This film most closely fills the space occupied by The Social Network last year. It’s based on a true story, and does the impossible by turning a dry, non-fiction book into an eminently watchable film, with a very winning performance by Brad Pitt, who plays protagonist Billy Beane with unabated Brad Pitt charm and humor.
Aaron Sorkin aided in this screenplay, creating yet another Social Network parallel. Is perhaps the least pretentious of the bunch here, which makes for a refreshing departure and point of distinction from the pack, but “unpretentious” and “Oscar winner” generally aren’t phrases that are found in the same sentence.
You want pretension? BOOM! Pretension. Terence Malick with a 2:20 film about a middle-aged, 1950’s Texas man looking back at his life, with the flashbacks interspersed with origins of the universe. Pretension, thy name is Malick.
Now, even critics have stated that this film goes heavy on the art, perhaps to the detriment of the story, but if you’re film is up for the Academy Award for Best Picture, you’d rather have your film go heavy on the pretension than go light.
Malick presents very lush images in his film, but Oscar voters are constantly worried about how their picks will come across to the public, and giving this pic the statue would probably alienate the Awards more than they already are, so I consider this a voter favorite, but a long shot to win. A victim of its own pretension.
It’s Steven Spielberg, it’s a period piece about a horse in a war. There is zero chance that this film doesn’t get nominated. The quality of the film is largely incidental in that regard. However, once it gets past the nomination stage, which it has, the fact remains that this film is regarded as something of a sap machine, perhaps catering too much to Spielberg’s whimsical sensibilities rather than the talent that put forth more acclaimed fare like Jaws, Schindler’s List, and Saving Private Ryan.
If there was a courtesy nod given on this list, I feel that it went to War Horse.