Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oscar's A Grouch

The 2009 Academy Award Nominations were announced today and as with every year, there were so- so surprises and wicked snubs abound. Lets just talk about Best Picture for this round.

For Best Picture:

Slumdog Millionaire-Have not seen it but I love everything director Danny Boyle touches(Trainspotting, Sunshine, 28 Days), even if I may be Bolly-bored by the forbidden love meets gameshow winner from the slums of India premis... it is on my to- view list.

Anyone have a screener so I don't have to get a babysitter to see a damn movie? Lots Of Laughs!

Milk- The life and times of Harvey Milk(first openly gay person to be elected to public office) shone through in this taut drama about Milk's rise to power and assassination in late 70's San Francisco during the cruel rule of Anita Bryant .I had a soft spot for this one because it was filmed in my old neck of the woods. . We lived near the Castro district(or as the locals call it, Gay Ground Zero) for 3 years and judging from the location shots, not much has changed except the queens are older, there are twice as many florists and the beards are better kept. It also re -affirmed for me why Sean Penn is the world best living actor.(Dead Man Walking, Carlito's Way, I am Sam, Sweet and Lowdown, Casualties of War, Fast Times at Ridgemont High--Nobody has that range...nobody)

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button- I am in the process of watching this right now(don't ask,don't tell) I love Fincher( Zodiac, Panic Room, Alien 3!). His tight direction is usually innovative and impeccable so I'm sure I will find something to love about it. The Academy got 13 nods. Maybe I'll see the brilliance in Brad Pitt that comes out now and again in movies like 12 Monkeys and Fight Club...and not shat -out dreck like Oceans 12.. It's based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story so it will be a thrill to see how they stretch a tome about a man who ages backwards. into 2 plus hours of a tale. Eric Roth who also wrote Forrest Gump gets the screenplay nod here.... Red Bull and a box of chocolates, anyone?

Frost/Nixon- A big talkfest about interviews in the mid 70s btween Tricky Dick and British TV journalist David Frost, directed by Richie Cunningham....I have not seen it and am not a fan of gabfests on celluloid unless it is Kate Winslet speaking. I would watch that dame recite Green Eggs and Ham on an infinite loop. I would watch her recite the Koran with subtitles. Frank Langella is no Kate Winslet....and Nixon, although complex...was no hero of its wayyyy down on a future Netflix queue.

Kate Winslet does show up in the last nominated film The Reader. She plays a smoking hot Nazi who shacks up with a much younger boy, who happens to thoroughly enjoy some post coital story-time..She disappears, only to return to his life as a defendant in the War Crime trials that he is observing as a law student. I'm pitching a tent in my lederhosen just thinking about it.

The word on the street is(and I might agree) that The Dark Knight was snubbed for the Reader. Although it did get 8 noms...they were for technical aspects of film making. Heath Ledger will most likely receive the first posthumous Oscar for his stupendous take on The Joker... since Peter Finch won for his role in Network. The Dark Knight was a remarkable film, but I think the Harvey Dent/Rachel Dawes/Bruce Wayne love triangle really wore on the plot worse than Alyssa Silverstone did in Batman and Robin...and was tediously stretched to yawndom at times.

Clint Eastwood was shut out for Gran Torino in the pic/actor/director/song category, which makes it the biggest snub of all. I think the voters turned to Clint with a .44 made of envious Hollywood actors and screenwriters, and in a way proclaimed to him "Do You Feel Lucky?" ...and Mr. Eastwood ended up at the business end of that exchange after the success of Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby,Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima.

I'll chat about the actors tomorrow....this is becoming, like Frost/Nixon and the snubbed Revolutionary Road, a talk fest.

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