Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Oscar List

I'm a Basterd. What can I say?

Best Picture – Inglourious Basterds. Hurt Locker is good, and I would love to see Bigelow slay the Avatar behemoth, but it ended up being a movie that I respect more than I enjoy. I don't know. Maybe the critical hype inflated my expectations. This kind of movie is what this award should be about instead of being a popularity contest.

Basterds, on the other hand, is a delight, for its mix of maturity and fantastical irresponsibility, complexity of storytelling (the importance of language to key twists of the plot), its tension, impeccable music selection, Christoph Waltz, Bonjourno, and an audacious finale that had me yelling in delight and then reconsidering it after the fact. Eli Roth notwithstanding, the movie is just stunning top to bottom.

Best Director – Quentin Tarantino. The first fifteen minutes of the movie. The Morricone-scored build-up to the Nazi soldier’s death by Bear Jew and the way it fucks with our sympathies. The reunion of Hans Landa and Shoshanna. King Kong. “Cat People.” The face of Jewish revenge. So many perfect moments.

Best Actor - Jeff Bridges. Haven’t seen Crazy Heart, but it sounds like he delivers the goods. And after watching his photo gallery video on the Big Lebowski DVD, Bridges seems like one of the coolest guys in the world. After thinking it over and realizing how great Jeremy Renner is in The Hurt Locker, and how stupid it would be to favor a performance I haven't seen, I'm rooting for Renner.

Best Actress - Gabourey Sidibe, because she doesn’t really care.

Best Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz, because his Landa is endlessly fascinating.

Best Supporting Actress - Mo'Nique. I was hoping for one of the Basterdettes to be nominated, so in their absence I will demur to popular opinion.

Best Original Screenplay – A Serious Man. Since Basterds has gotten so much attention already, and in my perfect universe it would be getting best picture, I’d like this brilliant Coen Brothers oddity to get more attention than it has, the better for others to “Embrace the mystery.”

Best Adapted Screenplay –In the Loop. I’m hoping to watch it in the next few days, which technically means I shouldn’t be judging it, but…. Yeah. I have no excuse.

Best Animated Feature – Coraline. Up affected me in ways movies rarely do, but Henry Sellick’s work here is uncanny and deserves more attention than it got in theaters, having been forced off 3D screens by the fucking Jonas Brothers.

Best Original Score - Up. Try to imagine the wordless montage at the beginning without the delicately shifting moods of the score. Try it.

Best Film Editing – Basterds. Again, I’m a Tarantino partisan. That first scene is paced immaculately, and the editing plays a huge role in winding up the tension in the subsequent chapters.

I have no problem with awarding Avatar the other technical awards I think it will win. The only reason to see it, in 3D, is the immersive experience it gives you, and so on that front it deserves all the plaudits it will get.

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