Tag Archives: 2010 Oscars

Best Picture Nominees

Avatar (20th Century Fox)
I didn’t end up seeing Avatar, honestly I’m not disappointed by  this fact. It looks kinda shitty and I have better things to spend $20 on. Also, I’m slightly bitter that Celine Dion won the Oscar over Elliott Smith. I blame James Cameron for that.

The Blind Side (Warner Bros.)
The feel-good movie of the year that will make you want to puke. Oh, fucking god! Another sports film. Not even that, the worst sport in the history of man, football. So, some random bloke drops two kids off at a private school, says, “here take them.” They take them, his wife doesn’t want one of the kids (who isn’t their own) and so they turf him. Rich chick finds him, invites him into the family. Make him play football. That’s about the whole story, after the first five seconds we never see the Dad who brought him to the private school, or the OTHER black kid.

There’s supposed to be some tension in the teaser where we see the football-playing-kid being interviewed for something we assume he did wrong, to hook the audience, but theres not enough tension there to be of interest, or of any reason why we’d need to see what happens two years before the majority of the film takes place. Those events then make sense when the film catches up to the teaser, but it’s a minor point that is the catalyst for the major dramatic tension. He runs away, he runs away, but within about five minutes all is resolved and good.

Simply the movie isn’t strong, it’s a boring docudrama about a boring subject. I’m sure this man is a wonderful football player, and a wonderful person, but who cares beyond that?

District 9 (Sony Pictures Releasing)
I saw adverts for this film on bus stops proclaiming “this bus stop for Human’s only.” That pissed me off, we’re Toronto, we accept people of all countries, why should we say no to those from outside of Earth. I assumed it was some lame action/sci-fi film that the genre had degraded into, then I heard that it was about apartheid, I went to see it that day.

It was a fantastic film, it was graphic and told an interesting story in an interesting way. It was what I thought science fiction should be, but rarely ever is any more. I will admit that the film isn’t the slightest bit subtle in how it treats the topic at hand, but it did what it set out to do well.

An Education (Sony Pictures Classics)
“You have no idea how boring everything was before you,” says Jenny to David in this incredibly creepy film, about a child and the man she falls for. While Jenny is truly an exceptional young lady, she’s a child in many ways, only slowly becoming a woman.

Also, that’s what a Jew looks like? That’s like getting an Italian to play a Mohawk.

The relationship between Jenny and David is well acted and, though very creepy, interesting.

Overall, I’d say it’s a rather incredible film, but it does suffer slightly from the 30 seconds of voice over during the end of the film. It is unneeded and deters from the emotion of the film.

The Hurt Locker
(Summit Entertainment)
War films are a very touchy subject, especially when the war in question is still raging. M*A*S*H and Full Metal Jacket do what I believe a war film should do; combine humour and drama in a manner to show the horrors of war, while simultaneously making it easy for the audience to digest. Instead of that, The Hurt Locker is instead more interested in portraying a group of bomb disposal soldiers, who have little conscience, little knowledge of local language or culture, little care for the country they invaded, little care for the lives of others, and little care for their own lives.

This film could have been reduced in time by at least half an hour, forty-five minutes perhaps. The extra running time, and what seems to be an overly ambitious film maker hurt the film, making it suffer from trying to accomplish too much, but accomplishing nothing. It takes the film far too long to get to the meat of the story.

In the end, I don’t know if they’re trying glorify, if so, that’s kinda hideous.

Inglourious Basterds
(The Weinstein Company)
This is the last film of the group I saw. Fortunately the Bloor was showing it the day before the Oscars. I was very reluctant to see it, because I’ve never enjoyed a Quentin Tarantino film. This is the exception, Tarantino’s really grown as a filmmaker since Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. It was definitely a great film, and I think needs a second viewing. The film is often hilarious, often horrid, and often beautiful. The suspense is impressive of a modern film that displays so much gore.

Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Some of the best films I have ever seen in my life are extremely difficult to watch. Precious is among those. The story is of Precious, a teenage girl who’s education can best be described as atrocious, her relationship with her home life, a nightmare. Through this story she finds strength, knowledge, guidance and a life, but the past is impossible to comprehend.

I’m completely at a loss for words. I don’t know what to say about this film, but you must see it. It’s difficult to watch, but do it anyway.

