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And The Oscar Goes To (In My Dreams)

Last night I watched the last of the five films nominated for Best Picture.  Ian and I were ambivalent about watching THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON because we knew it was very long, and we figured it would be sad.  Sad isn’t something I need right now.  It’s why I haven’t watch REVOLUTIONARY ROAD.  Anyway, I’ve now seen them all, and it’s a strong field.  It isn’t one of those years where I’m cringing because GLADIATOR was nominated.

So here is my pick for Best Picture.  THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON.  It wins going away.  (Of course it won’t actually win.  Slumdog is going to win, and that’s a shame.)  On every level — script, acting, direction, lighting, editing — this is a stunning movie.  Is it long?  Yes.  Did I notice?  No.  
We were just drawn into this man’s life journey, fascinated with the people he meets along the way, moved to tears by the brief time he has to cross paths with the love of his life.  Apparently the Fitzgerald story was pretty thin, but Roth did a phenomenal job with the script.  The choices he makes for the people that Benjamin meets during his life were just wonderful.  Every person from the Irish tugboat captain, to the aristocratic English lady who has an affair with him in stolen nights in a hotel in Russia, to the Pigmy performer, and the man in the old folks home who had been struck by lightning seven times, are just remarkable.  And Brad Pitt is stunning.  He won’t win Best Actor, but he deserved the nomination.  And the Director of Photography — oh my god — unbelievable.

So here’s the rest of my list:
First Runner Up – MILK
Second Runner Up – THE READER
Third Runner Up – FROST/NIXON
Fourth Runner Up – SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Unfortunately Slumdog is going to win, and here’s why.  Academy voters tend to like simple stories with happy endings.  While the structure of Slumdog is interesting (as I said in an earlier post they took the curse off of flashbacks in this film), it is a very straight forward tale, culminating in an unadulterated happy ending.

All the other films carry a seed of sadness and loss at their core, and I think that will doom them.

This was a great year for movies.  Go and see these five films, and also some honorable mentions like DEFIANCE, and WALL * E, and TROPIC THUNDER and DARK KNIGHT.

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