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.
- 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 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
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
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
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 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)
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.
I 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…
Update February 26th
The Departed won Best Motion Picture and Martin Scorsese the Oscar for Best Achievement in Directing.