Monday, January 23, 2012

Oscar Nomination Eve: A Wishlist

Tomorrow morning, at 8.30EST, I will be sitting at my work desk with a cup of water and a very nervous stomach as I await the announcement of the top categories for this year's Oscar ceremony. SO SOON!

I do this far too often.
Before I go any further, I must first state how much this year's race has bored me. Most of the films in contention (i.e. The Artist, The Descendants, Hugo, The Help, Moneyball, Midnight in Paris, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, War Horse) I admire, sure. They don't get my loins all fiery-hot like some contenders have in years past. I can say that among those that could possibly be nominated tomorrow morning the only ones that I actually feel any deep-seated love for are those three that have cracked my top 10: The Tree of Life, Bridesmaids, and (TOP 5 SPOILER)Drive. Those are all fringe contestants though, even if with the new rules it gives them each one hell of a chance.

I will not do a whole predictions post because it would be insanely boring (as this year is). Instead I'm going to offer up two things I'd like to see in each of the 4 top categories and why. None of these will be wildly outlandish. All are things that could feasibly occur tomorrow, but most likely won't.

Best Picture
1. Drive - For being a genre effort that so perfectly melded crowd-pleasing Entertainment with art house beauty and introspection.
2. The Tree of Life - For being such a unique cinematic experience and demanding so much effort on the audience's part. Good art demands as much as it puts forth, and The Tree of Life does that in spades. This out of all the things on this post has the most chance of happening tomorrow. There is so much love out there for this film and I can see many putting it as their #1 of the year (which is what it needs to secure a nomination).

Best Director
1. Nicolas Winding Refn for Drive - This film was not about Gosling, it was about Refn. He is the star of this film, and its success and power is all in his choices and instincts for filmmaking. So deserved.
2. NO Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris - My disdain for this film is sad since I wanted to love it so. I think that it's lazy direction. The script is fine, yes, but why should we keep rewarding Allen for being so dusty? He made a decent film so we need to nominate him? I'd be fine with the inevitable screenplay nod but this would be TOO MUCH. There are so many more well-deserving people. Don't let him be the Tom Hooper of this year (just keep out the winning, please).

Best Actor
1. Michael Shannon for Take Shelter - This is by far the best male performance of the year. Nothing has so arrested me in the theater. People mistakenly call his performance great for the slow-burn of his impending madness, but in actuality it's the fear that all his work and all his instincts are wrong. I want to go on and on but I won't. This NEEDS a nomination. I would like it to happen, please.
2. There is no #2. All is resting on Michael Shannon. I would be happy to see Fassbender get in, though.

Best Actress
1. Kirsten Dunst for Melancholia - This will not happen, and might've had von Trier not made an ass out of himself and cost the film the Palme D'Or. The fact that Kiki is still sort of in the mix for the film just proves how potent her performance is. It isn't flashy and it's very prickly, so I don't see it finding its way in amongst such crowd-pleasing histrionics (Meryl, Meryl, Meryl) but hot damn I would cry tears of joy if this happened.
2. NO Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs - When I first saw the trailer for this in theaters back in November my entire theater was laughing at how ridiculous Close looked. I don't deny that she's fine in it, but up against all the other ladies who won't be nominated tomorrow like Felicity Jones, Kiki, and Elizabeth Olsen just goes to show how ridiculous this pony show can be. Yes it's a passion project she finally got off the ground. Good for her. Guess what? It's not very good. I'm hoping that the Academy will recognize that. Fat chance, I know.
3. Charlize for Young Adult - I'm not getting in to specifics as I initially promised myself only two per category, but I think we need to applaud Charlize's "comeback" of sorts, and it helps that it is absolutely one of the best performances of the year.

That's it! That's all I promised, even if I'm tempted to write about Brad Pitt's deserving supporting work in The Tree of Life, the incredible adaptated screenplay of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (which will probably get in there anyway), and the scores to Jane Eyre and Hanna.

Some of the Jane Eyre soundtrack by MY MAN Dario Marianelli:

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