Best Picture and Director 2009

What are your choice for Best Picture and Director of 2009

Avatar
1
2%
The Blind Side
0
No votes
District 9
2
3%
An Education
2
3%
The Hurt Locker
9
14%
Inglorious Basterds
6
9%
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
1
2%
A Serious Man
5
8%
Up
1
2%
Up in the Air
5
8%
Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker
16
25%
James Cameron - Avatar
0
No votes
Lee Daniels - Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
2
3%
Jason Reitman - Up in the Air
5
8%
Quentin Tarantino - Inglorious Basterds
9
14%
 
Total votes: 64

Heksagon
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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby Heksagon » Sat May 17, 2014 3:10 am

I suppose I should finally catch up on these polls... It seems to be that whenever I catch up, the polls come to a break, and whenever the polls move on, I take my time to follow.

The reason I slipped up here is because I still don’t know what to make of the expanded Best Picture slate. Expanding the amount of nominations is not a good idea, and I’d like to see the Academy go back to limiting the number of nominees to five, but that isn’t what bothers me now.

Admittedly, expanding the slate has worked out better than I had hoped, and there have been more nominations for more innovative and more marginal films than what I had expected, which I am happy to see. But yes, predictably but still disappointingly, there have also been more nominations for bland commercial films and audience-pleasers.

Furthermore, the nominations have become much more dull than what they were in the past. With nine or ten nominations, we have a "something for everyone" offering, often with fairly mediocre films, that easily feels indifferent. At least in the past, the questionable nominees were controversial, now they are just unenthusiastic.

Of these ten films, my favourites are District 9 and Up in the Air. The former is an example of the good things that have happened after the expanded slate (at least I see it that way - I can see I’m probably in the minority here), in the past it would have been very difficult for a low-budget sci-fi film to get a Best Picture nomination, even an exceptional film like District 9.

After some thinking, I decided to vote for Up in the Air and Jason Reitman, even if at the time I actually preferred District 9. I’m probably just getting old.

The Hurt Locker never really impressed me, and I’m suprised to see it get so many votes here. 9/11 and the Iraqi and Afghan Wars politicized Hollywood and have produced a lot of politically themed films - unfortunately the quality has been mostly disappointing. The Hurt Locker is better than most of those, and a respectable film, but I don’t feels it’s really great either.

Inglourious Basterds and A Serious Man are both splendid films, while Avatar is technically and visually great, but (barely) mediocre otherwise. Precious tries hard, but in the end, it’s an unimpressive - and a surprisingly forgettable - experience.

An Education is an example of why the expanded slate bothers me - it’s a respectable film, but not good enough that I’d like to see it as an Oscar nominee. Up starts really great, but by the end, it reminds me of the incredibly bad Bolt. There is probably no other film ever made which degrades so much in quality during its running time.

The Blind Side is the last and the least of these.

Here’s a preferential ballot, as someone wanted to see more of these:

1. Up in the Air
2. District 9
3. Inglourious Basterds
4. A Serious Man
5. An Education
6. The Hurt Locker
7. Avatar
8. Precious
9. Up
10. The Blind Side

Mister Tee
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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:07 pm

Sabin is correct that these results are all over the place – more scattered than I’d have expected. It’s probably too late for this now, but it would have been interesting for everyone to have submitted a preferential ballot, and to tabulate from there. I know, we didn’t do that for the fields-of-ten in the 30s and 40s, but since we know that’s how it’s done now, it’d be intriguing to see the results. (I’ll do mine that way at the bottom, in case it inspires others to follow suit)

With the field of ten, there are fewer crushing omissions for me (films that never would have had a chance under the old system actually cracked the list). However: my animated feature on the list would have been Fantastic Mr. Fox (and maybe Coraline, too, ahead of Up). I’d have given Haneke an earlier film/director appearance with The White Ribbon. And The Informant!, In the Loop, A Single Man and Summer Hours would have easily displaced some of the films that made the cut.

