Haven't Had Time To Watch All The Oscar Contenders? We've Got Your Cliffs Notes!
With NINE nominees in the Best Picture category alone, it's not easy to watch every film up for an award at this year's 85th Annual Academy Awards. Tomorrow night we'll be live-tweeting the event (follow @blogherpop to play along), and I personally will be taking a shot every time host Seth MacFarlane slips in to his Stewie Griffin voice (Oscars drinking game anyone?) so expect the tweeting to get saucier as the night goes on.
Amour Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
In the mean time, I've gone ahead and rounded up an Oscars "Cliffs Notes" of sorts, BlogHer reviews of each of this years most honored films (links will take you to the full length posts) And the nominees are...
The Modern Gal summarized the heartwrenching French film (along with its fellow best picture nominees) --
Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes and awards at many other international festivals, Amour is a story of a dying woman and her husband who serves as her caregiver. It is intense, it is beautiful and it is incredibly sad. I managed to hold it together after it ended until I reached my car, and then I cried ugly, ugly buckets of tears on the 15-minute drive home. Worthy of Best Picture? Absolutely, but the Academy will give it Best Foreign Language Film and leave it at that, and that’s OK with me too.
I think it comes down to fundamentals: having a good story to tell. And the story in Argo is a damn good one--one of those crazy tales that would sound completely implausible if it hadn’t actually happened. And because it actually happened, we already know going in that this very risky scheme was successfully accomplished. Even with that knowledge, I was on the edge of my seat with a knot in my stomach for most of the time I was watching Argo The stakes in this movie are the highest--real people’s lives are in the balance.
While In Due Time simply states --
This movie is a MUST see. Seriously. We have NO complaints about it what so ever.
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
Twelvedag at Let's Talk Film was among those who reserved their highest praise for indie darling Beasts Of The Southern Wild --
This is the enchanting story of Hushpuppy, our 6-year-old fearless heroine, her father and their will to endure and survive in their detached world. They live in a place called "The Bathtub," a mystical, magical and very broken down place in the backwood swampy marshlands of the Louisiana bayou. Through her eyes and her journey, we observe a myriad of local characters and experiences (worldly and otherwise) within their tight-knit community, while, more importantly, coming to appreciate the deep love and bond that unites this father and his young daughter.
Jolly Buzz had this to add --
There could have been a temptation to get overly sappy and emotional in the film, but luckily the director resists. Wink is an uneducated man living in a harsh world. Wink doesn't have time to indulge in sadness or regret. His job is to be her daddy and to make sure she "don't die."
Quention Tarantino's controvertial Django has been hotly debated amongst network members, with Michelle at Balancing Jane drawing a diplomatic conclusion --
There were times I had to look away from the screen because of the pain and anguish it presented me, and there were times when I laughed and times when I cried. I watched it with the full involvement of my mind and emotions, and I think it was a wonderful film.
I'm not sure if it should have been made.
Heather of Heather Drive was bowled over my Les Mis, specifically Anne Hathaway --
I was surprised at how powerful the music was, even though it was a film adaptation. If you’ve ever experienced live theater (especially Broadway), you know that there is this… feeling… accompanied with the music. It’s like you can feel it inside of your chest. I felt that same feeling here. “At the End of the Day,” and “Do You Hear the People Sing?” It was all just incredible.
Anne Hathaway blew me away. I’ve never been much of a fan of hers (can’t really think of anything else she’s been in that I particularly cared for), but despite her relatively short appearance in the film, I felt it was jam-packed with awesome. I was not at all surprised to hear that she was nominated for an Oscar for this role.
LIFE OF PI
Grace of Frothy Girlz gave the decision to adapt the best-seller an emphatic YES --
The quieter, more contemplative tale [of the book] has been blown to into spectacular, splendiferous fireworks in Lee’s visually sumptuous epic, which very certainly makes the most artistic and emotional use of 3D technology thus far. Suddenly all that was limited by the reader’s imagination in the book magnifies onscreen, from the terrifyingly violent storm that swallows the immense freighter to the ocean’s vastness as Pi floats alone in the lifeboat.
Speilberg's telling of one of the great American stories surprised Maggie of Media Darlings with it's raw honesty --
Lincoln brings to life our sixteenth president with an uncanny naturalism that is almost disconcerting. There’s no pedestal here. Abe Lincoln isn’t presented as saintly. He’s portrayed as a savvy politician and competent leader who recognized when the time was right for the passage of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery. But more to the point, this film is more about persuasion and politics in all its stubbornness, intractability, and compromise than it is about action.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
BlogHer's own Sports Editor Jane Schonberger is routing for Silver Linings and suggests it might be the best sports movie of all time --
My favorite scene in the film comes near the end, when Pat Sr. blames a string of bad betting luck on his son's lousy karma. Jennifer Lawrence's character responds by rattling off winning Philadelphia sports scores and their corresponding dates, which happen to match up to time she and Cooper spent together. See? Sports is the glue that holds the movie together.
...Ultimately, "Silver Linings" is a story that makes you laugh, cry, and realize there are silver linings all around, if you just open our eyes and hearts to them. But yes - it's also a sports movie.
ZERO DARK THIRTY
...And on BlogHer Entertainment, Christal Roberts was taken with Zero Dark Thirty and it's feminist pedigree --
Zero Dark Thirty tells the saga of the search for Osama bin Laden while shining a spotlight on the increasing role of women in the American espionage game. Although she was overlooked for directing honors this year, Kathryn Bigelow builds the film around Maya, played with understated skill by Best Actress nominee Jessica Chastain, a CIA analyst unerringly focused on the hunt for bin Laden.
What film are you routing for for Best Picture?