If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you already know that I spent the past two Saturdays participating in AMC Theaters’ Best Picture Showcase. For $40 each, my brother and I were treated to screenings of all 10 movies nominated for Best Picture, a large popcorn with unlimited refills and a large drink with unlimited refills. Somehow this year’s nominees ended up largely coinciding with our particular interests (we missed out on quite a few Oscar favs because of my spotty recent health and the 3 films we had already seen –Inglourious Basterds, Up and District 9– we certainly didn’t mind seeing again) so we decided this was a good investment.
Last Saturday’s bill:
This Saturday’s bill:
This year the Oscar voting rules were changed. Instead of voters selecting one film as their Best Picture selection, they were asked to rank the 10 nominated films in order of preference. By doing this, we are guaranteed that the film being awarded Best Picture has truly received the majority of votes. (It took me a few articles to make sense of the new process, I found this one to be the most helpful.)
Keeping in line with the new rules, here is my Best Picture ballot, listed in order of preference, with a sentence or two as to why each movie received their rank. And for the record, I plan on getting started ASAP on my final Top 2009 movies list, so I’ll go into more detail about my favorite films then.
Crystal’s Best Picture 2010 Ballot
1. Inglourious Basterds
I can’t even think of words to describe the ways I love this movie. The Best Picture Showcase was my third time seeing Basterds in theaters and it is still an electrifying experience. Masterfully clever, shocking, nail-bitingly tense, hilarious. . . I truly think this is the Best Picture.
2. An Education
I had many reasons going into this movie to like it simply for existing: I love Peter Sarsgaard, the screenplay was written by one of my favorite authors (Nick Hornby) and it’s set in the ’60s (which I have an inexplicable weakness for). However, I was BLOWN AWAY by how much I LOVED this movie. Funny, sweet, charming, heartbreaking, poignant. . . and those are just the words I’d use to describe my pick for Best Actress, Carey Mulligan. A wonderful surprise.
3. A Serious Man
Again, I feel at a loss for words. Like most works from the Coen Brothers, this film is odd, fascinating and oddly fascinating but still. . . this one feels different. A good different. I don’t know what else to say except I saw this movie a week ago and I still haven’t stopped thinking about it.
4. Up in the Air
Much more melancholy and poignant than I was expecting, but it was a nice surprise. The cast is superb, the writing is sharp. Classic Oscar stuff.
5. District 9
It is crazy (in the best way) that this movie is nominated for Best Picture. I wasn’t sure how it would hold up on second viewing, but it was still instantly engrossing and completely heartbreaking. Shame that Sharlto Copley wasn’t nominated for Best Actor.
I actually liked this better the second time around, though I still think it pales in comparison to Wall-e. The first 10 minutes are 10 of the most stunning minutes ever rendered on film. The third act kind of goes haywire for me, but still I love.
7. The Hurt Locker
I was actually a bit disappointed by this one. Don’t get me wrong, I still thought it was spectacular and Kathryn Bigelow should absolutely win Best Director but I wish it didn’t have such a bare-bones narrative. I don’t think the characters were strong enough on their own to make it a worthwhile character study and there was very little plot or momentum otherwise. Still a deserving nom, though.
8. Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
Another classic example of an “Oscar” movie. A tough watch and while I found it more manipulative than moving, I can understand why it was nominated here.
First off I have to say: Yes, I saw this movie in 3-D and yes, I thought the effects were incredible. Having said that, I now need to share that I kind of hated this movie. Once the novelty of the effects wears off (and believe me, the movie is long enough that it will), you are left to focus on an unoriginal story, ham-handed political messages, goofy dialogue and some pretty hammy acting (Stephen Lang as the evil Colonel dude? Awesome amounts of unintentional hilarity). I appreciate the advances this film has made in terms of special effects, the sci-fi genre and movies in general but I will seriously cry if it wins Best Picture.
10. The Blind Side
For what it is -a heartwarming story about an unlikely family, seemingly insurmountable odds, etc.- it is a good enough movie. While entirely formulaic it still managed to be touching at times and for the first time ever I considered Sandra Bullock to be endearing. That being said, I really have no idea how it got nominated for Best Picture. Compared to any of the other nominees, it really does not compare.
Let me know what you think in the comments below and tune into the Oscars live tonight at 5PM on ABC!