As I've already said, I'm not watching the Oscars this evening. I so rarely agree with the winners these days that it would just be an exercise in frustration. I've tried to watch all of the films with any kind of buzz around them, and got through all but The Reader. I had planned on writing a long diatribe about my picks for the major categories, but this morning my motherboard crapped out on me.
Since I'm borrowing time (and a computer) to write this, I'll have to make it brief:
I really hope that Mickey Rourke wins for The Wrestler. Not only was that the best performance, I think it was the best picture, even though it wasn't nominated. I'm one of the few people who aren't rooting for Slumdog Millionaire. Not only do I not think it was the best film of the year, I wouldn't have even nominated it. Hell, I don't think I would even put it in my top ten of the year. I honestly can't understand the push for this movie to win. (Of course, I couldn't understand The Departed winning either. I still think it's one of the worst films ever to win.) The characters are barely developed, the acting isn't that good (you'll notice none of them are nominated), the score quickly becomes irritating, and the direction--more specifically, the camerawork--is so "in-your-face" and obvious that it obscures what, at times, is an interesting story. And speaking of the story, I also felt that it couldn't decide what kind of film it wanted to be. If any of my students had turned in something like that, I would have called it "unfocused."
Don't get me wrong: It's not a bad little film. I just don't think it ranks up there with the others. I would gladly have replaced it with Gran Torino if I could. I never felt a connection, a care, or even a worry about the characters in Slumdog. Every time I thought I might, they moved on to some other aspect of the film. The Wrestler, Gran Torino, and many of the other nominees? I got into the characters; I felt moved by the stories. One of the ways I judge a film is how often I look at my watch, or how quickly (or not) the time flies by. I've had three hour films (such as The Shawshank Redemption) that seemed over before I knew it, and eighty minute films that seemed interminable. I checked my watch more than a little while watching Slumdog.
And I don't have anything against foreign films, or films with socio-political undertones, as anyone who knows me will attest. I thought The Visitor was a better film than Slumdog. (And even though I want the Mickster to win, I won't shed a tear if Richard Jenkins wins--he was great.)
Well, the ceremony is almost here, and I'm certain later tonight, or tomorrow, when I hear the winners, I'll be disappointed, but not that disappointed, as I've come to expect so little from the Academy.
There's always next year...