The Academy Awards – Who Should Win?

Academy AwardsI love the Academy Awards. It isn’t just who wins or loses. That’s often predictable way in advance and sometimes is a terrible choice (Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan? Dances with Wolves over Goodfellas? Out of Africa over The Color Purple? Crash over Brokeback Mountain? How Green Was My Valley over Citizen Kane? – to name a few) I love the whole experience – the stars, the glamour, the jokes, the celebration of movies.

As a matter of Oscar pride, I have seen every Best Picture winner. I’ll tell you now, Cimarron from 1931 is a terrible, terrible film. For the past decade or so, I have made sure to see every film nominated for the Top 8 awards (picture, director, acting, writing) and also Animated Film, just because I love Animated Films.

1313641431db2db-1So here are my thoughts on who SHOULD win the awards. If you want to know who WILL win, there are plenty of sites that will guide that better than I can. Siskel and Ebert used to this every year and I loved it.

PICTURE – Argo – I thought it was the best film experience of the year, so no surprise I think it SHOULD win.

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Best Films of 2012

bestmovies 2012As an armchair film critic, it takes me a while to finish seeing most of the “best” films of a year. There are still a half dozen smaller films that got great reviews I haven’t seen from 2012, about 15 films I’d still really like to see, and others I’ll discover down the road. So my Top Films list is always a work in progress. I feel no obligation to establish it in stone right this second.

As a whole, I thought 2012 was an outstanding year – one of the best overall in a while in depth. And, unlike some recent years, the best films weren’t all completely depressing. Of the 9 films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, 8 of them made my top 20. Only Amour (AKA 2 hours of incredible sadness) didn’t quite make it.

Just before the Oscars, I will reveal my picks and predictions, but here is (ever-evolving) Top films of 2013.

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#BlogElul via the Movies 18 – True Love

Love…exciting and new. Come aboard.  We’re expecting you…

Unlike The Love Boat on Saturday nights when I was a kid, love doesn’t really come up on the High Holy Days. Love of God is a consistently used phrase – just look to the V’ahavta, You shall LOVE Adonai Your God. But we don’t talk about it much. And certainly romantic love is a rare topic on these days.

Love is reserved for people. And in the movies it is idolized: Love conquers all. In the brilliant recent Wes Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom, love between two young teenagers who barely know each other overcomes all difficulties – and the movie is full of wonderful and absurd challenges – to find an ongoing passion. In The Princess Bride, “true love” is enough to bring Wesley back from the dead (thanks to Miracle Max). Or as Wesley himself says, “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.”

Do movie romances last beyond the closing credits? Depends if there is a sequel and the actors sign on for it. An article in Cracked.com argues against some romances surviving. And sometimes they don’t. Poor King Kong died over his unrequited love for Fay Wray. In the wonderful (500) Days of Summer, true love exists, just not between the protaganists. In Titanic, Kate Winslet apparently didn’t understand how to share her life raft with her true love. There was PLENTY of room for both. And then she tossed away an expensive necklace for no reason either. And the love between Ariel and Eric where she gives up everything for him (and she’s a rich princess, so it isn’t money or power) is somewhat disturbing.

But as unrealistic as movie love is, it gives us hope. Perhaps unrealistic hopes of “meet cute” and “love is blind,” but still hope. For those searching for love in this new year, we can still find it the movies tell us. For those in a relationship, go see Hope Springs and find new life in that love. Love is a vital part of our healthy soul. This year, find a way to increase the true love in your life. Doubt it? Just hit the multiplex.

#BlogElul is the brainchild of @imabima who blogs at imabima.blogspot.com. For the 30 days of Elul, the spiritual preparation before the Jewish High Holy Days, many Jews will be reflecting on the themes of the season. My posts will all be through the lens of movies. You can see all the themes in the graphic. Follow all the other excellent postings through Twitter at #BlogElul along with related items #Elulgram and #PopCultureElul.