Tuesday, October 21, 2008
It's no surprise that people have already been talking about the oscars so early before the end of this year. I think last year's oscars was very exciting for quite a few reasons. Not since the 70's or even the 60's; when films like Dog Day Afternoon, The Deer Hunter, Midnight Cowboy, and The Godfather were being nominated, have film buffs like myself been excited to see who wins what. Last year was a flat out victory for the film buff(s) that crave more out of movies and saw my personal 2 favorites of last year get nominated at the minimum of 3 awards each! There Will Be Blood & No Country For Old Men swept the oscars and gave the Coens their much deserved Best Picture award and of course it seems every time Day-Lewis makes a wide released picture he comes in to pick up his award because there isn't another actor in our generation quite like him. Last year, I I felt like I was at a sporting event, with beer in my hand and anticipating to see who wins, and cheering my hopes like I was cheering my home team.
I have seen my fair share of films this year in the theater and there are a few films I definitely thought were going to be great shoe-ins for the oscars but turned out to be not so great in the long run. A disappointment for me was definitely Body Of Lies by Ridley Scott. The combination of William Monahan (The Departed's widely recognized screenwriter) and Ridley Scott (American Gangster, Gladiator, Alien). The story followed an agent working in the frontlines of the middle east in the war on "terror" with a commanding performance by Dicaprio. As well as a great performance as a CIA bigwig by Crowe. The performances were there and the direction seemed promising but the main problem seemed to be the film lacked a great push towards the end. It had it's twist and turns but in the end turned out to be as simple as Berg's "The Kingdom". My personal opinion I thought the film seemed a little rushed and could've benefited from a stronger screenplay in some areas and maybe shouldn't have come out so quickly. I mean think about it, most 90 minute production features tend to take around 30 to 40 days of principal photography and then you have a few months of post production, editing, re shoots (if there are any), promotion, etc...This film seemed to me like it came out too quickly as if it were a product of the studio because they expected it to be a sure fire hit with just the cast and crew names behind it. Unfortunately, it didn't do too well in the box-office and it's already been forgotten. Shame, because I enjoyed the film but definitely didn't find it to be in the field the oscar(s) are looking for.
I could go on and on about most of the films that have come out this year but when it really boils down to it, I get to the main topic of discussion. The Dark Knight, should it be nominated? Yes. Will it be nominated? Why not?! The film was a cinematic achievement in crossing the line for audiences that are comic fans and movie fans. The film was more than a comic film. It's power and elegance made the film become the 2nd highest grossing film in history; behind Titanic. Certain people complain saying Ledger's performance was just hype because he passed away prior to the film release. My response to that is "did you see the same film we did!?!". It's safe to say that when you were watching the film, you anticipated the appearance of his character because of the tension and excitement he constantly brought to the screen. His screen performance of the joker is worthy of receiving the prestigious honor that not since Network in 76 with Peter Finch has been accomplished; and that is getting the posthumous award for his acting from the academy. Another reason why a lot of people doubt this film being recognized by the academy is the fact that it's a comic book film and that it's too dark.
Keep in mind, it's not a far stretch for this film to be recognized. Peter Jackson won best director and Lord of the Rings won Best Picture and Terminator 2 has been recognized when it was released as well. It's not a far stretch for a crime saga with unconventional characters being recognized this time around. Also, how can the film be too dark? No Country for Old Men; last year's winner was about as dark as it can get with it's allegories about fate. Bardem reels in a much deserved award for playing a vacant psychopath; not far from Ledger's performance if you think about it. I say, let it happen and why not? I see the Dark Knight being recognized for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor.
Now, normally I don't make oscar predictions on movies I have yet to see, because trailers can indeed be deceiving can't they? I mean early predictions for Cormac McCarthy's next film adaptation "The Road" has been getting oscar predictions but as of now, the film is being pushed back due to a disastrous test screening and may not be out in time for the oscars. The Soloist which is another film garnering pre viewing oscar praise has also been pushed back. W. was recently released to mixed reviews but with the performances being recognized none the less. Josh Brolin literally nailed it as our current President George W Bush. His supporting cast was also phenomenal; with the exception of Newton's torturous performance as Condelezza Rice. Wright was fantastic as Gen. Colin Powell, Scott Glenn as Rumsfeld, and Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney. I wouldn't be surprised if any of them get recognized this year.
We are close to the end of the line and the end of the year. Judging from previews alone though, what else do we have to look forward to? Sean Penn as Harvey Milk in Gus Van Sant's "Milk"? Maybe Craig will impress the academy so much that Quantum of Solace could be the first Bond film in history to receive awards past the sound effects, song, and visual dept? The big winner I personally see is David Fincher's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The trailers alone scream that 2008 is Pitt's official year for the best actor award. I see the film personally, being recognized in most catorgories if not all; including Best Picture, Best Director (which Fincher rightfully deserves after being shamefully ignored last year with Zodiac), Best Actor, Best Visual Effects, and we shall see what else? maybe Swinton can do it again and reel in another Best Supporting Actress award? I certainly hope so. Another film to keep in mind is Wall-E which I wouldn't be surprised of it's recognition, Pixar is a studio that is very much revered in the eyes of the academy. Of course, wishful thinking over here...but I'd like to see In Bruges be recognized as well...fantastic little film that no one got to see. At least a screenplay award or something? We shall see. Till then, that is all. Sorry I took so long to write another entry. I'm typically not very good at keeping up with things like this.
Sean Penn as historical politician and gay rights activist; Harvey Milk.
Brad Pitt aging backwards in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.