I wish I could have seen all 5 Best Picture nominees at this year’s Oscars so I could have made my final decision on which film is sitting in The Dark Knight’s rightful spot. But it was not to be; Frost/Nixon will have to wait, though I’m guessing that it won’t be the one walking away with the prize tonight. You can see how I thought Slumdog Millionaire stacked up here, The Reader here , and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button here.
This brings us to the final entry in this series and a film that in my mind deserves to be taking home the Best Picture Oscar this evening. The amazing Milk, starring Best Actor nominee Sean Penn as San Francisco gay activist Harvey Milk. The film was directed by Gus Van Sant, who I never thought I’d see as an Academy Award nominee. I’ve always thought of Van Sant as outside the mainstream, but without question, he made one of the best films of the year.
The story of Milk is compelling, the mix of archival footage seamless, and the performances from every single actor is spot on. Sean Penn was bang on fantastic, and should he take home the Best Actor award tonight over Mickey Rourke, I can’t say it will be undeserved (something I wouldn’t say that about his Oscar-winning performance in Mystic River; Bill Murray was robbed as far as I’m concerned). But not to be ignored, Josh Brolin did a great job with his slow burn performance as Dan White. And what about James Franco – the guy is way more than Harry Osborn. As the Queen said, “he’s all grown up”. A fantastic film from top to bottom.
So at the end of my intensive movie watching, here was what I determined about the 4 of the 5 Best Picture nominees. Milk was absolutely amazing, and deserves its spot. It also deserves to take home the award, but I’m guessing that won’t happen. The Reader was also deserving of its accolades, and is in its rightful spot.
Then it gets tricky. As far as I’m concerned, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button does not deserve its nomination. As big a fan I am of director David Fincher, this film is average at best. The Dark Knight should be standing tall in its place.
So what about Slumdog Millionaire, the film that looks like a lock for Best Picture? Well, it did very little for me. But while it’s not my pick for best pic, I know I’m in the minority. Did it steal a spot that should have gone to The Dark Knight? Possibly, but the real thief in this gathering of flicks is …Benjamin Button.
And that’s it for me. I’m done being so serious. I’m off to watch the show.