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

05 February 2014

Oscar Nominees 2014: Part 5 of 14

2 Nominations
  • Animated Feature
  • Original Song: Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez
Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Maia Wilson, Alan Tudyk, Ciarán Hinds

This is cute and good for all sorts of reasons. I wasn't quite as crazy about the nominated song "Let It Go" as I was about some of the film's other songs – "Fixer Upper", for example, or my personal favorite "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" – but the song is as wildly popular as the film, and the Academy, I am sure, will love to have Broadway star Idina Menzel belting the hell out of it at the Oscar ceremony on March 2nd. It's going to win, too. In fact, there would appear to be almost no competition for either of the awards for which Frozen is nominated. Although Brave taking this award last year was a big surprise to me, so maybe I just don't have my finger on the pulse of what other adults are looking for when they watch an animated film. In any case, if Frozen does win, it will mean two years of girl-power. And that's something we can all get excited about, particularly because Frozen's version of girl-power, is way, way cooler than Brave's.
Will Win: Animated Feature, Song
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #41 out of 77

The Grandmaster (一代宗師)
2 Nominations
  • Cinematography: Philippe Le Sourd
  • Costume Design: William Chang Suk Ping
Director: Wong Kar-wai
Cast: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Zhang Ziyi, Zhang Jin, Chang Chen, Yuen Woo-Ping, Wang Qingxiang, Le Cung, Song, Hye-kyo, Zhao Benshan, Lau Ga-yung, Lau Shun, Xiaoshenyang

I really love Wong Kar-wai. At least, I used to. This movie made me, more than anything else, want to watch his earlier stuff: especially Days of Being Wild. (I've watched In the Mood for Love more times than I can actually count. It's incredible.) The Grandmaster – or in another translation The Grandmasters – moves in super slow-motion, but it isn't interested in the nuance of feeling or difficult emotional terrain of Wong's other movies. Actually, it might be interested in those things, but it is executed differently; the story is told in a strange sequential order and with an odd way of focusing on what it is doing. I was, quite frankly, a little bored. But I will tell you, this film is shot gorgeously. It most definitely deserved both of these nominations. It won't win either award, but I am glad that the Academy recognized this film for its exceptional artistry. Now, where's my copy of Chungking Express?
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #55 out of 77

Inside Llewyn Davis
2 Nominations
  • Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel (Harry Potter and Half-blood Prince, Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles [A Very Long Engagement], Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain [Amélie])
  • Sound Mixing
Director: Joel & Ethan Coen
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Max Casella, Adam Driver, Stark Sands, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, Ethan Phillips, Robin Bartlett, F. Murray Abraham, Jeanine Serralles

I reviewed this film at length here. A lot of people were surprised at how relatively poorly Llewyn did when the nominations came out. I can't say I was too shocked, but I did sort of expect it to get a Best Picture nod. I mean, A Serious Man was nominated for Best Picture! In any case, I think this film will be remembered as a very very good Coen Brothers picture, not the minor Coen Brothers picture it is being called right now. And while we're talking about them: how 'bout them Coens, man? I mean, every time they make a movie it's just really, really good. A Coen Brothers film is an important event. And just try to rank them in your mind. What goes at the top? Miller's Crossing? Blood Simple.? Fargo? Barton Fink? No Country for Old Men? The Hudsucker Proxy? These are superb movies. Anyway, let's all just close our eyes and try not to notice that Inside Llewyn Davis won't be winning any awards this Oscar night. Close your eyes and be grateful that Oscar Isaac will be getting a lot of work in the next three years.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: Sound Mixing
My Rating: #19 out of 77