The Oscars

If you know me very well, you know I have designated a larger than advisable portion of my brain as a warehouse for useless pop culture trivia. One of my biggest stockpiles is the Academy Awards. Never argue with me over which movie won which award in which year. I will always win. I even have a list of all the movies that won Best Picture – I place a checkmark next to each movie once I’ve seen it. Someday, I will have seen every movie to win Best Picture – I’ve been working on this since 1993. I could’ve finished years ago, but I like to take my time with this sort of thing. So every year since about 1991 I’ve watched every movie that is nominated for Best Picture before the awards are given out so that I can make my own opinion about which one should win and which one will win. I’m almost always right. I’ve made inaccurate predictions only once. I’ve dissagreed a couple of times, in 1995 I felt that Shawshank Redemption should have won over Forrest Gump, and in 1998 anything else should have won over Titanic – Good Will Hunting, LA Confidential, As Good as it Gets, and Full Monty were all better movies. But this was the first year I not only didn’t agree with the Best Picture Winner, I made the wrong prediction. I correctly predicted all 4 acting categories, both screenplays, film editing, and director. I even agreed with most of them – except actor – I knew Leonardo DiCaprio had no chance, but he deserved the Oscar over Jamie Foxx. I don’t care that Jamie Foxx really couldn’t see during filming – that makes him less deserving – he didn’t have to act blind. Howard Hughes was a much more demanding role. So anyway, Best Picture – I predicted The Aviator. I watched all the nominated films. Finding Neverland is the only one I would probably watch again. It was kind of a weak year. I would probably watch Sideways again if it came on TV, I would not watch Ray again and I probably wouldn’t watch Million Dollar Baby again, I wouldn’t watch the Aviator again only because if I have 3 hours to spare I’ll watch something I haven’t seen before. So Million Dollar Baby won, and I can only assume that this has everything to do with Hollywood’s love affair with Clint Eastwood. I knew Scorsese wouldn’t get the director Oscar, I figured they’d give it to Clint, but I really, really thought The Aviator would end up on top. Don’t get me wrong, Million Dollar Baby was a good movie – Morgan Freeman was great, Clint Eastwood, while playing the same character he’s played for the last decade was still good, and I don’t have the problem with Hillary Swank that my husband does (I really don’t care that she looks like a man – her body looked fantastic in this movie so I didn’t really notice her face), but the story was very predictable and not at all original. It lacked the “wow factor” that most Best Picture winners create. I usually can predict the winner because it’s the movie that when I watch it in the theater I think, “Wow, this is amazing.” Almost all Best Picture nominees are amazing in some regard – it may be a great story, or perfect acting, or a fantastic set – but the winner usually has multiple wow factors. Million Dollar Baby had one wow factor and that was the perfect acting. It had nothing else. The Aviator on the other hand had more. Cate Blanchett won for her portrayal of Katherine Hepburn and Leo was nominated for his Howard Hughes, so I think it’s safe to say that the movie was well acted. The sets and costumes were stunning. The story was fascinating, and despite the 2 hour and 40+ minutes runtime, the editing was right on. Everything from the camera shots to the music was impressive. I’m at a loss to explain why this movie was passed over for a very ordinary Million Dollar Baby.

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