Best Picture Nominee Summary

We’ll pause the Cobalt and Potassium saga to bring you an important announcement! The Oscars are this weekend! Yay! Cobalt and I like to have a party for the Oscars where everyone dresses up in fancy clothes and votes on what they think will win all the categories. Then we watch and wait for the results. In honor of the Oscars this weekend, I thought I would have a post about all nine best picture nominees because Cobalt and I have seen all of them. I’ll include a tiny summary of each movie and what I liked/didn’t like about it.

Potassium’s top three favorites (in no apparent order):

  • Beasts of the Southern Wild – This is the little indie film that could. It’s an amazing and very creative story about a little girl named Hushpuppy who lives just south of New Orleans with her dad. Her dad gets really sick and Hushpuppy’s whole world starts to shatter. What I think is the most amazing part of this movie was how fantastical and amazing this movie was on such a small budget (Cobalt and I own this one so we’ve watched the making of). It’s also nice because the main actors are not professional – in fact the guy who plays Hushpuppy’s dad is a local baker in the town near where they were filming. I also liked the fact that they used the whole community to make the movie. This one is my personal favorite. It’s neat. You should see it!
  • Argo – this movie is the favorite of the year it seems and is probably the most likely to win. In case you haven’t seen any movies in the past year (and therefore didn’t see this trailer a billion times like Cobalt and I did), it’s about the Iranian hostage crisis and the fact that 6 Americans escaped the embassy and took shelter in the Canadian ambassador’s house. Ben Affleck directs and stars as the CIA agent in charge of getting them out of Iran. Even though this movie is based off of a real event and you know that everyone is okay in the end (if you’ve studied up on your American history that is), this movie succeeds in stressing you out. Will they make it or won’t they?! And that’s why it’s in my top three list – I was clutching the edge of my seat the whole time worried about all the characters even though the back of my head was telling me they would be okay… I also actually really liked the beginning where there was a short introduction about what was going on in Iran at the time – a nice intro/background for those of us who weren’t actually alive/aren’t history majors. :)
  • Silver Linings Playbook – I think there is some confusion about whether this is a romantic comedy or a drama and the answer is it is kind of everything. This is the story of a guy who has just been released from a mental hospital coming back to terms with real life and learning to move on from past relationships. This is a movie by the same guy who directed The Fighter but unlike in that movie, you are cheering for all the characters, which is a good feeling. There are few movies where you actually like all the characters. This movie is heartwarming at times, hilarious at times, and heartbreaking at times. Quite a nice little flick.

The middle three (in no apparent order):

  • Lincoln – This is the story of the ratification of the 13th amendment so it’s another one where you know the end. Daniel Day Lewis portrays a believable and hilarious Lincoln and the whole movie provides a nice little peak into our country’s history. I also was intrigued to see Lee Pace play a villain when he’s usually so sweet and adorable. My biggest complaints are that I thought it was trying too hard to be an “Oscar movie” and that I didn’t like how it ended. I thought it was unnecessary to include Lincoln’s assassination (spoiler alert… ;)) when the story was actually about the 13th amendment…
  • Life of Pi – This is the pretty movie of the best picture nominees. It tells the story of a boy who is lost at sea on a life raft with a tiger for over 200 days. Ang Lee does an amazing job adapting the (sometimes boring) book into a colorful and exciting movie. The soundtrack is also amazing (my favorite of those up for best score). All in all this is a pretty awesome movie, I am just not sure it has what it takes to be best picture… That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go see it. Rent it whenever it comes out on blu-ray/DVD and be prepared for amazingness…
  • Django Unchained – This is the story of a slave who becomes a bounty hunter in return for his freedom and then goes to free his wife. It has an amazing performance by Leonardo DiCaprio. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz are good too though Christoph Waltz seems very similar to his character in Inglorious Basterds, though he’s not evil. Over all, I found this film enjoyable though it was a little too graphic and bloody for my taste (thanks Quentin Tarantino…). Like Life of Pi, there’s nothing wrong with the movie, I think it just isn’t amazing enough to be best picture.

