Mary’s First Take on the Oscar Awards Season

by January 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm 1,243 0

From Mary Burgan. Email her at [email protected].Mary Burgan, Borderstan Movie Fan

I wrote my last post about  the 2011 movies on November 29, and although I am sure that Borderstan readers have already seen their share of award-ready movies, I  should explain my silence.

Without indulging in too many details about the bodily conditions that put me  out of commission this winter, let me say that a mid-October surgery on my lumbar spine led to a late December surgery on my thoracic spine.  I now have a totally reworked total spine, with so much titanium holding my back together that I feel like a figure in an action movie.  The only difference between me and a reworked Angelina Jolie is that everything hurts… and that my lips are not that full nor my glances that sultry.

So it’s back to the movies.  I worry that I’ve been left out of the movie award scene since last October. They have been advertised and exalted while I was in the hospital, and I’ve actually managed to see a lot of them between my bouts with the surgeon, and I’ve been trying to catch up.  Even so, the excitement of the awards season is not there.  Is it me or them?

This Year’s Oscar Contenders

I’ve seen Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Artist, and  The Descendants, but although each is an intelligent film, none left me with the excitement that I expect to feel for Oscar contenders. I hoped to get some of this excitement from Hugo, remembering how charmed I was with Up several years ago. I have a special weakness for children’s movies, and I was excited about the prospect of a Martin Scorsese  film for children. I was relieved that there would be no gory Good Fella bodies suddenly appearing–that the population of actors in Hugo would be benevolent with one another.

But I found that Hugo was, well, boring.  The figure played by Ben Kingsley slightly was menacing and never very cuddly;  there needs to be one cuddly figure in a children’s movie, right?  And I don’t need the endless wake-up spectral figures of a Harry Potter film to be entertained.  But Scorsese seems to be wearing kid gloves in Hugo because the film really is an adult homage to films past.  It reveres them too much, perhaps?

The same holds true for The Artist. It features two very attractive human actors and a scene-stealing dog. But there is no color and no sound, and the final result, for me at least, is the realization that modern movies in sound and color are wonderful. Film styles of the past were delightful, but I’m not convinced that they can carry a whole movie, especially one that adopts the familiar plot of a silent start losing his hold when sound comes in with a newcomer girl getting all the stardom.

And so the Oscar nominees have not earned much excitement from me. I like actors’ movies, so in what seems a lean year, I’d put my money for the final prize on ensemble films like The Descendants. It amazes me that a wonderfully intense film like Margin Call  has just one nomination on the score board (for best original screenplay). I thought that was one of the best of the year.

The race is on. I haven’t yet constructed my list of personal winners. If you’ve done yours, how about sharing it with Borderstan readers? Just add it as a comment, below. Or wait until later and send it in. Anticipation is half the fun in the Awards Season.


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