So, normally, I’ll do a run through of the categories I really care about, giving my thoughts on each nomination. I’m not going to do that this year because I don’t have the time or energy to do that. What I will do is talk about what should win Best Picture, who should get Best Director, and who should get Best Cinematography.
I’m going to start simply, with my own field. Now, I am far and away a diehard Roger Deakins fan, and True Grit was true to form. But I think I’m going to give it to Wally Pfister for Inception. Inception was particularly challenging, because not only was keeping track of each stage vitally important to following the plotline, but each stage had to feel utterly different, and each reflected a specific character, and therefore a different point of view of the main character, Cobb; while all the time keeping a coherent visual strategy. And Pfister really pulled it off. One thing I really appreciated about the film was that each dream-stage felt like a real dream. There was no, “Oh, this is a dream, so everything is going to be weird and crazy!” Most people’s dreams feel like reality during the experience (“It’s only when you wake up do you realize something was strange”), and Pfister stayed true to this.
(Black Swan was a close runner up)
I wish I had seen The Fighter. That may have altered my pick. But I didn’t. I’m going to give it to Tom Hooper, for The King’s Speech. He managed to take a story with some heavy historical baggage and turn it into a story simply about a friendship between two men. And it was beautiful. All of the actors interacted flawlessly. Simply put, it was a beautiful movie.
I have seen most—though, not all—Best Picture nominees. I really enjoyed all of them (except for Toy Story). Personally, I enjoyed The King’s Speech and True Grit the most. However, I don’t believe either should win. This year, and this year specifically, I think only one movie really should win. Movies like this don’t come around all that often. I’m going to go out on a limb and offer this argument, likely considered blasphemy by film diehards—but this is our generation’s Citizen Kane. Now, phrases like that usually irk me, but bear with me here. There are a lot of reasons why Citizen Kane is one of the greatest American films of all time, but one of the most interesting is that it’s a portrait of American economy, commerciality, communication, and social interaction—but it was a portrait of a specific time, 1941. This movie captures a similar portrait of America, but in the 2000’s. That’s why this movie is important. It’s about American society going head-under into a world it’s crafting faster than it can realize what it’s doing. It’s about how, perhaps, we’re unequipped and too immature for this new economic world. It’s about the changing face of American business and American (and, subsequently, global) interaction—about how a 22-year-old can become the most powerful man in America from his dorm room. That’s why The Social Network needs to win. It’s actually, you know, important.
“Plain and simple - [Nolan]’s done it. It’s a phenomenal script. He’s still in the process of cutting it back because it’s a very long script right now, but it’s really phenomenal. And he actually had me go back and wanted me to watch, in IMAX, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight again. When I watched those I had read the script for The Dark Knight Rises and was like, ‘Dude, it is a perfect trilogy.’ I think that was his intent, to work off those two pictures - and they are very different pictures. And it’s funny, we all had different opinions about which picture we like better.”—Wally Pfister