Here are the nominees for Best Picture of the Year…
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
What could happen: Somebody could look at me with a straight face and tell me how The Dark Knight wasn’t one of the five best films to come out in the past 12 months! OK, now that I got that off my chest, let’s look at what else could happen. The Reader and Frost/Nixon; anchored by Academy Award nominated performances, but no real chance of winning the Big One. Milk? I loved Penn’s performance and thought the movie was well made overall. Does the Academy still have guilt over picking Crash over Brokeback Mountain a few years back? Wait, let me rephrase that, does the Academy have guilt for picking Crash over Brokeback Mountain a few years back? Honestly don’t know the answer to that one. Benjamin Button? I’m not the first one to mention this, but from behind the scenes credits to character archetypes to love/hate relationship, this movie shares a lot in common with Forrest Gump. But unless I’m mistaken, Forrest Gump kicked Pulp Fiction to the curb, so it wouldn’t be the first time this type of movie won out. The counter to that argument though, is that an even bigger crowd pleaser has been the front runner throughout awards season, Slumdog Millionaire.
What should happen: If I had a vote, it’d be going to either Milk or Slumdog. Film geek that I am, my first question is always, ‘Which picture will still be as watchable in five years, if not longer?’ Since The Dark Knight isn’t nominated (OK, OK, I’m sorry about that. I’m really done this time) that knocked out the other three films nominated for me personally. The (very good) problem is, I think I could make case for either of the two films left. For an ‘outsider’ like myself, Milk was both an entertaining and informative introduction to the life of Harvey Milk and a snapshot of the fight for gay rights in California in the 70s (which also turned out to be extremely timely for those of us who watch this play out in the Golden State today). At the time I saw Slumdog, it was one of those ‘word of mouth’ films that I heard so many good things about I was positive it couldn’t be that good. When I came out of the theater, the first film that I thought it reminded me of was Singin In the Rain. Like my favorite musical, it was just one of those simple stories told so well that I was aware almost from frame one how much I was just enjoying myself watching the story play out. I have no idea how many thousands of movies I’ve watched at this point, but that is beyond rare for me personally.
Who I’m cheering for: This has been a little bit of a weird season watching who wins what award from what group, but it will be a mild surprise if Slumdog doesn’t complete its frontrunner status and take home Best Picture.
Well, I guess you know what I’ll be watching Sunday night…