Leading up to the 84th Annual Academy Awards the In The Bagg staff will take a look back at the past ten years of the awards and will give their opinions on whether the movies/winners held up, if they academy completely shat the bed, and how strong that particular year was for movies. Please note that the date in the title is for the year the movies were released, not the year the actual awards ceremony took place (so the Oscar Retrospective 2001 are for the awards that took place in 2002, or the 74th Academy Awards).
Chris: I am, apparently, the only one of our “experts” to not cream my pants over There Will Be Blood. While it was rife with commentary on America and directing/cinematography that gave the movie a strong identity I do feel as though you should still be entertained by the movie, which I was not. No Country for Old Men was methodical as well and also filled with commentary on America, but as a whole the acting was better (I’m talking entire cast here) and the film was more entertaining. Our boy DDL (why are actors with three names always better, DDL, PSH, JGL is coming into his own) deservedly won while Marion Cotillard gets an Oscar yet again for “bringing to life” a non-fictional person from a different era (got to LOVE this trend). Isn’t it also kind of weird that this entire decade has been filled with leading actor nominees that star in the movies nominated for best picture while the leading actress nominees are usually coming from movies that are probably not nominated in any other category? Last but not least, my personal favorite Pixar movie Ratatouille won for best animated feature.
Will: It could be argued that There Will Be Blood by P.T. Anderson was not only the Best Picture of the year, but the greatest American film of the decade. No Country for Old Men was the wrong Coen Brothers picture to reward the writing/producing/directing team (Fargo was much more deserving 10 years earlier, especially over the dreadful “English Patient”). The film’s combination of Nihilistic ideology and “The Terminator” made for a choppy viewing experience that left a very empty feeling on initial and subsequent viewings. Another bigger-than-life performance by Daniel Day Lewis was more than worthy for There Will Be Blood and Marion Cotillard did a fine job in impersonating Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose.
JoeDog: Really a banner year for film across the board. Every category had at least a few excellent nominees. I am a PTA fanboy, so natch I think There Will Be Blood should have won everything. No Country for Old Men was good, but I prefer the Coen Boys to be a bit more idiosyncratic (Big Lebowski, Fargo). I thought the second-best film of the year was The Diving Bell and the Butterfly — a story best told through the medium of the motion picture — followed closely by the moody The Assassination of Jesse James… (yeah I’m not gonna write it all out). The completely batshit insane Day-Lewis could win every year and you’d probably not hear too many complaints. Best Cinematography continues to be the best-nominated (read: all the nominees look AWESOME) category of the awards show.
Jake: The all powerful Weinsteins flex their Hollywood muscles to push the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men to the top spot. Granted, Javier Bardem’s performance certainly helped. Meanwhile, the brilliant There Will be Blood joins the ranks of the unrecognized greats. Diablo Cody takes home Best Original Screenplay for her witty banter in Juno and while it’s not the best of the nominees (Michael Clayton anyone?) it is a fun read. Meanwhile, one of the most impressive uses of visual effects, David Fincher’s Zodiac, is snubbed from the Visual Effects category in favor of The Golden Compass – a film that’s frequenting trash compactors everywhere!