Friday, February 24, 2012

My Oscar Weekend Films

One of my favorite traditions is watching the movie I most want to win Best Picture at some during the weekend of the Oscars. The rules are simple: it has to be nominated for the top prize, and it has to be viewed either the day before or the day of the Oscars. Granted, the film I most want to win rarely has a shot in hell at actually winning, but that’s not really the point. And before I dive into what I’ll be watching this weekend, here’s a look at the Oscar weekend films I’ve viewed over the past several years.

Good Will Hunting, lost to Titanic
As Good as It Gets, The Full Monty, L.A. Confidential and Good Will Hunting were all more deserving films, but they didn’t stand a chance against James Cameron's massive hard on of a disaster flick.

The Thin Red Line, lost to Shakespeare in Love
I’ll never forget my dad asking me what movie I wanted to see on Oscar Sunday, 1999. He assumed Saving Private Ryan would occupy the day. How wrong could he be?

American Beauty, winner
The last year of the ‘90s was a damn fine year for film, and although American Beauty has accrued its fair share of haters, I still dig it wholeheartedly.

I called Traffic the best film of the 2000s, and although Gladiator’s win came as no surprise, it just feels so inadequate.

In the Bedroom, lost to A Beautiful Mind
I’ve never liked A Beautiful Mind. Never have, never well.

The Pianist, lost to Chicago
Adrien Brody pulled off the biggest Oscar upset in my lifetime. Then Ronald Harwood won screenplay. Then Polanski nabbed Director. The Academy should’ve kept it going.

Dedicated readers know how much I detest the Lord of the Rings films, and, save an unexpected apocalypse, The Return of the King didn’t have a chance at losing. Oh well.

Million Dollar Baby, winner
Million Dollar Baby is another flick that has oddly earned several naysayers since it won the top prize. I still find it utterly fascinating.

Crash, winner
Yep, it’s true, when Crash came out, I drank the Kool-Aid. I was immersed in its cheap drama and simple gimmick. That all changed the night it won Best Picture. When Jack Nicholson announced Crash as the winner, I found myself horribly disappointed. But why? I called Crash the best film of 2005, so a Best Picture win seemed fitting right? Wrong. Know why? Two words: Brokeback Mountain.

There’s no way I can hate on the fact that a Scorsese film (finally) won Best Picture, but Babel, to me, is an understated marvel.

There Will Be Blood, lost to No Country for Old Men
Again, it’s impossible to hate on No Country for Old Men, but Paul Thomas Anderson, and his masterpiece, deserved this more.

Slumdog Millionaire, winner
I’d choose Milk as the winner now, but I suppose I’m still okay with the Slumdog sweep.

I was ecstatic when the tiny Hurt Locker ousted the gargantuan Avatar, but no film from 2009 rocked me like Precious. Except Hunger, naturally.

The Social Network, lost to The King’s Speech
Black Swan was my favorite film last year, but because the race was between The Social Network and The King’s Speech, I opted to watch David Fincher’s remarkable film. The King's Speech's Best Picture win I understand, but I will never get how Tom Hooper deserved his Best Director prize over the other nominees.

The Tree of Life, will lose to The Artist
The Artist is a really good movie, and its win will be revelatory to future awards races, but, of the nine nominees, no film blew me away more than Terrence Malick’s epic moving poem. Here’s to hoping The Help doesn’t pull a major upset, which I don’t think will happen, but still.


  1. That's a very nice tradition! Mine is to watch my favorite movie of the year close to Oscars, so I saw "The Artist" again last night. And I still cannot believe they chose Crash over Brokeback.

  2. @Sati. Yup... they just weren't ready to give it to the "gay" movie. So they gave it to the racism movie. In hindsight, it's also quite absurd that Hoffman beat Ledger for actor that year. Capote is okay, and Hoffman is very good in it, but Heath...

  3. Adoooore American Beauty. We watched it (and Silence of the Lambs) for my final year of high school media studies class. And one of the first films we studies at uni was There Will Be Blood (loved No Country For Old Men as well, so it's all good considering that one won).
    I would love to watch Tree of Life again, but alas, uni is back on and I'll be enduring a two hour lecture, followed by a screening (a Buster Keaton film, then a Jean Epstein film. First time for everything).

    We will have to forever agree to disagree about Lord of the Rings. I absolutely love them, haha

  4. Nice breakdown.

    I'd like to see Beginners, I mean Drive, I mean 50/50, I mean ....

    Well, Midnight In Paris will do. I love the film in its entirety.

  5. Awesome post! I've only just started following the Oscars closely this year and out of the 9 nominated movies I'd probably watch The Artist again. Such a SHAME so many good movies missed out ;)

  6. Well, I loved Good Will Hunting, AND Titanic, lucky me. The King's Speech was for me the worst best picture winner for many years, the script was like "The Help", made-for-tv stuff.

    People dissing American Beauty usually object to the fact that a 45-year-old is "awakened" by staring at a cheerleader, or something along those lines. "Towelhead" is same way, so maybe screenwriter is a perv.

    1999 sure was an extraordinary cinematic year: Fight Club, The Matrix, Run Lola Run, Eyes Wide Shut, Being John Malkovich, just to name a few...

    Hope The Tree of life at least wins for cinematography , but sadly I don't think it stands much of a chance for best picture or director, against the crowd-pleaser The Artist, we'll see.

    I just posted my oscar predictions along with a critique of The Artist(nobody else is, so I guess I have to)

  7. @Ruth Damn it sounds like you're watching some killer flicks in school, that is too cool. Mum's the word from me concerning LOTR :)

  8. @Alex Thomas Ha, indeed. The Artist is definitely a fine choice.

  9. @Chris Yeah I didn't like The King's Speech at all; acting was fine, but the movie was an elaborate HBO film. Oh well. The Tree of Life winning for Cinematography is the award I'm hoping for the most, but at this point, I think The Artist or Hugo will nab that too. Shame shame shame. Gonna check out your post here in a bit!