So I took the time to see all 9 of the Best Picture nominees. I had to take time because some of them were really really long.
I have ranked them based on the following criteria.
– Did the film immerse me into it’s world?
– Was it a story that had to be filmed – not staged or done for TV?
– Did it touch me emotionally?
#9) – Silver Linings Playbook
This was a fine and fun film with charming actors and touching story, but it’s climatic plot point was a dance contest and that is so Saturday Night Fever, the ending was a forgone conclusion including the relationships.
#8) Les Miserables
I am musical fan and a Les Miz fan but I found the film bloated and some really melodramatic acting. When Hugh Jackman wheezed “I’m ready Fantine” I rolled my eyes and thought “hurry“. I loved Eddie Redmayne as Marius though and his song with Samantha Barks as Eponine in “A Little Fall of Rain” was the only time I was drawn into the story.
#7) Zero Dark Thirty
Epic film-making, the attack on the compound was heart stopping at times. But it also telegraphed some of it’s moments. In any story when a mostly morose character is suddenly very happy I always know they are about to die or get seriously maimed. It’s called setting them up for the fall. I also found the politics troublesome.
This is epic film making with sweeping Spielberg shots and it was really well done. The acting by Daniel Day Lewis and everyone was pretty spectacular. The political machinations were interesting but I found the story never got me emotionally involved. I was admiring it as a movie.
#5) Django Unchained
It was very Tarantino with it juxtaposed soundtrack and quirky characters. It was also super bloated and the first half of the film could have trimmed by 40 minutes, but I was always curious and loved the performances by Cristoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson.
#4) Life of Pi
Wow! Gorgeous filmmaking and there were times where I was on the edge of my seat with the action. The special effects where dictated by the story where as most times the story is created to serve the special effects. I was transported into a world that was unique and there were many touching moments.
This was a film that rocked me and I bawled a lot. The director trusts the viewer to read his actors and get the story without over explaining or talking down. The actors are phenomenal and you forget they are acting and you are watching a movie. You get pulled in and care. I went for a long walk after pondering and reflecting.
This one is so high on the list because there were so many scenes where Mr. Affleck actually makes situations so tense that I was on the edge of my seat. The filmmaking mostly put you right in the heart of the story and I felt scared, nervous and I laughed and cared what was going to happen next. It is a movie movie and was not bloated although a tad obvious but still I suspect it will win.
#1) Beasts of the Southern Wild
This film is filled with global calamity, imagination, wonder, and told through the eyes of a little girl. The supporting characters, as well as the leads all feel vivid and real and the world that Mr. Zietlan captures lives outside the confines of the scripted page. The prevailing sadness in a world of confusion and playfulness was fully realized and images are burned into my head. It is also coincidentally the shortest film to be nominated.
How would your order rank?