Variety reports in next year’s Academy Awards ceremony, there will be 10 Best Picture nominees. That is twice more than the usual five. Sid Ganis of the Academy says that it will give other types of movies a chance at gold, such as documentary, foreign-language, animated feature and “maybe even a comedy”. In this economy it also won’t hurt films to have more credibility and coverage at the box office.
Since the recession I always thought the film industry, especially Hollywood, was one of few still reeling in the big bucks. I mean, I definitely did not stop going to the theaters when Wall Street crashed, and movie tickets aren’t cheap in Canada. After reading the article, I wasn’t sure if I was happy or angry.
First, after reading that a comedy now has a shot at the Best Picture nomination brought much joy to my heart. I was big supporter of Juno two years ago and I look forward to film of similar caliber to join the big drama boys again. Also, having ten nominations gives the good old indie films a chance as well. Although Slumdog Millionaire certainly proved that an independent picture can win without having to double the nomination slots.
On the other hand – why couldn’t this have happened last year! Last year would have been a great year to have ten Best Picture nominations. I really think the Academy made this decision in response to the huge fan criticism one how they omitted The Dark Knight and Wall-E from the Best Picture category. Lets take a look at last year:
2008 Best Picture nominees:
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
In my opinion, these are the five other films I would’ve included if there were ten slots, and with reason:
Why this movie failed to received a single nomination is beyond me. Clint Eastwood directed himself in another memorable performance. Eastwood plays Korean war veteran with a very racist vernacular and appears as the antagonist at the beginning of the film but shifts to touch your hearts towards the end. What struck me most was Eastwood’s choice of casting genuine Hmong people who have no acting experience to play the supporting cast. When you watch their performance you don’t notice bad acting, but rather their reactions in real life.
The Dark Knight
TDK got snubbed. Big time. The world was not ready for such an epic film, which is why the Academy is now compensating by doubling the Best Picture nominees. For those of you who’ve seen the film, you know why it should have been nominated. For those of you who haven’t, f*** you. Get off your ass and go watch it. Watching Heath Ledger as The Joker leaves you breathless and wondering if the film should have been called The Joker.
One of the best slice-of-life dramas I have ever seen. Daron Aronofsky used subtle documentary techniques to show a segment of a post-prime wrestler’s life without having to elaborate a vast backstory. All you needed to know is that he’s old, out of work and clearly has issues, but you love him. Mickey Rourke’s comeback is definitely complete.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
The needed comedy to every Best Picture roster. VCB was a sexy romantic comedy that truly stayed away from its sappy, gut-wrenching conventions. There was no ideal happy ending or a scene with an unnecessary long kiss with a sunset in the background. There was foreign, fun, erotic romance to the point where there was a three-person couple. The dynamics of the relationships between characters accompanied with an optimistic narrator made the picture controversial, questionable but over all stimulating. If you know what I mean.
Arguably the best Pixar animated feature, and this is includes Up. I’d hate to discredit traditional animated classics such as Aladdin or The Lion King, so I would rank WALL-E as the best 3D animated feature film of all time. I would have never imagined an animated film to even dare to have such vivid documentary characteristics. But the environmental context of the film made it work wonderfully. There was no dialogue in first half hour of the film and I assure you, no one found that boring or unnecessary (I think). Our human race is relentlessly trying to create artificial intelligence to assimilate human characteristics, but we’re still very far from succeeding. After watching WALL-E, I can tell you this – Andrew Stanton, is the first to breathe true life, personality and love into robots.
There’s my make-belief list of the Ten 2008 Best Picture nominees.
Don’t stop watching movies, please.