Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

22 January 2008

Jolie's Snub

Angelina Jolie, though she was thought a veritable lock for an Oscar nomination this morning, was snubbed by the Academy. It's a snub that I predicted back in June when her movie, A Mighty Heart was released. I didn't see the movie and expected that Jolie would be overlooked come Oscar nomination morning. I was right.

The thing is, I had been avoiding the movie since June, but then I watched Mira Nair's The Namesake last week (it's really good, but I wish it were more intelligent than it is) and a slot opened up in my Netflix queue. By this time, everyone was naming Jolie as a lock for a nomination, so I thought I should relent and send away for it, even though the nominations didn't come out until this morning.

Fastforward to today, when, realizing she was snubbed, I now have wasted my Netflix slot. I mean, I still haven't seen Transformers or Norbit or Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, yet, right? And I need to send away for those movies. And now, since it didn't wind up getting any nominations, I don't need to see A Mighty Heart, which the trailer made look so sentimental and silly.

But I popped the DVD in tonight, figuring I would send it back to Netflix in the morning and clear some space for the movies I need to see now that they've been nominated (Surf's Up, In the Valley of Elah). Boy was I wrong. Angelina Jolie was seriously fucking robbed this morning. And the film is excellent.

As a matter of fact, the only thing wrong with A Mighty Heart is its cloying title. Michael Winterbottom's film, which is the story of Mariane Pearl, the wife of journalist Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped in Pakistan in 2002, is never dull, moves along at a rapid pace, and is edited like a memoir, interweaving tiny splices of the Pearl's lives together with the kidnapping crisis. It's also a kind of cubist retelling of the situation, taking snapshots of Pearl's parents, the police departments, CIA, and other journalists working the story in addition to Mariane Pearl herself. I found the film incredibly moving, and also searingly intelligent about U.S.-Middle East relations. Pearl is an amazing, heroic character and Jolie plays her with tenacity and an incredible inner power. It's a truly superb performance, and Winterbottom's film is one of my favorites for the year. I was a fool to wait this long.