Mobi’s Moscars – and the winner is…..
Following my review of the 12 Oscar nominated movies in my three previous blogs, today I will give you the results of my Moscar-musings, and also, as a special bonus, my predictions on which movie, director and leading actors will end up with the real Oscars.
Before I do this, I would just like to briefly comment on three other movies, which weren’t nominated for best picture, but did have nominations in other categories.
These are August-Osage County, (nominated for best actress and best supporting actress); Inside Llewyn Davis (two ‘minor’ Oscar nominations), and Blue Jasmin, (nominated for best actress).
August-Osage County is about a large family from Oklahoma who, following a family crisis, return to the house where they were raised and to the dysfunctional matriarch who raised them.
It was adapted from a stage play, (and it shows) and is an acting ‘tour de force’ from what undoubtedly is an ‘A’ list ensemble.
I have never been a particular fan of Meryl Streep, as in my opinion, just about everything she has starred in since the fabulous Deer Hunter back in 1978 has been played ‘over the top’.
I can never divorce myself from the idea that here is a very talented actress, cleverly acting her heart out, with spot on accents and all the mannerisms and histrionics that may be required, but in doing so, she somehow fails to get into the skin of the character she is supposed to be portraying and to make her a ‘real’ person.
But I really did like her in August-Osage county – in my view one of her best ever performances and utterly believable. I also very much liked Julia Roberts in this movie who has been nominated for best supporting actress. Roberts’ role in August-Osage County has far more depth and range to it and is far more deserving of an Oscar than her role in Erin Brockovich. (For which she won best actress Oscar).
I actually quite enjoyed August-Osage – it is full of drama, black humour and some fascinating twists and turns; but if you are looking for murder, mayhem and fast-flowing action then this definitely is not the movie for you.
I would put Inside Llewyn Davis in the same bracket as Her.(see my ‘Her’ review HERE )
It tells the tale of a moderately gifted singer/songwriter, back in the early 60’s when the likes of Bob Dylan was on his way up, and tries, unsuccessfully, to make a name for himself in the pop music business.
It is a nice little movie, extremely well made by the much loved and highly rated Cohen brothers, but ultimately, the story is quite trivial, uninspiring and not deserving of an Oscar, despite the general clamour than it should have been nominated.
Llewyn Davis, the lead character, is not a very appealing or likeable person and the film really doesn’t go anywhere. All it is succeeds in doing is spreading a little more doom and gloom into our anxt -filled lives. It is supposed to have some humour, but apart from one or two isolated incidents, to me it was unremittingly grim.
I am only mentioning this film because of claims from many in the industry that it should have been nominated for Best Picture. Trust me, they are wrong. It didn’t deserve to have been nominated – any more than Her deserves to be nominated.
Finally, Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, which is about a ‘has-been’ New York socialite who is deeply troubled, financially distressed and in denial.She arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her ‘working class’ sister.
I liked this movie a lot and it should have received a nomination for best picture. Certainly it was head and shoulders above the likes of Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle.
There are some wonderful performances in this little gem, and although the subject matter is often difficult to watch, it is full of wry humour and crucially, you go away feeling a little better than when you went in. Somewhat unfashionably, it would seem, in this movie, the good ones sort of triumph, and the bad ones get their just comeuppance.
Sorry, maybe I’m just an ageing, sentimental old fool, but just sometimes ‘feeling a little better’ is what I want from my movies.
Somewhat perversely, I do not agree with the nomination of Kate Blanchet for best actress. Yes, it was a towering performance and she will almost certainly win the Oscar, but for me, like so many of the performance by her fellow Thespian, Meryl Streep, it was totally over the top.
I couldn’t escape the feeling that here was a master craftswoman, acting out of her skin, but in doing so, she tried just a little bit too hard. Sometimes too much… is just too much.
I know, maybe it is just me…
Anyway…. here we go,
The 2014 Mobi-Moscars.
BEST PICTURE : 12 Years a slave, with honourable mentions for Captain Phillips, The Dallas Buyers Club and Philomena. (In a leaner year, any one of these four wonderful films would have walked away with the much sought after Mobi-prize.)
BEST DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen (12 Years a slave) with an honourable mention for Paul Greengrass, (CaptainPhillips)
BEST ACTOR: Mathew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), with an honourable mention for Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) and Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips).
BEST ACTRESS: Meryl Streep (August-Osage County), with an honourable mention for Judy Dench (Philomena)
Mobi’s Predictions for the real Oscars:
BEST PICTURE: 12 Years a slave
BEST DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)
BEST ACTOR: Mathew McConaughey
BEST ACTRESS: Kate Blanchet.
A couple of days ago, I watched “La Grande Bellezza” (“The Great Beauty”), which is supposed to be a shoe-in for best foreign language film.
It is very long, at 2 hours 22 minutes, and is an Italian film in the classic tradition of Fellini and the other great Italian Directors of bygone years.
The critics, to a man/woman – amateur and professional alike – positively gush over this film. Without exception, they all struggle to find enough superlatives to heap on over this supposed masterpiece.
So who am I – your humble blogger, (and recovering alcoholic), to say otherwise?
Actually, I did quite enjoy it, once I had got through the first 20 minutes, waiting for something to happen and then came to the realisation that there is no real story.
I would also be the first to admit that the film should be seen in a cinema rather than on a home TV screen, as I suppose it is only on the big screen that the glorious music and masterful cinematography can be fully appreciated.
It really did improve as it went along, and I more or less followed the strange and sometimes seemingly unconnected events that unfolded in front of me and understood most of the inner meanings therein. But it was quite hard work.
One thing I CAN say is that it is certainly streaks ahead of American Hustle.
I know – I’m a Philistine….
That’s it for 2014 folks, although I don’t rule our reviewing more films as we go through the year.