I 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.
So 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.
What to make of The Master? I had been so looking forward to this (NOT) based Scientology (well, sort of) drama from a great director and some of the best actors in the game. Here’s what I walked away with:
Paul Thomas Anderson is a challenging director. He doesn’t take an easy path to his films, pushes you as a viewer, gets incredible performances out of everyone, and has no desire to make anything comfortable or ordinary.
The film has a compact story. Very little happens – and what happens isn’t of much substance. This isn’t a movie to find out how it ends. It essentially comes to a conclusion of little surprise and then the credits roll. Paul Thomas Anderson films dn’t typically stick to standard film arc or character development. If it wasn’t for the acting in some of these dialogue driven scenes, the film could easily have lost me. Film will surely be nominated for the Oscar in Picture, Writing, and Director. But The Master isn’t a masterpiece. It is about its parts. And the acting is chief among them.