Let me confess at the beginning: I seen neither “Avatar” nor “The Hurt Locker”, the two movies considered front-runners in the Oscar race.
And I probably won’t see them. As a mother of three small children, I don’t get out much. I’m very selective about which movies I’m willing to invest my precious time in. That being said, I’m going to share my opinions anyway…
Why “Avatar” shouldn’t win:
It’s probably a crime that, as a former film major, I won’t see “Avatar” in 3-D at a movie theater. I’m tempted by all the reports—from friends and critics alike—about the astonishing visuals of Cameron’s motion-capture cinematography. But the story? It sounds about as subtle as “Dances With Wolves.” I didn’t like that movie, either. Give “Avatar” all the technical awards in the world. Maybe even bestow James Cameron with the Best Director trophy for the ability to pull off his expansive vision. But to win Best Picture, a movie needs not only to look good, but also feature nuanced plot and characters.
Why “The Hurt Locker” shouldn’t win:
Never mind that U.S. soldiers report unfathomable inaccuracies in Katherine Bigelow’s war drama. “Hurt Locker” has only grossed $13 million domestically. There’s just no way a movie this unpopular should win Best Picture. Evidently Jeremy Renner delivers a stunning performance as the leader of a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit. If only he could have prevented his own movie from being such a box office bomb. To win Best Picture, a movie should be both artistic and accessible.
Why “UP” should win:
- The stunning visuals. So they may not be “Avatar” amazing. But the shot of the house of balloons initially taking lift alone is worth your ticket price.
- It’s full of rich, complex characters.
- One character is an exotic bird mother. Named Kevin.
- It’s fall-down funny. Yet it requires multiple viewings to catch all the subtle humor.
- It honors the aged, and carries the message that sometimes our greatest moments come in life’s third act.
- It reminds you what it’s like to be a child—full of fancy, yet full of fear.
- It has unexpected plot twists and hold-the-sides-of-your-chair moments of suspense. And it doesn’t end how you think it might.
- The fabulous score.
- It portrays the most tender, passionate, pure, heart-wrenching, and yet convincing romantic relationship between a man and woman—from childhood through death and beyond—from any movie in recent memory. In under five minutes. With no dialog. I dare you not to cry when you watch the sequence.
- It was the best-reviewed movie of 2009 on Rotten Tomatoes, with a rating of 98%.
Have I convinced anyone yet?