Before you woke up this morning, the Oscar nominees were announced. It would seem that this year, more than other years, there was a pretty big bifurcation between the few widely embraced films and the ones that were nominated for an Oscar. As such, many movie fans might be unfamiliar with a few of the nominees. Well, due to that and the fact that the Academy now enjoys nominating seemingly hundreds of films for Best Picture.
So, for those unfamiliar, here’s a quick rundown of the films jousting for the title of Best Picture. Like the Highlander, there can be only one.
The first entry here is by far the most artsy, and perhaps least accessible by wide audiences. It’s a French film directed by Michel Hazanavicius, starring Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo. I’m actively rooting against this film just so I don’t have to type those names throughout March if it wins. The film follows a male film star in the twilight of his career and a female star on the upswing. So it’s kind of like A Star Is Born, which is another film our readers probably haven’t seen.
Anyway, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the film is in black and white. Oh. And it’s largely silent. Content and merit aside, I could see the Academy going for this guy solely to show how damn sophisticated they are.
While it hasn’t made a splash at the box office (many nominees fail to), this Alexander Payne (Election, About Schmidt, Sideways) film has seemed to emerge as “the Oscar shoe-in that the masses are getting on board with.” It stars George Clooney as a laissez faire dad who has to get in touch with his kids in Hawaii after their mother suffers a boating injury and falls into a coma. Like much of Payne’s fare, this film is purported to be drier than a cracker, but the film has managed to nab other nods for both Clooney and Payne, so the powers that be are digging it.
Also, the film has Matthew Lillard in it, which I thought would preclude it from being nominated, but apparently not.
Jonathan Safran Foer wrote this well-received novel in 2005, focusing on one boy’s journey to make sense of his father’s death in the September 11th attacks. The source material’s reception wasn’t as warm as Foer’s previous effort, Everything Is Illuminated, but all the problems with the can be offset by the fact that this film has Tom f*cking Hanks, so the critics can go to hell.
This movie has been divisive, with many critics railing it for its heavy reliance on saccharine subject matter (“Remember 9/11? That sucked!”) and the performance of child star Thomas Horn, who they found to be unlikeable. It sucks to go on a journey with an unlikeable person.