Tonight is the night. Billy Crystal hosts the 84th Annual Academy Awards. I managed to watch all nine nominated films. Chicagoland is a cold and sometimes miserable place in the winter, but watching the nominees for best picture over the coldest months of the year is really a great a tradition. I have done this every year since 2006 and I will continue to do it for as long as I can. So, let's take a look at this years nominees. (in no particular order)
The Decendants It seems like this type of movie is nominated every year. A depressing theme with dark comedy pushing it forward. I thought the movie did a great job in putting us into the mind of George Clooney as he tries to deal with the hand he has been dealt. There are some great close up shots of the actors in this movie. You can feel the emotion of what the characters are going through. I did enjoy this movie.
The Artist This was an amazing movie! It was fun, well acted, and the music was amazing! It was a perfect take on an old silent movie. I found myself enjoying this movie more than I anticipated. Bérénice Bejo and Jean Dujardin gave stellar performances. In my opinion, this will most likely take the cake for best picture.
The Help I admit I am a huge fan of racially charged movies. This movie was amazing. It was very well acted with a powerful message. I laughed more than I thought I would during this movie, but who wouldn't, seeing someone eat shit?
Moneyball I hate baseball and really enjoyed this movie. Anything with Philip Seymour Hoffman is awesome. Plus, Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill gave amazing performances. The story is very well told, but did not make me like baseball any more.
The Tree of Life This was my least favorite movie of the nine. I understand it's unique take on a man's life and memories tied in with the birth of the Universe, but all in all I thought it was way too long and hard to watch.
Hugo This is up there on my list. I saw this in 3D and it looked absolutely amazing. I was familiar with George Méliès, having studied some of his movies in college. This is a movie that you truly get lost in. It felt like it was ten minutes long. I loved it!
War Horse Steve Spielberg rocks! I thought this film looked beautiful. The landscapes and time period were so well depicted and John Williams knows his musical scores. Also, I feel Joey (the war horse) should be nominated for best actor. I would love to see how all the horses were trained and how they achieved some of the shots they did. I might have to buy this on Blu-Ray.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close I wanted more Tom Hanks. The movie had an interesting story, but it never really pulled me in and I can not really explain why. Thomas Horn, the young boy in the movie, will be someone to keep an eye on.
Midnight in Paris This is an interesting one for me. I feel if I read more books I would have loved this movie. Owen Wilson gave a classic Owen Wilson performance, a guy lost in his own mind of art and love. I find myself thinking about this movie a lot. The music was great and the I was surprised to see that it was not nominated for cinematography. I think I will enjoy this more the second time I watch it.
Overall, the movies this year were the best group of nominees since I have started watching all of them. There is not a clear winner in my mind. And the the Oscar goes to...