2012 Oscar Baffler

Actor Tom Hanks, center, points to 250 veteran...

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This morning they announced all the nominees for the 2012 Academy Awards.  All the expected actor, actress (both supporting and leading), director, and picture names came up, as one might expect.  With all the other awards shows, that precede the Oscars, there usually are no noticeable surprises when they read off the list of nominees.  Occasionally, there might be a glaring omission.  A well reviewed movie, with an A-list director and/or cast, that somehow doesn’t make the cut.  But this time, in the Best Picture category, there was a glaring addition.

Somehow, the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close received a Best Picture nod!  From what I’ve heard and read, there were no outright pans or slams of this movie, but merely tepid reviews.  Roger Ebert gave it a 2 and ½ out of 4 stars, and used the word “contrivance” in describing it.  Leonard Maltin also said the story was “contrived”.  Rex Reed called it “labored and muddled” and even used adjectives like preposterous and manipulation in describing the story.  Tim Lammers – I’ve never heard of this reviewer before – gave it a 2 and ½ out of 4 stars, and even the website Rotten Tomatoes gave it only a 5.8 out of a possible 10.  By all accounts, this is the most wishy-washy reviewed movie ever, to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.  So, why put it up for consideration?

It does have an extremely likeable cast, in Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock (arguably America’s Cinematic Sweethearts), John Goodman, Zoe Caldwell and Max von Sydow.  And, apparently a strong performance by newcomer Thomas Horn, as the young son searching for some meaning in his father’s (Tom Hanks) death, at the World Trade Center, on 9/11/2001.  But, only Max von Sydow is nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category.  From what I’ve seen, it received no other nominations.  So, what gives?

The movie doesn’t seem to have any kind of political message.  There’s no controversy, or anything.  And 9/11 is still a very controversial subject, both here and especially abroad, despite the Story Closed attitude, that both the US government and the dutiful corporate media show it.  Could it be that the movie’s blandness fits in with the Let’s get on with it attitude that so many want for the issue?  I don’t know.  I haven’t seen it.  And, based upon the true reviews, the ones that came out prior to this unexpected nomination, it’s unlikely that I will watch it.  Nothing personal.  I’m a fan of all the major actors in it.  It just seems to be a very non-compelling movie.

The movie’s nomination is the surprise of the awards season.  At best, it’s just a puzzling little oddity.  At worst, the “contrivance” and “manipulation” of the situation make it more than a little suspicious.

Keep thinking, friends.

YUR


2 Responses to “2012 Oscar Baffler”


  1. 1 Anonymous January 26, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Curious… I’m going to rush right out and see it. thanks for the heads up.

    JoAnn

  2. 2 unclerave January 26, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Very funny, JoAnn. (A little sarcasm is always appreciated.) Of all the Best Picture nominees it would be the last that I would pay to see. (Possibly a tie with “The Tree of Life”.) I’d actually like to see many of the movies that have Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Actress nominees, but weren’t nominated for Best Picture, before watching these two tepidly reviewed movies.

    — YUR


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