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

25 February 2012

2012's Nominees: Part 10 of 10

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
1 Nomination
  • Visual Effects
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Cast: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo.

This movie is so good! I know what you're thinking, but seriously. The visual effects are marvelous, sure (I love me some mocap), but the film is also clever and smart, and I went with it even though it took some definitely unexpected turns. James Franco does yell "Caesar!" a lot of times – I feel like that whole trailer is just filled with him yelling that name – but what a good movie! If Academy members have seen this movie, they'll vote for it, which is why I'm expecting it to win. 
Will Win: Visual Effects
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #14 out of 68

Real Steel
1 Nomination
  • Visual Effects
Director: Shawn Levy
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Olga Fonda, Karl Yune, Kevin Durand, Hope Davis, James Rebhorn.

This was the worst movie I saw all year. In fact, I think every year this happens: the worst movie I see all year is a movie that I only see because it was nominated for an Oscar. Oh well. In this film, giant robots punch one another. What's sort of hilarious about this is that I am forever complaining about how giant robots in movies always punch each other (see Transformers and Iron Man). I can never understand why future generations don't invent some more interesting form of combat. You're a robot with advance technologies; shoot a missile, for chrissakes! Also: the film is filled with product placements. There are dozens of them, actually. My companions and I started counting them simply to keep our interest: Dr. Pepper, Cadillac, Coca-Cola, Nokia, Bing, Capital One... it's shameless.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #68 out of 68

The Muppets
1 Nomination
  • Original Song ("Man or Muppet"): Bret McKenzie
Director: James Bobin
Cast: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Alan Arkin, Jack Black.

There are two songs nominated for Best Original Song this year. There is a complicated reason for the two nominees, but they involve the Music branch's numeric system for rating songs. If only one song scores above some kind of threshold, there are only two nominees. The second nominee is the song with the most votes that doesn't score above the threshold. I feel comfortable saying, after seeing both movies with nominated songs, that "Man or Muppet" was clearly the runner-up here. I watched this Muppet film, and I have to say: I don't get it. I just don't understand. I know the whole point of this film is cashing in on nostalgia for the muppets and love for them and how much everyone misses them and all, but this is the first Muppet thing I've seen and I just don't get it. There were a lot of cameos in this film, too, but I honestly didn't recognize half of them either. Seriously: who is Selena Gomez? (Did I mention this song is going to win on Sunday?)
Will Win: Original Song
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #62 out of 68

Rio
1 Nomination
  • Original Song ("Real in Rio"): Siedah Garrett ("Love You I Do" from Dreamgirls), Sergio Mendes
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, George Lopez, Jamie Foxx, will.i.am, Tracy Morgan.

Two important things to say about Rio. 1) "Real in Rio" is a delightful little song. I was an immediate fan. 2) Rio is a good little movie. It is easily better than 3/5 of the nominees for Best Animated Feature. All of this baffles me, frankly, and after an evening of seeing The Muppets I don't really know what else to say. I found Rio really cute and filled with amusing characters. Also: it's extremely colorful, has some beautiful shots of Rio de Janeiro, and it's also – as it turns out – quite funny. I was a fan. I want to say two more less-important things about Rio: 3) The Academy has a tradition of nominating films with Brazilian rhythms and music for Oscars in the music categories (Brazil (1944), Flying Down to Rio (1933), as well as the Crosby/Hope comedy Road to Rio from 1947) and 4) I was delighted by how much the animated films this year were filled with languages other than English. Rio has a good deal of Portuguese in it, and Rango, Chico & Rita, and Puss in Boots are all filled with Spanish. I appreciate this trend.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: Original Song
My Rating#38 out of 68