The Academy-Award nominated movies this year show again how Hollywood misses the mark with the amazing tool that it has that could help to move society forward.
Here are my choices for the “best” movies from among for the mediocre Hollywood offerings:
Best picture – I loved “The Informant.” It’s about a worldwide price fixing scheme. Matt Damon does a great job playing Mark Whittaker, a corporate executive who collects information on the deals, but has problems himself handling the situation and his life. This great movie wasn’t even nominated for an Academy Award. It describes events every consumers should know about.
Actor – I’ll go with George Clooney in “Up in the Air.” His character was tricky to play. When he had a change of heart about his life, the transformation Clooney had to portray was subtle.
Actress – I liked Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia.” Through movie techniques Streep was able to play the tall, robust Julia Childs effectively. However, the theme was old – how being a writer saved someone’s life.
Supporting actor – None of the nominees appealed to me.
Supporting actress – Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire" gave a great performance in a movie that was difficult to watch. Hollywood needs to tell more important stories like this. But, again, it was another story about how writing saved someone.
Directing – I pick James Cameron director of “Avatar.” I liked “Avatar.” I thought it was a good movie, entertaining but not great. Again, an old theme – white guys taking over Native people’s lands and killing them. On “The Hurt Locker,” so much hype has been occurring about Kathryn Bigelow being the first woman to possibly win an Academy Award for best directing. The movie was nothing special. Just another film that glorifies violence. Setting it in a war of today, Iraq, doesn’t improve it any.
Adapted screenplay – I liked “Up in the Air.” It offered something different. I enjoyed the views from the airplane of the many cities that George Clooney’s character visited.
Original screenplay – I don’t think any of those nominated deserve an Academy Award. “Inglourious Basterds” is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It was like several Hollywood guys got together and said, “What terrible violence haven’t we showed yet? Let’s put it in one movie. Let’s have American soldiers scalp Nazis.” “A Serious Man,” although non-violent, was a dark film that seemed to be just the piling up of bad experiences on the poor main character.
Animated feature film – I select “Up.” It was an interesting film, although it has the usual theme of the bad guys who need to be overcome. I think Hollywood and TV should do a much better job in creating positive, healthy themes for children. “The Princess and the Frog” is just another princess movie, giving girls the idea they can have fantasy lives. In addition, it had the usual Hollywood theme with bad guys.
Art direction – “Sherlock Holmes” was the best of the films nominated in this category. Again, too much emphasis on violence. And the portrayal Sherlock Holmes was strange, an attempt to make him modern man, although he was from a different era.
Cinematography – “Avatar” had innovative techniques, so I’ll select it. I also thought the cinematography for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” was good.
Sound mixing – The thing that gets my attention the most about sound is that in many movies I think it’s too loud. For the Sound Mixing Academy Award, I pick “Avatar.”
Sound editing – “Star Trek” gets my nod.
Original score – I select Michael Giacchino’s work in “Up.”
Documentary feature – “Food Inc.” is terrific, a great look at the problems with the American food system. I’m going to write a post on it.
Film editing – My choice is “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.”
Worst movie I’ve ever seen – “District 9” was a terrible movie. I can’t believe it was nominated for an Academy Award. Aliens are put in a ghetto near Johannesburg, South Africa. Violence, a human turning into an alien, and cannibalism. It's awful.
I hope you enjoy the Academy Awards. It will be interesting to see what everyone has to say about the slim offerings that Hollywood has produced again this year.