Just so you know, the Oscars are not a good gauge for “Best Film” or “Best Director” since people who have no experience with a certain category weigh in on that craft (actors can vote for best set design; writers on directors). You also can’t join just by paying dues, but have to be voted in by other Oscar voters.
And of course, Oscar doesn’t like to give high marks to films coming from animation (other than slipping them into the “Best Animated Film” ghetto so they don’t usually get to compete for “Best Picture”), sci-fi, foreign, or horror.
Basically, it’s a giant publicity event where producers and distributors try to make some money in ticket and DVD sales before the summer blockbusters hit. You need to know this does not accurately reflect the “best” films and of the last year.
However, here are some films I would recommend that were nominated:
One of the best action/sci-fi/dramas I saw this year. I’m very critical of films, but on this one it was nice to have no big issues when leaving. Go see this.
The Hurt Locker
One of the best war films. Bigelow’s directing is a major reason behind this, definitely a film that will be re-watched in years to come. Full review here.
You can enjoy this on a very surface level for wit, action and drama. But what lies beneath is the most delicious. Tarantino’s best since Pulp Fiction, again, go see this.
If Pixar could get the backing to make a whole film out of their first quarters (Wall-E‘s beginning, Up‘s very serious opening montage), animated dramas would be a hit. The rest of the film is great, but what you’ll remember is at the forefront.
Up in the Air
Not what you’re expecting. If you had to pick one out of all of these films, see Up in the Air. Yes, it’s better than Inglourious Basterds. This is one I want to re-watch on a regular basis. Believe the hype, this is great.
What to Avoid:
The Blind Side
Both of these are overwrought pieces of offensive/sentimental trash.
What Oscar Didn’t Mention (that you should see):
WHY WASN’T THIS NOMINATED?! Freakin’ Avatar gets a best picture nomination, but not The Road?! (more evidence for the shameless self-promotion purpose)
Where the Wild Things Are
Not nominated for acting, special effects, best film, nothing, but it was one of the better films of the year.
Yes, it was a drama that happened to have comedians in it, get over yourself and enjoy it as Apatow’s best film to date.
[Oscar photo via]