I made it a goal to see all of the Best Picture nominations this year. Combining this information with the fact that my last post was about my goal of winning 50% of my Spider Solitaire games and it may seem that I live the idlest life of the planet. I highly doubt this to be true. I also performed my first full physical on a dermatomyositis patient yesterday, it just doesn’t make for very good blogging.
I’m never going to see every nominated movie, nor do I aspire to do so. I also don’t plan on watching the Oscars. But I figured watching the five “best pictures” of the year is a pretty good standard for my cultural competence. Here’s my take, in the order I saw them.
1. No Country For Old Men. A great movie, and probably the coolest of the bunch. I was rapt throughout, though having hitmen on the screen will naturally make it easy to pay attention. I’m not sure I fully appreciate the meaning of the story, but I’m certain it’s in there somewhere.
2. Juno. A great comedy. It was both very funny and very sincere, which is admittedly a hard balance. But I’d be hard pressed to say it’s important, which you’d think the best picture of the year would be.
3. There Will Be Blood. I’m pretty mixed on this one. I enjoyed it and feel that many elements were very well crafted. But it never really congealed for me. I loved watching Planeview go guano-crazy, but that was the biggest impact it had on me.
4. Michael Clayton. As a legal thriller I think it failed. There were no twists or turns. Despite his title, I didn’t think Clooney fixed much. It’s hard to get really into a movie when the protagonist just makes phone calls and arranges things. Some fantastic acting no doubt, but not really a fantastic movie.
5. Atonement. A bit slow and predictable, which seem to be the hallmarks of any romantic film. But very well done. I thought it was very believable and quite powerful, and all-around a great movie.
So what would I have win? That’s tough. Not Michael Clayton or There Will Be Blood. Don’t get me wrong, they were both good movies, and I did enjoy them quite a bit. But they don’t stand up to the other three. I probably would give Daniel Day Lewis the best actor and Tom Wilkinson the best supporting actor though. Juno was the movie that I enjoyed the most, but I have a hard time naming it best picture. I could’ve given Little Miss Sunshine the best picture nom, but not Juno. I’m sure I’ll watch it more than any of these others, but that’s not what I’m looking for in the Best Picture. So it’s down to No Country and Atonement. I just watched Atonement an hour ago, so I’m not sure if that helps or hurts it.
For emotional impact, Atonement wins. No contest. For cerebral impact, No Country wins, but it’s pretty close. For visual artistry Atonement wins, and it had a good musical score to boot. Acting is pretty much a toss up. No Country had much more interesting characters, but Atonement had more resonant performances. No Country had a silenced shotgun. Atonement had Keira Knightly. It’s so close! I’d say that No Country is the cooler movie, but Atonement the better one. Maybe in a couple weeks I’ll change my mind, but for now Atonement wins Best Picture. Incidentally, that’s not an indication that Keira trumps silenced shotguns. The other factors prevailed.