Last year at Oscar nomination time, I wrote a popular piece on which film would win the Academy Award for Best Picture. And what separated my piece from the billion other articles, columns, and blog posts by all the other self-appointed film experts?
Easy. I didn't see any of the nominated films.
This was, in fact, part of the joke, based on last year's inclusion of movies like An Education and A Serious Man, both of which I actually did see once I realized they existed.
Still can't remember which was which.
I'm not one of those guys who never sees a movie. On the contrary. I love movies. I'm just not a huge fan of movie theaters. Or crowds. Or people who still can't figure out "vibrate" on their mobile. Or $12 movie tickets. So most everything I see is on DVD or streaming.
Yes. I know. A lot of movies are available on DVD by the time they're nominated. These just aren't my kind of movies. Again, don't get me wrong, my tastes are eclectic and broad ranging. This year I dug Scott Pilgrim vs. the World as much as I dug Invictus...
Yeah, I'm lying, Invictus bored the living snot out of me.
For me to see a movie, it must abide by one rule. The Rule of Awesome, which can be determined anywhere from first hearing the name of the movie, i.e. Tron: Legacy, The A-Team, to the first twenty seconds of the preview, i.e. Hot Tub Time Machine, Black Dynamite.
So this year, just like last year, I'll handicap each film's chances for Best Picture glory based on nothing more than previews, hearsay, and stuff I make up.
Wait. Hold up. I saw Inception. But can you blame me? The awesome factor was through the frigging roof.
Too clever to win, this was honestly the best movie I saw in 2010. But, seeing as the best movie I saw last year was Star Trek, I don't think it has a snowball's chance. Unlike Trek, however, this film kind of snuck up on everyone, even with Christopher Nolan at the helm. So it was a quiet awesome, but too awesome for the Academy nonetheless.
Come on. Admit it. You're sick of this movie. You want to punch this movie in the face.
You know why you've never heard of this one? It's because the amount of people who want to see James Franco chew his arm off for two hours is directly proportional to the amount of people who want to see Ryan Reynolds in a box for two hours. Listen guys. Van Wilder? Awesome. Saul Silver? Awesome. Green Lantern? Yes. Daniel Desario? Obscure reference. Trapped under rock or in coffin? Box office disaster disguised as monologue. And Academy, you're just enabling.
Starring Batman and the other guy from The Other Guys, otherwise known as Marky Mark... well, there you go.
The Kids Are All Right
When I get older, I'm going to produce a movie about two gay uncles (played by straight men), whose lives are turned upside down when their nephews' (one of whom is named cornflake with a lower case "c") real life mother is released from straight prison. I'm going to call it The Song Remains the Same. I don't know, this might win. I got through the title and the premise and I'm out of jokes. Or the ability to stay awake.
The Social Network
I want to hate this movie so much. I hear it's very good.
Toy Story 3
Like any good Dad, I've seen and heard bits and pieces of this, definitely enough bits and pieces to splice together the entire movie, and probably a dozen times at that. While I love Pixar, the Toy Story movies don't appeal to me as much as some of the others. Although it is nice to see a return to form. Pixar was getting a little too experimental in what they believed the audience would sit through. I hear for their next movie they're working on a 12-minute wide shot of a beautifully reproduced head of lettuce. No, really, when you see it on the big screen you'll be in awe.
Wow, did I waste that many words? This is a cartoon. It won't win.
Say the words "and the award goes to winter's bone" out loud. Now try not to laugh.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the reason why Inception was the best movie I saw last year is because I didn't see this. This is the Inglorious Basterds of this year's crop. But the Coens trump Tarantino and Jeff Bridges is certainly no Brad Pitt points-deducting heartthrob, even though he was Flynn. This is my pick for which movie should win.
The King's Speech
Martin Luther? Don? Edward? Burger? I'll admit that I hadn't heard of this movie until it got nominated, and neither had you, but it seems to be filled like a tiny little European clown car with all of those British actors who are best known for their role as "the British Guy/Lady" in dozens of other films. Plus Geoff Rush, who is awesome, and Helena Bonham-Carter who I sheepishly admit to having a she's-just-crazy-enough crush on. Like Wynona Rider when she was all shoplifty.
Everyone loves this film even though no one has seen it yet. Don't act like you've seen it. You haven't. You were going to, but you forgot, and now you won't admit it.
That's exactly why this one's the winner.
Joe Procopio trades in pop culture and tech culture, allowing him to poke fun at so many things. He's written for a number of online and offline publications from the late, lamented Smug to the fancy-pants Chicago Tribune and also for television. He's a novelist, a shredder, a joker, and a family man. Scoff at joeprocopio.com or follow on Twitter @jproco.
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2.2.11 @ 8:39a
When there is a discussion about films,I can't remain silent or indifferent,this is my favorite field of study.As for the oscar winning films,I agree,they are not always attracting my attention,but this time if I was among the jury members,I would vote definitely for 'Black Swan'.This film has impressed me so strongly that I'm about writing an article about the 'Perfection Syndrome',inspired essencially by this movie.
2.2.11 @ 9:28a
"The Rule of Awesome" lol
2.3.11 @ 2:20p
I'd actually heard of The King's Speech, but only because I went to the movies on Christmas (like a good Jew) and the line for it nearly went around the lobby, but it was populated solely by people who actually remembered the last time England had a king.
As far as the unexpected, Black Swan was grittier than I thought it would be and The Fighter was funnier than I thought it would be.