

My list, from good to great:

10) Toy Story 3. Loved the “Barrel of Monkeys” attack in the opening sequence, the nostalgia, and the melancholy tone of the story.

9) Winter’s Bone. I like movies that enlighten me or introduce me to a community or culture or lifestyle of which I was previously fairly ignorant; that happens here, though I don’t think this was the intent of the filmmakers. A movie that really captures hopelessness, while having enough moments of light to avoid complete despair.

8) 127 Hours. Liked that a pretty spectacular but not necessarily obviously cinematic event was made cinematic. As for “the scene”...I watched; Joann looked away.

7) Black Swan. Intense and brilliantly acted. I like a film that can create and maintain a certain mood. This was dark, from start to finish, and a true tragedy.

6) The Kids Are All Right. Funny, but also thought-provoking, especially in regard to the complexity of the characters’ feelings (esp. Julianne Moore's character) and the presentation of a “modern” family household filled with obvious love (and seemingly healthy, normal children).

5) The Social Network. Enjoyed getting a background story, even though at first I didn’t think facebook really warranted a movie. I know it’ll probably win the Oscar, though I do feel it's overrated, even for as brilliant a movie as it is.

4) The Fighter. Loved how good Christian Bale was, loved the story, loved the drama of the personal (and family) conflict. Favorite fight scene was actually between the girlfriend and the sisters.

3) True Grit. Love Coen Brothers' films. This falls short of my personal favorite, “No Country For Old Men,” but it’s still a lot of fun. Can’t go wrong with The Dude and mustached Matt Damon.

2) The King’s Speech. Loved the characters of and relationship between Firth and Rush. It felt like a more serious, historical version of “I Love You Man.” A sophisticated “bromance.”

1) Inception. Imaginative, profound, interesting characters, visually beautiful; demands re-viewings to more fully appreciate the plot and scope. I know it won’t win, but it will be the one that above all the others remains in my consciousness for years to come. Probably one of my all-time faves.

So there it is. Any that you’d place much higher or much lower?


joann renee said...

1. Tie:
Inception & The King's Speech
3. Tie:
True Grit & Black Swan
5. The Social Network
6. The Kids are Alright
7. The Fighter
8. Winter's Bone
9. 127 Hours
10. Toy Story 3

Barb said...

I would say The King's Speech...hands down.
But the, it's the ONLY one I've seen, unless you count the John Wayne version of True Grit!