Best Picture is the most revered categories in the Oscars. In recent years the Academy has decided to change the number of nominees from five to ten but this year, interestingly, they only selected nine movies to be nominated. Interesting because I expected Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom to be nominated but it wasn’t. I haven’t watched Amour so it’s at the bottom of the list with the trailer.
- Argo is based on the recently declassified mission to get six hostages out of Iran in the 70s. This movie, directed by Ben Affleck, is a great ‘rah rah America’ movie without being over the top. There were tense, nail-biting moments along the way which is great because we do all know how it ends. The use of TV footage from the 70s is a great touch to making it seem much more accurate and real. I don’t know what to say about this movie because it was just all so great and I want it to win the Oscar over Lincoln. Please? I can’t describe how upset I am that Ben Affleck isn’t nominated for the Best Director award.
- Les Misérables is the musical nominated in this year’s Oscars. This was a wonderful version of Les Miserables, and I’m happy to say it was one of my favourite movies of the year. Everyones acting and singing was incredible, but I just don’t think it seems like something that will win the Best Picture Oscar. Maybe it just seemed too fun? I don’t know. Either way, it was absolutely incredible and emotional and I want to watch it again already.
- Silver Linings Playbook has a strong cast and emotional story. Pat comes out of a mental institution trying to reconcile with his wife but instead he meets a mysterious girl, Tiffany, who has problems of her own. Bradley Cooper never falters as Pat as he gets pulled in multiple directions. Jennifer Lawrence was stunning (as always) in her role as Tiffany and the entire supporting cast seemed so real in their performances. A moving story inside a comical backdrop, this film was a lot of fun to watch. Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj5_FhLaaQQ
- Life of Pi is adapted from Yann Martel’s novel of the same name about an Indian boy who explores spirituality from an early age. The special effects were beautiful with the tiger looking positively realistic. Full disclosure: I haven’t read the book, but from what I hear the writers did a good job translating the story to the screen. I never found myself confused or needing explanation, so I’d say they did a good job. Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZEZ35Fhvuc
- Lincoln has the most nominations in the Oscars this year, coming in at 12. If you know American history at all, this movie was predictable but that wasn’t the point of it. The journey to get the Thirteenth Amendment passed is what matters, and it was an interesting political drama. Spreading this movie over two and a half hours was a bit much. Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWpMt2-Z-fc
- Django Unchained is a classic Tarantino film. Violent, bloody, with lots of swearing and a great script. Christoph Waltz finds himself in a good guy role in a Tarantino film? What? As always, Tarantino puts together a wonderful cast with Jamie Fox, Kerry Washington, Leo Dicaprio, Samuel L Jackson, and Christoph Waltz. The soundtrack mixes in remarkably well. The story of a slave turned bounty hunter looking for his wife that has been bought by one of the worst plantation owners. Although tackling difficult subjects, this movie has restarted dialogue about slavery and related topics which seems to be exactly what Tarantino always goes for in his films. With all Tarantino films, this was really enjoyable if you don’t mind blood and violence. Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8CZKbDzP1E
- Beasts of the Southern Wild is a unique interpretation of Hurricane Katrina and its effects in southern Louisiana. Quvenzhané Wallis gives a powerful performance for someone of only nine years old. This was a very interesting, artsy narrative piece but I’m not sure I can wrap my head around all the little intricacies. The score for this movies is one of my favourites for all of the 2012. Hell, for even longer than that probably! I don’t know if it was my favourite of the nominees, but it definitely deserves to be on the list! Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF7i2n5NXLo
- Zero Dark Thirty is about the decade long manhunt on al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Ladin. This movie was OK, nothing that I would rave about like so many are doing, but also not bad. A character piece about Maya, the woman who tracked bin Ladin down, but we don’t see much development. A CIA bureaucratic film with torture and Navy SEALs. There’s no surprises in this film because we all know the story of bin Ladin’s death in May 2011. This film could have done so much more, delving into controversy or asking moral questions, but instead they played it safe. I expected more from Bigelow, because I enjoyed The Hurt Locker so much. Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAtWcvCxPhc
- Amour is a French foreign language film.