It wasn't my intention to watch the last two Best Pictures within a span of three days, but it happened. The King's Speech, which I saw on Saturday night, is a superb film that has two wonderful messages of perseverance and hope. Colin Firth well deserved his awards. Geoffrey Rush was also deserving of his accolades. His role was less flashy, but it was essential to the film and essentially a second lead part. Unfortunately, awards this time of year are rarely handed out to performances that are just good acting. There has to be flash or starvation or wigs and heavy makeup. I like Rush and shouldn't complain, though. Would he have even been in this role if he hadn't won his own Academy Award? And what did he win the award for? Well, for playing a mentally ill piano player which was all... flash.
I haven't seen The Social Network, so I can't be a judge as to which film is the "best" picture. But I've reached a point that I don't care. Any movie that gets made is an accomplishment. To be considered one of the best of the year really should be good enough for the filmmakers and other artists involved with a movie. How can you really compare 127 Hours to Toy Story 3? Yet, they were both competing for "Best Picture" at this year's Academy Awards.
Speaking of Toy Story 3, I have a huge issue with it being nominated for "Best Adapted Screenplay." Apparently the logic is that it's based on the previous two films. Well, actually, I agree with that assessment. Overlooked in all of the well deserved praise for the quality of Toy Story 3 was the fact that the movie borrowed HEAVILY from the second in the series. Don't get me wrong, it's a great movie, but I was only surprised once or twice (that ending at the trash dump where they all almost die... whew!). The animated film that really surprised me this year was How to Train Your Dragon. That film really moved me and I was blown away by the cinematography of the film. There was so much depth and composition to Dragon. The music was some of the best I'd heard in ages, and the story really got to me. Maybe it's because I'm a father and I could relate, but that was one of my favorite movies of the year. I wish we'd seen it in 3-D.
Tonight I watched The Hurt Locker. It's been sitting on our DVR since January (free Showtime, oh yeah!). I'm not a war movie buff, but this movie immediately sucked me in and I couldn't stop watching. I've been thinking a lot about Apocalypse Now the past couple of weeks for a script I'm developing (Charlie Sheen constantly being in the news also helps) and I felt like The Hurt Locker was a cousin of Francis Ford Coppola's '79 classic. Jeremy Renner's character, Will, is just a couple years away from becoming Martin Sheen's Willard. I'm starting to get tired of the hand held/documentary camera work of so many films (which may account for why I loved The King's Speech so much), however, I thought it was essential to The Hurt Locker's success. I can't recall what other films were even nominated last year...
I just reviewed the list. Again, how do you compare a film like Up in the Air (a modern classic, as far as I'm concerned) with a gripping war film like The Hurt Locker. You can't.
It's taken me a long time to really not care so much about the Academy Awards. It's not that I don't love movies anymore. On the contrary, I've kind of fallen back in love with them after several years of not caring. Maybe it's because I'm over the need to win one of the statues. My friends, I'd be happy to make another movie again someday (anyone got some $$ they want to invest in a film project?). It's that my priorities have changed.
By the way, here's a piece of trivia: Guy Pearce was in back to back Best Picture films. He starred in neither.