Potassium’s Three Least Favorite Movies (in order):

  • Amour – This is the story of an older couple who undergo a severe trial of their love when the woman has a stroke. This movie is REALLY REALLY depressing. I was pretty much depressed for the rest of the evening after we watched it. I did enjoy that it was in French (it was spoken fairly slowly so it was easy for me to understand, especially with subtitles). This is the best of my least favorite movies though because besides the fact that it was depressing, there wasn’t anything really to complain about except for the fact that it didn’t have a soundtrack – sometimes it was cool to hear just breathing or walking or whatever and sometimes it was really grating and made the movie drag. The other issue I had with it was that the camera was kind of odd sometimes – people would leave the room and the camera would stay focused on the empty room so you had to wait for them to come back… Otherwise it wasn’t bad… just really really really REALLY REALLY REALLY SAD.
  • Les Miserables – So I need to admit right off the bat that while I generally like musicals, I am not a huge fan of Les Miz. Now onto the movie, I am not really sure why Anne Hathaway is getting a lot of acclaim for this movie because she’s in it for a spilt second. I thought Hugh Jackman did a great job and I at least wasn’t offended by Russell Crowe’s singing (at least he could sing unlike Gerard Butler in The Phantom of the Opera…). My actual problem with this film was with the cinematography. So Les Miz was directed by Tom Hooper, who also directed The King’s Speech. The King’s Speech had these really awesome shots that were super wide angle like this one where all the action is in the corner of the screen and there’s all this blank space in the rest of the picture. That worked out really well for them in that movie. So in Les Miz, he’s at it again with these quirky shots – in this case they are super close ups with really really really low depth of field. The photographer in me was intrigued – what a neat idea! But the movie goer in me was bored because these shots would last the entire length of songs – 3 to 8 minutes of just staring at someone’s pores really isn’t very interesting… It left me feeling disappointed because I wanted to know what else was going on in the scene while that person was singing. In a musical play there’s always something going on while someone is singing… So that’s Les Miz’s fatal flaw in my opinion…
  • Zero Dark Thirty – And finally my least favorite. This movie is about how one woman’s utter determination allowed us to find and kill Osama bin Laden. This is a really fascinating story about how she just randomly stumbled on a bunch of paths that lead her straight to him and yet the movie was….. such a disappointment. The excitement and intrigue is lost in a web of horribly graphic torture scenes and unexciting “chapters” as the movie drags on. Instead of excitement and nerves that I thought I should have been feeling when the soldiers landed in the compound where bin Laden might be living, I was just rolling my eyes and wondering if I had time to pee before they found him (spoiler alert – I probably did). And then it was FINALLY over and she was crying because she finally did it and I couldn’t share in any of her emotions because I was just so annoyed at the whole thing. Boo… It really struck me as how the two movies portraying “recent” events in US history (Argo and Zero Dark Thirty) could be so different. For both of them you know the end but Argo has your heart in your throat the whole time and Zero Dark just has you bored and overexposed to graphic violence. :-/

Welp… That’s all of them. Whew… that’s a a lot of typing… Did you see any of the movies? What did you think? Will you be watching the Oscars on Sunday night? Cobalt and I are excited because we are going to see the Oscar nominated live action and animated shorts this week and then we’ll be super prepared to watch the Oscars on Sunday night…

Three to go…


Cobalt and I have a tradition where we like to see all of the movies nominated for best picture before the Oscars. In general, seeing all of the movies up for best picture ensures you’ve seen the majority of movies in many of the other categories. It makes watching the Oscars really fun when you feel like you have an idea about the movies that are up (and it’s also hilarious because they always play THE WORST clip from all the movies so we can always shake our heads sadly at that too). I really like it too because it exposes me to movies I wouldn’t have otherwise seen that I ended up really liking (take The Descendants from last year’s Oscars). Anyway, this year we did a pretty good job guessing which movies would be up for best picture and ended up having seen 5 out of the 9 nominated before the list got announced last Thursday morning. The 4 remaining were: Argo (which we just saw this weekend, as you can see in the picture), Les Miz, Zero Dark Thirty, and Amour. Amour is going to prove to be the hardest to see because, as of Sunday night when I checked out my Fandango app, it is not playing anywhere in a 250 mile radius from us… Woooooo… This year we also miraculously saw all 5 movies up for best animated feature before the announcement came out too…. that never happens…

Anyway, do you have any fun traditions like this? Do you watch the Oscars? Have you seen any of the movies up for best picture? Which ones do you like? Do you want any recommendations? Cobalt and I really liked Beasts of the Southern Wild (it’s already on DVD/Blu Ray so you should check it out) and Silver Linings Playbook. Lincoln and Argo weren’t too bad either (though I found Argo REALLY stressful…). Actually all of the movies we’ve seen so far are good. It’s a tough race this year…. Leave me a comment if you want to know if you should see one of the 6 movies we’ve seen and I’ll give you a little summary/tell you my thoughts on it. :)