That Time of Year

To quote a sassy gay classmate of mine: “It’s officially my favourite time of year: Oscar season.” Preach it, brother. Preach.
The lead-up to the 83rd Annual Academy Awards informally began — as always — with the Golden Globe nominations, announced by Katie Holmes and Josh Duhamel (of all people) last month.  As everybody knows by now, films that score big at the Globes typically go on to be nominated at the Oscars a month later, rendering the show somewhat of a dress rehearsal, if you will, for the Big Night.  Consequently, the Globes are a less stuffy affair than the Oscars, what with the celebs openly “eating” dinner and poppin’ champagne throughout the night’s proceedings and all.  If you couldn’t already guess, free bottle service + an open mike + a room full of celebs = good times for all (but more so for those of us watching at home since we won’t have to relive our own public humiliation via YouTube for the rest of our lives).  Who can forget Ricky Gervais’ perfectly executed roast-worthy jab at Mel Gibson at last year’s ceremony? Or Brendan Fraser’s herp derp “clap”?  I won’t anytime soon.
But beyond the drunken shenanigans and designer gowns, the Globes and subsequent Oscars are, of course, nights to celebrate the institution of film.  This is why for the past two years, I’ve actively set out to join in on the fun by watching as many of the nominated films as I can – if only to have something/someone to cheer for when the envelope’s read.  It’s more exciting that way…having your own “horse in the race” so to speak.  For instance, I was happy as hell when Sean Penn won Best Actor for Milk in ’08, and annoyed as fuck when Slumdog Millionaire won Best Everything Else — I honestly didn’t/don’t think it was/is that great.  Sue Me.
Of the films nominated for Globes this year, I’ve only watched 4.5 of them so far (127 Hours bored me, ok?).  I hope to make it 5.5 when Blue Valentine FINALLY comes out this weekend, but ‘til then, here are my thoughts on the others:
The Social Network (Best Motion Picture, Drama; Best Director; Best Actor; Best Supporting Actor; Best Screenplay; Best Original Score):  Everyone and their mother seemed to love TSN and I. JUST. DON’T. GET. IT.  Don’t misunderstand me – the movie was good, yes, but…Oscar good?  Fuuuck no. To me, it was no better or worse than your average…let’s say…Wall Street 2.  That movie obviously didn’t get nominated – so why the hell should this?  Movies honoured at this level usually possess some sort of emotional complexity to them that permeates the screen and awakens within the viewer a newfound sense of self and/or mankind.  TSN is a flick about a post-secondary bromance gone wrong set against a back-drop of Harvard dorm rooms and frat parties.  Its premise may be culturally relevant but emotionally, it’s hollow. I won’t even comment on Justin “I act now” Timberlake.
I will, however, applaud director David Fincher for that cinematically flawless regatta sequence.  It’s not enough to get me to back his nom for Best Director, but I give him extra props on the song choice.
Inception (Best Motion Picture, Drama; Best Director; Best Screenplay; Best Original Score):  Now here’s a set of nominations I can get with.  Inception was the proverbial needle in the haystack of lackluster films released last summer.  It’s #2 on my list of best films of the year. What can I say about it that hasn’t already been said?  The actors, effects, concept — all impeccable.  And that score.  If Zimmer doesn’t win…if (God forbid) it goes to TSN…I don’t know what I’ll do.  That soundtrack got me through last semester’s finals.  I’ll leave it at that.
Toy Story 3 (Best Animated Feature Film): It has to win, it just has to. TS3 is my #1 film of 2010 and if you’re thinking that seems like a weird thing for a person over the age of 8 to say, you’re either biased, stupid, or the Prince of Darkness himself.  Once again, Pixar shits all over the competition with what is possibly the best film in the (already flawless) Toy Story franchise.  The film literally has no faults.  Beyond its immaculate animation is a timeless story that speaks so clearly to the child in all of us, grown men leave the theater weeping.*  Just ask Adam Levine.  An emotional roller-coaster, TS3 deserves every accolade it receives and then some.  If it doesn’t get nominated for Best Picture at the end of the month, the Academy will officially be dead to me.  Dead, I tell you.
*Side note: You know something’s amiss when a film about a group of toys displays more emotional depth and is truer to the human condition than a movie about actual people (Re: The Social Network).
Black Swan (Best Motion Picture, Drama; Best Director; Best Actress; Best Supporting Actress): Regardless of what I say about this one, it will win BIG at both ceremonies this year.  Trust me. It’s pure, unadulterated, Oscar bait — maybe even to a fault.  My personal sentiment is this: Black Swan is creepy as hell.  At times, it’s hard to watch.  The copious amounts of self harm and dark imagery coupled with the film’s hair-raising score results in a sensory overload that makes it impossible for the viewer to RELAX.  You’ll be thinking about it weeks afterward.  Natalie’s performance was good — though slightly one-dimensional — and Mila’s effortless in her role as the main character’s eventual nemesis.  Black Swan’s not my personal pick this season, but I’ll credit Aronofsky with creating a memorable film.  
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