Are you as excited as me to watch the 84th Academy Awards Show this Sunday? I can’t wait to see which movie wins Best Picture! Our favorite movie critic, Paul McGuire is back to share his thoughts on the movies you MUST see before Sunday night. Be sure to check out Paul’s blog for a list of all the nominations and more of his predictions.
It is that time of the year when the movie industry celebrates the best movies of the previous year with handing out the coveted Academy Award. We have plenty of other award ceremonies leading up to the big night where your favorite actor, actresses, or movie may go home with the Oscar. I love trying to watch all of the movies nominated for best picture. I’m nine of nine this year on nominees. I saw them all pretty early on, so I’m not feeling any pressure as we get closer to the big day. I have been reading numerous articles and watching previous award ceremonies in order to figure out who will win. There have been some fantastic performances this year as well as some outstanding movies that struck a chord with me. Here is a look at three movies you should see before Oscar Night, Sunday February 26, 2012.
Director: Michel Hazanavicius Starring: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman and James Cromwell
Hands down, The Artist was my favorite movie of 2011. The Artist is a sweet, charming, and nostalgic look back at the golden age of the silent movies of 1920s. George Valentin (Dujardin) is the leading male actor of the silent pictures. His dashing and debonair persona makes the entire audience swoon over him. After the premiere of his latest movie, he decides to pose for pictures and greet his fans. Peppy Miller (Bejo) stumbles to the front of the pack and innocently lands a kiss on him. The kiss makes the front page news. It turns out Peppy is an upcoming actress and gets a part in George’s ext movie. Even though George is arried, there is a spark between the two of them. As the talkies start to gain popularity Peppy becomes a big star for the studio as George finds himself out of work.
The Academy honored it with ten nominations including: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Dujardin), Best Supporting Actress (Bejo), etc… Dujardin and Bejo are pitch-perfect in their roles. Even though George Clooney was an early favorite for Best Actor, I think Dujardin might win after winning both a Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award. I am pretty sure it will win for Best Picture and Best Director as well. Being true to the style it celebrates, the filmmakers made this a silent movie. Do not let that throw you off. It truly is a fantastic movie that will put a huge smile on your face. I guarantee it.
Director: Martin Scorsese Starring: Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Sacha Baron Cohen
Hugo is based on the book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick. Hugo Cabret (Butterfield) is a young boy living in a Paris train station after his father dies and he leaves him with his uncle. He passes the time fixing the clocks. His father left him with an unfinished automaton robot. He is determined that once he gets the robot to work it will reveal a message from his dad. He gets caught stealing from a cantankerous toy shop owner (Kingsley). After befriending his granddaughter, the two of them find the key to starting the robot. The robot delivers a message for Hugo and it turns out the shop owner is not quite the man they thought they knew.
Scorsese is typically known for making gritty mobster movies. This is also his first dabble at 3D. What looks like a children’s movie on the outside, Hugo is really a love letter to classic movies. Martin Scorsese loves the history of movies so it’s only perfect that he is the visionary director behind this adaptation. I know most people are sick of 3D movies, but Hugo was shot for 3D and it is one of the best uses of 3D. It was nominated for 11 Oscars, more than any other movie this year including: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Visual Effects.
Director: Tate Taylor Starring: Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, and Jessica Chastain
Based on the extremely popular book of the same book by Kathryn Stockett, The Help was one of the biggest movies of the summer. It is the 1960s in Mississippi and Skeeter Phelan (Stone) is a young writer/journalist fresh out of college. She gets a job writing for the Miss Myrna advice column for the local paper. After sending in her resume to Harper Rowe, she gets rejected for not writing about something with a deep, edgy topic. After witnessing the injustice and prejudice that her African-American maid, Aibileen (Davis), goes through by the rest of the town, Skeeter sets out to write a book from the view point of “the help”. She interviews Aibileen, the outspoken Minny (Spencer), and others to hear their true feelings about working for white people.
It is hard to see the movie without comparing it to the book. While the movie does differ some from the book, the overall message still comes across just as strong. Strong ensemble work by incredible actresses brings these characters to life. The Academy awarded it with four nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress (Davis), and two for Best Supporting Actress (Spencer and Chastain). I think Octavia Spencer is the ultimate favorite for Best Supporting Actress. She has won every major award up to this point. Viola Davis is up against Meryl Streep this year. They are both excellent performances but for very different reasons. I would love to see Davis win and I think she will in the end. She gives such a beautiful, subtle, and emotional performance.
Billy Crystal is back to host the Oscars. He is one of the best hosts The Academy has ever used. I believe The Artist will sweep the big award of the evening. Visit my blog at http://paulstriptothemovies.blogspot.com/ and click on “Oscar Watcher 2012” for a list of all of the nominees and more of my predictions. Get out your ballot sheets and try to predict the winners before the big night. If you are having a party, bring extra ballot sheets and hand out a prize to who predicted the most winners.