Tuesday, January 19, 2010

For Your Consideration

If you read any industry trade paper or any film websites, you are inundated with “For Your Consideration” advertisements meant to remind you what the best movies of the year were. For those who haven’t seen one, they look like this:

The nominating process for the Academy Awards ends this Saturday. As such, studios are ramping up their efforts to remind voters of what they should have liked and may have forgotten. I would like to take this opportunity to do the same.

Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that 99 to 100% of my readers are not members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. That’s not a problem. For those without a vote, consider this a helpful guide for some worthwhile viewing somewhere along the way.

So, for your consideration:

Best Picture: Broken Embraces

Pedro Almodovar’s latest is a staggering film. It must be seen more than once in order to appreciate all of its layers. That which is on screen is beautiful and vibrant and luscious, and the story underneath is as richly textured as anything Almodovar has done in the past.

Best Director: Oren Peli for Paranormal Activity

For doing so much with so little, Peli’s achievement just screams out to be recognized. It is genuinely scary without resorting to mindless or easy tricks (with one notable exception). The success of this film is heartening for those fans of true horror, and that success is because of Peli.

Best Supporting Actor: Zach Galifianakis for The Hangover

The humor in this movie is certainly not for all tastes but trust me that the humor does not work without Zach Galifianakis. A playful, bear-like man child, Galifianakis plays his part with such cock-eyed innocence that it is impossible not to love him.

Best Art Direction/Production Design: Hideki Arichi and Tony Noble for Moon

There are two worlds in this movie: the barren, dusty wasteland that is the titular moon and the cold, sterile inside of the lunar station where Sam Bell is housed. Both are perfectly rendered and perfectly match the tone of this gritty, sad story. Arichi and Noble are the guys to thank for that.

Best Score: Christopher Young for Drag Me to Hell

Christopher Young has done the music for countless horror films over the years and also wrote the music for Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 3. His music for Drag Me to Hell is a perfect blend of classical intricacies and comic flourishes. It is creepy and brooding and appropriate.

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