I presume, if we were to do preferential lists, The Blind Side would threaten records for 10th-spot placements. Clearly, along with Extremely Loud, the darkest result to date of the expansion – a fluky box-office success that would never have made a field of five.

Precious, of course, WOULD have made such a field, and isn’t exactly a work of art. I guess the best thing I can say for it is, it was substantially less bad than I’d feared – the sentimental overlay never got too thick, and there were moments, especially Mo’Nique’s late monologue, that blazed pretty truthfully. Daniels’ over-explicit direction is a drawback, and it’s not like the script is anything great, but it’s an OK movie. Which is not to say it’s getting my votes.

Avatar was always going to get a certain amount of attention because of its technological breakthroughs, and because it was Cameron’s so-long-awaited follow-up to the epochal Titanic. But it also got a surprisingly solid reception from critics – a reception I’d deem mostly undeserved, for a film with such mediocre/familiar plotting. I wonder if Avatar’s status as the only new-at-Christmas effort not viewed as a woeful disappointment helped goose its reviews – remember, this was the December of the derided Nine and The Lovely Bones, and the shrug-worthy Invictus. Looking to fill out a flimsy Oscar ballot, critics may have over-stated their love for a movie that already seems half-forgotten except among teenage boys.

Up, as someone said below, had a near-perfect prologue – a marriage and life together distilled into ten beautiful minutes. I don’t think the movie proper that ensued was bad, or even sub-par…but neither do I see it as matching the achievements of Wall E or The Incredibles (or for that matter, as I’ve said, Fantastic Mr. Fox or Coraline). I know its best picture nomination was purely a product of the expansion to ten, but for Up to have made the cut while Wall E did not only underlined the injustice of the latter.

District 9 started off wonderfully, with ten times the energy/invention of most Hollywood summer action films, and looked so fresh in the context of August that it got a bit over-rated by critics and later awards-givers. It’s still, in conception, just a trifle, not the sort of film that rates prizes. I guess promoting such films was what the expansion was designed to do. No votes from me.

I feel like I spoke enough about The Hurt Locker at the time that I don’t need to do major recapitulation now. It was well made and harrowing but, for me, harrowing in an unpleasant way – grueling o sit through, without any particular insight to make the experience redemptive. I MUCH prefer Bigelow’s follow-up film. However…because I can’t vote for Bigelow in that three-years-hence race, and because her work has more kinetic energy than any of the other nominees here, she’ll get my director vote. Think of it as a straight-up swap: my real choice this year is Michael Haneke, but I can’t vote him here; in 2012, I prefer Bigelow, but go for Haneke among the options.

An Education for some reason evoked hostile reactions here, and for the life of me I can’t see why. I think it’s a very sweet memoir, quite reminiscent of the British films of the era in which it’s set. Carey Mulligan and Alfred Molina give wonderful performances, and the surrounding cast is also quite fine. It’s a bit too small to get my votes, but it’s the second-best adapted screenplay of the year, and the fourth best film.

Inglourious Basterds may be the Tarantino movie that works most completely for me. This is despite the fact it’s got huge structural issues – scenes that run so long they stop narrative progression cold, and other scenes that appear to have been left out. But scene-by-scene, the film plays delightfully, and, for once, there are themes running underneath the clever dialogue worth contemplating: the difference between wartime acts and cinematic recreations, the divisions created by language on a continent with many national borders. This is the film that should have won Tarantino a screenplay Oscar, not Django three years later. The film doesn’t get my vote, but it would be among my top-level nominees.

Up in the Air is the sort of movie that’s been under-rewarded by the Oscars over the years – a comically-told story whose serious undertones don’t register with voters looking for more solemnity. Clooney’s character is symptomatic of our age: a guy who does the dirty work of informing others their employment is being terminated – a buffer between management and workers who survives emotionally by maintaining detachment in his private life. Until, of course, he comes across Vera Farmiga, who seems his perfect match…until it emerges she’s practicing a form of detachment even he wouldn’t have considered. The film very cannily makes parallels between what work means to people and how they feel about their personal relationships; in the end, it’s a very humanist work, and one of the best written scripts of recent years. It’s my number two choice for best picture.

