Thursday, January 10, 2013
And the nominees are...
The Academy Award nominations were announced this morning.
I haven't seen even one of the nominated films or performances. I hadn't even heard of two of the nine films nominated for Best Picture before the announcement (those would be "Amour", which is also nominated as Best Foreign Language Film, and "Beasts of the Southern Wild"), and of the seven I have heard of, there's really only two - "Argo" and "Lincoln" - that I really have had any interest in seeing, although the amount of controversy that "Zero Dark Thirty" is generating makes it a little more interesting to me. And, to completely honest, my main interest in seeing "Lincoln" has to do with the fact that when a film gets that much attention, I get curious about whether it's really that good.
None of the acting nominations have me that excited, since I haven't seen any of the performances, but those aren't the interesting categories for me, anyway.
I'm always much more interested in the Documentary Feature category. If you've read here much, you know that I love documentaries. I had to go look up this year's nominees, because I had not heard of any of them (which isn't unusual; documentaries are not really publicized in the United States nor much respected by the general public here). Now that I know what this year's nominees are about, I'd like to see all of them.
There's "The Gatekeeper", which is the story of Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, from the Six-Day War in 1967 to the present. There's "How to Survive a Plague", about the early years of the AIDS epidemic. Another nominee, "The Invisible War" documents the issue of sexual assault in the US military. "Searching for Sugar Man" sounds especially interesting. It is about the efforts of two South African fans of a US musician who was relatively unknown in the US but became very popular in South Africa to find out if reports of his death were true, and if it wasn't true, what had happened to him. Finally, "5 Broken Cameras", co-directed by Emad Burnat, a Palestinian and Guy Davidi, an Israeli, documents non-violent resistance in a West Bank village threatened by Israeli settlement. They all sound interesting to me.
Being a writer, I'm naturally also interested in the Adapted and Original Screenplay categories. Between the two categories, all the films nominated for Best Picture, save one, appear. In fact, every film nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay is also nominated for Best Picture, including Tony Kushner for "Lincoln", Chris Terrio for "Argo", David O. Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook", David Magee for "Life of Pi", and Benh for "Beasts of the Southern Wild".
The nominess for Best Original Screenplay include Mark Boal for "Zero Dark Thirty", Michael Hakeke for "Amour", and Quentin Tarentino for "Django Unchained", all Best Picture nominees, along with John Gatins for "Flight" and Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for "Moonrise Kingdom".
The only Best Picture nominee not nominated for a writing award is "Les Miserables".
Despite the fact that I know so little about this year's nominess, I'm still excited for the awards. I always am. I know people who think it's kind of silly for me to get so wrapped up in all the hooopla surrounding the awards. It's not my world, after all. But, in a way, it really is. Growing up in Southern California as I did, the Academy Awards were a local event, with lots of build-up and coverage in the local media. That, and loving movies, keeps me interested in the awards. Additionally, there is the whole history that surrounds it all.
It'll be interesting to see who wins and who doesn't, and whether or not the awards are distributed among most of the nominees or if one film walks away with the vast majority of the prizes.
Watch this space. I'll probably be writing more about all of this in the run-up to the awards ceremony in February.