Oscar Countdown – My Picks

We’re counting down to the Academy Awards February 27 and I’m renting as many of the movies I can get my hands on that were nominated for an Oscar or won a Golden Globes Award. Here’s my short take on the short listed.

The Tourist: Angelina Jolie’s role in this movie is to look good. Instead she looks great, so we don’t expect her to act as well. Johnny Depp tries to act but settles for just looking good without the heavy face makeup and black kohl-lined eyes. But I swear I could detect on more than one occasion a silliness creep into the voice of this mysterious Bond-like character, and I worried his previous larger-than-life characters would pop out, bursting the shirt buttons beneath his white tuxedo. This Golden Globes nomination didn’t make the Oscar running. Was the foreign press really voting for the beautiful Venice?

The Social Network:  Now that we’ve all had 15 years to join the social media revolution, this how-it-all-began story will probably win in a couple of categories to celebrate this seismic social interface. Who knew the bright young man who started this social network was such a social disconnect back then. This be-connected-forever (BCF) revolution has spawned new generations of youngsters who are socially all thumbs. They use the phone when alone to talk with their thumbs, and chat on the phone to others whenever they’re with each other. 

The Town: Here’s a crime plot we’ve all seen many times. What, we’re invited to ask again, can possibly go wrong with the last bank heist when the brains behind the robberies, Ben Affleck, wants out — out of the biz, out of Dodge. The twisted answer sucks us into the rough and sinister lives of the characters who live in this gritty side of town. The rawness of the scenes grab you again and again, and you realize you’re holding your breath, praying it’s not too late for you to skip town, too.  Affable Ben multi-tasks to write, direct and star as the lead criminal who falls for a hostage.  But my money’s on the supporting actors who steal this show.

Winter’s Bone: If you thought The Town was a nasty place full of sinister people, head out to the Ozark Mountains and meet the none-too-kindly folk who live round here. Bring a blanket. The winter scenes are chilling enough to watch, but not nearly as cold and brutal as the kinfolk when a desperate seventeen-year-old, played by Jennifer Lawrence, searches for her drug-dealing father, who put the house up for bail and disappeared. Taken from a novel, this movie is up for  best picture, writing and best actress. She’s got a crack at it.

I am Love: This sensual Italian film with subtitles begins with the winter of  content and ends with the summer of discontent as members of this wealthy family search their own lives for happiness. Eve, I mean Mother, ravishes the firm, forbidden fruit and we wait for the fall from grace. Up for costume and design. I’m going to pass on this course.

The King’s Speech: After seeing this film I lay my quest to rest for Best Picture and Best Actor. I can’t recall the last time I found a movie about the Royal family so delightful to watch. Queen Elizabeth’s father manages to stammer through life with a speech impediment until his brother abdicates the throne and he’s thrown into a life of speeches. When Queen Mum hires a failed actor as a speech therapist the story takes comic yet touching turns thrusting together two men who share nothing but their dignity. Colin Firth humanizes King George VI and I have a shilling that says Geoffrey Rush will get best supporting actor too.

Coming soon:  Black Swan and Rabbit Hole

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