Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Best Picture Race

These are not predictions, just my own personal musings on each film.

BABEL
For it: Babel, more so than any other film in this race, speaks specifically of our time. It is a film of our time, about our time - perfectly realizing our anxieties and fears, and the complexities of life in a globalized world.

Against it: It is timeless? Perhaps not. But one day film historians will look back on this and see it as a statement of life on earth in the early part of the 21st century. But it may not ring true to future audiences. This is a movie for the here and now.


THE DEPARTED
For it: Martin Scorsese again demonstrates why he is a master with this explosively entertaining mob thriller. It is a master class in filmmaking, an intricate thriller with a keen eye for form and content, as well as crackerjack storytelling. It's the most outright entertaining of the nominees.

Against it: The abrupt blood bath ending seems like a bit of a cop-out. And it's not as emotionally engaging as Babel or Letters from Iwo Jima.

LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA
For it: A quitessintially American director tackles a distinctly Eastern tale of doomed Japanese soldiers coming to terms with their fate while defending Iwo Jima to the death during WWII. It's the completion of Clint Eastwood's staggering Iwo Jima saga, which began with Flags of Our Fathers, and is a monumental, elegiac achievement of great emotional depth.

Against it: Flags was the stronger, more complex film (in my opinion, anyway). And it may have opened too late in the game.


LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
For it:
Irrepressibly plucky and almost impossible not to like, Little Miss Sunshine is an endearing and sweet little comedy.

Against it: It's an endearing and sweet little comedy. A trifle that has does not belong among the five best films of the year while more important films go unnominated.


THE QUEEN
For it: Stephen Frears' stately "what if?" peek into the lives of the British Royal Family is a solid, finely crafted film. It's hard to say anything bad about it. This is world-class filmmaking, and the only nominee that pretty much EVERYONE respects.

Against it: But the key word is "respects," not "loves." Is it too understated? Helen Mirren is getting all the attention for her stunning performance. It's a very good film, but not the Best Picture of the Year. A nomination is all it really deserves.


I still haven't decided if I'm pulling for Babel or Letters from Iwo Jima. I also haven't finalized my predictions, I think I have it narrowed down to two though. Keep checking back.

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