Sunday, 2 March 2014

[Angry rant] Why I'm not excited about the Oscars this year

My Oscar predictions:
Best picture: "12 years a slave"
Best actor: Matthew McConaughey in "Dallas buyers club" (or Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 years a slave")
Best actress: Cate Blanchett in "Blue jasmine"
Best supporting actor: Jared Leto in "Dallas buyers club"
Best supporting actress: Lupita Nyong'o in "12 years a slave"
Best director: Alfonso Cuarón for "Gravity" (or Steve McQueen for "12 years a slave")


[Warning: This is a rant].
Let's look at the nominees. 
Among the 9 films, there's 1 film I haven't watched- "Nebraska". "12 years a slave", the best of them, is beautifully done, authentic and deeply moving. My other favourites are "Philomena", "Her" and "Dallas buyers club", they make us laugh and make us cry and stay with us long afterwards because they touch the deepest parts of our hearts. "Gravity" and "Captain Phillips" are OK, good for their genres and no more. "American hustle", which I've just watched, is dull and tedious, with unbearable cast (I'll come back to this point later). Above all, "The wolf of Wall Street" is a huge disappointment, or to be precise, it's an average comedy, but I can't believe that the man who has made masterpieces such as "Taxi driver", "Goodfellas", "Raging bull", "The aviator", "Mean streets"... could make such a ridiculous and pointless film like "The wolf of Wall Street". It's an embarrassing film, in the sense that, placed next to Paul Thomas Anderson's great works such as "There will be blood", "Magnolia" and "Boogie nights", his latest film "The master" is not as good but not embarrassing, but "Punch drunk love" is.
When it comes to the nominated actors and actresses, I realise that usually at Oscars they have a dozen films and then fill the acting categories with people from these films. As a result, some of the nominees don't deserve it whilst some brilliant performances in so-so or good but forgotten films get neglected. Jonah Hill in "The wolf of Wall Street" getting a nomination is like a joke. Christian Bale, who a few years ago blew my mind with "The fighter", has a pale and forgettable performance in "American hustle", like Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in the same film, Sandra Bullock in "Gravity" and Michael Fassbender in "12 years a slave". Bradley Cooper is Bradley Cooper, "Silver linings playbook" may have changed his career and given him better opportunities, but he remains the way he is. Michael Fassbender is 1 of those actors I have never considered good, though some people have compared him to Daniel Day-Lewis (blasphemy!), and in this film, having such a challenging, fascinatingly complex role, doesn't make use of the great opportunity, which could have been the role of a lifetime. What truly gets on my nerves is that after "Winter's bone" and "Silver linings playbook", Jennifer Lawrence gets nominated again. She's overrated. Her confident, unsophisticated, down-to-earth, natural, easygoing public image charms and blinds people. In this film she's exactly the same as in "Silver linings playbook", the way she talks, the way she shouts, the way she lifts up her chin, the way she frowns, the way she laughs, the way she behaves like a crazy, unstable woman... In fact, that voice, those facial expressions, gestures, gesticulations... I have also seen in "Hunger games" and "Winter's bone" and "X-men: 1st class" and "House at the end of the street". So what's next? I've called it a mistake to give her an Oscar for "Silver linings playbook", though I do like her in it, now she's even more disappointing. What's next? Jennifer Lawrence plays herself, just like Keira Knightley, Naomi Watts, Carey Mulligan, Julia Roberts, Elizabeth Taylor.. and acts mostly on the surface, not as well as Jessica Chastain, Helena Bonham Carter, Glenn Close, Jodie Foster, Julianne Moore, Hilary Swank..., let alone Vivien Leigh, Meryl Streep, Ingrid Bergman, Cate Blanchett, Marion Cotillard, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis... I understand that she's young, and for the time being can't think of any young actress that is better, but I have seen enough to see that she will not develop any further in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years or even 40 years.


The discovery of Daniel Day-Lewis in the art of acting is as awful as the discovery of Tolstoy in literature. It changed my perspective and standard forever. Of course, I neither expect every actor to be like Daniel Day-Lewis, nor every writer to be like Tolstoy, which is impossible, but still...

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