Thanks to torrent I've watched all the Best Picture nominees for this year's Oscars (nominations list here). Well, except Avatar, which I still refuse to see mainly because it's made by James Cameron. But then I might change my mind and watch it on 3D tonight.
I did not see all the films through torrent though. The ones released much earlier in 2009 (District 9, Up, Inglorious Basterds) were shown in BKK theaters. But the rest were downloaded. I swear torrent has changed my life forever, but that would be another post.
Anyhoot, I'm absolutely NOT a film expert, I just enjoy watching them for some escape. Nonetheless, I'd be brave enough to say my piece about this year's nominees, just because.
It's interesting how they increased the number of Best Picture nominees this year. It takes a lot of effort to watch ten films ha. I understand Avatar is predicted to win, with The Hurt Locker coming in as the second strongest contender.
I did enjoy The Hurt Locker. It's a rather tense movie about a bomb disposal unit in I-raq, although it has shades of glorifying American heroism typical of war movies made in Hollywood. Ugh. Having said that, I don't think it has enough texture though, especially in terms of characterization and story. It's up-front and easy, that's what I mean.
Meanwhile Up in the Air is hilarious and intelligent, however, there's a familiarity to the storyline, which had been done gazillions of times, albeit not as accomplished as this movie. Precious, on the other hand, is very gritty and touching, and it is everything but formulaic.
What I find most triumphant, however, in this year's lot is surprisingly A Serious Man, by the Coen brothers. It's a hilarious story of a Jewish family man who is having marital problems. Put in a dash of religion and sub-urban neurosis, A Serious Man is irreverent and unpredictable. This is definitely my pick for Best Picture this year.
For the Best Actress award, I'm just glad Meryl Streep is nominated this year. I propose Meryl should have a slot in the Best Actress category every year, no? I saw Julie and Julia on the plane, so my opinion about her acting in this movie is not credible. (I haven't seen The Last Station in which the divine Helen Mirren is nominated.)
As such, let's move on to the ones that I actually had the chance to observe rather closely. Since I watched The Blind Side last night, let's start with Sandra Bullock, whose nomination raised eyebrows just because she is Sandra Bullock.
I love the woman (especially in 28 Days Later and of course Miss Congeniality), but after watching The Blind Side I don't think it's an Oscar-worthy performance. It's not really Sandra's fault coz the script is rather badly-written (which makes me wonder why it's nominated for Best Picture) and her character is a little bland.
Gabourey Sidibe in Precious is phenomenal. Her portrayal of a teenage girl who suffered abuse in the hands of her parents is so gut-wrenching and believable. I especially adore her restraint (think Nora Aunor) in tackling such a demanding role. And damn, it's pretty much her first movie, isn't it?
To be off-topic, I would absolutely DIE if Mo'Nique, who plays Precious' mother, is not going to win Best Supporting Actress. I don't know her but her performance in this film is absolutely breath-taking and even scene-stealing at times.
Now back to the Best Actress award... despite Gabourey's strong performance, I'd put my money on Carey Mulligan for her role as the precocious teenager in An Education. Her adorable and impish take on her character Jane who is seduced by an older guy is absolutely memorable.
Now for Best Actor. I only saw George Clooney in Up in the Air and Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker. Jeremy is very convincing as an American soldier in Iraq, although he can sometimes overplay the action hero character (blame it on the script perhaps?).
But between him and George, I'd go for the latter. I'm actually starting to become a George Clooney fan after Goodnight and Goodluck and Syriana. In Up in the Air, he uses his natural charm to portray the supposedly unlikeable Ryan Bingham who earns a living in firing people. Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart is touted to win Best Actor this year though, maybe even Colin Firth for A Single Man, so let's see.
For the Best Foreign Language Film, which is often more exciting than the Best Picture, I've only seen the haunting The White Ribbon (Germany). Currently I'm downloading The Milk of Sorrow (Peru) and The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina), hence I shall reserve my take on those two films. A Prophet (France) is also a strong contender against the front-runner from Germany.
Lastly, for Best Screenplay, I would place my bet on Up in the Air for Adapted Screenplay and A Serious Man for Original Screenplay.
There, those are my favorites, but definitely not predictions. I can't believe the award season is nearly over! After this, I'd totally lose any point in living. Charooooot!
The Oscars is one of the two biggest days of my year (the other being the Miss Universe... like, haler???). So by next week I'd be totally glued in front of the TV to watch the show and of course observe the red carpet.
For the mean time, we have a long weekend coming up... yehey! And I'm off to see some ruins. Some photos when I come back.
Photo credit: www.oscar.go.com