Monday, February 25, 2008

Post Oscar

I didn't bother with my usual pre-oscar snark this year, because quite frankly, I wasn't all that interested.

The only films I really had any stake in for this year were the terrific, but "not a chance in nine hells" "Eastern Promises"; and a wonderful little independent Irish film called "Once", which was only up for best original song.

Well, it won; and I'm overjoyed for the folks involved. It's a lovely, small, beautiful film; without being irritatingly arty. I don't like arthouse movies, and this isn't that at all.

Anyway, for Kim and Connie, and anyone who appreciates personal stories told well, see this movie.

Eastern promises didn't win anything, as I expected; though the fact that Viggo Mortensen was even nominated speaks volumes as to the willingness of the academy to recognize non traditional roles this year (as does "Juno" getting a best picture nomination, and Depp getting a best actor nod).

Actually, the "Best Actor" crop this year was pretty damn good, with Viggo up for "Eastern Promises", Clooney for "Michael Clayton", Johnny Depp for "Sweeny Todd" (I think it was a mistake nominating him for this actually), Tommy Lee Jones (who's never given a performance I didn't like, even if I didnt like the movie) for "in the valley of Elah"; and the eventual winner, the always great Daniel Day Lewis for "There Will Be Blood".

Unfortunately, I can't evaluate most of these performances, because the only ones I've seen yet are 'Eastern Promises" (which I loved) and "Sweeney Todd" (which I hated), but just from trailers of the others, this was no surprise. Daniel Day Lewis is incredible.

I was pleased to note that Michael Moore was denied another Oscar for pandering, sensationalist, anti-American propaganda bullshit; though of course that category went to ANOTHER documentary full of pandering, sensationalist, anti-American propaganda bullshit.

I was also pleased to note Tilda Swinton won her first Oscar tonight (she's always great, in everything she does) for best support actress; and that Casey Affleck was at least nominated, even if it was for the wrong movie (he mumbled through "...Robert Ford" and was great in "Gone Baby Gone")... though honestly, no-one in the best supporting actor category stood a chance against Javier Bardem this year.

Speaking of Bardem, I guess the biggest surprise of the night was that "No Country for Old Men" swept every major category it was nominated for. Most folks, including me, expected there would be some split; with perhaps "There will be Blood" picking up best adapted screenplay, and maybe even a best director for Paul Thomas Anderson.

Given that "..Blood" had Lewis nominated for best actor though; and "...Old Men" didn't have a nominee in the category, I think that satisfied the elusive "balance" that the academy often seems to look for.

Now, of all the films nominate in major categories, which have I seen, and what do I recommend:

Eastern Promises - Strong recommendation
Sweeney Todd - Strong discommendation
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - Mild discommendation
Charlie Wilsons War - Strong recommendation
Gone Baby Gone - Strong recommendation
Ratatouille - Strong recommendation

Oh and I know best song isn't a major category, but I really do strongly recommend "Once".