So, as I mentioned on Monday, I don’t like awards shows very much, and I tend to think that the Academy Awards are particularly guilty of being boring in between the announcements. But, because Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin are hosting, I will watch. And because I watch movies, I have some opinions about who should win in some of the categories. Namely:
-Best Picture: The Hurt Locker was the first truly good movie about the wars America is fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, a film that manages to be both profoundly moral (usually a dead weight for films) and exhilarating. The cinematography is lovely, whether it’s capturing the vibration of gravel off the ground when an IED explodes in the movie’s first scene, or the man-on-the-moon stride of a bomb diffuser in the movie’s last shot. The writing is precise, sharp, harsh, and sometimes funny. It’s an astonishing movie, and more than any of the other nominees which are anchored in specific times and smaller stories, likely to inform the movies that follow it in attempting to figure out America’s current Long Wars.
-Best Director: There’s an extent to which I feel like what James Cameron did with Avatar goes considerably beyond a traditional directorial role. Folks are still debating whether 3D will become a standard in action movies because of Avatar, but I think there’s no doubt that the technological innovations he pioneered in the movie will have a significant impact on the look of film. So there’s an extent to which I think he should win Best Director: my criteria for these awards are weighted heavily towards staying power and impact. However, I would prefer for Kathryn Bigelow to win. She directed what I thought was genuinely the best picture of the year. On some level, I’m not sure how you disconnect the Best Director category from the Best Picture Category, but that’s just me.
-Writing (Adapted Screenplay): I thought about this one hard, since I have a weakness for things that are based on British serial television shows, and I thought In the Loop was the best of those adaptations to come along this year (sorry State of Play and Edge of Darkness). Also, one of my friends did some consulting work for the movie. But I thought District 9 was the most outrageously original screenplay of the year, one totally unafraid to confront both disgust and pathos in really moving ways. And since Sharlto Copley was regrettably omitted from the Best Actor category, and there’s no way it’ll win for Best Picture, D9 deserves the victory here.
But, like I said, I mostly just watch this stuff for the spectacle. I have a hard time getting invested.