Posted by: greercn | February 28, 2011

Academy Awards 2011

Did Oscar get it right? It’s a predictable list, but misses the mark of rewarding the “best”, as usual. Various things appeal to the Academy and others just don’t.

Javier Bardem couldn’t win for his astonishing performance in “Biutiful”. It’s not in English and it’s just too realistic. The movie will be remade, in English and will be softened and airbrushed.

Christian Bale will win the Oscar for that in 2013. In his acceptance speech, he will forget his wife’s name again. He will then point at Javier in the audience and say “it wouldn’t have been possible without you”.

Colin Firth is the popular choice for Best Actor and his performance was very moving in “The King’s Speech”.  Tom Hooper has made a great film and it appeals to outsiders (via Geoffrey Rush’s Australian living in London travails) and to those who are interested in speech disability, especially curable impediments.

It’s unimaginable how Mark Wahlberg failed to be nominated for “The Fighter”. Unless it’s down to Mark’s bad boy past and that scuppered him here. He really needs to learn to fake sincere humility and make a couple of films that match the movie fashions of the moment.  Play a homeless guy with a clear ethnic identity who wins the lottery and finds redemption, Mark.

Natalie Portman won for her completely nuts and getting nuttier performance in “Black Swan”.  The big question for me is how Vincent Cassel failed to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor in that. I think it’s because Vincent is sexy and Oscar doesn’t like overt sexuality at all.

“The Social Network” is a better movie than “The King’s Speech” but Facebook is too trivial an issue for Oscar. British Royalty and World War Two was always bound to be a winning combination. It worked for Helen Mirren and it will work again.

“The Fighter” took both male and female supporting awards. This is curious. Hailee Steinfeld was amazing in “True Grit”. And Amy Adams was outstanding in “The Fighter”. But Christian Bale and Melissa Leo triumphed and Melissa swore. Sport matches won by underdogs, men who show nobility in prison and unhappy working class matriarchs clearly sit close to Oscar’s heart – but not for the biggest awards.

Jeremy Renner in “The Town” and Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech” deserved the award more than Christian did.

“Toy Story 3” won for animated feature and it’s very loveable indeed. “Inception” deserved the cinematography, sound and other technical awards as it is visually brilliant and the sound has a real quality of being different and innovative. “Alice in Wonderland” won for costumes and those were very imaginative, while staying in keeping with the picture we have of “Alice” costumes in our heads.

Trent Reznor and Atticus Rose won for the music in “The Social Network”. As I go on and on about Nine Inch Nails and Trent writing the best songs, it’s cheering that Trent can add Oscar to his Golden Globe on the mantelpiece.

One puzzler is how “Restrepo” lost the documentary award to “Inside Job”? Another is how “Biutiful” and “Hors La Loi” lost the best foreign language award, although I have not seen the Danish movie that did win, so I shall reserve judgement. How did “Of Gods and Men” fail to be nominated?

It was a safe set of awards for difficult times. Mostly, Oscar honoured the people who told traditional stories about success coming after long hard work, support from others and temporary grinding failure. Predictable, but easy to justify, for those who voted.

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