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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Basic Biittner : The Oscars

Friday, February 5, 2010

They announced the nominations for the 2010 Academy Awards on Tuesday. Years ago, I tried to see all the nominated films before the big night, so I could watch the show and applaud or denounce the winners. That would be kind of tough this year. for a couple of reasons. Number one, the Oscar telecast, which used to air in late March or early April, has been moved all the way up to March 7 this year, and, two, the Academy has decided to go back to their original practice of nominating ten films this year, rather than the five to which we have become accustomed.

So, seeing all ten nominated films is not going to happen for me this year.

Of the ten nominees for Best Film, I have seen exactly four - 'The Blind Side,' 'Inglourious Basterds,' 'Up,' and 'Up In the Air.'

I had no desire to see 'Avatar' or 'District 9, ' because they're not "my type of films" ; i.e., Sci-fi and/or futuristic. That leaves 'An Education,','The Hurt Locker,' 'Precious' and 'A Serious Man' as the remaining nominees I have not seen. One of the positive things I can see with expanding the Best Picture nominee list is that several of these films were released several months ago and thus are available for viewing on DVD or Pay-Per-View now. That, in fact, is how I was able to view "Inglourious Basterds." "The Hurt Locker" is now available on Pay-Per-View and I've thought about buying it, but as I understand it, the film is set in wartime Iraq, which is where my daughter is now, and I'm not sure if I want to see it right now. I'll probably check out "Precious" some time, but I'm not in a big hurry. That just leaves two nominees, one of which is "An Education," which I can certainly overlook. Just ask any of my old teachers. (Rim shot here!)

The other film never played here, and I'll bet most of you have never heard of it, but I definitely want to see it, because it's the latest work from my favorite directors, Joel and Ethan Coen. The Coen Brothers' films must be "an acquired taste," as my daughter would say, because their works are all among my all-time favorite films, and they are also among the least favorite films of someone else in my home.

Earlier films by the Brothers Coen include - among others - "Raising Arizona," "The Hudsucker Proxy," the Oscar-winning "No Country for Old Men," "Burn After Reading," "Fargo," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", and the best of them all, "The Big Lebowski."

Their latest work, the one which is up for the Best Picture Oscar this year, is called "A Serious Man." I haven't seen it, but it should be out on video soon. It is set in Minnesota, which is where the Coen brothers grew up. I can just about guarantee it won't win Best Picture, though it may slip through and win Best Original Screenplay. I can hardly wait to see it.

Of the films I have seen, I was a little disappointed with 'Up in the Air' - it was okay, just not great. I loved 'Blind Side,' but I'm a sucker for feel-good movies, especially if a true-life sports story is involved. 'Inglourious Basterds' was very good and Christian Walz' performance should net him a Best Supporting Actor trophy from the Academy. 'Up' was terrific, but it will probably win the Best Animated Feature Oscar, so a win in both categories is unlikely.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner