Taking a look at the movies up for Oscar’s Best Motion Picture

For the third year in a row now, I've watched the five movies nominated in the Best Motion Picture of the Year category for the Oscars before the ceremony, to predict the winner. I thought I'd share my opinions about them and my guess about which movie will win.

Movies nominated

Letters from Iwo Jima
A picture of the movie poster for Letters from Iwo Jima Clint Eastwood's track record in directing movies, especially as of lately, is definitely impressive. This movie is a depiction of the battle at Iwo Jim seen from an Japanese angle, and it is utterly refreshing to see something like that. The whole movie is in Japanese, there aren't (gratefully) any American hero stories etc. What it does show is just how horrible wars are and how it affects the regular people. Also, the balance between war scenes and flashbacks is delicate, and just perfectly balanced.
Babel
A picture of the movie poster for Babel Babel has been hyped up a lot, but frankly, I wasn't that impressed. It's a decent movie, and perhaps I wasn't in the mood when I watched it, but I'm getting tired of these movies that come off being pretentious in their: "Oh, suffering! Embrace it, feel it!". Maybe that isn't even the intention of the director, maybe I'm lashing out at the people themselves hyping Babel, I don't know. It was ok, I guess.
Little Miss Sunshine
A picture of the movie poster for Little Miss Sunshine It was really a surprise to me that this movie was nominated, and I was convinced that I would have to force myself through it. But on the contrary: the movie is great and especially the first 20 minutes are outstanding! After that, it kind of loses tempo/edge a little, but is still good. Some parts of the story actually remember me of National Lampoon's Vacation at its best.
The Queen
A picture of the movie poster for The Queen This movie could've been so good, but it just wasn't. Sure, some people get all shivering with excitement speculating what the life might look like for the English royalties, but I just found it boring most of the time. Gotta say that Helen Mirren is very good in her role, though.
The Departed
A picture of the movie poster for The Departed The beginning is fantastic, and the ambiance it conveys is just great! Great actors feature prominently, too; what about names like Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Alec Baldwin?! Overall, a good movie, but maybe I'm just a tiny bit disappointed in how it all turns out. Fantastic actors and great environments, though, so definitely a film worth seeing.

 

 

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

While discussing nominated movies, I just have to mention two other movies in the Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. Both are very much worth watching, and I really recommend them:
Pan's Labyrinth (Laberinto del Fauno, El)
A picture of the movie poster for Pan's Labyrinth A magical movie, or rather, a wonderful tale, with all kinds of fantastic ingredients! Great acting, well-balanced story, good effects. One of those movies showing a world and a place you just want to learn more and more about.
The Lives of Others (Leben der Anderen, Das)
A picture of the movie poster for The Lives of Others Taking place in Berlin before the fall of the Berlin wall, showing what the society was like for people not sharing the state's vision. It is a gripping tale of how an agent gets deeply interested and involved in some artists' life, when he's assigned to secretly survey them.

 

A picture of the movie poster for Children of MenI should also mention Children of Men. It's a dystopia about a chaotic 2027 when women are no longer fertile and mankind is about to die out. Clive Owen and Michael Caine are fantastic and I just wished the movie had been twice as long, just to get more than a glimpse from the well-crafted world they display!

 

 

So, which movie will win?

I know everyone's betting for The Departed, and it is definitely due time for Martin Scorsese to win. However, I think Letters from Iwo Jima will really challenge it. If not any of those, to me, Little Miss Sunshine can win just because of its high level of being entertaining. In the end, Eastwood has already gotten his Oscars, so my money is on Scorsese and The Departed. And don't worry, it's not a pity Oscar, but one for a job well done. If he gets the Oscar for directing, too? Maybe... :-)

 

Related reading

Update February 26th

The Departed won Best Motion Picture and Martin Scorsese the Oscar for Best Achievement in Directing.

Posted in Movies |

6 Comments

  • trovster says:

    Hey Rob, nice summary of this years nominated films. I was writing a long comment about my experiences with these movies, but I have migrated it over to my blog, under the post title My Ocsar 2007 Best Film Nominee Thoughts – see what you think.

    Letters from Iwo Jima isn't released in the UK yet, and I'm definitely looking forward to it. Which would you say is better, this or Flags of Our Fathers (or are they even comparable?)

    I also really enjoyed Children of Men, and have it on my DVD to-watch-soon list. I can remember the action scene towards the end absolutely blew me away – I certainly wasn't expecting it. It didn't exactly follow the tone of the preceding hour, yet the explosive cinematography is one of the most spectacular things I've seen for such a close-combat urban warfare scene.

    In writing all this stuff about movies, I keep wanting to mention The Prestige, yet I left that movie and Children of Men off my Oscar review, as I could have talked a lot more about those two films. What did you make of the Prestige? I've seen it twice, and I think I understand it (or at least I understand the different story possibilities), yet I can't wait to grab the DVD and see whether anything is cemented in the commentary (there has gotta be some, right?!)

  • Robert Nyman says:

    trovster,

    Nice to see that we share the same interest! :-)

    Thanks for the link, i liked your article and pretty much agree with your opinions.

    I haven't watched Flags of Our Fathers yet, because I was far more interested in seeing it from the Japanese perspective. However, i guess one is obliged to, to get the balance and the whole picture together with letters from Iwo Jima.

    Unfortunately, I haven't seen The Prestige but it's at the top of my list of movies to see and I'm genuinely looking forward to it! I have, apparently, been busy watching other films… :-)

  • The nominated movies (and the ones that actually won) didn't impress me much, besides The Departed. I really like The Departed, but I wonder how much of a difference the names in the cast made. I also thought Babel wasn't that good.

    For me, in 2006, besides The Departed, Children of Men and The Prestige are way up there as my favorites. Children of Men was an amazingly well made movie — the six minute long action shot was breath-taking.

    The Prestige is one that holds a special place for me though. If you look at it, it's thankfully different from many of the movies we see today. Little violence, death or whatsoever. It almost has a bit of Disney all over it. I just really enjoyed watching it and the execution of the somewhat predictable plot makes it even better.

  • trovster says:

    somewhat predictable plot makes it even better

    – are you sure you're talking about The Prestige? I don't want to sound bitter – but I've seen it twice and I can see at least two different stories, all based upon whether it was a sci-fi movie or not.

    You didn't like Little Miss Sunshine?

  • trovster, very sure I am talking about The Prestige. The key events and explanations that do occur in the movie were quite predictable. However, the way they actually executed them went far beyond my expectations and that's why I ultimately loved the movie.

    Don't take it wrong — I didn't mean it as a bad thing. It just gave me a bit of a sense where it was going, yet still surprised me.

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