brent johnson sucks it up and reviews the best picture nominee …
Every year, I see every film nominated in the Oscars’ Best Picture category. That way, I can fairly evaluate what the Academy was thinking — if the films deserve their nods and which one of the group is tops.
This year was tough. Not only did I have to see 10 films, I had to see The Blind Side.
Which I finally did recently. And here’s my verdict: I feel better.
When the Oscar noms were announced earlier this month, I wailed against The Blind Side being nominated. I hadn’t seen it yet, but I felt like I didn’t have to. It looked cheesy, overblown, saccharine. Critics loathed that it was even considered for Best Picture. It made this whole 10-nomination thing seem even more dreadful. This is what they expanded the category to let in? If they wanted to include a money-making, popular film, why not nominate something original and striking like The Hangover?
But now I feel kinda snobby. No, I don’t suddenly think The Blind Side is Best Picture-caliber. It’s soaked in too much melodrama, too much predictability, too much gloss, too much Disney-fication. But it is genuinely touching. It’s also genuinely entertaining.
Sometimes, I let the cynic in me forget that I often enjoy simple movies like this. That just because something doesn’t pander to critics doesn’t make it worthless. Is it a great film? No. But it is a good story.
I also feel better after seeing Sandra Bullock’s performance. The fact that she’s the favorite for Best Actress irked me for a while. It seemed like Hollywood was simply waiting for a well-liked actress to finally turn in an “Oscar” performance so they could jump to nominate her. But now I know she deserves at least a nod. Sure, she’s sassy as a white, Republican mother who takes in a poor, nearly mute black teenager. But she’s also confident. And she cuts a dominating figure without over-acting.
Is she better than Carey Mulligan in An Education? Hardly. But I feel better knowing the phrase “Oscar winner Sandra Bullock” is about to become a reality.