But my favorite film of the year was A Serious Man, a truly original creation from the Coen brothers. The film draws on the traditions of Yiddish theatre (and makes clear how vaudeville, and much subsequent American comedy, flowed from it), but uses it to tell a bleak story: a modern-day Book of Job, as the Michael Stuhlbarg endures one setback/humiliation after another. Yet the movie is, for the most part, hilarious – it embodies the comment a friend of mine used to make: “If I see anybody taking such a complete beating – even if it’s me – after a while I have to laugh about it”. I know some people find the movie baffling, with its abrupt, seeming-Armageddon ending, but for me it was a complete joy – an intellectual feast served up with plenty of laughs. Nothing else in 2009 came close, and it gets my easy best picture vote.

So, my preferential ballot for the year:

1. A Serious Man
2. Up in the Air
3. Inglourious Basterds
4. An Education
5. The Hurt Locker
6. District 9
7. Up
8. Avatar
9. Precious
10. The Blind Side

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby nightwingnova » Sun Mar 30, 2014 11:42 am

To appreciate A Serious Man, I read the lengthly comments section of the NYTimes review of the film. It was invaluable.


The Original BJ wrote:We're getting into years recent enough where I can pretty clearly remember most people's opinions here, but for completion's sake, I'll try to knock these off quickly...

The biggest omission for me was (500) Days of Summer, which I thought was a dazzlingly structured and delightful romantic comedy -- that not even the writers went for it was probably my greatest disappointment on nominations morning. Other films I thought were pretty wonderful in this very strong year were In the Loop, A Single Man, and The White Ribbon, a film for which I would have emphatically included Michael Haneke on the Director list. And I'll give a shout-out to two films that helped make this a banner year for animation -- Fantastic Mr. Fox and Coraline.

I'm not much interested in launching ammunition at The Blind Side again. We often talk on here about films that seem conspicuously below award-level quality, but I thought this one was virtually in a different universe of movies that should be considered for Oscars, which placed on the list simply because it had been such a mammoth box office success. I'll just say I think it's the worst Best Picture nominee of the decade, and move on.

Avatar was hugely impressive visually, with groundbreaking effects in a beautifully realized world; none of this was a surprise coming from such a strong technical craftsman as James Cameron. But, as usual, his script fell short -- in this case, I thought it fell far short, with a plot line that was basically a lift from FernGully (not exactly a storyline that needed to be lifted either) and the director's typically clunky dialogue. That Cameron and company peddled this movie as an important examination of environmental issues was practically laughable to me.

Precious had one element that I found very strong: the performances. Mo'Nique was sensational, but a number of the other actors (Sidibe, Paula Patton, even Mariah Carey) made a strong impression as well. But Lee Daniels is such a crass filmmaker -- devices like intercutting the rape with the eggs frying were just ridiculous in their attempt to create effect -- and overall I thought the script felt like a pile-up of misery that really lathered on the disaster for Precious without much nuance.

I thought District 9 was definitely the superior of the two sci-fi pictures, especially in that first act, which presented its central scenario in an excitingly cut opening that sizzled with originality and wit. But as the movie went on, it settled pretty clearly into a more traditional action movie mode. Which doesn't make it bad -- it was well-made with some really creative effects -- it just makes the movie less bold than some reviewers suggested. For all the talk about how the film was some kind of complex allegory, it seemed to me that it used African apartheid more as a backdrop -- I don't think it really articulates all that many interesting ideas by the end.

For me, the remaining six movies comprised a very strong bunch.

