I always try to watch all the films nominated for best picture, I never succeed but I always try. The last two years has made it even more difficult now that they have added to the number of films that get nominated. One would think this would annoy me, since I could never really finish the smaller list of nominees from years past. It doesn’t.
The reason I try to watch all the nominated films is not because I have faith and trust in the academy and their skill at knowing which films are the best of the year (English language films anyway), they always seem to miss something, even in their format of allowing films like District 9 and inception to be nominated. I’m simply a casual movie watcher who tries not to waste his time with completely mindless blockbusters or snoozefest indie films. The academy’s list is good for one thing, whether I like the films or not they’re at least relevant. What the academy is to me is my self-appointed film regulator. I’m not film critic, I’m a guy who enjoys watching an entertaining thought provoking movie, which in my tastes could span from a film like The Matrix to The King’s Speech.
My goal is to watch all of the nominated movies. It is not a goal I care about reaching, which is why it is such relief that the academy expanded the list of nominees. I have no interest in watching only six art house, low budget films, the same way I haven’t any interest in watching only multimillion dollar blockbusters. The expansion of the list for best film suits me fine, more choice and a more varied choice all equal win/win for someone who doesn’t care whether he can get to the whole list, but is still trying.
This year up to the point of this writing I’m still missing a couple of important nominations. I haven’t yet seen a couple of important nominations. I haven’t yet seen Toy Story 3, although I plan to; the big ones I’m missing though are Black Swan, The Fighter and 127 Hours. My wife watched Black Swan without me and I don’t know how likely it is that I’d be able to get one of my friends to go watch a movie about ballet with me, it’s also unlikely that I’d go alone. Who knows why I haven’t watched The Fighter, it may have been my wife’s lack of interest or my own lack of time. I may check to see if it’s still playing near me and check it off the list this weekend. I’ll have to admit to a certain prejudice when it comes to 127 Hours, I’m going in with some preconceived notion that I’m going to like it about as much as I liked The Wrestler, meaning that I’m going to see it as less than a whole film and more as a great character study, not worth an Oscar for best film, but worth the nod.
That leaves the films I have seen:
• The Kids Are Alright
• The King’s Speech
• The Social Network
• True Grit
• Winter’s Bone
My vote would probably go to True Grit to win. Winter’s Bone would get my most underrated award and The King’s Speech would get my most overrated award. The Kid’s Are Alright will get the “yeah we all expect a movie like this to get a nomination, but it’s obviously not a winner” award. Inception would get the “I’m glad you’re there” award (would have given that to District 9 last year, Avatar would have gotten two overrated awards). The Social Network probably deserves something for director or leading actor, but I’m not really on the band wagon for film of the year.
My overall favorites are True Grit and Winter’s Bone both long shots to actually win. Winter’s Bone stayed with me for day after I’d seen it, always the mark of great art. The setting, the acting, the script, the editing and the overall tone are what make it especially underrated. True Grit is another example of Cohen Brother mastery; they turned a straight western into a great drama. As always they got the most out of their actors and put on a wonderful show. Unless I’m somehow able to produce an Egyptian style coup on the academy, it has no chance to win.