Bitch About It

In ‘Bitch About It,’ I want to hear what you have to say! Especially since I usually don’t have a clue.

It’s time to bitch about some stuff. If you haven’t heard, the Academy Awards are in less than a week. I’m greatly interested, this year in particular, in the Best Directing award. There’s no doubt it’s going to be very a very close race with the five nominees being: True Grit, The Fighter, The Social Network, Black Swan and The King’s Speech.  So I asked a few of you bloggers to answer the following two questions:

Who should win this year’s Oscar for Best Director and why?

What should win Best Picture?

What I hoped to find out is what people think is the connection between direction and the final film product.  For me, it’s not even a contest when it comes to best directing.  While every nominee is an excellent example of the craft, none of them did what Darren Aronofsky did in Black Swan.  The proof I would offer comes down to the script.  The script could have gone either way.  Think about what the film would have been if someone else with less talent had tried to take on the challenge.  It also kind of cemented Aronofsky’s resume.  He’s proven with five films now, that he’s a force to reckoned with and is not going away any time soon.

As for best picture, I’d have to go with Black Swan again, and if you’re really intereseted, you can read all about why I feel that way here.

But more importantly, here’s what some very insightful people had to say about these questions:

The Oscars have an interesting opportunity this year with several established auteurs, right in their prime, to make one of them a defining director of his generation. With Nolan out, we’re left with Aronofsky and Fincher for that Best Directing title. Hooper might win on pure British power, but I’m thinking A or F are the best bets, and the more rightful winners. Hooper did some good for King’s Speech, but the film was defined solely by the strength of its performances. The same could be said for Social Network and the strength of Sorkin’s writing, but if we only ever judged directors by those around them then we’d never get anywhere. I’m thinking Aronofsky is the rightful winner here on sheer necessity for him to elevate the film to where any flaws can be covered by pure atmospheric misdirection. Not to mention he’s put Rachel Weisz back on the market – that has to count for something.

As to Best Picture, my heart still firmly belongs to 127 Hours. Unlike 2009’s Precious where the interludes of mental breakdown were a frustrating intervention, Boyle showed just the right balance of emotion and surrealism to create a truly breathtaking experience. However, I find it painfully unfortunate that the movie has a better chance at winning the lottery than garnering enough votes to overthrow the films around it. Downside to media played up rumors of people fainting and gagging due to its realism. What did they expect? An arm being cutoff musical number?

Univarn of A Life in Equinox

There’s only one right answer to this question in my eyes. With The Social Network, David Fincher has once again proven his mastery of the medium, crafting a feature that glides forward with confidence and energy while refusing to sacrifice intelligence for entertainment (and vice-versa). Although the picture is more stylistically restrained than some of his earlier features, Fincher’s brilliance is still evident throughout, from his ingenious use of digital effects (the Winklevii are a marvel) to the rigorous, multiple-take approach that has drawn career-best performances from his young ensemble. The Best Director Oscar should be awarded to the filmmaker whose vision and technical expertise has been utilised in the most satisfying way, and I feel that this description matches Fincher more than any of his fellow contenders, even if they all have their virtues. David Fincher deserves this award, and a victory on February 27th will also help redress the previous oversights that have seen this extraordinary director gain just one prior nomination (in typical Oscar fashion, it was for his worst film).

The Best Picture race has come down to two close contenders. Will the Academy side with The Social Network – young, hip, inventive, the film that “captures the zeitgeist” – or will they be swayed by the tradition and emotional uplift of The King’s Speech? Those two films have dominated the conversation thus far, but I would like to propose a third way. Of the ten nominated films this year, Toy Story 3 stands out for me as the most perfectly realised achievement. Built upon a flawless screenplay (one that should win the Original Screenplay Oscar – to hell with arbitrary rules!), this climactic instalment in Pixar’s trilogy somehow manages to match, and even exceed, its two exceptional predecessors for wit and heart. The amount of love, care and attention that has gone into the making of this film is unmatched by any of its fellow Best Picture contenders, and its ability to deliver an exciting, hilarious adventure while simultaneously deepening our emotional connection with the characters is simply astonishing. A Best Picture victory for Toy Story 3 would be a victory for great storytelling, a victory for courageous and imaginative filmmaking, and it would be a deserved victory for Pixar, the studio whose boundless ambitions over the past 15 years has frequently embarrassed the rest of mainstream American cinema. Of course, with animated features ghettoised into a separate category, this nomination is merely a token gesture, and it’s sadly impossible to imagine such a film, even one as good as this, ever claiming the top prize.

Phil of Phil on Film

A director’s role in a film is very important & nuanced. They are the captain of a large ship complete with crew! The one that impressed me the most this year is David Fincher. He not only created a beautiful, evocative movie but also brought out some really amazing performances from very young and some less experienced actors. That’s no easy feat. I can only imagine how tricky the days on the set were, ie the restaurant scene, the mediation stuff (where you have the youngins’ and the more veterans all around a table), or the house party. Those are tricky scenes to capture in a way that propels the story forward and reveals the characters.

Side note: I was not excited to see ‘The Social Network’ because the subject of the movie didn’t interest me. I saw it pretty far after it’s release. When I did. I wondered why I didn’t see it sooner. I should know better. That David Fincher has some of the most compelling, dazzling films of my generation. They’re dark, visceral, moving, and I feel when I watch his films, I am getting to see a piece of who this guy is.

For me, one of the ways I pick a good director is: if how they told me the story grabbed my interest and compelled me to watch what they had to say for 2 hours they did their job. Fincher did that and then some. No joke. This category had some really great peeps in it. Every one of those men are at the top of their craft. I’m truly happy for them.

What should win Best Picture? 127 Hours or The Kids are Alright (total darkhorse).

Melly of MellyHocking

Melly is a real life costumer for film and television, working on movies like Piranha 3D, and Middle Men. So I asked her to put her two cents in about the Best Costume race this year at the Oscars. The nominated films are: Alice in Wonderland, I Am Love, The King’s Speech, The Tempest and True Grit. Here’s what she had to say (and I agree with her!):

Antonella Cannarozzi for I Am Love. Oh boy, how I loved her costumes in this movie. The clothes were spot-on perfection. Part of the reason I want her to win is that the other women all have at least ONE if not four [Oscars] so I would really enjoy seeing her get an award I feel she earned. Not to mention, her design was more subtle.  She was she was really understated, each piece she chose I felt fit the character wearing it so well. Tilda’s, of course, was so refined and lovely. GO ANTONELLA!

All right, what do you think? Who should win the director and best picture race? Or costumes for that matter!

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2 Responses to “Bitch About It”
  1. melanie says:

    Thanks for letting me be a part of this fun poll. Every person here made really good points. I think you guys are so well spoken. Can’t wait to see what goes down on Oscar night! 🙂

    my favorite line: “What did they expect? An arm being cutoff musical number?”

    i so hope for an Oscar miracle and see 127 hours come home with best picture. please oh please!

  2. Ripley says:

    Well, Nolan directed the shit out of Inception. But Aronofsky’s direction is the equivalent of Frank Booth. One or the other.
    Ripley´s last blog post ..Cartoons that shaped my childhood 3- Teen Titans

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