arteejee

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscar Picks - 2007

Once again, I have surveyed this year’s Best Picture nominees and found that I have not seen any of them. This is not surprising; I only went to the movies once last year and lost one of my favorite caps in the process. Still, in the spirit of expressing my opinion when nobody asked for it, I will proceed with my predictions for this year using only the plot description of each film to guide me. I will also go out further on a limb and, like many film critics, predict which film will probably win in addition to the film I want to see win. This is known as “saving face when your original decision sucked.”

My methodology: we should consider a theory on the purpose of the Best Picture Award.

This award is not only recognizing a superior production released within a given time period, but also a statement about how Hollywood wants to be remembered at this time in history. The honored film is the film industry’s representative to the outside world to promote whatever the industry feels is most relevant at that time. We should couple this with the industry’s awareness that the film should have the widest audience appeal as possible in order to promote their statement to as many people as they can reach.

The nominees for Best Picture are:

Babel

This film is comprised of four inter-connecting stories that take the viewer from Africa to Mexico and finally to Japan. The overall feel is very “Crash”-like, but these plot lines don’t sound as compelling as the stories in “Crash”. The fact that the characters are from different cultures and the relevancy of the situations could make the audience relate to their lives.

The Departed

This has got to be Martin Scorsese’s year to take home a statuette, if only for sentimental reasons that he got cheated out of it in the past. This film’s plot involving the Boston police infiltrating the Irish mob, and vice versa, could make for a suspenseful drama. We have the traditional conflict of good versus evil with the more recent anti-hero trend of blurring the lines between right and wrong, loyalty and betrayal. The director may walk home happy, but the producers may be the ones cheated this year.

Letters From Iwo Jima

Like last year’s “Good Night and Good Luck”, this film uses history to draw a parallel to today’s events. Here, a bloody World War II battle serves as the backdrop for a drama that questions authority. At first glance this would appear to be a guy film with appeal limited to history buffs and people who don’t mind guts and gore. The reputations of the director (Clint Eastwood) and one of the executive producers (Steven Spielberg) would certainly support the idea that this film would not shrink from the physical wreckage caused by mankind’s costliest enterprises. This is the problem with the war genre: the psychological cost lurks underneath the physical brutality, but alas, the audience does not always notice it.

Little Miss Sunshine

A disparate, bizarre, dysfunctional family unit launches a quest to get their young, pretty girl to a beauty contest in far off California. We could consider the family members as a microcosm of the society at large: each with their own issues to overcome, some repulsive and engaging (ala "Napoleon Dynamite"), but all uniting briefly for a common goal. The satirical nature of the film may limit its appeal to audiences, but it shouldn’t.

The Queen

Another drama based on historical events, this one daring to recount events in which the participants are still in power. Although based on one tragic event, the auto accident death of Princess Diana, the conflict between the public and private face of a famous person is timeless. People interested in the British royal family would be drawn to it, as would anyone else wanting to see a chick film (like my wife). The individual performances have gotten many good notices, particularly Helen Mirren, and it is this that the film will be remembered.

SUMMARY

The Academy will most likely continue its dark theme from the last few years. "Million Dollar Baby" ignited a controversy for its dark ending, and there were many dark threads running through last year’s winner, "Crash". I’m feeling that the Academy may want to go on a whimsical, albeit dark, ride across country.

The Oscar should go to Little Miss Sunshine.

The Oscar will probably go to Babel.

1 Comments:

Anonymous KOARC said...

Excellent noncommittal and vague generalizations! Condoleezza R and George B couldn't have done it better. But seriously, the only one of those movies I saw was The Departed, and I liked it.

But a few years ago (actually, ~ 1998 to 1999) I created a bunch of reviews of movies I had not seen, and intentionally created fictitious plots that I knew were nowhere close to those of the movies I reviewed.

They can be found at http://users.rcn.com/imories/oldsite/movrev1.html

February 26, 2007 at 5:11 PM  

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