For Your Consideration

The announced Best Picture Nominees are:
Atonement
Juno
Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

I’ve seen all of these but Michael Clayton, and I think they all have a shot. I doubt Juno will win because it’s a comedy. The Academy, in its infinite wisdom, never picks comedies. Why is that? They are subversive, and they require an extra brain molecule to “get”. A good comedy, just like a good drama, will make an important statement. Comedies take it a step further and say something witty, as well.

This is not to disparage any of the movies above. I enjoyed all of them immensely, and I think the craft of filmmaking is flourishing. Personally, though, I believe comedy has always been thought of as less than drama, partly because it doesn’t appear to take itself seriously. My defense is that just because you’re smiling doesn’t mean you aren’t serious.

Announced Best Animated Pictures nominees:
Persepolis
Ratatouille
Surf’s Up

I’ve seen both Ratatouille and Surf’s Up. I’m currently reading Persepolis in its original bound form.

Brad Bird is an awesome storyteller, totally in command of his talent. He makes animated movies that could be nothing else. This makes them special. He has also taken Pixar from making movies about “things” (toys, bugs, cars) to making stories as unique as their style of animation. I never thought I would champion computer animation, but Brad Bird’s pictures make the whole endeavor worthwhile.

Surf’s Up? What a strange choice. I watched it because it features Jeff Bridges essentially reprising his role from The Big Lebowski. If you want to see the Dude as a penguin, this is the movie for you. I did enjoy watching it, but it’s kind of lightweight for this kind of an honor.

Has anyone seen Persepolis yet? The graphic novel version is very good so far. The style is unique and suited to the story (although all her characters tend to look the same, so if you’ve got two girls of the same age, for example, it’s hard to tell them apart). I’d love to see the movie before the awards are given.

That’s my brief rundown on today’s announcements. Any thoughts?

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