The Friday Five: Oscar Edition

This Sunday is Oscar Night and seems like a good time for a Friday Five, as (coincidentally) I’ve seen five of the Best Picture nominees. So far, I have seen:

Black Swan

Black Swan: I’m not sure why, but going in I had the expectation that this movie was going to be more of a wink-nudge self-aware film — but it was played pretty straight up as a psychological thriller.  Natalie Portman was intense as the ballerina determined to win the role of a lifetime — overcoming threats from without and within.  Good, creepy stuff.


Inception: Christopher Nolan’s convoluted trip was the rare summer blockbuster that asked the audience to actually pay attention through all the effects.  Kudos to this film for overcoming my “I hate Leo” tendencies.

Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3: Another wonderful effort from Pixar.  When I saw that they were making a third, I thought “Oh no, they’re pandering…” and I was wrong. Funny and smart as always and say what you will (Kelly), but this film was the only one on the list that made me reach for a tissue.

Winters Bone

Winter’s Bone: I liked this movie enough that I actually posted on it last fall. This story of family and adversity in the Ozarks was incredibly well-done and I’m glad that it’s picked up buzz and made it on many folks’ “best” lists.

Bored Meeting

The Social Network: I’ve been a fan of Aaron Sorkin’s peppery dialog since Sports Night and The American President, so the fact that I enjoyed this movie is probably no surprise. What was astounding is that it played like history.  History that all started in way back in 2003.  Oof.

Of them, I think Winter’s Bone and The Social Network were the best films, though it seems that any film not named The King’s Speech (which is apparently a good movie, but bad history) is fighting for second place. There’s also an outside chance that I will see The Kids Are Alright before Sunday night, which might make for a Saturday Six, I suppose.

I’m sure we’ll also see True Grit and The King’s Speech in the future.  My guess is that I’ll take a pass on 127 Hours and The Fighter.

Which have been your favorites?  Which do you think will win?


17 thoughts on “The Friday Five: Oscar Edition

  1. I added Winter’s Bone to “saved” before it was released for rental and who knows how long it’ll be before I get it. Particularly, living in the Ozarks, I guess the local warehouses are over-working it.

    I read a brief interview with the actor playing the father. You may have seen it…He said something like he ALWAYS goes to an area when he’s going to portray somebody local and hangs out in taverns to get “local flavor.” He said this was the ONLY time doing this he has ever feared for his life.

    Sissy-boy. Come to MY ‘hood!

    People don’t believe my oft-repeated tale of my school being reported in Newsweek as being the “worst” in the USA (talking violence, crime, illiteracy, etc.). You have to be tough and if you’re smart, you get out. I’m just tough.

    • MT — how is “Winter’s Bone” being received in your area? It’s hardly an enthusiastic thumbs-up on the people and culture of the region. It reminded me of a couple of years ago when we were traveling across Montana and North Dakota and there was a huge anti-meth campaign and descriptions of how it (and its subsequent “economy”) has ravaged rural communities there.

  2. I am hoping for Winter’s Bone. I took your suggestion and watched it and was blown away. You don’t need a huge budget, period costumes, special effects, or big name stars to have an excellent movie.

  3. I’ve only watched Black Swan, True Grit, Inception, The King’s Speech, Inception, and Toy Story 3. Hoping to catch The Social Network this weekend before the Oscars. My favorite so far was The King’s Speech, although, I’ve really really liked all the ones I’ve had a chance to watch so far.

  4. Normally I’m so out of it when it’s Oscar time, because I haven’t seen any the movies nominated. This year however I actually saw four of them—True Grit, Toy Story 3, The Social Network and Winter’s Bone. Either I’m getting out more, or movies are getting better, ha! (Movie theaters, not so much: the local art-house theater raised their tickets to $10.50, so I’m going to think twice before I run out and see the next new foreign film in town; and why do people TALK while a movie’s playing? On a cellphone that they were asked to shut off?)

    I’d love to see another Coen Brothers’ film win the Oscar, but there would be something flukey and wonderful about Pixar getting it for Toy Story 3. Winter’s Bone however was the movie that left me thinking long afterwards. I enjoyed the snappy dialog in The Social Network, but the storyline about 20-something millionaires grated on me. You’re sad and lonely? Really? You poor, brilliant thing you. Maybe you could hire a tutor in emotional intelligence, which all of the characters seemed to be missing.

    • Hah! I think you’re dead-on with the EQ and the overall lack of sympathy for the characters in The Social Network… there’s no one to root for. I do like going to the theater to see a movie, but you’re also (sadly) dead-on about peoples’ boorish behavior. We once sat behind a couple and the woman was constantly texting with a very bright screen. I asked her to turn it off because it was distracting and she answered “Hey, my kid is sick, so I have to get updates”. That told me everything I needed to know right there.

  5. I really was amused by your tags on the pictures. Of course my poor pop culture addled brain saw “she’s a Maniac…Maniac” and suddenly pictures of Chris Farley are flashing.

    That being said. I am a big advocate of the King’s Speech. Even if the history is slightly off, Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham-Carter are tremendous in it. Firth deserves the Oscar.
    I’m with you though. I probably won’t See 127 hrs or The Fighter.

    • Once I figured out that you can have the little mouse-over captions here on WP, I usually try and make them fun. I usually tune out fighting movies (didn’t watch “The Wrestler”) and war movies (didn’t watch “The Hurt Locker”). I’m on the fence about 127 Hours.

  6. I think this is the year that I have seen the most Oscar films. My favorite is by far The King’s Speech, but I haven’t seen Black Swan or The Social Network. Even though I believe everyone that The Social Network was good, I really don’t think it would be my favorite even if I had seen it. I just know my own tastes. Black Swan is the most likely to make me change my mind, but I haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet. So I guess I’m going with the crowd, but The King’s Speech really was an amazing movie. Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth were great. In a surprising move, I am not picking Christian Bale for Best Supporting Actor. :) Firth was especially good since he had to stammer for the whole film.

    • Black Swan was funny for me b/c I think it’s had a tough time with expectations. When I first heard about it, it was supposed to be great, and then the pendulum swung back to “not all that” and so I had little idea what to expect. I am also a little surprised that you’re abandoning Mr. Bale… ;)

  7. Have not seen any of these. Swan and Inception look like the most promising, and I appreciate the reviews. The trailers are just not catching my attention these days.

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