Monday, 28 February 2011

Goodbye February, Goodbye Oscar

So with the end of February comes the official end of the 2010 season. And, what a season it’s been. In my five years of taking the Oscars’ much too seriously, 2009 easily emerges as the worst (even though I loved the year in film, then). 2010 was okay, neither terrible nor excellent – rarely surprising, but always with something interesting (even if vaguely so). Last night’s Oscars were sort of a case in point. I didn’t feel disappointed or excited when the winners were announced; the single prize that actually made me gasp was Tom Hooper’s win. I feel bad for the guy – he, himself, seemed to shuffle embarrassedly to the stage, and I sincerely hope that that win doesn’t signal the death of his big-screen career before its beginning; and for the record, though he’s not my favourite in the category, an unobtrusive technique does not signify weakness in direction, yeesh. Other than that, it was quite tepid – even the “surprises” (Randy Newman, Pfister, Robert Stromberg) were expected in their way, so it was random bits like Cate Blanchett calling the makeup on The Wolfman “gross” and Kirk Douglas bantering with Colin and Hugh and Billy Crystal being awesome that made the night anything more than beige (or Annette Bening grinning through the entrire show, why is she always so happy?)
It’s the shortest month, and it felt even shorter – it just sort of flew by. I managed to wrap-up my own personal awards: with the usual dissonance between my own choices and AMPAS.

I was, as per normal, late with LAMB Casting – we’re on to a new film up for casting, the huge ensemble of P. T. Anderson’s Magnolia is up for reimagining (more details here).

Thanks to the usual readers for being their usual awesome selves (working on their own blogs and showing up here on occasion). Here are just a few of the comments I loved this past month.

On my discussion of Auspicious Cinema of 2010 (important films regardless of their quality, noted for their value, risk and originality) Tom of Reinvention: The Journal of a Dog-Lover, Book-Reader, Moviegoer, and Writer cites two The Kids Are All Right and Black Swan:

“I think Black Swan, of all of this year's films, will endure as an artistic moment that contemporary audiences have been scared to embrace. It is ahead of its time in terms of technical brilliance, telling a multi-layered story that affects the mind and heart on many levels. Those who are willing to enter its inferno of coming-of-age symbols will be forever changed.”
I’m not all with him there on Black Swan being before its time and whatnot, but this sort of discussion is one of the best parts of these year-end conversation – and I sort of love his “inferno of coming-of-age symbols” bit. It sounds highlight quotable.
I was musing over which of this year’s Oscar nominees I’d like to see hook-up in a film and Walter (of The Silver Screening Room) had some absolutely delightful ideas. I especially loved these two:
“Ooooh Bening/Rush makes me giddy, giddy, giddy. A remake of The Barkleys of Broadway? I never saw it, but it sounds like they'd be awesome in it -- husband/wife musical-comedy duo where she wants out). (a/n: how brilliant does this sound, though?)
Bardem and Firth as antagonists in a conspiracy thriller: both can be intense or easy-going, depending on the situation or role. The roles are interchangeable, but we get awesomeness no matter what!” (complete comment and post HERE)
I took a quasi-break from regular Oscar guessing to flashback to a personal favourite scene from On the Waterfront. I kept thinking how Eva Marie Saint and Marlon Brando there were so similar to Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer so many years later in another Best Picture Winner. Yojimbo of Let's Not Talk About Movies concurred:
“How can you NOT think of ‘Somewhere’ when Leonard Bernstein's tribal kettle drums, mournful brass, and keening strings are shared by both OTW and WSS?  This is a brilliant scene (and brilliant of you to include both parts of it—this cements the relationship between Edie and Terry, and transitions him from Hamlet-like conscience-fighting to not just deciding but taking action. And I've always loved the scene of them hand-in-hand running down the alleyway and their faces shining in the dark.” (full comment and post HERE)
And I rather loved Luke’s comment wrapping up the prognosticating for the season (HERE):
“Well, it seems you've got your answer to how the Academy will take A$lice in Wonderland's ‘let's barf visual effects on every frame’ mentality - they ate that crap up. I'm a little bothered by the Art Direction trophy - and just how much of the costuming was real and not CGI? And your final thoughts - how are you feeling about the movie that you named the most anticipated FOREVER ago ended up winning Best Picture. I sort of credit you with calling that one well over a year ago. Well done sir!”
With all the inklings I had, I should have just gone for the gut and predicted Alice in Wonderland in Art Direction. I do feel something vaguely akin to pride in having The King’s Speech being the film I was anticipating most of the year – even if I didn’t love it completely, it still made my top 7. And, really, though I know more than a few disagree (one, two) they could have picked a much more terrible winner – and I know some agree with me (one, two). I worry for Tom Hooper’s future (what with him “stealing the Oscar and all, sigh) but I’m absolutely fine with The King’s Speech resting as the film of the year.
So, goodbye February…how was it for you? Did you find the Oscars’ essentially bland? Did February fly by? Looking forward to March?


Castor said...

March signals the beginning of the blockbuster season this year and also the end of winter. So heck yes!! I'm looking forward to March :)

rtm said...

I'm with Castor about the end of Winter and looking forward to upcoming movies!!

As for Oscars, yes I too am absolutely fine with The King's Speech winning Best Picture, and the other 3 major awards. I was pulling for Fincher but TKS is the movie I'd rather watch over and over again.

Amir said...

i can't say i'm with you on "unobtrusive" direction by Hooper.
I found his visual style quite distracting and irritating.
I think the reason the film is enjoyable is the strength of its peformances, the timing of Rush's humour and the story itself, none of which i can particularly attribute to Hooper.

Jose said...

What's Cate doing there? Besides being wonderful of don't even mention her :(
That "Magnolia" reimagining sounds like fun, Amanda Seyfried for the Melora part please!

(See how I'm ignoring TKS...)

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

castor oh yeah, i forgot that it's the end of winter. the caribbean only has rain and sun, so it doesn't really affect me, though :)

ruth i prefer the social network on both ends of the spectrum, but i don't grudge it its wins.

amir really? i know hooper can be overbearing with the direction occasionally (read: john adams) but i find his work here surprisingly unaffected.

jose well her "gross" comment about the makeup for the wolfman was my favourite moment, which is kind of sad - but true.

TomS said... apologies for my delay in lovely it was to be cited by you! Thank you.
I thought the show was dreary when my favorites were losing...and when they triumphed, the show didn't matter because I was EXCITED!

I felt sorry for Franco and Hathaway...the writing did them in...and he looked SPENT!!

Nice post!

On to Spring, and movies, and life...