Well, what a weak year it has been. Not that there haven’t been movies and performances that I have liked, but nothing is easy to point to and say: “this is a great piece of cinema that deserve accolades and will be talked about years from now.” The Academy has done little to help here, with many random—and, in some cases, dismal—nomination choices. But still, they have to give these awards to someone. So, here are my guesses and personal choices for the Academy Awards.
Nostalgia has been a major theme this year in films. With Midnight in Paris, about a man who thinks culture was at its peak in the 1940s, and Hugo and its honoring of an early filmmaker, this is the year of recognizing the past. Now there is The Artist, a silent film in black and white, about the silent age of film and what the onset of talkies did to those who did their best work in silent pictures. While it is a homage to silent films, it is also a reintroduction to how silent movies can work as a medium.
With 2011 officially in the books, it’s time once again to look back and reflect on some of the best films that have come out in the past year. As with all movie writers, coming up with a list like this is usually expected, but also damn near impossible. To me, reading and writing these types of articles are only beneficial in spreading word about titles that really had an effect on me, while stirring up debate between those who strongly agree with my choices, or vehemently disagree. No one list is ever truly definitive; what is considered great to one may not register the same way to another. The only real truth is that 2011 had a wide range of very interesting and fascinating films, and just like every year, there’s always a good handful worth noting.
I love the Oscar race! Just looking at the potential films and seeing which will become major contenders sends excitement coursing through me, especially for Best Picture. I try to figure out the films that the Academy will love and, more importantly, which films will I love as well. I always hope that I will agree with the Academy, because despite what my feelings might be about the Academy, them giving a movie Best Picture helps a movie become more well known and helps people embrace it. So, when they give it to something less than deserving (or worse), it is like they are hurting film. This is an intense love/hate relationship for me, but I keep coming back and right now we have reached the end of summer and are entering the fall. This is usually the starting point for the Oscar season.