It's that time again. I already know that the Oscars are a contrived, celebrity lovefest. I already know that hardly anyone watches the movies that are nominated. I already know that there are better things to do with my time. I already know all of this and still I don't care. Take that!
Actually, I should be honest. I took a short, one year hiatus from my normal Oscar craziness. Something about living so close to the epicenter of the event may have put me off my feed for awhile. But I'm back and better than ever.
This year I have already seen all five best picture nominees. When the list came out I had seen 3 (considering there are still two movies nominated last year that I haven't seen, I'd say that is pretty good).
Though I could go on and on about this year's crop of films, I'll keep it brief. By the way, the nominees are: No Country for Old Men, Atonement, Juno, There Will Be Blood and Michael Clayton. If I were to select a winner it would be No Country for Old Men. If I were to choose my favorite it would be Juno. (Favorites rarely have anything to do with artistic merit...art can be so, well, artsy.)
Some thoughts on the nominees...
No Country for Old Men was the consumate blend of art and entertainment. It was shockingly violent, intense and portrayed a sad, but honest perspective of American life.
Juno, meanwhile, was fun and touching. It turned out to be a sweet, little love story that I wasn't expecting while keeping itself just above sentimentality. I read an article about the new prevelance of quirkiness in the world and Juno would definitely be full of quirk.
I was less enamored with Atonement but found myself thinking about it several days after I had seen it. It started as an ordinary WWII love story with a unique framing of the story. Then, there at the end, just when you've settled yourself into a contentment with the plot...SMACK...they knock you down a peg. I was a little shocked that they'd do such a thing to me. Time may allow for this movie to grow on me.
On the other hand, time only made me grow more resentful of There Will Be Blood. I've decided it best to not feel too badly when I disagree with critics, even when it seems I disagree with all of them. At first I just thought There Will Be Blood was boring. I tried to make the movie better by considering Daniel Day Lewis's fine work. Didn't help. At the the end of the day I accepted what I truly think of the film - it was a boring, laborious study on the inhumanity of capitalism with ham-fisted metaphors and long stretches of wasted screen time.
That leaves me with Michael Clayton. It was okay. That's all I can manage. It was like a plain farm girl dressed up for a night in the big city. It was a John Grisham movie with art house touches. Besides, I don't like George Clooney. I think he's a hack. I was entertained by Michael Clayton. That's what I pay the money for, after all. I could have rented The Client and been happier, though.
So that's it. That's my take on the movie up for best picture this year. I'm sure there will be more to come.