Monday, February 15, 2010

Oscars Out

Last week, Black Sheep gave you a head start on your Oscar viewing with a guide to all the nominated films that are available to rent now. By now, you should have at least seen THE HURT LOCKER and INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and DISTRICT 9. If you haven't, you need to pick it up, people. The Oscars are less than three weeks from now and you still have a lot to watch, I'm sure. Now, as for what is still playing in theatres, five of the ten Best Picture nominees are available to you. While the chances are good that you saw AVATAR and THE BLIND SIDE already, you don't want to miss UP IN THE AIR, PRECIOUS or AN EDUCATION either. I thought rather than focus on the films you likely have the easiest access to, I would focus a little more on the films that may not make your final cut in hopes that you will squeeze them in.

Here are the five best Oscar nominated films you might not have seen yet:

CRAZY HEART
Nominated for:

BEST ACTOR - JEFF BRIDGES
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL
BEST ORIGINAL SONG - THE WEARY KIND


CRAZY HEART is currently playing on a little over 1000 screens in North America and therefore shouldn't be too hard to find playing near you. Scott Cooper's film has a strong chance of taking home two Oscars come the big night, the first for Jeff Bridges and the second for the fantastic Ryan Bingham song. I'm not so sure how Maggie Gyllenhaal ended up nominated for her work here but she certainly doesn't take away from the film. CRAZY HEART is one of those quiet films about real people dealing with real problems that are just a little too real for some audiences. Bridges is so strong as alcoholic country singer, Bad Blake though, that it is easy to overlook the smaller budgetary issues.


THE LAST STATION
Nominated for:

BEST ACTRESS - HELEN MIRREN
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER


THE LAST STATION imagines the last days of Russian author and reluctant near-prophet, Leo Tolstoy. Christopher Plummer plays Tolstoy and Helen Mirren plays his wife, Countess Sofya. The two are a long time married, have been drifting for years and are finally reaching their boiling points over their issues. THE LAST STATION was not recognized in any other category but it is still certainly worth it to watch these two go at it as they are both incredible professionals. It doesn't hurt that James McAvoy is always around for eye candy either.


THE MESSENGER
Nominated for:

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - WOODY HARRELSON
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY


The full Black Sheep review will be coming next week on THE MESSENGER but it has actually been playing in theatres here and there since November. I cannot say that I agree with the screenplay nomination for director, Oren Moverman and co-writer, Alessandro Camon. I found it lacked subtlety at times but it is still moving and engaging. The ensemble itself, rounded out by Ben Foster, who in a different year, could have easily seen his first nomination, and Samantha Morton, who should have quite honestly been listed amongst the nominees in place of Gyllenhaal, is dead on. And Harrelson leads the pack, capping off a great year with a well-deserved nod. THE MESSENGER opens in Canada on February 26.


A SINGLE MAN
Nominated for:

BEST ACTOR - COLIN FIRTH


The lack of Academy support for Tom Ford's debut feature, A SINGLE MAN, really surprised me when the Oscar nominations were announced. I expected Julianne Moore to pick a Supporting Actress nod. I hoped Abel Korzeniowski would pick up a nod for his sumptuous string score. I thought for sure it would pop up under Art Direction or Costume Design, considering how fashionable and stylish the whole thing is. I would have loved to have seen Ford himself recognized for his tender screenplay even. Sadly, I saw none of that happen. Still, if Colin Firth's nomination for his work as George is the only prize it takes, I will be thrilled.


THE WHITE RIBBON
Nominated for:

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY


I told a friend of mine the other day that I was going to see a depressing black and white art film this past weekend. She humoured me at first but definitely thought I was crazy when I told her it was two and a half hours long and in German. Despite her lack of understanding as to how that could actually make for a great afternoon, I would actually see Michael Haneke's THE WHITE RIBBON again. I knew nothing of its plot going in and I think it best if you go in as blind as I did. The resulting experience will be all the more bewildering. THE WHITE RIBBON is not a likely winner in the Cinematography category but could surprise and is certainly one of the top two contenders in the Foreign Language category.


Next up for Black Sheep's Oscar coverage, Black Sheep looks at the Animated Feature category this weekend. Look for reviews for the Oscar nominated films throughout the week. Now, get out there and see those movies!

4 comments:

Aiden R. said...

I need to see The Messenger and I'm still a little sore that A Single Man wasn't nominated for Best Pic in lieu of An Education or the other four courtesy noms. Not that it would win, but F that S all the same, great movie.

The Mad Hatter said...

Interesting. When it comes to the big eight categories, I try to see as many nominees as possible in a theatre (I actually try to see movies in theatres as often as I can, but that's a different conversation).

However, I did find myself rather dismayed that I couldn't track down a screening of THE MESSENGER. Where is it playing around the city?

I had to settle for a (somewhat poorly ripped) screener dvd, and while I loved it, by the homestretch I found myself REALLy wishing that I'd seen it in a theatre.

(PS - Won't be at the TO Blogger meet-up next week, say hi to folks for me)

Black Sheep said...

Hey Aiden. I'm actually quite happy to see An Education nominated for Best Picture and prefer it over A Single Man. I would rather see the latter there over Avatar or The Blind Side, easily. I never really expected it to pull off Best Picture but again, very said that it got no other love whatsoever.

Black Sheep said...

Hey Hatter.

First of all, its a shame we will not meet again next week. In March, hopefully.

The Messenger arrives in Toronto theatres next Friday, so the 26th. I caught the press screening last week. I believe Alliance is hosting another this week at some point if you want to check with them. It was an enjoyable film but I didn't feel it warranted the screenplay nod.