Sunday, February 13, 2011

Nana won't agree, but my choice is clear.

Sunday is coming, Oscar Sunday that is. For me this is quite the occasion. I know that many are surprised to have Oscar Sunday come upon them, but for me it's something that I've seen coming for a while. It is a day that is filled with traditions that are only outnumbered by Thanksgiving and Christmas. For me the preparation takes more time than both those Holidays combined because I need to see all of the important films being nominated. A few days before the big event, I enjoy a lengthy conversation with my Nana, a sweet catholic woman in her late 80's. We discuss all the best picture nominees, who we think deserves to win and what performances we really loved. Over the years it has remained a treat; This member of the greatest generation, this woman who helped raise me sees me as an equal and with a deep love for cinema we share our opinions.

Most years we align. Last year we both thought Inglorious Basterds would make waves, Sandra Bullock would get an award for no good reason and Avatar should only be mentioned at that pre-oscar nerd ceremony. You know, the one where they have the pretty girl host and the speeches are in Klingon or Binary Code. For all my nerd friends; 011000010111011001100001011101000110000101110010001000000111001101110101011000110110101101110011

Anyway, this year is shaping up to be a 2 horse race and I fear my Nana and the Academy are going to align in their opinions and I just see things differently. I saw The Social Network on opening weekend and was blown away. It is a great film. It is modern, has something to say about the way people interact and what motivates us. It was beautifully shot, the script was well crafted, this is the kind of movie I want to see studios make. The kind of movie that you walk out of the theater discussing. The kind of movie that is set in the world we all inhabit. I was pretty sure I had seen my best picture. 

Truth be told. this movie came out in October and December is the season of the Oscar Film. Sure enough I kept hearing buzz about a great little film called Kings Speech. It was getting Oscar Buzz before it had even been released to a majority of the country. Everyone that I talked to about the movie walked out saying "Well, that was just great" with a sentimental head tilt. When I walked out of the film, I had the same reaction; just great (head tilt). Not groundbreaking, not inventive, just the story that you expect from this kind of art house picture. The story of a man beating the insurmountable odds, the story of kinship found in an unlikely place, the period piece we've all seen before. King's Speech entertained me, but it didn't wow me.

I fear that a majority of people who receive Oscar Ballots will take the side of my Nana and go with the status quo. I loathe the idea of the academy giving an Oscar to The Social Network because it will bring in the young viewers (the same way I loathe Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosting the Oscars). With that said, occasionally films are made in a time for that time. It is easy to monday morning quarterback, to look back and have a sense of gravitas because you know the outcome. It is another thing entirely to have a film that says something profound about a force that we don't fully understand yet. The film where you find a friend in an unlikely place is common. The film where the guy hosting a 500 million friend party finds himself alone is uncommon. My hope is that a few Sundays from now, the cast and crew from The Social Network will take the stage and take hold of the award they deserve. Because sometimes traditions should be broken, precedence should be defied and my Nana should be wrong. 


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