The 2010 Oscar nominations of Best Picture almost exactly match AFI’s list of the top 10 movies of 2010, proof that 2010 was a boring year for movies (when all the award nominations are so predictable, it usually means that there weren’t enough good mainstream movies released to compete with one another). So which of the Best Picture nominations is different? Well, even the tiny difference in the top ten movies of 2010 is boring.
But before I reveal the big difference, here’s a look at the Oscar nominations for Best Picture (in order of my personal preference):
Winter’s Bone – This independent movie that could was bleak, cold, beautifully crafted, rated R for “Real”, and full of complexity. And with amazing performances from the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes (who both snagged Oscar nominations for their roles), “Winter’s Bone” has become a very deserving underdog this year.
The King’s Speech – Call it just another movie crafted in the way Oscar loves if you will, but I actually found this movie refreshing and full of warmth, humor, and great performances from the cast (all of which three, Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Geoffrey Rush, snagged Oscar nominations).
The Fighter – It might be full of boxing movie clichés like the big, triumphant ending and preparation montages, but the way this movie moves the focus away from just its star boxer and onto his very tight-knit family is what helps make it great. And of course amazing performances from Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, and the incredible Christian Bale (all of whom garnered Oscar nominations) paired with plenty of humor, tension, and love make it stand out from your average sports-related movie (plus you’ve got to love those crazy sisters).
127 Hours – I’m honestly just impressed that this terrifying true story was actually turned into a movie (and one that’s not just disturbing, but gripping, emotional, and moving).
Toy Story 3 – I’ve got to give this movie props for simply making us care about talking toys after all these years and overcoming the very hard-to-beat curse of making a sequel just as good as the original (I actually prefer the third to the second). However, I would have still liked to see “How to Train Your Dragon” in its place amongst the Oscar nominations for Best Picture (if that movie were on the list, it would be right up there with “Winter’s Bone”).
Inception – Now I’ve gotten to the “blah” part of the list. “Inception” earns this slot simply because it at least attempted to do something different (but I really hated the whole snowy landscape sequence; it just felt too much like something out of a James Bond movie).
The Kids Are All Right – This movie was full of great performances (Mark Ruffalo and Annette Bening both got Oscar nominations for their parts) and I loved the unique storyline, but I absolutely hated the ending.
Black Swan – I’ve heard that you either love this movie or you hate it, but I actually didn’t hate it. I thought it was entertaining in a campy, it’s-so-bad-it’s-interesting-to-watch kind of way, but it just felt much too silly to be amongst the Oscar nominations for best picture.
True Grit – The Coen brothers seem to be hit-or-miss to me, and they really missed with this Western. I’m glad Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld scored Oscar nominations (even though her character annoyed the crap out of me), but I found myself feeling extremely bored with this one almost the entire time I was watching it.
The Social Network – Everyone will disagree with me putting this movie last here, but I don’t care. It was sexist, boring, contrived, and way too self-indulgent. Every review I read of “The Social Network” seems to reference something I didn’t see in the movie, like how it’s a commentary on our uber-connected world and the way Facebook has changed it. But the movie never really shows this; it shows a college kid with Asperberger’s trying to become more than just a computer geek to get girls, a few courtroom scenes, and some tepid slices of Ivy League college life. After watching it, I didn’t feel like I’d watched a modern-day “Citizen Kane”; I felt like I had just watched nothing. The movie didn’t get all that many Oscar nominations (there were no female leads to speak of to compete in those categories, and Andrew Garfield was shut-out), but Jesse Eisenberg did get one for doing nothing but keeping his face expressionless and talking in a fast, monotone voice.
So now that you’ve had to put up with my terrible opinions, here’s the one difference between the Oscar nominations and the AFI top 10 movies of 2010 list: “The King’s Speech” replaced “The Town” in the Best Picture race. However, “The King’s Speech” wasn’t eligible for AFI’s list, since it’s a British film. Had “The Town” been nominated, I’d probably actually put it right after “127 Hours”.
And so the unexciting Oscar race begins: will “The Social Network” reign supreme, or will “The King’s Speech” pull of a surprise upset? Either way, the fact that one of these two movies seems to be a shoe-in for the win is just proof that awards season needs more to work with (it would be nice if the Oscars extended list of ten nominations for Best Picture actually mattered).