Just as Mark Twain came in with Halley and went out with Halley, I fully intend to come in with Oscar and go out with Oscar. Now the time on this is a little less specific since the Academy Awards happen every year, but I entered with the 16th and plan to exit somewhere after the 106th in 2034. When your life is tied to an annual event, you tend to pay attention. Every year, the party is held, the ballots are handed out, the participants arrive dressed to the nines, and the winners are rewarded. THIS IS AN EVENT!!!
So what is happening with the 2012 films to be honored in 2013?
At present the likely top contenders for best film are:
Now I have a somewhat unusual criterion for Best Picture. In a so so year, any good film that I really enjoyed is okay. In a great year, I want the wheat sorted from the chaff. In a confusing year, I don’t know what I want. Except for my ardent wishes, this is a confusing year. As of right now I have seen:
The Master – Sorry critics, but I hated it. Intensely acted story by actors who did well in a story I quite simply don’t care about with characters of absolutely no interest – A wasted two hours or so of my life
Moonrise Kingdom – Charming, sweet, unique, good acting, lovely little story … a movie I would enjoy re-watching sometime a decade or so from now.
Argo – Great exciting film, excellent script, adventure adventure adventure. Anything new or different? Not really – It is an escape film and rather fun. Would I re-watch it at some point? Well yeah, maybe…. would I care after the first viewing? No.
Flight: Now this is a good movie. Good story, great acting, interesting story etc. What it comes down to is despite the great acting job, a drunk is a drunk is a drunk, and would this really be in contention if it weren’t for Denzel?
Movies I haven’t seen as yet, but will before decision day: Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi, Zero Dark 30, Beasts of the Southern wild, Django Unchained, Hitchcock, and Les Miserables. Now I’ve seen trailers or read extensive comments on all of these (see above links). At present I’m semi on the fence about Lincoln, Django Unchained and Les Miserables.
My instincts are saying these are the cream rising to the top. One is a biopic about an iconic president based on an incredible book with an excellent actor in the lead. One is something unusual with the heart of American history and a couple of great actors to bring the unusual to life. Finally, we have a musical the globe has been waiting to see on the screen for more than 25 years, based upon a classic novel with the lead the single best entertainer on the stage today. For those who only know Daniel Day Lewis as the intense actor of My Left Foot, he has transformed himself to become another man and he has done it well. For those who know Jamie Foxx from his previous Oscar win, this is another chance. For those who only know Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, wake up – they don’t hand you Golden globes, Emmys and Tonys for goofing off and his acting chops were honed in The Fountain and Prestige. This is the single best overall entertainer working in all mediums today. If this movie pulls it off, this is an EGOT waiting to happen with an Oscar and soundtrack Grammy for this film.
For now I have all my chips on Les Miserables for picture and actor. On Christmas day I will be doing a Rockefeller double feature (a term I should probably copy write) with The Hobbit and Les Miserables and a probable get back in line for Les Mis on the next day if only because I truly love Jean Val Jean and it has been a long wait.