I’m slowly working my way through the Oscar-nominated films that I actually want to see. I watched Moneyball a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it, though I wouldn’t exactly say that my mind was blown. I just saw The Help this afternoon and liked it in spite of trying hard not to. I would still like to see The Descendants and Midnight in Paris; the rest of the nominees I could take or leave.
I was looking at the list of nominees the other day and thinking about how few of them I’ve actually seen–and not just in the Best Picture category, but all of them. I thought, “Did I just not see very many movies this past year?” That’s somewhat the case; my intense summer of PhD classes didn’t leave me much time for film-going (though I did make an exception mid-July; you get three guesses what the movie was). But as I reached back into my memory, I recalled that I did see a fair amount of movies released in 2011, and for the most part, they were good movies. Movies like Crazy Stupid Love, Take Shelter, 50/50, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (yes, I’m a bit biased on that last one, but I’m not the only one who thinks it got stiffed). Even Winnie-the-Pooh: no, it isn’t a Best Picture, but surely it’s better than at least one of the Best Animated Feature Film nominees? (I’m talking to you, Puss in Boots.)
What I’m saying is nothing new. You’ve seen this rant plenty of times already if you’ve been paying attention to Oscar buzz at all. But I’m going to steer my rant in a different direction. My admonition to my fellow armchair film critics is this: We can’t influence the mercurial tastes of the Academy. So let’s stop whining, and let’s stop feeling guilty if we don’t see all the films that get nominated. As I hope my list has shown you (and this is indeed a partial list; I would love to see your additions), good movies come out every year that don’t get recognized. We can still enjoy those movies, demonstrate our approval of them by paying to see them, and spread the word about them, as I’ve just done. Seriously. You should see those movies I mentioned. I have good taste. 😉