15 February 2010

The Blind Side / Oscars 2010: How I'd Vote If I Were a Member of the Academy

I watched The Blind Side last night. I'm not in the habit of watching illegal copies of films and can't remember the last time I had done so (four years ago?) but the opportunity arose to watch this last night and it's the only best picture nominee for the Academy Awards I hadn't seen. After paying full price to sit through such awful movies as The Road and The Hurt Locker, I wasn't about to spend $11 to sit through the likes of this and I'm glad I didn't.
Firstly, I think it's really gross that they nominated Sandra Bullock for this instead of nominating Tilda Swinton for Julia. I don't think she's bad or anything, really. She's not great though and the movie stinks. I think it's revolting that people would compare this movie to Precious at all and I think the strain of criticisms on the internets that this movie was better than Precious are clearly from sheltered suburban types who probably should have challenged themselves a little more in their humanities courses in college. I mean, some of the criticisms against Precious are so ridiculous. I'm not saying I loved the film but there's a big difference in a film produced for a black audience that shows a lighter skinned black woman teaching an underpriveleged darker skinned girl how to define herself and a movie made almost exclusively for a white audience about a black kid finding redemption by being defined by an exclusively white group and a white lady finding meaning by embarking on various ghetto safari adventures. I'm not saying there's something wrong with the real life story this is based on but I'm not really sure this is the story that we should be elevating right now. I mean, the movie isn't really that good at all. Parts of it are painfully bad. The only thing I can think is this is another example of a cultural institution reaching out to the South to make them feel part of the Union since this is a ridiculous southern movie about white people finding out that black people might all look like bulls but some of them are really like golden retrievers.
I don't know. This is a sappy, conventional genre film and it comes off as relatively reactionary. I don't want to come off as a booster for Precious because that movie didn't quite hit it out of the park for me either but I found that movie a lot more authentic and I feel like a lot of the criticisms about that movie are from white people who don't know very much about black people. D

It's a weak year for the Oscar nominations so I don't want anyone to think I loved any of these movies but this is how I'd rank them now that I've seen all of them:
1. Avatar
2. A Serious Man
3. An Education
4. Precious
5. District 9
6. Up in the Air
7. Up
8. Inglourious Basterds
9. The Blind Side
10. The Hurt Locker

Best Actor: Jeff Bridges
Best Actress: Meryl Streep (I havent seen The Last Station and I wouldn't mind Carey Mulligan getting it either.)
Best Supporting Actor: (have only seen one of the nominated performances)
Best Supporting Actress: Maggie Gyllenhaal (I liked Vera Farmiga but I didn't think the role was very good.)
Cinematography: The White Ribbon
Art Direction: Avatar
Director: James Cameron
Original Song: The Weary Kind, Crazy Heart
Animated Short: The Lady and the Reaper
Visual Effects: Avatar
Adapted Screenplay: In the Loop
Original Screenplay: A Serious Man
Animated Film: Fantastic Mr. Fox or Secret of Kells

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