27 Days of Oscar, Day 11: touching on the acting race (Foxcatcher and Wild)


Things are slowly creeping along in terms of my Oscarwatching catch up.  For those following along, you know that I have every intention of watching all of the nominated films.  In every category.  The past 11 days haven't quite gone as planned, but they never do.

Thanks to divine intervention I got a new day job which led to me having to quit my other job which gave me next week off to completely focus on Oscar, Oscar, OSCAR!

Since we last chatted, or you last read, I watched the incredible "Citizenfour," The documentary about Edward Snowden in the days leading to his whistleblowing about the NSA spying program directed by the amazing Laura Poitras.  I still haven't seen "Selma," or all of the films nominated for Best Director, but at this point in the game I can say Poitras belonged in that top five slot.  More on "Citizenfour" after I watch the remaining documentary films.

I also watched "Foxcatcher" and "Wild" both nominated in the lead acting categories, with the previous being nominated for Best Director.  There was a lot of hype surrounding the fact that Bennet Miller was nominated for directing "Foxcatcher" yet the film neglected to receive a nom for Best Picture.  Believe it or not, this actually makes a bit of sense to me.  I saw an incredible canvas Miller painted with both the overall mood of the film as well as the direction he led his actors...but I was left oddly unaffected by the film itself.  I might try to watch it again before the Oscars, but I highly doubt there will be time.

Steve Carrell is good in the film.  Very good.  He creates and interesting physical life for John du Pont the notorious gazillionaire heir to the DuPont dynasty turned wrestling coach slash murderer.  And is most impressive when saying and doing almost nothing, but the film really belongs to both Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo.  Their scenes together are just remarkable.  Tatum may be a box office success and heartthrob, but he is also a very good actor.  If Lee Strasberg, the famous acting teacher of the likes of Ellen Burstyn, Marilyn Monroe and Marlon Brando was to have been around to get a hold of him, who knows what he might accomplish.

And then there is "Wild,"  I almost don't want to jinx it, but as of now "Wild" stands tall as the film that has moved me and touched me most where I am as a person in this exact moment.  "Birdman" did something similar, at least to the artist part of me.  But "Wild" reaches to a place deeper within me.  And that is very much thanks to Laura Dern and Reese Witherspoon.  I enjoyed Reese in "Walk the Line," but this performance is something else.  She is a woman on a journey of self discovery.  And we see flashbacks to her life at the point where things started to unravel.  What makes this performance incredible is that both director Jean-Marc Vallee and Witherspoon chose to make the portrayal of Cheryl in the depths of addiction and grief closer to the woman she was on her journey than most films of this type do.  The distance is narrow, but it is about the journey and not the destination.  And Dern is as alive on screen as I have ever seen her.  Having now seen the film I completely understand how she ended up nominated.  One day I hope she can win.  Come on David Lynch or Alexander Payne.  Put her in another film!

This weekend I am going to stick to a four film goal instead of six.  That way I might actually watch everything.

Leviathan is back on the list.  As well as "Wild Tales."

I also hope to watch "Mr. Turner" and either "Selma" or "The Theory of Everything."  Probably going to go with "Selma."  But you know me!

On another note, I just discovered that Oxford, MS...where I happen to live is happening at the end of the month.  Here is hoping that I might be able to attend post Oscars.  "The Sound and the Fury" starring James Franco will be premiering here.

NOW...here is my updated list.  Followed by a little Oscar promo!

PICTURE
Selma
The Theory of Everything

PERFORMANCES
The Judge
Two Days, One Night

DOCUMENTARY
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
Virunga

FOREIGN
Ida
Leviathan
Timbuktu
Wild Tales

ANIMATED
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguyu

SCREENPLAY
Mr. Turner
Unbroken
Inherent Vice

BELOW THE LINE
Intersteller
Beyond the Lights
Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
Nightcrawler

The SHORTS!

Additional Films:
Cake
Snowpiercer
Mommy

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