Tag Archives: Best Director

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Like every year, the Oscars bring excitement mixed with anxiety in the hearts of concerned audience. Although nowadays I watch the awards with greater skepticism and distance than ever, I can’t stop but wonder- what the fuck is wrong with the Academy?!

I know, I know…moaning about disappointing winners while our favourites are left with just a mere mention that will forever remind them of the failure in trailers for movies that rely only on big names, is nothing new really, however,  it has been ages since my hope was ultimately lost and since I last agreed with the Academy’s choices. Although I have already written a large post about the general disappointment with the Oscars, I have realised these are not the winners and losers who bother me most this year. While ignorantly ranting about lack of award for David Fincher and way to many statuettes given to the King’s Speech, I missed the most crucial aspect of the Awards. The nominations.

You can’t deny it. It has been going on for ages now. The nominations suck. No…the nominations suck BIG TIME. Not only are they now introduced by stars so young and bright that their lack of recognition somehow deprives the ceremony of its prestigious status, but moreover, they are just pure rubbish. I am not sure what method is used by the Academy to pick the nominees, but this method must be worse than picking random names from a hat. It almost feels like the Academy is choosing the year’s biggest disappointments to represent the cinema. Les Miserables? Lincoln? Beast of the Southern Wild? I agree all these were suppose to be great movies, but if you’ve seen any of them, you’d know they look much better in the trailer than they do in their unbearable length. Of course there are cliches the Academy has been following since its existence, however, 3 hours is not a reason good enough to nominate a film in ten different categories. Also, is it just me or has the acting gone downhill in general in the recent years, because if we compare this year’s nominees with the nominees from…let’s say 2010, then we might as well end this little tea party and start nominating high school plays. I’m not saying that Bradley Cooper is a bad actor, but his performance in the Silver Linings Playbook is nowhere close to Mickey Rourke’s portrayal of “the Wrestler” or Sean Penn’s “Milk”. I like Anne Hathaway, but one performance doesn’t make another Meryl Streep, so it’s a slap in the face to nominate both her and Jennifer Lawrence when in the previous years the same category was occupied by Kate Winslet (for ‘The Reader”) and Melissa Leo (“Frozen River”). Ladies and gentlemen, this is all rubbish!

Unfortunately, nominating disappointing films doesn’t mean that there are no great films that should compete against each other. Somehow while choosing Beast of the Southern Wild and Lincoln, the Academy forgot about Cloud Atlas- the most cinematic film of the year. While watching Django Unchained, magically its members managed to miss two amazing performances (Samuel L. Jackson and OF COURSE Leonardo DiCaprio) and when going through documentaries, they forgot about the existence of the Imposter and the Queen of Versailles. Can somebody tell me how this can possibly be? And while you’re on it, how about explaining the reasons behind these 12 Academy’s Total Fuck-Ups that I listed below? There’s no sane person who wouldn’t see this madness…no sane person…

12.The Queen of Versailles

The Queen of Versailles is definitely one of the most underrated movies of 2012, but I still had hoped for it to be rewarded with nomination in Best Documentary category. It fits the bill perfectly by following extremely rich couple whose life changes dramatically after the economic crisis. It is warm, heart-touching and unbelievable, and yet- the Academy managed to miss it.

11. Lincoln

Let’s just shortly speak about the unspeakable- Lincoln isn’t a good movie. It is an extremely boring history lesson filled with facts and lacking human factor. And yet, Lincoln is Oscar’s favourite- the Academy nominated it in the majority of the main categories including the Best Film and the Actor in the Leading Role. Wonder why? Lincoln is the safest movie to nominate- it has Daniel Day Lewis, it is directed by Steven Spielberg and it discusses one of the most important moments of the history of the USA. And who cares if all of this failed? Oscar it is.

10. Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina is nominated for cinematography (absolutely amazing) and production design (basically the same thing). And yet, somehow the Academy forgot about it when they were picking films for Best Editing category. Yes, the film which recreates the editing giving it a completely unique shape isn’t nominated for editing. Because?…

9. Mads Mikkelsen

I understand Oscars are  American awards and foreign films are given a separate category. However, if Emanuelle Riva got the Best Actress nomination (and I keep my fingers crossed for her to win), I believe Mads Mikkelsen deserves it no less. For anything he did- just give him some recognition, for god’s sake!

8. Cabin in the Woods

This nomination would definitely be quite controversial and the Academy seems to hate surprises, so no wonder they stayed quiet when Cabin in the Woods revealed its incredibly original script. Who fits better in the Original Screenplay category? I’m happy with Moonrise Kingdom appearance there, but Cabin in the Woods could spice things up even more.

7. Holy Motors

Just like the Cabin in the Woods, Holy Motors is nothing like any other film. The lack of recognition it got from the Academy has been a topic of discussion since the official announcement, and I feel no different about it.

6. The Master

Nominated in acting categories, apparently the Master cannot hold its position next to Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty. Or at least, this is what the Academy believes

5. The Hunt

Although (like usually) the Foreign Film category brings together the best films the Oscars have to offer, I can’t understand why the Hunt (Jagten) isn’t there while another film from the same country might possibly get the award itself. The only way to explain my disappointment would be to show you how ingenious the Hunt is, so if you don’t plan on staying up late next Monday- I recommend you see it.