A Serious Man is one of few films that caused me to completely revise my opinion on a second viewing. On the first go-round, I found the film somewhat of a mixed bag -- I admired a lot of the writing within scenes, but found the through-line somewhat diffuse, and didn't really connect to the movie's humor at all. But, mostly due to the praise from folks around here, I gave it another try, and this time I was completely on board the movie's wavelength, finding it a lough-out-loud funny portrait of a man (wonderfully embodied by Michael Stuhlbarg) struggling through a series of crises that fate has practically decreed that he endure. I would say that I connect more personally to a handful of other Coen films (a friend of mine joked about the film, "I feel like you have to be Jewish to get EVERYTHING about that movie"), so the brothers don't get my vote again here, but this was yet another very strong entry in their filmography.

Speaking of movies that caused me to upgrade my opinion, I don't know that I've ever turned so much on a film WHILE I WAS WATCHING IT as Inglourious Basterds. I was almost actively annoyed during some of the opening portions of the movie -- I liked the first farmhouse scene a lot, but found the early scene of the Basterds pretty silly, and the Mike Meyers appearance was highly bizarre. I felt more like I was watching Quentin Tarantino noodle around than tell a thought-out story with any dramatic resonance. But then we got to the scene in the tavern, one of the peak scene of Tarantino's career for me -- a blackly comic, richly acted, tensely cut sequence that immediately propelled the movie onto a higher plane. And the film never let up from there, rollicking along with a gaggle of memorable characters (best of all Waltz's gleefully malicious Nazi) and culminating in a hugely inventive revisionist finale that was a complete kick to watch. Those opening bumps still prevent me from voting for it, but overall I thought the movie was thrillingly made, and one of the best examples of Tarantino's hodge-podge pastiche-y style. He would be my runner-up under Director.

The opening sequence of Up is a pretty amazing short film -- witty, visually imaginative, beautifully scored, and just crushing emotionally. It can be tough for any movie with its peak in the first ten minutes to hold up for the remainder of its running time, but I thought the folks at Pixar did a pretty impressive job at doing just that. The bulk of the movie is a completely zippy throwback to 30's adventure serials, and every so often, a moment pops up to keep giving the story emotional resonance along with its laughs ("Thanks for the adventure, now go have a new one!" just about destroyed me in the theater). I don't feel like it needs Best Picture in addition to its well-earned Animated Feature prize, but this was another wonderful film from Pixar during an era when the studio seemed to be at its creative peak.

An Education may not be as cinematically dazzling as some of the films on this list, but I thought it was an absolute gem. It's an utterly winning and poignant coming of age story, with an evocative sense of time and place, and a richly developed collection of characters (even down to the small roles) within a pretty solidly plotted narrative. And at its heart it has Carey Mulligan, in a glorious breakthrough turn, that's smart, charming, heartfelt, and completely beguiling. It's a small film, but one that enchanted me, and if there was one movie I was glad to see helped by the Best Picture expansion it was this one.

Up in the Air is another film that's more reliant on its script and performances than its directorial flash, though I do think the film marked a significant step up for Jason Reitman in that department. I think he accomplishes here what Billy Wilder often did in his best movies, finding a tone that was somehow both sweet and sour, optimistic but with a dash of cynicism, warmly funny but masking a sense of heartbreak. It's a story about people struggling to connect to each other, in a modern world that doesn't always facilitate that in the best ways, and the film perfectly tapped into a recession-era sense of uncertainty that has come to plague so many elements of American life. And the film's sense of good old fashioned narrative provides real pleasures -- I assumed I knew what would happen when Clooney showed up at Farmiga's house, only to be pleasantly blindsided by the climatic turn in that scene. It's my runner-up in Best Picture, and I was sort of sad it faded from a top Best Picture candidate to almost an afterthought (even losing the Screenplay prize!) on Oscar night.

