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

22 February 2011

2011's Nominees: Part 11 of 12

1 Nomination:
  · Best Visual Effects

Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Matt Damon, Cécile de France, Frankie McLaren, George McLaren, Thierry Neuvic, Jessica Griffiths, Jay Mohr
Haven't seen this one (this is the last of these, so I can stop having shame about it.) But let's talk about Clint Eastwood for a second. It is odd how the Academy is really into him sometimes and then other times they just sort of ignore him. I mean, he makes a picture that everyone is head-over-heels about like Mystic River or Million Dollar Baby or Letters from Iwo Jima but then his film Gran Torino gets virtually no buzz, while a film like Changeling can grab a couple of nominations but no real traction. It is odd to me that his films don't really pick up much steam any more, or rather that they are so critically hit or miss. No one really paid attention to Hereafter when it came out, despite the presence of Matt Damon, whereas last year's Eastwood movie Invictus (which I thought was mostly a load of sentimental nonsense) got Damon his second Oscar nomination. I don't understand any of this, I have to admit. 

Will Win: N/A
Might Win: N/A
My Rating: Not Yet Rated

1 Nomination:
  · Best Original Song: Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid x2, Beauty and the Beast x3, Aladdin x2, Pocahontas, Hercules, Enchanted x3), Glenn Slater

Director: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
Cast: Donna Murphy, Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi
This movie was cute but really odd. First of all, there are really only these three voices in the film. Everyone else is kind of silent. This is not exactly true, but for the most part no one speaks in the movie. Even the king and queen who are Rapunzel's parents have basically no lines. And I found the songs kind of strange, as well. The movie has some really cool moments – the sequence in the poster with the floating lights being its high point – but it is overall rather uneven. I don't think the song has much of a chance of winning here. Menken is a multiple winner and this is hardly his best work. You will also have noted that Tangled is conspicuously absent from the Best Animated Feature nominees. The translation of that is that the Academy didn't care for the movie very much.

Will Win: N/A
Might Win: N/A
My Rating: #29 out of 48

1 Nomination:
  · Best Original Song: Troy Verges, Hillary Lindsey, Tom Douglas

Director: Shana Feste
Cast: Garrett Hedlund, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Leighton Meester
Okay, I am going to take this moment to defend this movie a little bit. Not that the movie is good or that it works, but I think Shana Feste was really trying to tell a story here that doesn't get told very frequently. The story of the film is actually the story of a depressive woman – a woman is not going to get back on her feet, who is too depressed, for whom life is literally too much to deal with. The film is billed as a kind of triumph-over-your-problems drama, but it cannot deliver on this because director Feste is actually interested in telling this important story. So she avoids cliché when it comes to Gwyneth Paltrow's character. The trouble is, that the film isn't about Paltrow's character. The film is about the main male character, played (smolderingly) by Garrett Hedlund. And every part of the Garrett Hedlund plot is ridden with clichés. So I think Country Strong is an honest film trapped inside a dishonest one. It doesn't work; that much is true, but I think it is rather an honorable failure. As for the music, I loved it. There are more than a few (i.e. seven or more) really good songs on the soundtrack, and while I don't particularly like country music, I have found myself listening to the cd on my way into work in the mornings belting "I get a little bit stronger / I'm done hopin' we can work it out / I'm done with how it feels / Spinnin' my wheels / And lettin' you drag my heart around" with a country twang. Judge away.
Will Win: N/A
Might Win: Original Song
My Rating: #33 out of 48