The Oscars: Silence is deafening

The Artist posterAs of this moment, I’ve seen zero 2011 Best Picture nominees. All year long, I said to myself and anyone who would listen, “Seems like no good movies are coming out this year.” I changed my tune after seeing the trailer for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and it lived up to expectations, but then I found myself saying, “Seems like no good movies are coming out this year that weren’t already done spectacularly in Swedish.”

After watching the Academy Awards last night (with a break to watch The Walking Dead), I see I didn’t miss anything.

The ArtistThe Artist?!??!?!!?



I should have known something was amiss when the Academy proved it couldn’t count, nominating only nine films for Best Picture rather than 10. Even more confusing: Dragon Tattoo was absent from the list. Straight-up confounding: The Tree of Life WAS on it.

And then…this. Not only do I doubt that The Artist is better than half the 2011 nominees (I’d bet on Descendants, Moneyball, Hugo, The Help, and Midnight in Paris), but I’d be willing to bet that The Artist falls short of some non-nominees, and not just TGWTDT50/50Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Muppets, Drive, The Ides of March, Warrior, Contagion, The Debt, Crazy Stupid Love, Super 8, Beginners, Bridesmaids (which I did see and didn’t like all that much, but still…), Rio, Meek’s Cutoff, Super, Source Code, I Saw the Devil, The Adjustment Bureau…

Remember 2010? You can’t tell me with a straight face that The Artist would have even cracked the nominee list last year. Seriously, what would it have bumped? The only argument I’ll even listen to is The King’s Speech…which, of course, won the big award last year.

This leads to the question…

Which is the bigger travesty: that The Artist wins Best Picture in a weak year, or that The King’s Speech took the crown in a year full of royalty?

To me, it’s the latter. 2010 was the latest “I’ll never watch again moment.” Earlier moments included:

  • 1994: Pulp Fiction and Shawshank Redemption lose to Gump (which isn’t a bad film, but I really, REALLY like PF).
  • 1998: Shakespeare in Love prevails over Saving Private Ryan.
  • (And if I had really paid attention back then, 1990when Jimmy “Two Times” lost to Smiles A Lot.)

2010 saw Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, Toy Story 3, The Social Network, True Grit, Winter’s Bone, and two other films I’ve been meaning to see but haven’t (127 Hours, The Kids Are All Right) lose to something that bore more resemblance to “bad after-school special” than “transcending cinematic achievement.” (And bore it did; I was nearly sawing logs at the halfway point.) I felt The Fighter told a much better story of overcoming obstacles/long odds. I thought Black Swan and Inception were far more fascinating exercises in storytelling. I felt more connection to a cotton-stuffed cowboy as he made his way toward an incinerator than I did to some blubbering Brit.

So as annoying as I found last night’s ceremony, I’ve dealt with greater feelings of disappointment. And as I stated up front, I haven’t seen any of the Best Pic noms from 2011. Until I’ve seen the films, maybe I should just sit here in silence…

That would make one hell of a movie, wouldn’t it?

4 comments on “The Oscars: Silence is deafening

  1. This blog is like a meaty, midnight bone for me to knaw on before my Potato Au Gratin induced coma ensues. So I gotta make this quick….

    You obviously watch a lot of movies and write well…awesome, two thumbs up. But how do you compare two movies you haven’t seen? Tell me why you didn’t see either one and then whine about it.

    So tired of listening to people bitch about movies they haven’t seen only to compare it to another movie they haven’t seen. “But I saw the trailer and it looked like….” Whatever.

    Was it a weak year? No doubt. The Academy loves The Artist becomes it pays homage to the golden age of film. It was good, probably great. There are some incredible scenes shot with no cuts for minutes…that shit impresses me. Best Picture? I’ll never watch it again.

    The Artist is better than Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Muppets, Contagion (are you serious?), The Debt (holy shit dude, that movie sucked), Crazy Stupid Love (boring, weak payoff at the end which was a ripoff because it felt like 4 hours before credits rolled)…….I loved Drive, Ides of March, and Warrior. I really wanted to see Super 8 do better, but I’m starting to see JJ Abrams regurgitate the same material from tv to movie to movie to tv or whatever. Keep it original unless you’re really gonna start tying this stuff together.

    Didn’t see Beginners, Rio, Meek’s Cutoff, Source Code or I Saw the Devil. They’re on my “To do” list.

    On the other hand I’ve watched Midnight in Paris about 25 times. Great script, perfectly acted…and if you are familiar with the artists of the “lost generation” (which I wasn’t until after about my third time watching) you will appreciate the script even more.

    But its not for everyone. It’s character and dialogue driven. Camera doesn’t move a whole lot and nothing blows up. Dark of the Moon it is not.

    As far as Best Picture nominees go, this is how I would rank them.

    1. Midnight
    2. The Help
    3. Moneyball
    4. The Artist
    5. Extremely Loud Incredibly Close
    6. Hugo
    7. The Descendants
    8. Tree of Life (did not watch)
    9. War Horse (did not watch)

    Some movies that deserve a little more credit than they got, if any….

    Rise of the Planet of the Apes if only for one scene.

    The Thing. I didn’t think the chick could pull it off. Instead she carried the whole damn movie.

    MI: Ghost Protocol
    Dragon Tattoo

    And I’ll keep screaming it from the top of my lungs. If you only watch it once, you MUST watch Tucker and Dale vs Evil. Its a gory, good spirited horror comedy that is clever and turns the genre upside down or inside out. Tucker and Dale are played by two great comedic actors Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk…the teenage kid parts are a wee bit overacted, but I think that only helps. That movie is a must see.

    This year, so far, I like The Grey and not a lot of much else.

    best to worst “movies I’ve seen this year”

    The Grey>Chronicle>This Means War>Wanderlust>Safe House>Gone>Ghost Rider

    Coming Soon: John Carter looks like crap. Hunger games…meh. Prometheus, two thumbs up

    Must go to bed. Cheesy potatoes are making my eyelids heavy.

  2. “Tell me why you didn’t see either one and then whine about it.”

    So somebody would come along and leave an epic comment. That’s why.

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