How to Get Ready for the Oscars

This lead is the funniest thing you’ve encountered since Bridesmaids.  I’m not kidding; this whole article will you give you the biggest laugh you’ve had since Melissa McCarthy relieved herself in the kitchen sink. You’re not laughing.  My humor is not winning.  Melissa McCarthy may not be your best bet for Best Supporting Actress.  I will not be accepting an award on Feb. 26, and I doubt Melissa McCarthy will either.  Fortunately, if you watch the following films, you’ll have a better idea of who is not a loser.

Hugo:  Martin Scorsese’s latest film proved most impressive to the Academy, as it received 11 nominations, the most of any film this year.  Remarkably, it’s nominated for Best Picture, Directing, Adapted Screenplay and Original Score; however, it received no acting nominations.   Children’s stories put to screen are usually not this praiseworthy.  This is an example of how technical aspects of a film can facilitate the magic of the story.

The Artist:  This film is in a close tie with Hugo, receiving ten nominations.  A silent film is nothing new; or is it?  A risk worth taking, The Artist is actually a groundbreaking experiment in modern film.  Black and white, stylized like a true pre-talkie picture and an exploration of the struggles of switching from silent films to talkies, the film juxtaposes itself on the 2012 nomination list.  But that’s why it works.  It’s a must-see for those on the cutting edge of Hollywood.

The Descendants: This film is well written.  Dialogue serving as its drive, it realistically captures the dysfunction of broken families, which is usually caricatured and stereotypical.  The plot is nothing new, and many viewers have found it slow.  However, George Clooney’s performance is one of the best of his career.  Alexander Payne wrote and directed it, and that consistency keeps the heart of the story in tact and the feet of the actors on the ground.

Midnight In Paris:  Woody Allen should be proud of his 46th film.  Everyone in New York is proud of Woody Allen’s 46th film.

The Help:  Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain are both nominated for Best Supporting Actress for this film.  Both of their performances are honest, heartbreaking and hilarious.   They might as well be Mary Tyler Moore and Carol Burnett.  You choose.

War Horse:  A controversy worth noting:  Steven Spielberg is not nominated for best director.  However, the film has a Best Picture nod.  This same scenario has occurred twice before, with The Color Purple and Letters to Iwo Gima, and neither of those films won Best Picture.  A pattern worth watching, War Horse may prove that direction is not always responsible for great film-making.

The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo:  While this film is arguably inappropriate with its graphic rape, torture and abuse, the novel spread like wildfire.  A well-liked motion picture, this film is a noteworthy indicator of where our society stands on morality.  Rooney Mara is nominated for Best Actress, and the triumph or failure of her performance symbolizes much more than an acting achievement.  It will show whether society has accepted a new kind of heroine– the kind she portrays in the film.  She is a female, an outsider and a criminal.

If you watch these movies, you’ll feel like a winner on Oscar night.  If your social status on Feb. 26 is not important to you, then still watch Midnight in Paris.   Your status as a New Yorker requires this of you.

CultureKatie Hay