But, to the surprise of probably no one who was around at the time, I cast my votes in both categories for my beloved The Hurt Locker. I think it's a sensational war film, full of brilliantly crafted set pieces, agonizing suspense, and shocking surprise moments that had me wholly transfixed throughout its running time. I also find it to be a fascinating character study, a portrait of a man who deals with being in a situation as horrific as war by pretending that what is happening around him simply is not happening. Katheryn Bigelow obviously had a great awards narrative -- you couldn't write a better story than the first female Best Director winner trumping her ex-husband on Oscar night -- but she deserved the prize entirely on merit in my book, for using the skills she developed crafting action in more B-level material to elevate an already powerful and detailed script into a marvelous piece of film art. The top two prizes to The Hurt Locker marked one of the most rewarding Oscar night finales I've ever had the pleasure to experience, and I endorse them completely here.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:59 am

We're getting into years recent enough where I can pretty clearly remember most people's opinions here, but for completion's sake, I'll try to knock these off quickly...

The biggest omission for me was (500) Days of Summer, which I thought was a dazzlingly structured and delightful romantic comedy -- that not even the writers went for it was probably my greatest disappointment on nominations morning. Other films I thought were pretty wonderful in this very strong year were In the Loop, A Single Man, and The White Ribbon, a film for which I would have emphatically included Michael Haneke on the Director list. And I'll give a shout-out to two films that helped make this a banner year for animation -- Fantastic Mr. Fox and Coraline.

I'm not much interested in launching ammunition at The Blind Side again. We often talk on here about films that seem conspicuously below award-level quality, but I thought this one was virtually in a different universe of movies that should be considered for Oscars, which placed on the list simply because it had been such a mammoth box office success. I'll just say I think it's the worst Best Picture nominee of the decade, and move on.

Avatar was hugely impressive visually, with groundbreaking effects in a beautifully realized world; none of this was a surprise coming from such a strong technical craftsman as James Cameron. But, as usual, his script fell short -- in this case, I thought it fell far short, with a plot line that was basically a lift from FernGully (not exactly a storyline that needed to be lifted either) and the director's typically clunky dialogue. That Cameron and company peddled this movie as an important examination of environmental issues was practically laughable to me.

Precious had one element that I found very strong: the performances. Mo'Nique was sensational, but a number of the other actors (Sidibe, Paula Patton, even Mariah Carey) made a strong impression as well. But Lee Daniels is such a crass filmmaker -- devices like intercutting the rape with the eggs frying were just ridiculous in their attempt to create effect -- and overall I thought the script felt like a pile-up of misery that really lathered on the disaster for Precious without much nuance.

I thought District 9 was definitely the superior of the two sci-fi pictures, especially in that first act, which presented its central scenario in an excitingly cut opening that sizzled with originality and wit. But as the movie went on, it settled pretty clearly into a more traditional action movie mode. Which doesn't make it bad -- it was well-made with some really creative effects -- it just makes the movie less bold than some reviewers suggested. For all the talk about how the film was some kind of complex allegory, it seemed to me that it used African apartheid more as a backdrop -- I don't think it really articulates all that many interesting ideas by the end.

For me, the remaining six movies comprised a very strong bunch.

A Serious Man is one of few films that caused me to completely revise my opinion on a second viewing. On the first go-round, I found the film somewhat of a mixed bag -- I admired a lot of the writing within scenes, but found the through-line somewhat diffuse, and didn't really connect to the movie's humor at all. But, mostly due to the praise from folks around here, I gave it another try, and this time I was completely on board the movie's wavelength, finding it a lough-out-loud funny portrait of a man (wonderfully embodied by Michael Stuhlbarg) struggling through a series of crises that fate has practically decreed that he endure. I would say that I connect more personally to a handful of other Coen films (a friend of mine joked about the film, "I feel like you have to be Jewish to get EVERYTHING about that movie"), so the brothers don't get my vote again here, but this was yet another very strong entry in their filmography.

Speaking of movies that caused me to upgrade my opinion, I don't know that I've ever turned so much on a film WHILE I WAS WATCHING IT as Inglourious Basterds. I was almost actively annoyed during some of the opening portions of the movie -- I liked the first farmhouse scene a lot, but found the early scene of the Basterds pretty silly, and the Mike Meyers appearance was highly bizarre. I felt more like I was watching Quentin Tarantino noodle around than tell a thought-out story with any dramatic resonance. But then we got to the scene in the tavern, one of the peak scene of Tarantino's career for me -- a blackly comic, richly acted, tensely cut sequence that immediately propelled the movie onto a higher plane. And the film never let up from there, rollicking along with a gaggle of memorable characters (best of all Waltz's gleefully malicious Nazi) and culminating in a hugely inventive revisionist finale that was a complete kick to watch. Those opening bumps still prevent me from voting for it, but overall I thought the movie was thrillingly made, and one of the best examples of Tarantino's hodge-podge pastiche-y style. He would be my runner-up under Director.

