Oscar Update – 2014
Having now seen the five films nominated in the Animated Short Films category, I wanted to follow it up with a few thoughts. To be quite frank, I found most of them uninspired. I can only say that I strongly disagree with the recent comment made by critic Stephen Holden of the New York Times where he found these nominated films “outstanding”. Unfortunately, they were anything but.
Laurent Witz’s Mr. Hublot is certainly artistically fascinating, showing the short life of a small cyborg character whose life is turned upside down when he brings a robot dog into his life. However, the Japanese contribution from Shuhei Morita entitled Possessions and Daniel Sousa’s Feral are strangely uninteresting. Feral was particularly disappointing given that it told the story of a animal-like child living in the wilderness who was brought back into a civilization that he could not tolerate. Regardless, if you want to see a movie covering this territory that is truly uproariously funny, hunt down Evil Roy Slade (1972).
The two most interesting films are my pick to win, Disney’s Get a Horse and the fairytale entitled Room on the Broom. The latter tells a rather cute story about a beguiling witch who crowds her broomstick by constantly inviting lonely animals to join her. While it was charming, Disney’s 3-D short that amounts to two movies in one continues to carry the day, and I remain convinced that it will be the likely winner Sunday night.
I also wanted to tell you that I had a chance to see American Hustle a second time, this time enticing my wife to make her yearly journey into the condemnable inner sanctum called a movie theater. First and foremost, she really liked it, which will simply encourage her to see at least one film outside the house next year.
Look, I know that many critics are standing by either Gravity or 12 Years a Slave as the Oscar pick for Best Picture, and most center on Gravity’s director, Alfonso Cuarón, for Best Director. However, given that a director’s primary job is to produce effective performances from the lead actors, how can you ignore David O. Russell when all four of his stars are again nominated? Sure, I may be wrong, but I still stand by American Hustle and Mr. Russell as reflected in my original picks.
Let me also add a word about the incredible Jennifer Lawrence. While I think it is likely that the Best Supporting Actress award will come down to June Squibb in Nebraska and Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave, her performance in American Hustle is memorable beyond any adequate description. She is simply overpowering, and if she is honored, you will get no complaint from me.
Finally, I have to pass along an hysterical observation made by an old, OLD friend who was my roommate in college. In responding to my review of 3 Days to Kill, he was wondering why it had to be 3 days?
In asking why Hollywood is fascinated with the number 3, he made the following observations:
As in 3 Days of the Condor.
As in 3 Men on a Horse.
As in 3:10 to Yuma.
As in 3 Men and a Baby.
As in 3 Amigos.
As in 3 Faces of Eve
As in 3 Coins in a Fountain
Since I still remember the days when we were both practicing Catholics (he still is), we both feel that the use of the number 3 has something to do with the influence of the Holy Trinity!