Award season is in full swing and there are movies honored and movies overlooked and movies that have been shunned outright. The same goes for performances. In situations like this it becomes obvious that, like it or not, the Golden Globes have the correct approach in having separate comedy and drama categories. This allows movies that deserve the honor of at least a nomination to be recognized.
As the Oscars approach the coveted best picture category seems to be a three horse race with “The Artist” leading the way. Although it appears that “The Help” is coming on strong just at the right time with wins at the SAG awards and Producer Guild awards. “The Descendants”, Alexander Payne’s second masterpiece (the first being “Sideways”) is just as much a contender as the first two.
A few noticeable pictures missing from the nomination list include the powerful behind-the-scenes political drama “The Ides of March” who’s outstanding ensemble cast delivers a fast paced, twist-a-minute thriller. Also missing is the funny and at times gut wrenchingly real “50/50” which features a wonderful performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. “50/50” also is sadly missing from the original screenplay category for Will Reiser who wrote the script after his own battle with cancer.
The best actor category is a strong war between a true classic form of comedic acting: Jean Dujardin stars in the Artist as a 1920’s silent film star and a pitch perfect performance by Hollywood’s true heavyweight and probably most liked guy, George Clooney, in The Descendants. Noticeably left out is the actor who seems to be this generation’s Peter O’Toole – Leonardo DiCaprio for his portrayal of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.
Much like the best actor category, the best actress Oscar is a dead heat between two powerhouse women. Meryl Streep is once again a nominee, which seems to become a yearly forgone conclusion. She is up for her performance as former prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Her counterpart, Viola Davis, is nominated for her knockdown, brilliant role in “The Help” where she portrays a full time maid in the deep segregated south in the early 1960’s.
While the Academy Awards tends to be one big popularity contest, they do bring to light movies and performances that may otherwise go unnoticed. We discover new actors and actresses that tend to bring something new to the screen and the art of storytelling. The nomination is what tends to be the real reward and although only one can win, the career and life of all will be forever changed.