A Serious Man (Focus Features)
Now I have to remember which was A Serious Man and which was A Single Man. Oh yeah! Serious was the good one, and Single was the incredible one. Looks like I’m talking about the good one, sigh! So, I understand why this is nominated for an Academy Award, Jews will like this film. I’m a Jew, I like this film, we control Hollywood (shh, don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret). However, are there people who like this film and aren’t Jews? Do any non-Jews understand this film?

I liked this film, the characters were interesting, and in the usual Coen brothers fashion, it was hilarious, but also stark and grimy. However, it definitely was one of their lesser films, it doesn’t compare to the likes of Fargo, or O Brother Where Art Thou? or No Country For Old Men.

Up (Walt Disney)
Now here’s a film that hands-down deserves respect. Pixar was able to make one of the best features of last year with Wall-e, and unfortunately it didn’t even get nominated for best picture, it obviously should have. Up continues with one story concept that Wall-e succeeded so well with, they delivered so much emotional content without dialogue. When Carl’s story is being told, the audience falls in love with this man, they smile at his achievements, they cry at his heartache and they cheer for him… and this is only within the first half hour of the film. The story is fun, and amazing, but the heart behind the story is incredible, and I think Pixar made one of their best films with this one, and that says A LOT.

Up in the Air (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios)
As Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have two words for you ‘BOR-RING!'” Up In The Air is an okay film about characters who have nothing that the audience can find redeeming. There is no emotional connection, the characters are two dimensional, the story is paper thin, and why it was nominated for such a prestigeious category, I have no idea.

Who Adam wants to win: Precious
Who Adam thinks will win: Avatar

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side (Warner Bros.)
Really? Her performance is boring? There’s nothing interesting in this performance, or the character. She’s a spoiled rich white chick, who feels bad for a boy, and lets him live with her. Good for her. Quinton Aaron, however stole the film. His performance as Michael Oher was wonderful. Thumbs up to Mr. Aaron, meh to Ms. Bullock.

Helen Mirren in The Last Station (Sony Pictures Classics)
I didn’t want to post any of these without having seen all of the films, the torrent I found for The Last Station wasn’t a real copy of the film, and I’ve been home sick the past two days, so I haven’t had a chance to visit the Cumberland to see this film.
I really want to see this film, because Helen Mirren’s awesome, and so is Christopher Plummer. So take my opinion with a grain of salt, because I’m completely omitting Ms. Mirren’s performance.

Carey Mulligan in An Education (Sony Pictures Classics)
I really liked Mulligan’s performance. At times she reminded me of a song by the Magnetic Fields (ADAM, SHUT UP ABOUT THE MAGNETIC FIELDS!), and overall, she reminded me of a 16 year old girl, extremely intelligent, and extremely stupid. She did a fabulous job. Also, CREEPY! Adults, please stay away from sixteen year olds. Adults, please stay away from those under 20… maybe 25. Eww!

I could dress in black and read Camus, smoke clove cigarettes and drink vermouth, like I was seventeen.

Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire (Lionsgate)
Holy crap! That was a performance to remember, a performance to haunt you. Sidibe’s performance as Precious was everything you could want in a film. I can’t say anything more other than watch this. Now.

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Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia (Sony Pictures Releasing)
This was a fun film, and Streep played a great Julia Child. The film overall wasn’t too great, and I found the character of Julie to be more than slightly annoying. I think this colours how I view Streep’s performance, which is definitely over-the-top, but also a lot of fun, and a great way to spend a couple hours.

Who Adam wants to win: Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Who Adam wishes he could say he wants to win, because her performance was so good, but then he saw Precious and was blown away: Carey Mulligan in An Education
Who Adam thinks will win: Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart (Fox Searchlight)
I was disappointed with this film, it was basically The Wrestler, but with a country singer. Jeff Bridges did have a good performance as Bad, but I think the film was just a too cliché.

George Clooney in Up in the Air (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios)
Fuck you! Batman does not have nipples!

Sorry, wrong film. The character is two dimensional and boring. He can do better, we’ve all seen him do better… we’ve also seen him do worse (see above comment).

Colin Firth in A Single Man (The Weinstein Company)
Holy Crap, this is an incredible film, and Firth’s performance is unforgettable. While I write this section of the post, I haven’t yet seen the following films, so I can’t speak to those, but my hope is for Firth to win this (Freeman will win it, he’s playing Mandela for god sake). Firth’s character goes through so much drama in this one day, and the audience is taken along with him on this journey so effectively due in large part to Firth’s performance.

