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

10 February 2014

Oscar Nominees 2014: Part 7 of 14

The Lone Ranger
2 Nominations
  • Visual Effects
  • Makeup
Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Ruth Wilson, Bryant Prince, James Badge Dale, Helena Bonham Carter, Barry Pepper, Saginaw Grant, James Frain

I was too drunk actually to remember what happened in this hot mess of racism, makeup, and visual effects. Just know that I thought it was basically Rango with humans. And I hated Rango. Apparently, however, the Academy kind of loves Gore Verbinski, and they still love Johnny Depp even though he only makes terrible movies these days. Still, The Lone Ranger, is a new low, and the nominations for this film were a bit of a surprise to me. If you're going to nominate a good effects-driven film, why not Elysium or Pacific Rim? I mean, those movies are actually good. The parts I liked about this movie were probably the costume design, which was fun, and the score, which used Giacchino Rossini's music too much to be eligible for Academy consideration. Ah well. In any case, The Lone Ranger won't be winning any Oscars. Trust that.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #74 out of 80

Before Midnight
1 Nomination
  • Adapted Screenplay: Julie Delpy (Before Sunset) & Ethan Hawke (Before Sunset) & Richard Linklater (Before Sunset)
Director: Linklater
Cast: Delpy, Hawke, Walter Lassally, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Panos Koronis, Yannis Papadopoulos, Ariane Labed, Xenia Kalogeropoulou

This film is brilliant. One of my favorites of the year. I still do not understand why this goes in the Adapted Screenplay category. The script is not at all adapted from anything. It makes no sense. But this film deserves every accolade it gets. It is a film about talking, about talking through the difficult periods in the life of a couple. And this couple fights and says unforgivable things, and then they forgive. It is an extraordinary portrait of love and disappointment and loss and (I can't believe I'm about to say this) heterosexuality. But it is a kind of interrogated heterosexuality. One that actively wonders about gender dynamics and feminism and expectations. It is an extraordinary picture. Beautifully filmed, beautifully acted, and shot in Greece, so, well, there's that. Could this win its big award? Looks unlikely, but it would be awesome if it did.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: Adapted Screenplay
My Rating: #8 out of 80

1 Nomination
  • Cinematography: Roger Deakins (Skyfall, True Grit, The Reader, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country for Old Men, The Man Who Wasn't There, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Kundun, Fargo, The Shawshank Redemption)
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo, Dylan Minnette, Wayne Duval, Len Cariou, David Dastmalchian

Roger Deakins is so good! And, actually, so is this movie. I didn't really care for Villeneuve's last movie, the Foreign-Language-Picture-nominated Incendies, but this one is a tight, dangerous crime thriller in the vein of David Fincher's Zodiac. Villeneuve kept me guessing the entire time. Jake Gyllenhaal is also really, really great in Prisoners. He is just playing a detective, so it looks like rather an easy role, but Gyllenhaal fleshes his character out in all kinds of interesting ways – the acting is not this good across the board: Viola Davis is excellent, but Howard and Jackman are just playing "good father" to the hilt. Still, even with Jackman's overacting, Prisoners is really, really scary. I spent most of the film wondering who the kidnappers were, who was going to betray whom, and squirming in my seat as I worried about characters getting caught or maimed or killed or whatever. This is a really excellent watch. My roommate and I both double-checked the locks on our doors after this one. Good stuff.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #22 out of 80