I really love movies, but I’ve never been all too enamored with Hollywood or the Oscars. But having a degree in communications, I got used to critiquing performances and whatnot. I told my roommate once that I basically have a degree in criticism for that very reason. Anyway, I enjoy reviewing films and tv shows–so I’m going to try to do a bit more of that here. It was always my intention, but I intended to do that in a more robust manner when my full-blown site was ready…but that’s proving to be a long process.
Anyway. I think I was the only person in Denver who didn’t watch the Oscars tonight. We were all captives, I suppose, due to the “blizzard” (Which, by the way, really annoys me because this wasn’t crazy snow…this was normal snow. But when your city has not had a winter all season, I guess people blow it out of proportion. In any case….grr…and onward).
I had seen quite a few of the films in question–because I always want to see nominated films–even if I disagree with the nominations, ultimately. But I just don’t like watching these long, drawn-out displays of excess when people in our country are starving and dying. That’s just me. I get the need to escape, and I’m the biggest fan of film for that reason. But I just wonder how much good could happen if they didn’t throw these parties and gave the money to charity instead–if they announced the winners like they announce nominees. Again, I’m not really judging…just sayin’.
(My nonprofit brain has been a bit dominant lately. Can you tell?)
I am a bit of a fashion geek, though, so I had to check out the dresses. So, that was pretty much the extent of me paying attention to Oscar. I drank a Pimm’s Cup and watched Girls instead.
I do, however, want to weigh in on some of the films and kind of share who I think the winners should have been. Also, I want to gush and moan about fashion. So–settle in, kids. Make yourself a Pimm’s cup, too. They’re delish.
- Life of Pi
- Beasts of the Southern Wild
- Silver Linings Playbook
- Zero Dark Thirty
- Django Unchained
- Les Miserables
Who won: Argo
Alma’s Pick: Argo
I didn’t feel like the overall playing field for film was very interesting this year. I didn’t see much that was truly awe-inspiring, moving, or life-changing. I was actually outraged that Les Miz got a nod for Best Pic because I felt so betrayed by that film. I’ve always loved the book, the music, and even the old films. I love all the actors–except that one really creepy looking kid. I felt like it wasn’t edited properly. I was far too long. There was little narrative and no structure to keep us rooted into reality. While the live singing thing was ambitious, it jumped off the ledge when it came to story and left us with a tangled mess to decipher. I knew the story backwards, but I even had a hard time staying awake and following along. It’s a shame, too–so much potential.
I liked Silver Linings Playbook a lot. It’s probably my second favorite of this bunch, but it’s just not an Oscar movie–despite the serious subjects contained within. It was a little too easy-breezy. Lincoln was adequate. It was exactly what I expected–nothing more, nothing less.
Argo was the best film I saw this year. It was paced well. The acting was solid. The story was important and interesting. It taught me something, and it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. It could have done more for me, but what it did was admirable.
Actor in a Leading Role
- Bradley Cooper
- Daniel Day-Lewis
- Hugh Jackman
- Joaquin Phoenix
- Denzel Washington
Who won: Daniel Day-Lewis
Who should’ve won: Bradley Cooper
I make no secret of having a massive crush on the Coop. I’ve loved him since his days as Sydney Bristow’s best friend on Alias. I like him in nearly everything he does–even if I hate the movie. He’s always fun and/or engaging. That said, Cooper really showed his acting chops in a film that rather flippantly dealt with a really important subject–in a year where that subject was on everyone’s mind. He took crazy and made it normal and even charming. He made mental illness human and something even drop-dead gorgeous men can suffer from. He elevated that movie so much, and it was the payoff I–as a BC fan–have been waiting for. Show ’em you can act, B! Show ’em your training and that you’re not just a pretty face. He did, and I’m looking forward to seeing more.
Now, some people are going to get mad at me for this, but I have to say it…I found Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance to be rather ordinary. A lot of his presence in the film came from makeup. He didn’t create a character from scratch like Cooper. He was imitating an American icon. No new ground here. No new insight into humanity. We know how to feel about Lincoln. We know he’s a hero. I didn’t think DDL’s Lincoln was all that layered. I saw some new aspects of him, but I feel like that was a function of the writing–not his acting. Don’t get me wrong–DDL is good at what he does. He has his thing down, sure. But I have never found it all that touching.
Hugh Jackman’s a good actor and an amazing singer, but he was a weak link for me in Les Miz. I almost feel like he got lost in all the numbers. I didn’t feel much sympathy or transformation in this character…just a lot of things being sung at me.
(And can we please stop nominating Denzel Washington just because he’s amazing Denzel? He’s a wonderful actor in so many ways, but his performances haven’t been Oscar-worthy for a really long time).
Actress in a Leading Role
- Jessica Chastain
- Quvenzhane Wallis
- Jennifer Lawrence
- Naomi Watts
- Emmanuelle Riva
Who won: Jennifer Lawrence
Who should’ve won: Naomi Watts
I heard a lot of the voters didn’t watch Naomi Watts’ performance because the movie itself was just so gut-wrenching. That’s really unfortunate. Because they missed out. Jennifer Lawrence was good in Silver Linings Playbook, but I didn’t feel like she elevated the material. The writing carried her–not the other way around. I think Jennifer won because of her personality–which I don’t find all that charming. I want to like her because I think she’s a decent actress, but she needs to mature a little and try a little less hard to be witty. As for Jessica Chastain, I think she also did a decent job, but there wasn’t enough for her to hold on to. The writers failed to serve her talent.
