Friday, February 24, 2012

Pick O' the Week - February 24

Oscar Weekend is upon on and the theatre gods are offering us Act of Valor, Gone and Wanderlust opening in wide release. And if none of those sound thrilling - and why should they? - Rampart with Woody Harrelson and The Flowers of War with Christian Bale are in limited release.

I think the only actual appetizing release of the weekend is The Family Favourites Presentation of The Land Before Time.

This is the perfect weekend to catch up on any Oscar-nominated films you might have missed out on the past year. The Artist and The Descendants are duking it out for Best Picture and Best Actor (Jean Dujardin versus George Clooney). It was this very weekend in 2008 that I finally saw Michael Clayton (my lone holdout of that Oscar season) and it ended up being the film that made me fall in love with Tilda Swinton. But I assure that I will not be catching Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, the only film amongst this year's nine Best Picture nominees that I have not seen. I have to hold firm to my principles!

In Theatres: The Artist has the second lowest North American box office of the Best Picture nominees (The Tree of Life is last, with half as much), but it is the frontrunner for Oscar glory. It is a charming film (review here), and Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo give flawless performances despite the lack of audible dialogue. If you have seen it, please go check out Canada's Best Foreign Language Film nominee Monsieur Lazhar (review), which unfortunately has not expanded to more theatres (two) in Toronto.

At Home: A lot of fault was placed on Kathryn Bigelow's 2009 Academy Award-winning film The Hurt Locker because it was the lowest-grossing winner in Oscar history. The Oscars have never had to pander to the masses before - and nor should they - because The Hurt Locker is a fantastically crafted film. I think the bigger problem with the Academy Awards is that Oscar voters are predominantly older, white men (according to the L.A. Times). The Hurt Locker is available on Netflix.

On TV: Cloris Leachman won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1971 for her performance in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show. Leachman is now costarring on Raising Hope, now in its sophomore season, and airing after the equally quirky New Girl. Leachman plays Maw Maw, the crazy great-great-grandmother of the eponymous Hope.

Retro Re-watch: In 1986 Oliver Stone's Platoon won the Academy Award over my absolute favourite film of all time, Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters, which did win three awards (Best Supporting Actress for Dianne Wiest, Best Supporting Actor for Michael Caine and Best Original Screenplay). Allen is once again nominated this year for Midnight in Paris, but I suggest this classic film as Woody Allen has never surpassed its brilliance.

Have a great weekend! Look for Siobhan and I to make our Oscar predictions later this weekend!

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