4. The Imposter

The Imposter is the best documentary of 2012…and it will not have any Oscars…

3. Quentin Tarantino

Like every year, Quentin Tarantino will leave the Academy awardless. This time simply because he isn’t even nominated in Best Director category. I’m not sure how it works, but I’ve always felt that if one can make a three hour long movie feel like it was 90 minutes one, he managed to make this movie absolutely engaging. That was the case with Django Unchained- a sort of contrapoint for Lincoln. Why isn’t Tarantino nominated when Django Unchained received the recognition in other categories (including the Screenplay) is one of the Academy’s biggest secret. But it’s nothing compared to…

2. Leonardo DiCaprio

I’m not going to die until DiCaprio finally gets his deserved Oscar.

1. Cloud Atlas

I remember laughing about Cloud Atlas getting all the Oscars and making the ceremony boring because of that…until the nominations were announced. The most cinematic experience of 2012 did not receive one nomination. It is the failure of criticism not to recognise the genius of Cloud Atlas (surprisingly-or not, it’s the Matrix story all over again). Shame on you, Academy! Shame on you!

So, the Descendants are out today and like all of you, I can’t wait to go to cinema and see it. But wait a minute… I’ve seen it already, few months ago during London Film Festival…Of course, being so excited about starting the website and then seeing all the other films, I somehow managed not to write a review for it and not to save it somewhere on this computer, so now, I have to improvise a little counting on my not so fresh memories of the film. So before I see it once again, here are 5 things I can remember I love about the Descendants:

 

1. George Clooney

This one seems a little too obvious, but the truth is,although I’ve always liked George Clooney as an actor, during his handsome roles in big budget productions, such as Oceans’ Eleven or Batman, I found him kind of…uninteresting. He was simply George Clooney in disguise.

As soon as I saw him in Up in the Air, something has changed…and it changed a lot. Suddenly he ceased to be this handsome guy and instead became a handsome guy with the past. Yes, he still looks hot, but we can see the wrinkles on his poster face.

In the Descendants he provide us with a performance like no other. He doesn’t wear a suit anymore, and he doesn’t flirt with the hottest girls in the room. Instead he actually is the rejected and desperate one. He makes the character warm and easy to identify with, and we want to follow him and sympathise with him even when his anger reaches over the top level which in the situation that I don’t want to reveal, is a little morally confusing. It is a great performance, definitely worth Golden Globe and this year’s oscar (however, I still don’t know if I prefer his or Dejardin’s performance), and to me George Clooney can just take over the cinema and be in every indie comedy drama there is. And god, I would watch them all.

2. Matt’s (George Clooney) reaction to the ‘discovery’

In the Descendants our main protagonist, Matt King finds out that his wife who has been in coma after a boating accident, had an affair with a estate agent. From this revelation in this unique and tragic situation, the script could go anywhere. Matt could have just forgotten about it having his wife in coma, or simply try to clear his wife’s image and ignore the facts. Maybe remain depressed until the day he dies, but basically, it is easy to think (especially in a pitch perfect world of film) that this is the information that under these circumstances should be ignored. Instead, Matt’s reaction is probably the most human and even more, man like. I won’t tell you how exactly he reacts, but because of this, our view on Matt King changes instantly and so does the whole atmosphere of the film. It’s a little unpredictable, and definitely bitter sweet, but how human it is. And I simply love it.

3. Matt’s monologue (I promised it’s the last Clooney thing on the list)

I won’t lie, I’m pretty sensitive viewer when it comes to sad, yet subtle scenes, and the Descendants has probably one of my favourite touching moment in the modern cinema. It is the monologue that Clooney delivers to his wife in coma after his discovery and not long before the whole film ends. These are the words of the hurt man, a man who suffered one of the most horrible things that can happen in a long term marriage. It is a speech of regret, anger, love and forgiveness. It has this unique, imperfect beauty and warmth and intimacy that can rarely be achieved on screen. One of the most touching scenes I have ever seen.

4. The Cast…and the crew

I love it how the Descendants manages to show us all the different types of characters each of them having many different faces without being stereotypical. It’s easy to divide the supporting characters into bad and good ones, or intelligent and stupid, but in this film, everyone has a second layer, and we are often surprise by the stories of people whose personalities we normally tend to underestimate (Sid, Matt’s brothers). All the performances in the film are simply outstanding, especially that of Shailene Woodley. There is a chemistry between the characters and the familiarity we want to engage in.

Of course all of it wouldn’t be possible if not the amazing Alexander Payne’s direction. He took his time after the Sideways before he made the Descendants and it was definitely a time well spent. I liked the Descendants more than Sideways, because I could identify stronger with one character rather than follow four of them. Alexander Payne is more local this time and he focuses on the detail more, slowly uncovering different aspects of his characters’ personalities and sometimes just letting the atmosphere cool down so we can simply observe their lives in the less dramatic background.

I love the camera work in the Descendants, and how although it manages to give us a few wide shots of beautiful Hawai, it doesn’t show off the location and rather focuses on its universality than uniqueness. Technically, the Descendants is beautiful.

5. I want to see it again

Although it might not sound like anything one would expect as a number five on my list, I think that it is a pretty strong element of a movie. If after watching it, knowing the story with all its twists and revelations, a viewer wants to see (desperately) the same film again, this is a one big compliment for a director. And yes, mr Payne, I would love to see your film again. And again.