Why, oh why do I still care about the Academy Awards?
We’ve had hard times before. Most notably when Do The Right Thing was ignored in favor of Driving Miss Daisy. But it was never as bad as watching Brokeback Mountain lose Best Picture to a movie like Crash.
Like a teenager getting dumped by my first boyfriend, I swore that I would never watch the show again or even cyberstalk Oscar through various news outlets and blogs.
I even considered dating the Golden Globes. But then I remembered that Madonna has a Globe — for acting. That’s not a world I want to live in.
So being the film co-dependent that I am, I went back to the Academy Awards.
I wish I knew how to quit you, Oscar.
But, since I don’t, I’ll just rely on a liberal amount of snark — glorious, unexpurgated snark — to help heal my still sore Crash-related bumps and bruises.
If you haven’t forgiven the Academy for awarding that Afterschool Special with curse words, but still want to follow the Oscars, (and wash it down with mockery and sarcasm) you’ve come to the right place.
The Gays of the Season
Thure Lindhardt in Keep the Lights On
The Gotham Award nominees have been announced and two titles emerged that may be of interest to AfterElton readers. David France‘s stunning How to Survive a Plague was nominated for Best Documentary.
And the adorable Thure Lindhardt was nominated for Breakthrough Actor for his role in Keep the Lights On. Congrats to you both.
Thoughts on the films that may be players in the race.
Ben Affleck in Argo
Ben Affleck‘s third turn in the director’s chair turns out to be his best. Tense, expertly crafted and just a tiny bit too cheerleader-ish about Hollywood, Argo tells the story of C.I.A operative Tony Mendez‘s (Affleck) brazen plan to rescue of six U.S. diplomats (who managed to escape from the embassy) from Iran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.
The plan is to fly into Tehran to pretend to scout for locations for a fake Star Wars like science-fiction film called ‘Argo’ and sneak the diplomats out by switching their real identities for those of a film crew. Of course, this will be easier said than done.
If the fake script featured Jar Jar Binks, I might have rooted for them to get captured. Just putting that out there.
The film is expert at building arm-rest gripping suspense (seriously, I knew the ending and I was still sweating) and the resolution is particularly moving. Easily one of the best films of the year.
Flight takes a mesmerizing, courageous performance by Denzel Washington and wraps it inside a powerful but occasionally clumsy, movie. Washington plays Whip Whitaker (a name that could only be dreamed up by a screenwriter), an airline pilot fueled on massive amounts of booze and cocaine. It’s the Macaulay Culkin story with airplanes.
When the plane he’s flying malfunctions and plummets from the sky, Whip lands the plane with only six fatalities (no, David Spade‘s career wasn’t one of them). Instead of enjoying his hero’s status, Whip must confront his addictions as a federal probe into the cause of the crash forms an ever-tightening grip around his life.
John Goodman steals the scenes he’s in as Whip’s dealer, providing some much needed comedy. But the film takes a strange detour into the life of Nicole (Kelly Riley), a fellow addict Whip meets in the hospital. Set up to be a significant part of the story (the hospital stairwell scene is masterful), by the second act, Nicole feels merely like a plot device with no real pay off.
Still, when the film is focused on Whip, it’s firing on all cylinders.