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 could talk about why The Social Network deserved (even though I don’t think it did) to beat the very clearly made with the Oscars in mind The King’s Speech. However, I will not do that. Instead I will take most of my paragraph to tell everyone how utterly ridiculous the movie Winter’s Bone was. I mean my god, Winter’s Bone was probably among the worst movies I’ve seen, yet somehow it was nominated for an Oscar. The Academy loves doing this though, any sort of movie that “makes the audience think” usually gets bumped, especially if it features the main social problem of the week (this being the economy/poverty). After the first ten minutes of Winter’s Bone you get the point of the movie, you’ve already come to grips with the shocking, “Holy fuck, I can’t believe people still live like this in today’s America” factor and what you are left with is an incredibly uninspiring redneck mafia tale, featuring the melancholy stares of Jennifer Lawrence. Fuck you Winter’s Bone. Inception was an interesting nomination, unfortunately for as creative as Chris Nolan can be, his actual direction of actors leaves A LOT to be desired (unlike Darren Aronofsky’s incredible direction of, at the very least, his lead characters in all of his movies) and probably did not even deserve a nomination. Portman definitely deserved the win for Black Swan, so at least they got one right. I will begrudingly accept The Lost Thing as the winner for best animated short (although now that I know it was based on a picture book I am liking it less and less), although I thought Pixar’s entry, Day & Night, was more creative and easily understood (these are animations people), and therefore more deserving.
Will: The King’s Speech was such a standard by-the-numbers film that it raises the question: Have we lowered the bar so much on what is considered the best? The film that should have won and will end up being the most memorable was The Social Network, although that movie was not even David Fincher’s best. Colin Firth’s performance relied too much on the gimmick of stuttering in The King’s Speech to win for Best Actor. Instead, the most powerful role came from Javier Bardem in Biutiful. Natalie Portman deserved her Oscar for Black Swan.
JoeDog: I reallly wanted Inception to capture the heart and minds of the Academy. But to be honest, it didn’t quite catch mine. The idea / visuals are top-notch. The actual plot (and it’s lack of clarity) were not. So what does that leave? 127 Hours rode the coattails of Boyle’s previous win, The Fighter was good but a little formulaic, The Kids Are All Right was very good but a little too “indie” in scope, True Grit was standard Coen Bros fare which I suppose is good enough for a nomination in a field of ten, Winter’s Bone and Black Swan I did not see. Toy Story 3 was touching but an animated film is not going to win best picture unless everything else SUCKS because a huge percentage of the Academy voting bloc don’t work on them. So it comes down to Social Network and King’s Speech, two films that are exceedingly watchable but intended for two vastly different audiences. Guess which audience has more card-carrying members of the Academy?
Jake: Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech takes top prize, besting Fincher’s timely The Social Network. It’s difficult to understand what exactly happened here. Both were well made films, however, the latter will be more widely revered in the long run… just wait. At the same time, academy members’ apparent love for The King’s Speech pushes Tom Hooper to win top dog in a category fraught with worthy candidates: Aronofsky, Fincher, O. Russell, and Coen Bros.