Oscar Best Picture Bite-Size Reviews

80th Annual Academy Awards Anniversary 2008

The Super Bowl for celluloid magic, art, and fashion has arrived. I’ve finally caught all the Best Picture nominees and here are my thoughts and rankings:

1st place: Milk 

This probably would have been my Best Picture of 2008, despite the fact I don’t personally enjoy watching men getting all smoochy on one another. Sean Penn is electrifying here and I’m really happy that the Oscars got it right.  James Franco, Emile Hirsch, and Josh Brolin are also great in support. Danny Elfman’s score is superb, and Gus Van Sant has given us what is perhaps his best work. Rating: 9+/10

2nd Place: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I don’t get the negative backlash this film is getting about the ‘depth’ of the movie; that beyond the pretty technical achievements there isn’t much there. Well, I looked deeply into this movie past its beautiful production values and camerawork and found much to love. Yes, the film is lyrical and universal (the opposite of a verite approach like The Wrestler or those that usually win at Cannes). Yes, it is nearly three hours long, but there isn’t a second wasted.  Rating: 9/10

3rd Place: The Wrestler

I know this wasn’t nominated for Best Picture, but it should have been. Mickey Rourke is a maelstrom of flesh and steroids and deserved all the acting awards prior to the Oscars. Rating: 8.5/10

4th Place: Slumdog Millionaire

I love the first hour of this movie, but don’t understand the hype and awards that are being heaped on it. It is very original and the music is fantastic, but I think it’s coasting on its popularity of being a foreign and cultural rags-to-riches story; one that uses Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? as a plot device nevertheless. And what does it say that there are no acting awards coming from this movie?  Anyone else out there agree? (Echoing. The wind sweeps through the plains.)         Rating: 7/10

5th Place – Frost/Nixon

While this material feels like it has been covered before, the interview as a chess/boxing match is somewhat unique. Perhaps I’m too young to truly connect to this event, and I enjoyed Oliver Stone’s W. more. Frank Langella as Nixon is reason enough to recommend this. Rating: 7/10

 6th Place: The Reader

Another film that feels like we’ve ‘been-there-done-that’ and is remarkably slow and long getting there. Kate Winslet truly bares all in this movie, and you wonder if her performance in Revloutionary Road separated her from the rest of the nominees. This was a technical/acting achievement that otherwise really did nothing else for me.   Rating: 6.5/10

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7 Responses to “Oscar Best Picture Bite-Size Reviews”

  1. Adam Says:

    The majority of moviegoers have not even seen these movies (i’ve seen 2 out of 6)..now they will go see them and see what all the hype is about. Slumdog millionaire a good movie but is not worthy of best picture. Benjamin button is good all the way up to the end. I think tha tthe academy did an incredible job on the 3 hours of spectacular performances. I felt as though I was going through time watching the oscars last night. The best was when previous award winners talked out the nominees and you got to see almost like Jarrel from Superman talk to his son..the faded memories of lost actors talking to the new shining stars of today.

    Oscars TV show 10/10..Classy Setup

  2. jeredunn Says:

    Good comments… I especially liked the Superman reference; all they needed was some giant crystals right? Except Sophia Loren seemed a bit loopy.

  3. Alex Barkett Says:

    I’m cynical.

    I thought The Wrestler was great. A big reason was because I was so happy to see Aronofsky do a completely un-Aronofsky movie – simple, straightforward, non-academic. Everything else, to be honest, I’ve already forgotten about.

    Foreign movies were strong though. Waltz With Bashir is amazing, The Class is a slow French punch in the face, Gomorrah (not nominated) was very well done. What the hell is Departures? Anyone?

  4. jeredunn Says:

    Yeah, I really want to see all those foreign flix. But apparently somebody saw the Departures win coming: http://www.incontention.com/?p=4629

  5. Jsun Says:

    Of the ones that were nominated Slumdog just hit all the right buttons for me. Benjamin Button was good but I thought it lacked something in his character to make me truly emphathize with him and care all the way. By the time it was over I wanted to feel sad for him but I felt indifferent. I love Sean Penn as an actor but his portrayal of Milk was pretty similiar to his portrayal of the retarded guy in that one movie.

  6. jeredunn Says:

    I Am Sam? Ha, didn’t see that, but I couldn’t believe he hadn’t won it before, especially for Dead Man Walking-.

  7. Jsun Says:

    Yeah he got screwed on Dead Man Walking. Good ol Nick Cage won that year for Leaving Las Vegas.

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