Welcome to the 3rd annual "Walt goes all out & watches every nominated movie for two months like he's a member of the Academy". It started when I moved out to LA & had a bit of time right after SNC's fall tour. The tradition has now moved with me back east & it's safe to say I'm more engaged than ever in this quick-spirit hobby of part-time movie critic.
For the first time, aside from the animated features, I have watched everything that was nominated for the Oscars. Everything. All 10 Best Picture noms (even Amour): Yes. The movies with the Best Supporting Actresses: Yep. Documentaries?: All 5. The Wife suggested renting the nominees for live short film... watched those too.
Why??? I honestly don't know, it became obsessive... and I had a blast.
I should take this chance to thank my wife. Not necessarily for her allowance in letting me do this exercise (that too), but more so for her teaching me through acting osmosis what dictates a great film, great writing, great performances. Best soundtrack: I'm pretty set identifying that category. Everything else, she's taught me a ton.
Used to tweet after each movie I saw. I figured along the way that the majority of people following @SNCWalt care mostly about "Walt of SNC" & mainly the SNC element of that the most (hence the creation @SportsWalt as well). I decided to funnel my #MovieWalt into one big pre-Oscar blog. Here goes...
Who will win: Lincoln
Who should win: Zero Dark Thirty... or Argo... (or Lincoln?)
- In years past, I felt strongly about one movie being the top dog. In both cases (Social Network & The Help) were beat out by movies I felt strongly against (not so much King's Speech, but ABSOLUTELY The Artist). This year, I barely give my nod to Zero Dark Thirty in a dead heat with Argo & Lincoln (more on Lincoln later). Across the board, this is the deepest class of Best Pictures (looking back several years) with five movies (including Django & Silver Lining Playbook) worthy of a Best Picture award (all better than The Artist and even The Help in my mind).
Zero Dark Thirty: Focusing on the movie & not the controversy is hard, but try. Blown away by the performance in every way, how it was shot/directed. And try to phantom this: Bin Ladin died May 1, 2011. How the heck did they make this movie in time for theaters December 2012!!! The attention to detail, the volume of intricate scenes, the perfection placed in covering so many aspects of this war: I would imagine it taking decades to do what they did in so little time.
Argo: The second half of the film is the most tense hour of a movie that I can remember. One of the strongest casts you'll see, Alan Arkin can play himself in any movie & it's always award worthy. Bravo to Afflack on all fronts, the most entertaining film of any nominated.
Who will win: Daniel Day Lewis
Who should win: DDL
Lincoln: He's good, there's no contest. The movie's just as tremendous. From the historical detail to the direction to the acting, it deserves every accolade.
Who will & should win: Jennifer Lawrence
Silver Lining Playbook: So good in so many ways. Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence deserve every word of praise they get. But DeNiro & Jacki Weaver both up for supporting? Not so much. Screenplay, performances, everything about it (except the kitchen scene where they make the wager which was really forced & lasted an eternity) was fantastic. Tackles mental illness with grace & humor. Loved it.
Who will & should win: Spielberg
- I've already talked up Lincoln, & some might say Daniel Day Lewis could direct himself. But the vision, the magnitude & the subtly of Lincoln was so well conveyed by Spielberg. How the HECK Afflack & Kathryn Bigelow were left out is a mystery to me. More on that later (see Amour)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Who will win: Tommy Lee Jones
Who should win: Christoph Waltz
- The "Lincoln love" gets out of hand here. Tommy Lee Jones plays himself & gets handed a great role. That's it, call me a hater. Now, on to Christoph..
- Tarantino discovered Waltz from German TV & thank goodness. His roles in Inglorious Bastards & Django steal the screen with no contest alongside the likes of Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCapiro, Jamie Foxx, etc in those two films. I will watch anything he is in going forward until further notice.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Who will & should win: Anne Hathaway
Les Mis: I kept trying... Trying to erase years of knowing the story, the songs, the great performances of each character done by someone else. I kept trying to remind myself that Hugh Jackman & most of the stars were there to sell the marque & that those songs that I wanted to reach that epic place just would not occur (exception being Anne Hathaway who should win hands down for Best Supporting Actress). And most of all, I tried to understand why, who & for what reason Russell Crowe was casted - he was worse than you have heard he was (if you happened to miss the movie).
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Who will win: Zero Dark Thirty
Who should win: Django Unchained
Django Unchained: Top three Tarantino movies: Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Bastards & this one. Best screenplay, this takes the cake. With two civil war classics in this year's class, Django couldn't be a better ying to Lincoln's yang. Django shows slavery from the front lines, collides with a classic Tarantino tale & forms a cutting, edge of your seat, at times hard to watch (not only for its violence but for the reality of slave labor) classic.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Who will win: Lincoln
Who should win: Argo
- It's like" 1A" & "1B" with Argo & Lincoln in my mind for almost everything. The films are so different, but in this category the Argo concept & delivery I think edges out Lincoln here.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Who will win: John Williams, Lincoln
Who should win: Mychael Danna, Life of Pi
Life of Pi: Visually stunning & the music compliments the visual so well (feel John Williams tries too much to make you notice he was the composer). Not a fan of the film: It's an Indian boy playing Tom Hanks in Cast Away if there was a tiger instead of that volleyball Wilson & a much, much, MUCH worse ending.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Who should & will win: Skyfall (Adele transcends everything now a days)
CATEGORIES I WILL SKIM AS I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THESE CATEGORIES
Cinematography (Life of Pi)
Costume Design (Les Mis)
Film Editing (Argo)
Makeup & Hair (Les Mis)
Production design (Les Mis)
Sound editing (Zero Dark Thirty)
Sound mixing (Les Mis - though they missed Russell Crowe's track, zinga!)
Visual effects (Life of Pi - the tiger is CGI!!!)
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
- This one's always the easiest to pick. Only one foreign language film was nominated for Best Picture overall. Betting odds says that one wins...
Amour: Yep, I saw Amour. If you haven't seen it, it is what you think: Strong acting, beautiful at parts, slooooooooooooow as sin, & about love. If it's a requirement by the Academy to nominate foreign films like Amour for Best Picture, I can live with that. But Afflack & Bigelow not nominated for Best Director over Amour's Michael Haneke? Maybe I don't understand what "direction" is, which is fine, my eye test could be looking at the wrong things. I'm not recommending watching Amour, but Emmanuelle Riva's performance (along with the lack of depth in the category) makes her my runner up for Best Actress.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Who will win & should win (and you NEED to see!): Searching for Sugar Man
- Probably the most gratifying surprise of this whole experiment was watching these five films. Incredible stories. I would recommend them all (except The Invisible War). Most are available to rent on iTunes.
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
- Again, watched all of these (iTunes thankfully). Would not recommend doing this yourself. Curfew was the only one without subtitles & I think it was the strongest by far.
OTHER FILMS NOMINATED FOR STUFF...
Flight: Denzel is worthy of the nomination (Best Actor). Film to film he is one of the best "transformation actors", in this case playing drunk, complete loser with heart. Recommend (unless you're scared of flying, then skip)
The Sessions: Biggest snub for Best Actor? John Hawkes. Incredible true story. Helen Hunt was naked a lot. William H Macy plays the coolest priest of all time. Recommend for all reasons
The Master: Fascinating storyline, incredible acting (Phillip Seymour Hoffman is my favorite actor alive), powerful all around... So why did I dislike this movie so much? I honestly don't know. This doesnt rival the complete hatred I had for "The Artist", but I would never recommend this movie to be watched to a casual movie goer. Not recommending
Beast of the Southern Wild: This year's The Artist for me. Waaaaaaaaaay too artsy with zero payoff. The Academy will relish the spotlight of getting a nine year old nominated for Best Actress but it couldn't be less deserved. (Rare to read an SNC blog where someone's hating on a kid - but there you go). Not recommended
...if you stuck with me until the end, kudos to you. Hope you enjoyed #MovieWalt's take. Until next year, enjoy the 75th Oscars.
-Walt of SNC
On Twitter @SNCWalt & @SportsWalt (of course)