The opening sequence of Up is a pretty amazing short film -- witty, visually imaginative, beautifully scored, and just crushing emotionally. It can be tough for any movie with its peak in the first ten minutes to hold up for the remainder of its running time, but I thought the folks at Pixar did a pretty impressive job at doing just that. The bulk of the movie is a completely zippy throwback to 30's adventure serials, and every so often, a moment pops up to keep giving the story emotional resonance along with its laughs ("Thanks for the adventure, now go have a new one!" just about destroyed me in the theater). I don't feel like it needs Best Picture in addition to its well-earned Animated Feature prize, but this was another wonderful film from Pixar during an era when the studio seemed to be at its creative peak.

An Education may not be as cinematically dazzling as some of the films on this list, but I thought it was an absolute gem. It's an utterly winning and poignant coming of age story, with an evocative sense of time and place, and a richly developed collection of characters (even down to the small roles) within a pretty solidly plotted narrative. And at its heart it has Carey Mulligan, in a glorious breakthrough turn, that's smart, charming, heartfelt, and completely beguiling. It's a small film, but one that enchanted me, and if there was one movie I was glad to see helped by the Best Picture expansion it was this one.

Up in the Air is another film that's more reliant on its script and performances than its directorial flash, though I do think the film marked a significant step up for Jason Reitman in that department. I think he accomplishes here what Billy Wilder often did in his best movies, finding a tone that was somehow both sweet and sour, optimistic but with a dash of cynicism, warmly funny but masking a sense of heartbreak. It's a story about people struggling to connect to each other, in a modern world that doesn't always facilitate that in the best ways, and the film perfectly tapped into a recession-era sense of uncertainty that has come to plague so many elements of American life. And the film's sense of good old fashioned narrative provides real pleasures -- I assumed I knew what would happen when Clooney showed up at Farmiga's house, only to be pleasantly blindsided by the climatic turn in that scene. It's my runner-up in Best Picture, and I was sort of sad it faded from a top Best Picture candidate to almost an afterthought (even losing the Screenplay prize!) on Oscar night.

But, to the surprise of probably no one who was around at the time, I cast my votes in both categories for my beloved The Hurt Locker. I think it's a sensational war film, full of brilliantly crafted set pieces, agonizing suspense, and shocking surprise moments that had me wholly transfixed throughout its running time. I also find it to be a fascinating character study, a portrait of a man who deals with being in a situation as horrific as war by pretending that what is happening around him simply is not happening. Katheryn Bigelow obviously had a great awards narrative -- you couldn't write a better story than the first female Best Director winner trumping her ex-husband on Oscar night -- but she deserved the prize entirely on merit in my book, for using the skills she developed crafting action in more B-level material to elevate an already powerful and detailed script into a marvelous piece of film art. The top two prizes to The Hurt Locker marked one of the most rewarding Oscar night finales I've ever had the pleasure to experience, and I endorse them completely here.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby nightwingnova » Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:08 am

Some quick notes...not a fan of 10 best picture nominees...but then, some films have gotten recognition when they otherwise would not.

The Hurt Locker - maybe a good representation of the Iraq War II, but what do we get from it?

Inglorious Basterds - fun story, great production values

An Education - a joyous little movie about experience and independence

Up in the Air - a good adult romantic comedy

Precious - a blistering drama about sordid life in an impoverished ghetto and its impact on one black girl

A Serious Man - an intellectually challenging deep, complex existential drama, the best of the year
Last edited by nightwingnova on Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby nightwingnova » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:06 am

Can't wait to hear what you and others have to say about movies from 2006 onward.

