Oscars 2012: One Big Yawn of Agreement

The Oscars are clearly, and arbitrarily, the most important of all the award ceremonies yet coming as they do after a dozen of similar awards are given out to the same winners, by the time the Oscars finally arrive we are suffering from award season fatigue. This is where the desire for surprising winners comes in, despite The Artist, Meryl Streep, Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer all being worthy winners writing about them winning the awards they were tipped to win isn’t all that exciting.

But is that the point? The Artist really was the best film of the past year and deserves to win all the awards it won, the list of winners is not surprising but for the first time in years it is hard to disagree with any of the choices. Let’s not gripe about predictability and just be happy that worthy winners won awards and that Eddie Murphy wasn’t the host.

I am happy that The Artist won five Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Costume Design and Best Score) leaving Hugo to pick up all the technical awards. I am happy that A Separation won Best Foreign Language Film for being an amazing drama and that Rango won Best Animated Film despite being semi-grown-up. I’m happy that Woody Allen won an Oscar for the screenplay for Midnight in Paris and showed that he remains a relevant film-maker. I’m happy that Jim Rash co-won an award for co-writing The Descendants leaving amazing-but-almost-cancelled-sitcom Community with an Oscar winner amongst its cast. I’m happy that The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore won Best Animated Short Film because, as we all know, it is damned adorable.

What I am most happy about is Bret McKenzie won the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Man or Muppet”. There has never been a more obvious (there was only one other nominee for a start) yet deserving win.

So there you have it, the 2012 Oscar awards have made me happy but weren’t very exciting. It was the award ceremony equivalent of eating a trifle (for me at least).

2012 Golden Globes Nominations

With awards season truly hotting up we are treated with the nominations for the 2012 Golden Globe Awards. They’re an interesting bunch, a lot of the more challenging and/or smaller films have been passed by. The Los Angles Times has it spot on when they say that the nominations seem to recognise those works featuring the A-list actors, more accessible films and less dark dramas. No Tyrannosaur or Like Crazy to be found below.

What you will find is my gut reaction and my opinions for each category (apart from Best Original Song and Best Original Score as that is not my strong suit) whether you want it or not. Continue reading

Out Now – 2nd December 2011

The Thing
A prequel (not a remake) to the 1982 classic, we see just what went on in the Norwegian camp before it became the charred, bloody mess we saw in the original. Worth seeing for a bit of Mary Elizabeth Winstead and deciding whether CGI can match extreme puppetry.

Happy Feet Two
The original was an all-singing, all-dancing penguin adventure turned environmental message film. While Mumble struggled to sing and started a dancing craze amongst the penguins, his son struggles to dance. This plot reversal reminds me of The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea. Not that I’ve seen it. Obviously.

Hugo
“Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.” I’m not sure either but this marks Scorsese’s debut into the world of 3D children’s films and has a message of preserving films. Curious.

The Big Year (limited release)
Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson are rival bird watchers in this comedy we should already start trying to forget.

Romantics Anonymous (limited release)
Two highly emotional and pathologically timid French people fall in love in this quirky romantic comedy. Plenty of chocolate is involved. Amélie meets Chocolat.

Ghett’a Life (limited release)
“An “against the odds” action drama set in a politically turbulent inner city community of Kingston. Derrick, a determined inner city teenager realizes his dream of becoming a champion boxer despite a country, community and family conflicted by divisive political system.” Not another Cool Runnings then?

The Last Waltz (limited release)
Scorsese goes for a double with a re-release of this late-seventies documentary about the last concert of The Band.

We Have a Pope (limited release)
Italian comedy-drama in which a newly elected pope struggles to deal with the unexpected situation of being the pontiff with the help of his therapist.

Las Acacias (limited release)
This Spanish-language film has a synopsis on IMDb which I completely failed to understand. Summarise it for me and I’ll buy you a Curly Wurly.

Camp Hell (limited release)
Advertised as starring Jesse Eisenberg when in reality he only has a brief cameo, presumably filmed before he became famous. Eisenberg wants so little to do with this film he is suing the distributors.

Surviving Life (limited release)
Czech comedy mixing live action with cut-out animation using photographs, about a man living a double life in his dream. Like Goodnight Sweetheart but not nearly so bad.

Margaret (limited release)
Set for release over four years ago this film must have given up hope by now. Anna Paquin stars as a teenage girl worried she may have caused a bus accident. A cast including Matt Damon, Kieran Culkin, Allison Janney, Mark Ruffalo and Jean Reno make you wonder what held this film back for so long.