Monday, February 25, 2013

A few observations re what did/didn't win the 2013 Academy Awards.

1. Steven Spielberg, with LINCOLN, headed further into his desired elder-statesman-classicist phase--with a palpable desire to be the William Wyler/George Stevens/Fred Zinnemann of his generation.  But Ang Lee deserved the win for LIFE OF PI because the task of marrying 3-D/CGI technologies to humanistic storytelling is a more challenging achievement than making historical re-enactment epics (even those with Tony Kushner screenplays)--and Lee pulled it off quite well.

2. Emmanuelle Riva's mixture of physical detail (declining health due to multiple strokes) and emotional clarity in AMOUR was no match for the Movie Star likability of Jennifer Lawrence in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK.  It may be good that Ms. Lawrence is choosing to work on multiple projects with David O. Russell--because her acting can be variable (witness her flatness in the getting-to-love-you cave scene with Josh Hutcherson in THE HUNGER GAMES) depending on what her directors can pull from her.

3. Daniel Day-Lewis deserved his third win for LINCOLN.  But it's a shame that Jean-Louis Trintingant was unrecognized by the Academy voters for his totally convincing performance as the devoted/despairing husband in AMOUR.

4. Yes, ARGO was entertaining.  But future generations of movie-watchers may wonder why it received Best Picture.  After the duofecta of THE TOWN/ARGO, it's obvious Ben Affleck is an accomplished mainstream director addicted to directing himself in none-too-complex flawed-but-good-guy leading roles.  Whether he'll ever color outside the lines (of what studios want in their idea of Serious Films) as an actor/director is yet to be seen.

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