Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rated D - Oscar Edition

Welcome to a Special Rated D Oscar Edition!

With Hollywood’s biggest awards show just hours away, I wanted to bring you some of my picks from 2012’s year in movies.  From Historical flicks and bio-pics to Broadway song and dance and bipolar romance, it’s been a lot of fun.  Below you will find a list of my favs or perhaps just some inevitables!

Best Picture:  Argo
But Maybe…:  Lincoln
Everything about “Lincoln” looks and sounds great and there is no shortage of fine performances, but I bet “Argo” will take home the gold.  On top of it being a suspenseful ride with an incredible plot and a sharp screenplay, it is about Hollywood saving lives and outsmarting terrorists.  Lincoln” was excellent and “Silver Linings Playbook” was one of my personal favs of the year, but like they say “Argo” big or “Argo” home*.

*From the Corrections Department:  No one has ever said “Argo” big or “Argo” home.

Best Director:  Steven Spielberg
But Maybe…:  Ang Lee
This one is a tough call, primarily because Ben Affleck should be winning for “Argo”, but it’s probably safe to assume that Spielberg will collect his third statue for “Lincoln”.  He spent more than a decade struggling to make this picture and it was worth it, but Ang Lee, who won in 2006 for “Brokeback Mountain”, hasn’t been counted out yet for his visually stunning “Life of Pi”.  Again, David O. Russell deserves the acknowledgement for “Playbook”, but I don’t think he will be able to wrestle the statue away from his competitors.  But don’t feel too bad for, Ben.  Even though Spielberg’s epic has garnered a whopping 13 nominations, I’m sure Affleck will be Garner-ing some awards of his own tonight, if you know what I mean. 

Best Actor:  Abraham Lincoln
But Maybe…:  That Daniel Day-Lewis Guy
Yeah, there is no maybe.  Daniel Day-Lewis’s transformation into the 16th President has cast a huge shadow over his very worthy nominees and he will most certainly be collecting his third Oscar for Best Actor this year.  Perhaps in another year Bradley Cooper, Denzel Washington, and Joaquin Phoenix could’ve had an interesting race, but unless Tortoise and The Hare rules still apply at The Oscars we probably won’t see any big surprises in this category.

Best Actress:  Jennifer Lawrence
But Maybe…:  Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain has had some great roles over the past couple of years, but my money is on Jennifer Lawrence who continues to boggle my mind.  After her forgettable performance in “The Hunger Games” just months earlier, Lawrence turned around blew audiences away as a grieving widow in “Silver Linings Playbook”.  It isn’t 100% though… Chastain and Lawrence both won Golden Globes just weeks ago so it isn’t quite a sure thing.  In the unlikely event of a tie, either Chastain will have a dance off or Lawrence will have to take on Seal Team Six.  Hey, I don’t make the rules.

Best Supporting Actor:  Tommy Lee Jones
But Maybe…:  Christoph Waltz
As a politely lethal bounty hunter in “Django Unchained”, Waltz stole the show, but I think Tommy Lee Jones might take home his second Academy Award in the same category since winning in 1993 for “The Fugitive”.  Both actors delivered excellent performances this year, but Jones’s stone-faced, radical abolitionist will probably win over the pleasant sharpshooter dentist, played by Waltz.  Plus, as I’ve said before, Waltz’s character was very similar to the “Jew Hunter” from “Inglorious Basterds” for which he won the Oscar just a couple of years ago and although both performances were great, I don’t see the Academy rewarding him twice for it.  If anything, Robert De Niro who impressed as an OCD gambler could surprise us with his third win.

Best Supporting Actress:  Anne Hathaway
But Maybe…: Hell will freeze over.
Anne Hathaway about her… don’t know what it is… but The Oscars can’t go on without her… As much as I did not care for the three hours I spent watching “Les Miz”, I might have to watch it again to understand what it is that made everyone go crazy for Anne.  Typically in America, we watch someone tell some sad story about their life, then they struggle to sing a song, shakily and often crying, and then we laugh as a British guy says “That was the worst thing I’ve ever heard” or a Producer says “Nah, I wasn’t feelin’ it dog”, but on “French Revolution Idol” we give them Oscars.  I can understand what people like about her performance, but I just didn’t catch the same Fantine Fever.  Get it?  Cause she dies of Tuberculosis.

Best Animated Film:  Wreck-It Ralph
But Maybe…: Brave
This one could really go either way.  Pixar stayed solid this year with the always amazing animation of “Brave”, but Disney Animation won me over with the story of the secret lives of video games in “Wreck-It Ralph”.  If we’re just basing it on the animation, the breathtaking landscapes of Scotland and Princess Merida’s wild, tangled mess of red hair probably have it all locked up, but, as a whole, I felt like the story was lacking a little (which is usually something Pixar does amazingly well).  Wreck-It Ralph” on the huge, smashing hand not only had a hilarious script and a lot of heart, the story was fresh and fun and the clever nuances made it fun for all ages. 

Best Original Screenplay:  Django Unchained
But Maybe…:  Zero Dark Thirty
Mark Boal, who won the same award for “The Hurt Locker” in 2010, is nominated again for his behind the scenes look at the epic hunt for Osama Bin Ladin while the Vicar of Violence and King of Retro Cool, Quentin Tarentino, is looking to pick up his second award for the story of a slave turned bounty hunter in pre-Civil War Era South.  Zero Dark Thirty” is as interesting as it is informative, but my favorite of the nominated films goes to “Django Unchained”.  The comedy, action, drama, and cartoonish violence blend perfectly together and works even against the disturbing period of American History in which the film takes place.

Best Adapted Screenplay:  Argo
But Maybe…:  Lincoln
Both bring stories of real Americans, some legendary and some otherwise unknown, but Chris Terrio’s “Argo” based on CIA Agent Tony Mendez’s The Master of Disguise and Joshuah Bearman’s article Escape from Tehran is my pick.  Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner’s wonderful “Lincoln” based on the book A Team of Rivals could still pull out a victory, but odds ARe GOod for “Argo”.  Nailed it!

So there you have it!  Either way, it was a good year for movies and that makes me smile.  Sure I talk about movies and entertainment a lot but I think it’s just as important to society as enjoying sporting events, reading books, and visiting museums.  Sometimes they are just to take our mind off of a difficult world for a couple of hours.  Sometimes they challenge us to examine the world in which we live.  And sometimes they aim to educate us through a visual medium.  And perhaps the most important lesson we’ve learned this year is this:  Ben Affleck is the man.  That’s what I’ve been saying.

Enjoy the show!

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