Friday, March 5, 2010

Oscar Countdown

So, the 82nd Annual Academy Awards are this Sunday evening, or to those of us that [feel like we] are close, personal friends, it's simply the Oscars.  Every year my goal is to see as many of the nominated films as possible.  Actually, my goal most of the time, is to see as many movies as possible; given my time-constraints as a mother of three, I think I manage my time quite well.  I'm sure more than one person would say I put movies before other, more important things.  (For example, my best friend wanted to catch a movie one night this week but I declined as I'd already seen everything on her list except for Polanski's new film, The Ghost Writer, which I'm dying to see but holding out for until after Sunday so I can see these more pressing films first.  [Sorry, Sweetie.] She'd probably say she doesn't find the Oscars terribly important.)  Seriously, though, what's more important???

So, given that I go to the movies on a weekly, even occasionally (if I'm very, very, lucky) daily basis, and that I usually see the art house and independent films first, you'd think I would be all set for Sunday night, right?  Wrong.  But I'm close, dangerously close.

As of last Sunday, a week before the Big Night, I was down to squeezing in my last handful of movies:
  • Precious (have to see; up for 6 Oscars and looks like Mo'Nique is almost guaranteed to win Best Supporting Actress.)
  • A Serious Man (another must see as not only is it the Coen Bros. but it's a Best Picture nominee as well as Original Screenplay)
  • The Lovely Bones (Tucci's up for Best Actor)
  • The Messenger (up for both Harralson for Best Supporting Actor and Original Screenplay
  • In the Loop (edgy, unexpected nominee for Best Original Screenplay)
  • The White Ribbon (German, up for Best Cinematography as well as Foreign Film)
I caught Precious late last night after our Cub Scout Pack Meeting. (Emotionally exhausting but excellent and my money is definitely on Mo'Nique.) Check.  A Serious Man (along with In the Loop) is sitting on my desk in the telltale red-and-white paper sleeve to watch tonight and tomorrow night with Rand.  Check-check.  I saw The Lovely Bones with my movie buddy on Monday.  Check.  (Tucci's one of my favortie actors but I don't think he'll win given his competition.  I'm betting on Jeff Bridges who is certainly deserving, not to mention overdue, but my personal vote is for Colin Firth's understated, moving portrayal of A Single Man grieving.  A fantastic film.  And an incredible score by Abel Korzeniowski that was snubbed.  If only I were a voting Academy member.)  I'm hoping to squeeze in The White Ribbon sometime this weekend-- when I'm not attending soccer games or watching my waiting Netflix Oscar nominees, that is.  Probable check.  The Messenger is my real problem.  It came and went so fast, that I missed it on first run and it did not return [bad movie, bad theaters, bad, bad] for an Oscar reprise.  I just assumed it was available and stuck it at the top of my Netflix queue but Daddy pointed out although you can put it in your queue, there's no available date yet and I have since learned it won't be released on DVD til May.  Grrrrr....  I hate having my micro-managing thwarted.  On the Win side, in an unexpected coup courtesy of the ever-fabulous Tim & Karrie League and the Alamo Drafthouse, I got to see the nominated Animated short films and Live Action short films back-to-back on Tuesday, [while the kids were in school -- Bonus!] which are excellent.  It was just me, a handful of other cinephilic Austinites and 2 classes of UT film students.  Of the Live Action shorts, I'm voting for the heartbreaking gem The Door, but my favorite of the animated was one of the 10 considered but not actually nominated:  the Polish The Kinematograph by Tomek Baginski. (It is a beautiful love letter to films about this old man and his wife as he strives to invent the moving picture.  A poignant piece-- and more cinematic than the other animated shorts, in my opinion. Again, it's a shame I'm not part of the Academy.) Of those actually nominated for Animated short, I'm having a hard time deciding: Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty, a grimmer version than you're used to, is hilarious and Logorama, a trademarked world with a Pulp Fiction vibe is very clever.

In the spirit of Full Disclosure, the obvious, and frankly gross, gaps in my list are both the Documentary and Foreign Film categories.  I enjoy both of these and usually see quite a few but somehow the ones I saw and the ones nominated failed to overlap this all.  Eeek...when I started this topic, I felt I was doing pretty well, but after that confession admission, I'm feeling down-right embarrassed to call myself a cinephile.  [Excuse me while I go frontload my netflix queue.]  I'm tough.  I can handle painful truths.  I have not seen... [deep breath in, deep breath out]...22 of the Oscar nominated films.  BUT, that includes the documentary shorts as well as feature films and foreign films.  If you take those out, that appalling number drops by 15 to a mere 7.  And one of those is the plotless Transformers sequel [Hey, I enjoyed the first film as much as anyone; despite being a woman I have no problem agreeing Megan Fox is hot.  I was all ready to see the new one until Rand said just re-watch the first one and you'll enjoy it much more.  So, T -- Don't you dare think of it as T2.  There's only one T2. -- Transformers 2 doesn't count, right?  I mean, it can't possibly win for Best Sound Mixing against Cameron's Avatar, Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, and J.J. Abram's Star Trek, all vastly superior films.] so that put's me down to 6.  And, surely, I beat out plenty of the nominees (maybe even many of the Academy members themselves, but there does not appear to be a published list of all 5700+ members so I can only guess beyond the more high profile members like Tom Hanks, Steven Speilberg and John Williams.).  I mean, I seriously doubt Penelope Cruz made sure to see all the Animated and Live Short Films. (Pe, I apologize profusely if I'm wrong!  I know you won for your fantastic performance in Vicky Cristina Barcelona but I thought you were even better in Elegy and I loved Los Abrazos Rotos! Love, love!)

Still scoffing?  If so, go to the Academy's very handy alphabetical listing off all 58 nominated films and do your own personal count.  It's ok, I'll wait...

22 (or 6, in Jen's New [Movie] Math count) isn't so bad, now, eh?