Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2012 Oscar Nominations PT 2


Quentin Tarantino's tip of the hat to Sergio Leone is fast and nasty. Like most Tarantino films Django is full of strongly drawn characters, goofy cameos, wildly creative dialog, plot twists,  overlong, and thoroughly entertaining. This is why he is brilliant and maddening at the same time. There are several sequences that could have just gone away and many others that could have been shorter.

I have a feeling that Django Unchained uses the 'N' word about 5000 times too many to actually win the Best Picture Oscar. Christoph Waltz certainly should win for his astonishing portrayal of a bounty hunter that hates slavery and takes Django under his wing. However, it is absurd that he is nominated for Actor in a Supporting Role. The only conceivable reason this isn't a lead role is that he is not the title character. Jamie Fox is terrific as well, but Waltz soars. Tarantino is also nominated for the Original Screenplay and may earn that, but I find it equally likely that award will go to Zero Dark Thirty.


The damaged people at the center of this Philadelphia-based quirky romantic comedy give this film a depth and humanity usually missing from mainstream romcoms. Bradley Cooper stars (and also Executive Produces) as the just sprung from psych ward Pat who snapped upon finding his wife in the shower with another man. He is sent home to live in his parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) attic and to learn to adjust to his new life. Pat desperately loves his estranged wife and yearns to have her back.

The new girl, wonderfully played by Jennifer Lawrence, is a bundle of mess herself having lost her husband. Together they meet and push each other's buttons and settle into a messy friendship. The supporting cast is interesting and I was never sure if or how the story would ever get to a happy ending. The film is one of the best romantic comedies I have seen in a long time and worthy of the Best Picture nomination.

One thing that is very cliche in Hollywood films is the age difference between the two main characters. Cooper is 15 years older than Lawrence. She is just 22 now, so was 20 or 21 when the movie was made. That difference is how Hollywood operates, cycling through an endless series of 20-something leading women. Few last long before being replaced with younger stars.

That said, Lawrence plays the role with strength and charm. She fully earned the Golden Globe she won and should have as long a career as one can have in Hollywood.

De Niro and Jacki Weaver were great as Pat's harried parents annoyed at their son for his circumstances for returning to their home (yet lovingly concerned), and Chris Tucker is better than I have ever seen him (usually annoys me with the manic).

Odds makers will probably rate Silver Linings Playbook a longshot at winning the Best Picture award. I agree. Currently, I would put Lincoln and Argo at the front of the pack - but I still have not seen Life of Pi, Les Miserables, and Armour.

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