Saturday, February 28, 2009

Final Oscar Reviews

As promised, here are my reviews of the big winners from Oscar night.

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
I can’t complain – Slumdog was a very good picture. I also couldn’t complain if Frost/Nixon had won. I still can’t decide which of the two movies I enjoyed the most, but I was definitely more surprised at how much I liked Frost/Nixon. Maybe the journalism aspect boosted my appreciation for the film in some way, but I thought it portrayed the interviews and post-resignation Nixon in an interesting light. But in the end, Slumdog was deserving of the award. The picture did a good job of bringing humor, emotion, and culture into one film. The storyline was great, and the way they unfolded it was even better. If you haven’t seen either of the two moviesyet, you should make the effort.

Director: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
I have no dilemma here; Boyle was the clear-cut winner of this category. As I mentioned before, he was able to bring a lot of aspects into one film, and more importantly, make them work well together. I wasn’t too fond of “Benjamin Button,” but I did think the film was very well constructed and very beautifully shot, so I would probably have had David Fincher as my runner-up for this award. But Fincher, as well as the rest of the nominees, were no where close to Boyle in my opinion. The Academy got this one right.

Actor In A Leading Role: Sean Penn – Milk
I thought “Milk” was a decent film and found it mildly enjoyable, but I did think Penn was very good. He “became” Harvey Milk, and I feel it had an exponential effect on the success of the picture. With that said, I would have given the award to Frank Langella for his depiction of Richard Nixon in “Frost/Nixon.” I felt Langella’s character was a tougher role to play than Penn’s, and I thought Langella did a fantastic job. He was able to capture everything about Richard Nixon, even if we still couldn’t understand everything about Richard Nixon. He made the vilified former President seem both despicable and tortured at the same time; a man that we couldn’t stand but also couldn’t help but feel bad for. I also thought Mickey Rourke and Richard Jenkins were great in their roles, and I would have enjoyed seeing Rourke win – mainly because of the expletive-ridden acceptance speech that was sure to follow. I’d add that I’m glad Brad Pitt didn’t win. I think Pitt is very good actor, but his acting in “Benjamin Button” didn’t live up to the company of performances he was placed in this year.

Actress in a Leading Role: Kate Winslet – The Reader
I still haven’t seen any of the movies that featured the nominated actresses, so I can’t really make a subjective comment on who I thought should have won. However, I don’t like Meryl Streep and I don’t like Angelina Jolie, so I was glad neither of them got the award. I heard Anne Hathaway was fantastic in her role, and I happen to like her as an actress, but I’ve heard only good things about Kate Winslet as well, so I have no complaints here.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
Heath Ledger’s post-humus award for his portrayal of the Joker was certainly well-deserved, but it would not have been my choice. Ledger’s win was emotional and significant and rewarded a great actor of our generation that died much too soon. But, if I was giving this award to who I believed was the best Supporting Actor, I would choose Robert Downey Jr. for his role in “Tropic Thunder.” Downey was an American actor, playing an Australian actor in the movie, who was playing an African-American actor in the movie’s movie. Anyone that saw the film would most likely attest that Downey was born to play a black man. His language and mannerisms throughout the film were hilarious, as he made a typical comedic film into one of the best pictures of the year. America witnessed the resurgence of Robert Downey Jr. this year, due in part to his redefining of the term “bi-racial”.

Actress in a Supporting Role: Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
I did not see this film. I saw Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler” and Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Out of those two, I would have given the award to Tomei. I thought her role meshed perfectly with the direction of her film. However, seeing as how I didn’t view the other three actress’s performances, I find it very hard to make a judgment on this category. So, uh….basically I’ve been wasting your time.

My reviews of the Academy Awards are officially over. I won't even try to pretend like any of the other awards mattered. I should have a new post up by the middle of next week.

Thanks for reading