Mister Tee wrote:I believe the premise for going with best song next was that screenplay would overlap substantially with film/director, which we were just finishing up; song would serve as palate-cleanser for wherever we went next. I didn't remember score being part of it; indeed, those years in the 40s with what seems 100 nominees will be very difficult to manage (I'd say cinematography won't be a snap, either).

And let me echo BJ with "slow down". I haven't posted on one of these threads past 2005; there's just been too much else to do (don't any of the rest of you have parties to shop for?). The rest of the year is great for retrospective polls; right now is for us, like tax accountants, busy season, and we don't need the distraction.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby Sabin » Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:29 pm

These results are all over!

Like this past year, I don't have a strong favorite film of 2009. There are several very fine films that rise and fall in my estimation as the years go by. Up in the Air is a movie that strengthens in memory until I watch it again and its slickness just holds me at a slight distance. Oddly, the same is true for Up, which has some of the most powerful sequences of the year but it skips too quickly into weirdness for credibility and emotional through line to hold.

The Hurt Locker works best as a terrifically tense experience than a treatise as war as a drug, as a perennial state of recruitment. If anything, time spent with the Jeremy Renner character as lone protagonist hurts whatever point there is to the film. But it's a pretty outstanding feat of direction so Kathryn Bigelow gets my Best Director prize in a walk.

Curious that A Serious Man got a Best Picture and Inside Llewyn Davis didn't. I prefer the latter, and while I'm not sure if I truly think A Serious Man is a genuinely profound film, it plumbs American Jewry for all its Old Testament existential angst to terrific effect. It's one of their tightest scripts and in this lineup certainly deserves Best Picture. Michael Stuhlberg wuz robbed.
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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby Greg » Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:39 pm

Okri wrote:I'd argue that the best song category has the least to do with cinema of any oscar category, though.


As a lot of the songs that have been nominated, and even won, have nothing to do with the actual films and are only tacked on at the end credits, as "My Heart Will Go On" in Titanic.
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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby Okri » Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:11 pm

ITALIANO wrote:
FilmFan720 wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:Well, songs shouldn't be considered out of the context of the movie they belong too...


Exactly, you really shouldn't discuss who should or shouldn't win out if the context of the film. This award isn't supposed to be best piece of music, but best use of a piece of music used in a film.



Yes, this idea that one can just find the songs on Youtube and vote for the one he likes best is, well, very typical of the internet generation and in this sense understandable - but it doesn't have anything to do with cinema.


I'd argue that the best song category has the least to do with cinema of any oscar category, though.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby FilmFan720 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:48 pm

The problem with these 10 nominee years is that it feels like there is a lot to say, and I don't feel like my thoughts differ with consensus here much at all.

The Blind Side is obviously the most embarrassing nominee here, but I find both Precious and District 9 just as ridiculous of nominations and found little in either film I liked much at all (and Precious is just as subtly racist and The Blind Side is obviously racist). In fact, only 4 years later, I remember very little of any of those films.

The opening sequence of Up is perhaps the best piece of film making all year, but the rest of the film I find as bland as anything Pixar has ever done.

The Hurt Locker certainly has some exciting sequences, and it was refreshing at the time to have such an honest portrayal of life of a soldier in Iraq (and without any sort of political bent to it). As the year's best film, though, I find it pretty lacking and not overly interesting (I honestly can't tell you much of anything about the film besides the Ralph Fiennes bomb sequence and Evangeline Lilly showing up in a grocery store).

Avatar is certainly a technological revolution in itself, and for that and the box office I won't complain about it showing up on a list as lengthy as this. But I think the movie is a lot better than a lot of people give it credit for too. James Cameron (at least outside of the Terminator films) has never been the most original of minds, but that is also what he is going for. If we don't begrudge George Lucas for cribbing so much of the hero myth for Star Wars, we can't begrudge the way that Cameron likes to take film tropes and layers them into his work. It's taking what we know and reforming them digitally, through a whole new lens and with the freedom to create a whole new world. Not the year's best, but not its worst either.

