Wednesday, December 3, 2008

FORUM: Oscar Hopefuls...

So, as many of you may have read, the new nominations for The Independent Spirit Awards have been released, officially starting awards season, at least in the way of the actual awards. There has been much talk about Oscar hopefuls, as this year has been a rather weak fall season, but the overall feel of the year has been more than positive. That all said, there are a few films yet to be released, wide at least, that have an insane buzz for the coveted award show.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire
The Reader
Reservation Road
Gran Torino
The Wrestler

I'll get back to those in a second, but the thing I would like to get into here, consists of two things...

First, what films do YOU believe will get the privilege of being nominated for an Oscar? These are the top 5 films that I would give my respective votes to...

1. The Dark Knight
Cliche as it may be to say, this film may be the single greatest comic book film to date. The direction is brilliant, and sure I've been one of the many people to openly admit it's a very flawed film, but it's due to one thing that 99.9% of films would love to even think about. It's ambitious. The allegories to the modern state of affairs in the U.S. is handled very well, without a heavy hand, and it features a brilliant total ensemble performance, spearheaded by three stellar supporting performances from Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and of course, Heath Ledger. Flawed, but ambitious, and that's more than I can say for any film this year

2. Paranoid Park
This may be the most gorgeous film of this year, so far. The stellar cinematography used during this film, along with the poetic super 8 footage of skateboarders, is breathtaking. Also, the fact that very few, maybe less than one can count on one hand, of the actors in this film were pros, makes it all the more surprising. Gus Van Sandt takes his style seen in Gerry, Elephant, and Last Days, and takes it to a new and more powerful level. I can't wait to check this one out again on DVD, as it may be the best film I've seen all year.

3. Funny Games
Where oh where do I start with this flick. Dark as dark can get, slowly paced, yet disturbingly poetic. This shot for shot remake of a 1997 Austrian film from director Michael Haneke, who also helms this remake, may be the most frightening and disturbing film I've seen in a long time. It's almost like Haneke simply felt like taking Gus van Sandt's style, and then decided to remake A Clockwork Orange. Its lyrically shot, it's horrible degrading, and the performances are also quite good, featuring a great performance from Michael Pitt and the always great Naomi Watts. Not for everyone though, definitely not for everyone.

4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
This is the anti-Dark Knight. This is the most simple film I think I may have seen, all year. It's about two women, opposites of each other, and them striving to make their lives worth while, or what they deam worthwhile. Throw in two great supporting performances from Javier Bardem and Oscar lock Penelope Cruz, and you have Woody Allen's return to top form.

5. The Fall
A visual feast. Tarsem proves that sometimes, style over substance is a bonus. However, with this film, the substance is so compelling, that it makes for one hell of a duo. Gorgeous cinematography and design, and a pair of performances from first timer Catinca Untaru, and a personal favorite of mine, Lee Pace, and you have one of the more surprising films of this year. It's almost like a modern day Wizard of Oz, and it just plain works.

So, those are the five films I would nominate right now. What about you? Who would you nominate? Do I expect any of these to be nominated, no, except the Dark Knight, which brings me to my next question...

What films yet to be widely released do you believe have a good shot of getting a nod at the Academy Awards? Here is my list...

The Dark Knight
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire
Reservation Road

What about you guys? Any films you think could surprise voters?

Come back later for more news and notes...

Go see something good!

1 comment:

  1. I think Milk will probably end up being one of those movies that gets a ton of nominations but only one or two minor awards. And I don't think there's as high a chance of this happening anymore, but there's still a slim chance of a TDK sweep.


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