Morgan Freeman in Invictus (Warner Bros.)
I don’t like sports movies, but I do like politics. I felt that the film, especially during the last few minutes fell into cliché after cliché, fortunately that wasn’t Morgan Freeman’s fault, that was Clint Eastwood’s.

Morgan Freeman plays Nelson Mandela, you might have heard of him, he was a freedom fighter/terrorist who fought for an end to South African apartheid, he was the President of South Africa for five years, and united both black and white South Africa into a united country. He’s also an honorary Canadian citizen.

So apparently a big part of his unification plans was to get South Africa to win the Rugby World Cup. I unfortunately don’t know too much about South African history, Canadian history is what I mostly focus on (probably because I live here), because of this, I don’t know if any of this is true, or how much is a stretch, but it was an fun film with good political pressure to help it transcend being a mediocre sports film.

I enjoyed Freeman’s role as Mandela, but it seems like he’s just mimicking the great man, rather than trying to create a role. I cannot imagine how great of a responsibility it is to not only play one of the most important men in recent human history, but also a man you’ve met, a man who’s still alive. Freeman took on this responsibility and I was willing to believe I was watching Mandela and not Freeman.

Either way, good, but not best.

Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker (Summit Entertainment)

His performance was good, but doesn’t make up for a shitty film (see the upcoming best picture post).

Who Adam wants to win: Colin Firth in A Single Man
Who Adam thinks will win: Morgan Freeman in Invictus

Best animated feature film of the year

Coraline (Focus Features)
This is, in my mind, the first time that The Oscars have had serious contention in this category since Pixar started making feature length films. Coraline is incredible. I haven’t read the story by Neil Gaiman, but from what I hear, it’s brilliant, and this story of a young girl who is disillusioned with the real world, finds a portal to a mirror world, where everything is what she could hope for… or so she thinks. Hidden intentions are basis of this story, whether it’s the evil hidden intentions in the mirror world, or the good intention that her real parents can’t seem to express, until too late. This film is definitely a treat.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (20th Century Fox)
I really enjoy Wes Anderson films, especially Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore (the others are good, but not as good). Fantastic Mr. Fox is a return to form, and perhaps his second best film, after Rushmore.

The Princess and the Frog (Walt Disney)
I have no interest in watching this, but I just noticed that it’s executive produced by John Lasseter, and I trust him, he made Pixar what it is. I’m off to download (you can assume that means on iTunes or another paid service).

Hmm, it’s is kinda boring. It’s very much a formulaic Disney animated feature.

The Secret of Kells (GKIDS)
Wow, this film was pretty damn horrible. It seemed like an 85 minute long cut scene from a crappy video game. The animation style’s not too terrible for flash-based animation, while it looks like flash, and feels like flash, some of the character design is really interesting, seemingly lifting from Yellow Submarine. This is definitely a children’s movie, but it makes me wonder why the Academy didn’t nominate Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Up (Walt Disney)
Hmm, I wonder which film is going to win? Is it the only one nominated for Best Picture? Probably, but also rightfully! This film is incredible, and deserves all the respect in the world. I’ll write more in the best picture post, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this film.

Who Adam wants to win: Up
Who Adam thinks will win: Up

Best Animated Short Nominees

French Roast

Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty (Brown Bag Films)
Granny O’Grimm tells a story to her young granddaughter about Sleeping Beauty, or at least that’s what you think at first, soon you realize the story’s about an old fairy. It’s a fun film, but nothing spectacular. Definitely worth watching though.

The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)
In the still of her sleep, la Dama finds her soul leaving her body. She’s greeted by la Muerte, who assures here that she’ll rejoin her dead husband. A smile creeps up on her face, and suddenly she’s back to life, in a hospital. Thus begins an epic battle for her life between the reaper and the doctor. It’s hilarious, and fun, and good proof that cartoons aren’t for kids.

Logorama (Autour de Minuit)
In a world made up of logos, Ronald McDonald goes batshit-crazy and is on the run from the law michelin man. I absolutely loved this! Fuckin’ hilarious!

A Matter of Loaf and Death (Aardman Animations)
“I’ve got a bomb in my pants!” Definitely not the best of Wallace and Gromit, and I’ve never been a big fan of them. I don’t really see the appeal too much, so I’m gonna give this a thumbs horizontal. I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it.

Adam wants to win: La Dama y La Muerte
Adam thinks will win: La Dama y La Muerte