To celebrate the film achievements of this year, The Fourcast has tirelessly watched, reviewed and discussed the top movies of 2012. After many buckets of popcorn and plenty of movie stubs, we feel confident in our selections for the following Academy Awards.
Predicted Winner Les Misérables
My Pick Anyone but Les Mis
I can’t even talk about who should actually win this award (I really liked Argo), because I am so adamant about who shouldn’t—Les Misérables. Even the name sounds so overdone, so pompous and so bombastic.
For starters, the plot was spotty. Why does Hugh Jackman, after surviving 20 years of servitude and a revolution, become deathly ill from what looks like a mild head-cold, wind up in a wheelchair and just die? With a three-hour script and a 61 million dollar budget, the production team probably could have afforded to elaborate on plot points and character development previously incommunicable on stage.
Don’t get me wrong–they did do many things right. I found both the casting and the talent of the actors (with the exception of a few) highly impressive, and the cinematography stunning. However, not even Anne Hathaway’s voice or shots of the French countryside could save this sappy, overdone operatic mess.
The singing probably could have been pushed even further. As movie critic Rich Juzwiak quipped, no actor fully sang a song, ever. It was just a constant cycle of “talking-talking-singing.” And in such a tirelessly long movie, perhaps some things just need to be said, not sung, for both the sake of time constraints and the sanity of the audience.
The teeth, the over-the-top face warts and the crack when Russell Crowe’s body hits the water (I got it! He’s dead, I don’t need to hear his body snap in half) were clearly attempts to add extra drama points, which the movie did not need nor should have aspired to earn. And the worst part is that it makes you feel guilty for not crying. The musical theme, the songs, the constant single tear in at least one of the actor’s eyes and the unrelenting sniveling of the 14-year-old girl crying behind you tells you that you should be crying, but it just doesn’t happen.
The “emotion” on the screen is never raw; it’s just expected. I should never feel obligated to cry in a movie; it should move me – the film should make me want to cry. I came to the movie expecting to leave with a stuffed up nose and snot stains on my T-shirt, and all I left with was a serious disdain for bayonets, musical numbers, cockney accents, Russell Crowe’s inability to sing or act and the line “look down.”
I’d like to think that the Academy would award a movie based on its actual merit than the fact that it’s adapted from a highly popular British musical. As I said, I’d like to, but I have a feeling that this dramatic ode to the thea-tuh will somehow pull off this win. But more than anything, I need to know that campaigning and lobbying as horrendously as Anne Hathaway did cannot win a movie an Academy Award. I need to know that the world is just and fair enough to spare the other movies in this category from knowing that they lost to LAYH MIZ-RAH-BLEHHS.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Predicted Winner Daniel Day-Lewis
My Pick Daniel Day-Lewis
Anyone who successfully sounds like Abe Lincoln’s voice in my head gets my vote. His likeness to Lincoln, the elocution in his dialogue and his general talent should make Danny D. a shoe-in for best actor. This would be the third and most-deserving Oscar award for him.
I pray that one major award falls into the hands of a member of this film, as so many fantastic and deserving movies graced the screens this year and competition remains high (I wish we had some of them last year to contend with “The Artist” and make it seem like the Academy Awards can actually be unpredictable.)
Something should be said for this historical bio-flick whose story causes us to reflect 150 years later on our own political troubles and vices and causes us to draw similarities between then and now. The film’s impeccable timing and pertinent message should be recognized and rewarded in some way.
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Predicted Winner Jessica Chastain
My Pick Jennifer Lawrence
She just didn’t do it for me, but she’ll win. I undoubtedly am a huge Jessica Chastain fan, and I do believe that she has gone unnoticed for too long. But honestly, anyone can stand in a pantsuit with that story and Bigelow’s direction and look like a fantastic actress.
The two instances in which I saw her true ability to act was the moment when (spoiler alert) she learns of her friend’s death and the last scene where a single tear rolls down her face on the cargo plane. Both were beautiful and poignant. I almost wish that the screenwriters allowed for more character development for Chastain to work with. However, I understand that her character, a highly capable woman trained to be rational and pragmatic, probably did not allow for it.
Jennifer Lawrence honestly shocked me with how well she acted in “Silver Linings Playbook.” I now see her as Tiffany, instead of Katniss, which is impressive because Daniel Radcliffe will never stop being Harry to me.
Honestly, I like both too much to really care who wins. Both are armed with matching golden globes, and both are equally deserving in terms of talent and personality.
Predicted Winner Steven Spielberg (maybe Michael Haneke for “Amour”)
My Pick Kathryn Bigelow
She’s not nominated, I know, but Kathryn Bigelow’s incredible storytelling ability came through when trying to enliven a tale whose ending the world already knew and the audience clearly expected. The constant bombings, horrendous torture scenes and frustrating setbacks place you under the same exact pressure of the characters whose stories and frustrations you experienced as your own.
It is hard to feel the imminent danger of terrorist groups in the Middle East whilst sitting in the comfortable, cushy chairs of Studio Movie Grill, but, under Bigelow’s direction, you find yourself out in the middle of Pakistan in the midst of a war on terror where only those courageous Navy Seals can save you.
On a side note, how does it make sense not to have the same amount of nominees for Best Director and Best Picture? Because of the discrepancy between the two, the Academy has snubbed the clear winner in this category and left many other deserving directors (Ben Affleck) without any acknowledgment for their impressive works this year.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Predicted Winner Anne Hathaway
My Pick Anne Hathaway
I’ll give it you, Annie. You did well, so well, that every single scene up to the end of that horrible montage of talk-singing did not even come close to impressing me as you did. But I need you to promise me that you’ll spare all of us from acting like you were surprised / did not have your speech written down and memorized beforehand.
In all seriousness, my memory of Anne’s “I Dreamed a Dream” somehow miraculously survived the movie, and I still feel goosebumps thinking about it. Along with Eponine’s “On My Own,” these two moments serve as the only instances where I related to and felt for the characters. The fact that she sang it live (which she reminded us of multiple times in her interviews and Golden Globes acceptance speech) is seriously impressive and how she managed to grab the attention of the Academy in the short time given to her character is highly commendable.
Fingers crossed that she’ll find more humility and authenticity for her Oscar speech and won’t pull a Kanye when accepting the Best Picture Award on behalf of most of the cast who actually appeared in the movie for more than 10 minutes.