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

02 February 2013

Oscar Nominees 2013: Part 6 of 13

The Impossible
1 Nomination
  • Actress: Naomi Watts (21 Grams)
Cast: Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast, Sönke Möhring, Ploy Jindachote, Geraldine Chaplin

This could have been a movie-of-the-week-style sentimental melodrama. And it wouldn't surprise me if some viewers received it that way. I found the whole thing riveting. Now, it's not called The Impossible for nothing: the story is (to be oxymoronic about it) truly incredible. This family's story is really lovely, though, and the acting is great across the board – from the big stars Watts and McGregor, to the young children, to a beautiful single scene starring legendary actress Geraldine Chaplin. For me this is one of the hidden gems of the year, buried, for some reason, at the very end of the year. I want, also, to say that I am really happy that Naomi Watts snagged a nomination here. She is one of Hollywood's hardest-working performers, but she hasn't been nominated since 21 Grams which was over 10 years ago. She is a good performer who doesn't always get the best roles (my friend Justin once quipped that she's the poor man's Nicole Kidman) but she always does good work and chooses interesting films. Remember I ♥ Huckabees or The Painted Veil or We Don't Live Here Anymore? Good stuff.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #13 out of 63

Moonrise Kingdom
1 Nomination
  • Original Screenplay: Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums) & Roman Coppola
Director: Anderson
Cast: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel

Yeah, this is an excellent picture. In my top ten for the year. And actually I think it is sort of absurd that Adam Stockhausen's incredible production design was overlooked by the Academy. (I am not surprised, I just think it is absurd.) I also think that Moonrise really ought to win this award. This film is honest and profound while being simple and very, very funny. In short, it accomplishes a great deal in a short amount of time, while never losing steam. I don't harbor any dreams that it can actually win the Original Screenplay Oscar, but it deserves it. And the truth is, Wes Anderson's films are so consistently interesting that even if Oscar never quite pays attention, they will always be must-sees for me.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #7 out of 63

The Sessions
1 Nomination
  • Supporting Actress: Helen Hunt (As Good as It Gets)
Director: Ben Lewin
Cast: John Hawkes, Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood, Rhea Perlman, Adam Arkin, Ming Lo, Annika Marks, W. Earl Brown

This is a movie with a very big heart but not much else. John Hawkes plays famous disability-activist and poet Mark O'Brien, and the movie charts his relationships with a couple of different women, most importantly his sex therapist (Helen Hunt). Unlike most films, The Sessions is very sex-positive, and because I love sex-positivity, I was disposed to enjoy this movie, but... well the film shifts its tone with rapid frequency, moving from broad comedy to ineffectual stand-up (the scenes with William H. Macy) to scenes played very seriously. Hunt is absolutely wonderful in her role, and she has a scene near the end with Rhea Perlman that is wise and beautiful. But by that time I was rather tired of The Sessions, which I must say  has the absolute worst title of any movie this year. If you thought Silver Linings Playbook's title was bad (and it is), surely The Sessions takes the cake. The Sessions??? I know The Forty-Year-Old Virgin was already taken, but have a bit more imagination.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #47 out of 63