What can I say. I’ve been in a rush to get Oscar movies taken care of this weekend.
It’s probably a good thing I’m discussing them both in one post, because I honestly don’t know how much I have to say about either of these movies. I recognize that they were good (The Descendants better than The Help, in my humble opinion) but I cannot for the life of me figure out what makes them great.
So instead, I will look at what awards each of these films are up for tomorrow night and give my thoughts.
Best Picture: No. I’ve now seen seven of the nine nominees, and I only feel for one of them. Which wasn’t this. I can appreciate this movie. I appreciate that George Clooney’s character Matt didn’t behave like an asshole, yet wasn’t perfect either. I appreciate that Shailene Woodley’s character Alex was actually allowed to somewhat mature, emotionally. I appreciate that they were flawed people. But it didn’t make me feel a damn thing, and aren’t great movies supposed to do that? Maybe I’m just heartless.
Best Actor: …probably not. I’ve seen three of the five, and I don’t know that I’d pick any of them for this. Maybe I just have a hard time telling what crosses you from “good” to “great” to “the best.” George Clooney was very serviceable. He had a respectable range of emotions. But again, he didn’t make me feel a damn thing.
Directing: Probably not? I have very specific Hugo thoughts every time it applies, but it wasn’t notably problematic.
Film Editing: I have no gorram idea. My heart is split on this one, but I honestly don’t know. I can sometimes recognize bad editing, but I cannot tell for the life of me what makes some editing superior.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay): It really doesn’t help that they’re up against Hugo in almost every category. It’s not just that I liked that better, it’s that it made me feel something. And with no other evidence, I tend to feel that. I would be a terrible Academy member.
Also, because it fits into none of these categories: it was nice to see Judy Greer playing someone other than the Clumsy Or Otherwise Spastic Best Friend in a romantic comedy.
Best Picture: NO. This movie was very good at being what it was. The actors did a good job with what they were given. But there’s a reason it didn’t get a writing nod: it just seemed trite. The characters weren’t well-developed, particularly; the plotlines were predictable. Yes, it told an Uplifting Story about Taking A Stand, but I am really not one for Uplifting Stories. I remember first seeing ads and posters for this movie, and I never once said to myself, “This is going to be an Oscar movie.” To me, this seemed more like a respectable vintage drama with hints of sappy “chick flick.” It was less that than it could have been, but I just cannot see it winning Best Picture.
Actress in a Leading Role: My heart is with Rooney Mara, even if I didn’t see any films but The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Help in that category. I wouldn’t be upset if Viola Davis won. She did a very serviceable job (and I pretty much know Rooney won’t win). And she wasn’t quite a cartoon character.
Actress in a Supporting Role: Octavia Spencer did come off a little cartoony at times. And I realize that’s just the nature of the material she was given. She worked with it was best she could. But she didn’t feel real. Jessica Chastain was actually my favorite performance in the cast, because her character was allowed to develop and change emotionally. Also she didn’t feel like a cliche all the time. But since they’re both from the same film, I’m betting that will split votes.
I am a hard-hearted cynic, a biased observer, spoiled, all of these things. I don’t necessarily know what you could do to make it better. I just know that I wish, even if they’re good, that they were better.
–your fangirl heroine.