In honor of the Oscars tomorrow, today I'm going to give my thoughts on the most heavily nominated pictures of the year, as well as films that should have been nominated. This is the first year that I've seen four of the five movies nominated for best picture (well, sorta... read on), so I feel like I can offer a somewhat valid opinion on film for once.
Also, I haven't forgotten that this is a music blog. At the bottom of the post you'll find a few of my favorite tracks from films.
First, the nominated pictures:
Little Miss Sunshine - The only film I actively rushed out to see upon its release, it doesn't scream Oscar-winner, but it's probably the movie that I enjoyed watching the most. The cast is excellent, and I'd love to see a comedy like this win the big award. I would be happy with this movie or....
Babel - Another great piece. The execution is a tad clunky and requires a lot of thought afterwards to connect everything together, but the movie's so gripping and emotional that it hardly matters. Definitely the most sprawling of the nominees, I was entranced by its use of cultural barriers and universality of, as the critics like to say, "the human condition." It's between this and LMS for me.
The Departed - Okay, so I honestly only watched this for about an hour. I could not get into it in the slightest. Now, I'm not one for crime dramas anyways, but I had to give The Departed a try as it seems to be the frontrunner in this race. I hope it doesn't win, though. To me, there is nothing special or interesting about it. In fact, the whole thing had me absolutely baffled as to why critics have loved it so much.
The Queen - I liked this movie a lot. It had a very different, almost documentary style to it. Still, I don't think the film itself merits a best picture win. The acting was great, though, and the subtle storytelling very interesting.
Letters From Iwo Jima - Haven't seen it, but it's not like it's going to win anyway. It's probably good, though!
The Should Have Beens:
Pan's Labyrinth - Definitely my favorite film of the year, this one just knocked everything out of me. Very powerful movie. I hope it wins in the foreign language category, though it deserves so much more. Nothing was as imaginative, haunting or visceral as this all year.
Dreamgirls - Not my favorite film of the year, but a hair above The Queen and definitely better than The Departed. I went into this movie expecting to dislike it, but it really stunned me. Jennifer Hudson's performance was definitely a huge part of this, but so was the flashy direction and wise casting.
V For Vendetta - An early favorite of mine, I was sad that this wasn't nominated for anything, though I doubted it would be. The first time I saw this film, it moved me every bit as much as Babel did. I think the message is incredibly topical and the layering of the political and action-driven elements was flawlessly done.
And some tunes...
Flying (from Peter Pan 2003) - My favorite piece of music from my favorite film of all time. I'm not huge on instrumental pieces, but this is just too good not to love. Plus, it is extremely effective in the movie, which is itself extremely effective! You'll also recognize this from various trailers and commercials (somewhat unfortunately).
El Bosco - Nirvana - From another of my favorite children's movies, Millions, comes this stirring choral piece that ends the movie in a rather stunning fashion.
How Shall I See You Through My Tears (performed in Camp) - If you haven't seen Camp (about a summer musical theater camp) yet and you have even a passing interest in musicals and/or coming of age stories, rush out and find this movie. It's great, and the cast's haunting rendition of this song opens the movie brilliantly.