Academy Awards 2011: Best Picture

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If you don’t already know that the 83rd Annual Academy Awards take place on Sunday, shame on you! There are ten nominations for Best Picture.


Here, for your reading pleasure is the lowdown on this year’s runners and riders.


127 Hours


  • What’s it about? A guy gets his arm trapped while out hiking. He has to chop it off to escape.
  • Is it any good? Yes. Very good. If you like Into the Wild and Touching the Void, you’ll love this.
  • Will it win? No. Beaufoy and Boyle just got a gong with Slumdog Millionaire. Won’t happen again.
  • Should it win? No. While it’s very good, it’s a one-dimensional story.
  • Trivia: This is why you really should tell someone where you’re going before you set off into the wilderness. Especially alone.


The Kids Are All Right


  • What’s it about? Two teenagers conceived by artificial insemination make contact with the guy who donated the sperm. By the way, their parents are lesbians.
  • Is it any good? Yes. Surprisingly good. Although it’s hard to go wrong with Annette Benning and Julianne Moore.
  • Will it win? No. Compared to the likes of Ordinary People (winner in 1983) it doesn’t hold a candle.
  • Should it win? No. It’s good, even very good, but it doesn’t have that wow factor.
  • Trivia: Whoever thought that sperm donation was a good idea?


The King’s Speech


  • What’s it about? King George VI, the present Queen of England’s father. Stammering.
  • Is it any good? Yes, it’s excellent. It works both as a historical drama and a very personal story.
  • Will it win? No.
  • Should it win? Yes. It has both breadth and depth. The story is riveting, the acting is superb. It works on all levels.
  • Trivia: Even the Queen likes it.


Winter’s Bone


  • What’s it about? A seventeen-year-old girl has to save her family home when their father disappears. The relatives are no help at all.
  • Is it any good? No. The story just doesn’t make sense.
  • Will it win? No. It’s not even very good.
  • Should it win? No. See above.
  • Trivia: Must be in the list to make up the numbers.


Inception


  • What’s it about? Leo di Carpaccio has to save the world. Are dreams reality and is reality a dream?
  • Is it any good? Yes, it’s okay. If you like the later Bond films you’ll like this. Quantity over quality.
  • Will it win? Of course. You can’t spend $200 million on making a film for it not to win an Oscar. What would be the point of Hollywood otherwise?
  • Should it win? No, of course not. It’s another stereotypical American film.
  • Trivia: Is “La Vie en Rose” going to form the soundtrack to every film Marianne Cotillard appears in?


The Fighter


  • What’s it about? A boxer struggling to make it to the big time. Seen Rocky? You get the idea.
  • Is it any good? It’s okay, but Mark Wahlberg is no Stallone.
  • Will it win? No. Rocky got there first.
  • Should it win? Not for Best Picture, but every single member of the supporting cast deserves an Oscar.
  • Trivia: If you don’t want to spend the money, you could just watch Rocky again.


Toy Story 3


  • What’s it about? As far as I can remember, it’s just about the same as Toy Story 1.
  • Is it any good? You have to like cartoons. It’s better than TS2, and about the same as TS1.
  • Will it win? Of course not. Cartoons don’t win Best Picture.
  • Should it win? Of course not. It’s a cartoon for god’s sake.
  • Trivia: If you don’t want to spend the money, you could just watch TS1 again.


True Grit


  • What’s it about? In the American Midwest, a teenage girl decides to avenge her father’s murder.
  • Is it any good? Only if you like westerns, or are a fully paid-up member of the Cohen brothers’ fanboy club
  • Will it win? Of course not, it’s a western.
  • Should it win? Of course not. Westerns don’t win Best Picture.
  • Trivia: A remake of the 1969 film with John Wayne.


Black Swan


  • What’s it about? A ballet dancer struggling to make it to the big time.
  • Is it any good? Yes. Excellent performances and a twisty plot. Worth watching just for the last line.
  • Will it win? Nope. It’s too girly.
  • Should it win? If the jury was all-female, it might have a chance. But it’s not.
  • Trivia: Includes some girl-on-girl love action so the boys don’t get bored.


The Social Network


  • What’s it about? Do you really need me to tell you?
  • Is it any good? Yes, it’s all-round excellent.
  • Will it win? Nope, but it would if it wasn’t up against Inception.
  • Should it win? Nope. Although it is excellent, it’s still not as good as The King’s Speech.
  • Trivia: Is Colin Firth the new Laurence Olivier?

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