An Education and A Serious Man are both why the expansion to 10 films works very well. It gives these really strong, if not exceptional, small films a chance to play on a field where they used to be on the sidelines. I like both films a lot, but not enough to give them consideration here.

Tarantino gets my vote for director. Inglorious Basterds is a pretty brilliant melding of Tarantino's film-infused reality and something that actually means something. The film isn't as brilliant, or deep, as the Internet critic community would have you believe, but it is also the first time that I felt like Tarantino actually had something interesting to say. That the film is as tense and funny as it is, and has such great set-pieces, is a plus.

My Picture vote, though, went to Up in the Air. I haven't revisited it since 2009, and I feel like a revisit might change my vote, but what I remember is a film that I felt captured its own personal moment pretty perfectly. It is funny, it gives a group of wonderful actors perfect sounding boards, and also gives a real insight to what 2009 was like in America.

My Top 10:
1. Summer Hours (dir: Olivier Assayas, France)
2. In the Loop (dir: Armando Iannucci, UK)
3. Up in the Air (dir: Jason Reitman, USA)
4. (500) Days of Summer (dir: Marc Webb, USA)
5. Inglorious Basterds (dir: Quentin Tarantino, USA)
6. Sin Nombre (dir: Cary Fukunaga, Mexico)
7. Big Fan (dir: Robert Siegel, USA)
8. An Education (dir: Lone Scherfig, UK)
9. The Fantastic Mr. Fox (dir: Wes Andersen, USA)
10. A Serious Man (dir: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, USA)

BEST DIRECTOR
1. Quentin Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds
2. Olivier Assayas, Summer Hours
3. Cary Fukunaga, Sin Nombre
4. Marc Webb, (500) Days of Summer
5. Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
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- Minor Myers, Jr.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby Eric » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:48 am

Top 10
01. Tetro
02. Two Lovers
03. Fantastic Mr. Fox
04. A Serious Man
05. Julia
06. Antichrist
07. Halloween II [director's cut]
08. Inglourious Basterds
09. The Beaches of Agnès
10. I Killed My Mother

Anti-Top 10
01. The New Tenants
02. The Lovely Bones
03. (500) Days of Summer
04. Invictus
05. The Limits of Control
06. Nine
07. Julie & Julia
08. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans
09. An Education
10. Liverpool

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby ksrymy » Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:39 pm

The Original BJ wrote:
ksrymy wrote:
Reza wrote:Pity we aren't, instead, doing cinematography or even costume design.

These are going to come down to "I thought this was pretty and this wasn't." There's not a lot of discussion there, in my opinion.


Wait...seriously? Given the reams of material written on cinematography in the movies, you don't think there would be anything more to discuss than Pretty/Not Pretty?

I think cinematography is one of the most important part of film. I just don't really feel like listening to people describe the way shots looked. I want some more lightweight material; that's why I want to do song. We're always very highbrow here in analyzing film, so I wouldn't mind a more casual poll for a while.
"Men get to be a mixture of the charming mannerisms of the women they have known." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:58 pm

ksrymy wrote:
Reza wrote:Pity we aren't, instead, doing cinematography or even costume design.

These are going to come down to "I thought this was pretty and this wasn't." There's not a lot of discussion there, in my opinion.


Wait...seriously? Given the reams of material written on cinematography in the movies, you don't think there would be anything more to discuss than Pretty/Not Pretty?

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby mlrg » Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:12 pm

Another ideia would be making Best Animated Feature Poll. It's only 12 years

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2009

Postby ksrymy » Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:35 pm

Reza wrote:Pity we aren't, instead, doing cinematography or even costume design. The song category is, well, yuck!

These are going to come down to "I thought this was pretty and this wasn't." There's not a lot of discussion there, in my opinion.
"Men get to be a mixture of the charming mannerisms of the women they have known." - F. Scott Fitzgerald


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