Oscars 2011: Predictions, Opinions

Perusing the nominated films this year, I find that I have seen all the Best Picture nominees, all but one of the Best Actor/Actress performances (Biutiful), all but one of the Best Supporting Actor/Actress nominees (Animal Kingdom), and all but two of the documentaries. So here are my predictions for the winners, my haughty judgments of who SHOULD win, and my even-haughtier judgments of what else should have been nominated.

BEST PICTURE

Will win: The King’s Speech. Sure. Why not? It’s a terrific movie, apart from the problems Christopher Hitchens has laid out clearly and at length. It’s fun because, as some critic (whose name escapes me) pointed out, it’s basically a sports movie. Which brings me to:

Should win: The Fighter. My standard for greatness is “Do I want to watch this again?” I want to re-watch only a couple of these movies, but I really, really want to re-watch this. I loved the portrayal of Lowell’s white trash, the occasional gawkers looking at their verbal spats, the visceral boxing scenes, and all the acting — all of it, especially the characters who aren’t getting much buzz.

Should have been nominated: Four Lions. Chris Morris’s wonderful farce about terrorism deserved more attention than it got. Instead of: “The Kids Are Alright.”

BEST ACTOR

Will win: Colin Firth. I’m fine with that.

Should win: Colin Firth. You see?

Should have been nominated: Michael Shannon from “My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?” As I keep saying, he’s either a great actor or a crazy person who keeps breaking onto movie sets. Instead of: Jeff Bridges in “True Grit.”

BEST ACTRESS:

Will win: Natalie Portman. It’s the choice between gold-plating the box office star (Portman) and rewarding the older actress who keeps getting passed over (Bening) and I’d bet on the gold-plating. I can’t be the only person liking “The Kids Are Alright” less in retrospect.

Should win: Nicole Kidman. I don’t even like Kidman that much, but “Rabbit Hole” was the best I’ve ever seen her — more emotionally devastating than Portman because there are no pyrotechnics to help her out.

Should have been nominated: Hallie Stanfield should have been in this category, but she wasn’t, because of the horse race. Instead of: Michelle Williams.

Oscar-Nominated Shorts

Landmark Theatres has the distribution rights for the short films — animated, live action, documentary — nominated for Oscars. These films are typically revelatory in their lameness. You watch them. You ask: “Is THAT all you need to produce a film that, if rewarded, can have you called an ‘Oscar winner’?”

The answer is yes.

Two of the films nominated in this category are mediocre. They are “The Warriors of Quijong,” which reports on a small Chinese town’s fight against polluters, and “Strangers No More,” about a school for refugee children in Israel.

The Oscar Nominated Shorts

Landmark Theatres has the distribution rights for the short films — animated, live action, documentary — nominated for Oscars. These films are typically revelatory in their lameness. You watch them. You ask: “Is THAT all you need to produce a film that, if rewarded, can have you called an ‘Oscar winner’?”

The answer is yes.

Two of the films nominated in this category are mediocre. They are “The Warriors of Quijong,” which reports on a small Chinese town’s fight against polluters, and “Strangers No More,” about a school for refugee children in Israel.

Books I Read: O

The review is here. It’s not a very good novel!

http://www.bookforum.com/review/7089

And so I initiate a companion to my micro-reviews of movies I see all year: Micro-reviews of books.