Actor in a Supporting Role
- Alan Arkin
- Robert DeNiro
- Philip Seymour Hoffman
- Tommy Lee Jones
- Christoph Waltz
Who won: Christoph Waltz
Who should’ve won: Tommy Lee Jones
For me, Tommy Lee Jones transformed Lincoln from a ho-hum, adequate film to something I could actually recommend. He was surprising–both in his plot and delivery–and represented the struggle of the Civil War itself rather poignantly. More than that, his character changed within the course of the film. He was the most interesting person on that screen, for me.
I wanted to love Robert DeNiro’s performance, but I didn’t. I always think of Bobby DeNiro as this tough guy. But here, he was soft–which is what made me kinda love him. Within the film, though, I felt like he muddled things…though I liked this DeNiro a lot. Wrong film for a great actor. I actually don’t really remember Alan Arkin’s performance in Argo, though I typically love him in anything. I was shocked Bryan Cranston wasn’t nominated because he was the standout in the supporting cast for me. I’d watch Cranston in anything.
Actress in a Supporting Role
- Amy Adams
- Sally Field
- Anne Hathaway
- Helen Hunt
- Jacki Weaver
Who won: Anne Hathaway
Who should’ve won: Anne Hathaway
Hathaway was the only thing about Les Miz that didn’t outright suck. She wasn’t in the film that long, though, and her absence really screwed everyone else. They were like the island of misfit actors without her to let the light in. Sally Field was dour and slow in Lincoln–probably the worst I’ve seen from her and really just not an interesting character. Jacki Weaver did an okay job, but I wanted to see a lot less of her.
I really don’t care about guy fashion, so most of this will be focused on the ladies.
I really like Sally Field, but this dress was beyond awful. The draping was odd, and the dress was sheer in parts where it didn’t add anything. She was so covered up, it might as well have been a Gone With the Wind tablecloth. The color was fine with the rest of her coloring, but she should try a figure-flattering dress next time. Older doesn’t mean she’s on her way to being a parade float.
Reese had one of the better dresses of the night. I liked the bold color–a refreshing change from the blush-inspired numbers of some of her peers. I didn’t like the black stripe at her bust or the train. A simpler silhouette would have been more flattering. I do like the black at her waistline. The hair was boring. I felt like she was a little washed out.
I’m normally not a big fan of this shade of red with gold together. It usually reads too Christmas ornament for me, but I did like the draping on Olivia Munn’s dress. I was a bit worried for her breasts, though!
Poor Norah Jones just looks miserable–and worse–she doesn’t look like her. For me, the misstep is the middle panel that highlights her probably non-existent stomach. She looks about 10 pounds heavier because of that panel alone.
I saw someone call this one of the best of the night, and I almost lost my lunch. I hate absolutely everything about this dress. It’s a case of someone needing an editor. Just way too much on a woman who can pull off subtle with such ease. Kidman should have been wearing those pale lacey dresses. She can actually pull it off. It’s really sad because she’s always one of my favorites.
Naomi Watts looked gorgeous, but I’m just not a fan of the blinged out dress and the weird geometric neckline. I’d love to see her in an orange or some other outlandish color.
I’m not sure what’s going on with Kristen Stewart’s dress, but it looks like she was attacked by dogs who wanted to eat her tulle. She looked like she always does–slightly vacant and bored–with hair that looks like a 12 year old did it. She needs a good bra. With that pale skin, it almost looks like she has a skin condition from afar.
My favorite dress of the night. It was risky, dramatic, and fit perfectly. This time, the color actually worked. The dress showed off Amy’s body and face.
I love Anne, but the girl looked like a mannequin–like Mary Lou Retton as mannequin. She kind of had a bobblehead thing happening, and you could see her undergarments…spanx, anyone? This is a case of horrible fabric choices happening to good people. Beyond that, the pale pink makes her look ghostly rather than her normal ethereal. And where did her hips go? This is constructed for a boy, not a woman.
I’ve always liked Charlize, but I think her hair upstaged her perfectly okay dress. The cut–to me–is unflattering. She needed something more feminine to really offset the severity of the length and the color.
Helena Bonham-Carter is a great actress, but she really needs some help. Her hair always looks like Tim Burton accidentally constructed a bee’s nest. Her dress looks vaguely like a crumpled up napkin. She looks slightly homeless, too.
Jennifer Aniston is another one of my favorites, but I feel like this dress is wearing her–not the other way around. The color really overwhelms and all you seem is poof–not her pretty face. She has a banging body, but you’d never know it. It also doesn’t really mesh with her hair. I’d love to see her in a sea-blue that was a little more floaty and closer to the body.
I love the color of Jennifer’s dress, but those ruffles–and I adore ruffles–just leave me cold. It looks like some crazed dragon latched onto her back side. I also wish her waist was more defined. Again–designers need to remember women have hips–and it’s a good thing. She looks perfect other than that.
While she did capture old school glamour, I hated the color of this on her. It felt way too bridal in some fairytale way. The texture of the dress up-close also reminded me of a quilted baby wipe. A more interesting color would have fixed it all.
Oh, Adele. You’re so pretty, but your eyes are dead and your smile is polite–not real. I’d like to see you less “done” all the time. Take some chances. Ditch the caked-on liner and high volume hair. And by the way, big girls can wear things besides black. I’d love to see her in some yellows or greens. Something that brings out her personality and not her perfect nose.
*The images in this post came from the Internet. Most of the images in this post come from the Oscar site. Check it out for even more photos and info on the photographers.