Yes, it’s Christmas in February as far as I’m concerned!  Merry Oscar Day!  I do love this ceremony for better and for worse.  The gorgeous and outrageous gowns, the painful musical numbers, the lame jokes, the annoying acceptance speeches.  Count. Me. In.  Because among the self-congratulatory silliness are those moments where you get to watch a deserving artiste receive some recognition for a job well done.

Hooray for the Unexpected Winner!

I know I’ve been a bit remiss in my blog entries of late, and I promise to improve over the next few weeks, but I’m still going to keep this one short.  I have a party to prepare for after all!  Now that I’ve seen all ten Best Picture nominees, I thought I’d offer up my rankings along with the reasons why I’ve ranked them as such – I know you’re on the edge of your seat!  I do want to stress that I was impressed with all of these films for varying reasons.  But, of course, there can only be one number one, right?  Here goes:

10) 127 HOURS -Kudos to Danny Boyle and James Franco for making a captivating film that’s basically about one character trapped in one location.  Like Aronofsky, I think that Boyle is one of our most exciting film directors working today.

9) THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT – And this film is all right! (I mean that in a good way.)  The writing is solid and the performances are nuanced and lived in.  I was sympathetic to the impossibly sexy Mark Ruffalo to the very end, though, and I don’t think that was the film’s intention.  Still, it’s another excellent example of the power and possibility of indie cinema.

8) THE SOCIAL NETWORK – Yes, I know it’s hit the top of many people’s lists.  And I get it – it’s well-directed, well-written, and the story is pretty darn fascinating.  But it lacked an emotional core for me, so I can’t even put it in my top five.  I think Fincher is an incredible director, though – I loved “The Game” and I can’t wait to see what he does with the American version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

7) INCEPTION – Granted, I had many mixed feelings about this one.  It was convoluted in parts and confusing throughout.  But it’s a well-crafted piece of confusing eye candy and I admire it for its workmanship. (Okay, okay, LEO helps, too!)  The fact is, I know if I were channel surfing and landed on INCEPTION, I’d probably watch it again.

6) THE FIGHTER – I’m a bit partial to this one because it takes place near where my Dad grew up, so I recognized many of the character types in this film.  But it’s still a highly entertaining, interesting story and Christian Bale’s performance is a standout.

5) TOY STORY 3 – Damn, those Pixar people know how to tell a story!  And I was especially in awe of how many narrative plates were kept spinning to enable a strong emotional punch at the climax.  The visual cleverness was pretty inspiring, too.  Overall, this is a great template for how to write a script that keeps raising the stakes while giving us characters we genuinely care about.

4) THE KING’S SPEECH – Great writing and exceptional performances.  The type of intelligent, polished film the Academy loves.  And I do, too!

3) BLACK SWAN – By the time the final ballet performance was happening on screen, I felt something I haven’t experienced at a movie in a long time: EXHILARATION.  Well done, Darren.  And thanks for instigating a lively post-viewing discussion between me and the girls!

2) WINTER’S BONE – Hooray for indie cinema!  I have to give this exceptional film a high ranking because it was beautifully acted and beautifully told…and all for the bargain price of $2M.

1) TRUE GRIT – Meaningful.  Masterful.  It’s number one for me because it haunted me long after I saw it.  All Hail the Coen Brothers.

NEXT UP: Oscar Recap!

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