I swear i'll be writing more in 2014

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The BIG Oscars

It's inconsistent that as a music fan I feel the Grammy's carry zero weight, whereas as a movie fan I feel the Oscar's carry a good amount of weight. I don't get disappointed when some silly pop singer wins best album, whereas I'm unsettled when something like Chicago wins Best Picture. The good news for my life plan, is that I have finally realized that the Oscar presentation is really just a reason to promote designers of dresses so I've finally stopped watching them (wish I realized this about 10 years ago). I still do like to read who won what the next day though.

This year, it was The Hurt Locker winning best picture. As much as I loved the film, I couldn't believe that it beat Inglorious Basterds and A Serious Man, which were much better films, but then Oscar politics dawned on me. For one, it was directed by a woman and a woman hasn't won the Best Director Oscar since 1968, and two, it was about the Iraq war which despite the fact that CNN no longer updates us every day as to what's going on there now that Bush is out of office, is still topical whether you like it or not. The Oscars also doesn't care about how rewatchable something is, which is a lazy man tv watcher guy preference so I'll give them a little leeway there. This is why this movie won this award though. Tarantino will win this award one day, but it's not his time yet (jeez, it took Scorsese about 4 decades). The Coens just won it, so there's no need to give it to them again.

This is just the Best Picture Oscar though, and despite the fact that there are countless awards, there are ultimately 8 that matter most. For me, I know a movie is great if it wins, Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay (either adapted or original). If you win 3 of those (you obviously can't win both adapted and original screenplay), the next couple are Best Actor and Actress, followed by the respective Supporting roles Oscars. It's pretty safe to say that no movie is won all 7, at least in the modern era (late 60s and beyond).

Two movies have won 5 big ones though, which are the big 3, plus Best Actor and Actress. One of which is surprisingly Kramer vs. Kramer and the other is the movie I'm going to talk about today, which is Silence of the Lambs. Even though I don't think I know anyone who doesn't like this movie, I never tend to think of it as one of the best movies ever. It doesn't have a cult following, it doesn't blow you away, it's just a really really good movie, and that's not because it won these Oscars, but because it deserved to win all 5 of the Oscars.

Jodie Foster was already a great actress before this movie, but this one put her in that Meryl Streep upper echelon even though she really hasn't made a great movie since, unless you enjoy her atheism in Contact. Either that, or it's just an awful big waste of space. I can't even name the director off the top of my head either, but I'm sure he's good. Dag, now I gotta gota workproof wikipedia … ok, it's Jonathan Demme, who's also done Philadelphia and more importantly the Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense. You need those Talking Heads credits if you want to be considered one of the greatest. Lastly, you have Anthony Hopkins, who's got that Sean Connery-like overratedness about him. You know why he has that though, is because of this movie. It's almost like Travolta meeting Tarantino. This movie is sneak attack good. It's hard to believe that a movie directed by Demme, starring Hopkins could be one of the best ever, and it is (even though it has Foster who makes it much more believable that it could be).

One last thing about Agent Starling before I move on. The only movies I really know of hers, are this one, the aforementioned Contact and Taxi Driver. In Taxi Driver, she's a kid who ran away from home and you feel sorry for her through the eyes of Travis Bickle. Then, in the other two, the director does these childhood flashbacks so you care about her adult life more. Poor Jodie, she never really has it well in the movies. Her parents never seem to work out for her. (And yes, I have seen a few other movies like Inside Man, Panic Room, and Jodie Foster on a Plane!, but really why talk about those? I have not seen The Accused, I assume she was guilty).