Cramming for the Oscars

February 19, 2009
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The Academy Awards are coming up on Sunday and, while I know the best film of the year won't win (since "Wall*E" wasn't even nominated), I'll still be tuning in to root for some favorites (Go "In Bruges" for Best Original Screenplay).

Only problem is, with all of the live entertaiment I've been seeing this year, I've missed many of the nominated films. So I've been playing catch-up not only in order to have a better shot at winning our Oscar pool but also because I'll be talking about the Awards Friday on Fox 59 (circa 8:10 a.m.), WXNT (from 9-10 on "Abdul in the Morning") and on Matt Socey's new show Film Soceyology on WFYI HD-2 (from 5-6 p.m).

(FYI: Also joining us on Socey's show will be former Indianapolis Star film critic Christopher Lloyd. Check out his new, independent Captain Critic movie review blog here.) 

To catch up, in the last few days, I've watch "Doubt" (even more effective than the play), "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (you, sir, are no Forrest Gump), "The Wrestler" (powerfully acted, but there seems to be about 15 minutes missing), and "The Dark Knight Returns" (Wow). And I've got at least two more to watch tonight.

So what are you rooting for? Do you have any special Oscar Eve rituals (When my daughters were younger, they used to create Barbie tableaux for nominated films. You should have seen their "Talented Mr. Ripley diorama)? And if a film wins that you haven't seen, does that increase your desire to see it?

Your thoughts? 
  • Lou,

    Spot on regarding Wall*E.

    As for The Wrestler, truly enjoyed it more than I thought I would. (To quote Susan from Seinfeld: What is that? Another Marisa Tomei movie?!) I had the same feeling about it being a bit short. At first I chalked it up to being overedited, but now I'm wondering if it was intentional, symbolic of The Wrestler missing something (won't phrase it as a SPOILER for any readers who haven't seen it). Dig what I mean?

    I think I'm like everyone and want to see Heath Ledger win -- to take a page from Obama's campaign, It'd just be so historical.

    No rituals. Couch, remote, laptop, dog.

  • I'm a huge Oscars fan. It's my Super Bowl and World Series. It's the big game of movies. Yet unlike sports, at the end it's all just for fun in terms of power. On Monday the movies will still be the movies. I will still think WALL-E is the best of the year even if it didn't get Best Picture. That doesn't mean I still won't have fun.

    Since so much has been said about the major categories, I'll chime in with some words about the Best Documentary Feature. I've seen two out of the five and have heard good things about one more. Looking back at all of the films I saw last year, Man on Wire and Encounters at the End of the World rank among the top ten. They are both fantastic documentaries that at times don't feel like traditional documentaries. Man on Wire is a heist film in many regards and Encounters seems to work hard not to go the route you expect from it. They are both on DVD now and I strongly recommend them both. My 14 year old brother saw Man on Wire with me in theatres and loved it as much as I. Just because they are documentaries doesn't mean they are inaccessible to the mass audience.
  • I'm super-excited for the Oscars. Though I have a feeling it's going to be a Slumdog Millionaire extravaganza. I do hope my favorite film of 2008 [WALL-E] picks up a couple of gold statues. I will say the buzz on the next Pixar movie {UP!} is pretty good...

    I actually saw 4/5 of the best picture nominees. Apparently one of the theatres in town is showing all five films back to back on Saturday for just $30. Though with Benjamin Button and MILK both running around 3 hours - that makes for a LONG DAY.

    I will be rooting for Kate Winslet. After five previous nominations and no wins... it's definitely her time. While I thought her performance as April Wheeler in Revolutionary Road was strong than that of hers in the Reader... 2008 was definitely the year of Kate Winslet.

    I hope to see some surprises throughout the night. However, I did like Slumdog Millionaire.
  • indymatt / Lou: Any details on this five films for $30...?
  • That sounds good to me, too! I can't do it, but I wish I could. And I'm curious which movie theater is offering it.

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit
  • Found it.

    AMC Best Picture Showcase

    ...Greenwood 14 and Castleton Square 14. Looks like Loews College Park 14 is not included (guess it's an AMC branding thing)

    Not sure how it works, but from the info listed, looks like you just buy the pass and can come / go as you please on the day of the event (tomorrow).
  • Okay, now I've also seen Milk, which was outstanding, with seamless work from the whole cast. Really throws the awards for me because now, while I have no doubt Slumdog will win, I'm now rooting for Milk, which hit me in a in a stronger way. It's the only one of the nominated films that I found myself completely emotionally and intellectually wrapped up in.

    As for The Reader, well, it's well made and the actors are fine (particularly nice work from Lena Olin, in a small role), but for me it came across as little more than Summer of '42 meets The Man in the Glass Booth, with the two cancelling each other out. I wasn't invested at all in the relationship, which was built on cliches. Winslet creates a more complete character in Revolutionary Road because in The Reader she's saddled with a fuzzy script.

    Some of the problem is purely logistical. (If they're relationship was just for a summer, does anyone believe that all of those books could be read aloud?) But there are obviously bigger issues here. And I just didn't have sympathy for a woman responsible for so many deaths--which we conveniently don't see.

    Revolutionary Road, as unpleasant as it was, worked better for me. Although the last twenty minutes weren't as effective as the rest.

    And having just gotten back from Buster Keaton's The General at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, I can't help but feeling that we haven't gotten any better at film storytelling in 90 years.
  • Springsteen's song wraps up The Wrestler perfectly. I didn't feel that anything was missing other than one more chance for Ram. What an excellent piece of filmmaking.
  • I missed a few movies this year (but that didn't stop me from offering my opinion of who should win on my blog!)...Doubt is probably my biggest miss. Last year I was able to do the AMC Oscar Marathon, unfortunately, this year it fell on a day I'd already committed to something else. I don't think seeing the two movies I missed in the Best Picture category would change my opinion, but I wish I'd seen them before the show tonight.

    Regarding Springsteen's song for The Wrestler...I think that might've been the biggest snub (Original song) this year. I can't believe it wasn't even nominated!

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