Monday, February 28, 2011

Best Actor and Actress - I Hand Out My Own Awards

Did you watch the Oscars? I caught a few minutes of it, but after the first couple of boring acceptance speeches, I realized I had laundry to do and floorboards that needed cleaning.

Seriously, some of the best movies never get nominated. "The Social Network" was a big deal this year. I watched it, but I just didn't get it. It was a biopic about the geeks who created Facebook. It wasn't much of a story and it didn't have much character development. The geek's dialogue was pretty interesting and posed a challenge for the actor. I know Facebook is a big deal in the culture right now, but nominations for best actor and best motion picture? Come on.

As so it goes every year. The film industry wants to reward work that brings people into theaters. If people don't watch the movies, the film industry declines. The problem is, many of the best films just don't have broad appeal, no matter how wonderful they are. This past year, two unusual movies involving intense human drama and character development along with Oscar-caliber performances were "Mother and Child," starring Annette Bening, and "Get Low," starring Robert Duvall.

Both were given a pass by theater chains, and neither were nominated.

I've written about "Mother and Child" in another blog. "Get Low" is the unusual story about an old hermit who, in the 1930s, decided he would arrange for and attend his own funeral. The dramatic tension comes as we wonder whether he can pull it off and what will happen if he does. On another level, we wonder why he's doing it, and this is slowly revealed throughout the movie. At a deeper level, the movie explores the complexity of human character and the propensity for people to misunderstand each other, make erroneous judgments and do harm to relationships. It's also a strange love story. Through all this serious business runs a vein of dark humor. Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray are at the top of their game. If you like characters who come alive and stories that enrich your humanity, then this movie is for you. Warning - no sex, no special effects, no graphic violence, and no chase scenes. 

Will a dark-humor indie drama ever be nominated for an Academy Award, even with tour-de-force performances by veteran actors?

As I said, the Oscar show seemed boring and irrelevant to me, because I had already handed out my awards...

Annette Bening - Best Actress, Mother and Child

Robert Duvall - Best Actor, Get Low

See also: A Family Thing - another wonderful but unheralded performance by Robert Duvall.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength .

1 comment:

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Thanks for your take on The Social Network. It got such good reviews, I was going to rent it. Now I'm glad I didn't waste the money. I'll wait until it's free on HBO.

The damn Oscars were a snooze-fest.

Love to you and Kathleen.