From Mary Burgan
The Academy Award presentations last Sunday evening gave movie viewers just what they expected. Although The King’s Speech didn’t win every award, it took best picture, leading actor, director, and screenplay, as predicted. But the other awards were shared with other good movies like The Fighter and Black Swan and The Social Network. I’ve checked my recent predictions for the big ones, and they were on the mark, mainly. Now, how can we see the nominees we missed?
Check out Mary’s pre-Oscar movie reviews; the list is at the bottom of this post.
Among films that were featured though not winners, Biutiful, is still in theaters around town. And West End has brought back Winter’s Bone. So has Avalon, which is also showing several other of the more famous nominees. E Street Cinema has the top winners as well, plus the heart-breaking Blue Valentine. So you can catch the top films in many places in the city, though you’ll have to get films that have left the theaters, like The Kids Are All Right, on DVD.
The Avalon is showing The Illusionist, an also-ran for best animated film, soon to run at E Street. I’m hoping to get to that film because I’ve seen and admired the work of the French team of Sylvain Chomet that made The Triplets of Belleville — nominated for best animated film in 2003.
I’ll need to rent Toy Story 3, the winner in that category this year, for my spouse as well as myself. He didn’t have time to see it last summer, so I went alone. Now I’ll get to see it again, and he’ll see it too, both because he loved the first Toy Story and because its sequel won an Academy Award!.
I also need to see the Oscar-mentioned Inception once again. I reviewed that film negatively last summer, observing that “Inception is very, very talky. It takes a lot of DiCaprio’s mellow and melancholy words to explain about how you can break into somebody’s dreams with a corps of co-conspirators, steal ideas and then try to put new ideas in.” I think I was too flip, and if the Oscar people admired it so much, I ought to take another look. So I’m now putting Inception on my queue.
I’ve tried to alter my Netflix queue to order some other films that I’ve missed, but there is a big lag from the theater to Netflix. For the prospects for Oscar film DVDs and downloads, see Bob Pegoraro’s column at The Washington Post.
I may have to wait a while to see a film like In A Better World, recommended by local blogger, French Twist D.C., in response to my review of Biutiful last week. Her favorite won the Oscar, but it’s not yet available. West End Cinema is trying to book it, so watch for it there.
Inside Job won in the documentary category and its DVD can be ordered, but two other great documentary nominees — Restropo and Exit Through the Gift Shop — can be downloaded.
That leaves the short films, both animated and live action, which are rarely seen outside of film festivals. In recent years, they have been released in two combined collections. You can see both now at E Street or at Avalon. They will include some unexpected treasures such as Day and Night by Teddy Newton. I saw this Pixar film along with Toy Story 3 and loved its imaginative daring. I expect to find the same creative élan among others of the nominated short films as well.
The Awards ceremony this year, like those in the past, was one big bore. They always try to gussy things up with witty patter, but there’s never enough wit and always too much patter. Nevertheless, the Oscars serve us movie audiences well by spotlighting films that deserve our attention. We don’t have to agree with all the final decisions to value the process. So if you’ve missed some of the best of the year, it’s not too late to take a look. But hurry. The 2011 Oscar movies are waiting in a theater near you.
Pre-Oscar Movie Reviews from Mary
- Biutiful One of the Best Films of the Year
- The Town, Animal Kingdom: Crime Runs in the Family
- Why You Should See Blue Valentine and Rabbit Hole
- Grit and Bone: Oscar Nominates Strong Teen-Aged Girls
- The King’s Speech an Oscar Picture for Colin Firth
- Chasing the Oscar Buzz: Part 2 (The Fighter)
- Chasing the Oscar Buzz: Part 1 (Toy Story and The Kids Are Alright)