Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Five Oscar-Nominated Films I Need to See

Oscar nominations are out! This year, perhaps more than in previous years, I’m way behind on movie viewing. Most of the films I saw this year were of the popcorn / superhero variety, and the less mainstream movies that I watched and really liked weren’t nominated for anything at all - 50/50 and Young Adult immediately come to mind; both were fantastic. So here’s a brief list of a few 2011 movies that I haven’t seen yet, but want to before the Oscars air.

5. Midnight in Paris

This movie will be easy to catch before the Oscars telecast because, well, my family owns it. My parents and sister all loved it, and all of them are egging me on to see it, amusingly. Shouldn't be too much trouble to sneak in a viewing sometime soon.

4. Moneyball

Baseball movie about Billy Beane in the neighborhood of the '02 to '04 seasons. I remember reading Sports Illustrated articles about him around the time the book came out, and everyone's going gaga about Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill's performances. Definitely worth a look.

3. A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita

I love animated films. American, Japanese, European, all of them. I'm a Pixar fanboy who has loved all cartoons all his life and I follow the Oscars closely every year, so of course I'm interested in the Best Animated Feature nominees. I really liked Rango and Kung Fu Panda 2, and have no interest in Puss in Boots. But these two foreign films... I could really dig! Both look stunningly drawn and adorably plotted and I'd love to see either of them. Dunno if I can, though, as distribution and availability are probably limited short of piracy.

2. Hugo

Martin Scorsese makes a movie about a precocious boy in the 1920s discovering movies, love, and special effects in a Paris train station (Hugo also starring Ben Kingsley as one of the real-life pioneers of movie special effects). It's a love letter to an entire era, similar to another film on this list, but also looks to have some beautiful visual set-pieces and great performances. Kind of a spectacle film, but I don't care. Looks great, and has too many nominations to ignore.

1. The Artist

What a cool concept! A mostly-French cast does a silent movie in 2011, with a plot similar to Singin' in the Rain but far from an adaptation or remake. Every trailer I see of this movie oozes with fun and charm, and every review I've read identifies it as a masterpiece that makes audiences stand up and applaud. I'm already embarrassed to have not yet seen it.


That's all, folks! I'm going to try and see at least one of those movies each week until Oscar time, but in addition to that I'll probably be either house hunting or playing Mass Effect II. I'm a cool dude.


  1. Good list. I've actually seen three of the five movies in your top 5, and I liked all of them. The Artist was delightful, and the silent aspect was very well done. Hugo is probably my favorite film from 2011 and quite possibly my favorite Scorsese film. The story is faithful to the book that it was based on, which I loved, and has the amazing visuals you'd expext from a Scorsese. Moneyball was great, focusing more on the emotional aspects of Billy Beane rather than the business side, but I was not exactly blown away by Jonah Hill. It's surprising to think that he's getting an Oscar nomination before Jim Carrey.

    Anyways, here's my top 5, none of which are Best Picture nominees
    5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    4. A Cat in Paris / Chico & Rita
    3. Warrior
    2. La Luna / A Morning Stroll
    1. A Separation

    1. I really enjoyed Warrior. Nick Nolte delivers a great performance, and it transcends any sports movie conventions I could think of and just delivers big drama at every level. This is MMA's first great movie - will they appropriate boxing's title as the best movie sport?