With the inclusion of yet again ten nominees for best picture, this year covers a wide scope of films ready to be thrashed and cherished at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. Nearly all ten nominees earn their spot to be nominated, and nearly the top five could be justified with a gold statue. However, this year lacked the golden winner who could tell the story of the times like Up in the Air or work magic with minimal cinematic innovation like The Hurt Locker or with maximum cinematic innovation like Avatar. Needless to say, something like The King’s Speech could walk away with a big win without stutter-stepping, but one shouldn’t close the browser on The Social Network, who did the best at merging great storytelling with veteran filmmaking.
Enjoy CyniCritics complete coverage of this years Oscar race. We have reviewed every film in our Best Picture Nominee series and ranked them below for a quick view for you. Included are our Oscar predictions in the main categories and some related links including our best picture poll for who should win and an essay on the frontrunners and their similar themes. The past year has been a fantastic year for film, and we are glad you share your readership and love for movies with us here at CyniCritics. Enjoy the show!
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES RANKED AND REVIEWED
Verdict: The duality of human nature, the endless fight between the light and the dark, is at the very core of this movie. There is no denying the deep power it has, casting a hypnotic spell with its beautifully dark visuals and the volcanic performance at its center. Aronofsky transcends the familiarity in the stories he tells by burying it in his unique vision propelled by endless cinematic influence. Grade: A Read Full Review HERE.
The Social Network
Verdict: As you probably know by now, this is “The Facebook Movie.” It’s also a potent drama, fueled by stories and themes as ancient as both stories and themes. Betrayal, identity, and the nature of friendship are all at the core of Aaron Sorkin’s stunning screenplay. The Sorkin/Fincher pairing, however unlikely, pays off in spades. Grade: A- Read Full Review HERE.
Toy Story 3
Verdict: As this installment comes to a close, the final scenes will enthrall and uplift you. You completely live in the moment as the toys fear for their lives, and learn their emotional new fate. Either way, they do it together, like all of the best movie families do. Grade: A- Read Full Review HERE.
The Kids Are All Right
Verdict: It is infused with the same rebellious spirit that spawned The Who song lyric the title comes from. It may not seem like the free-spirited California citizens of the screenplay could deconstruct anything so seamlessly, but with the aid of talented writers with an acerbic wit and actors that have a sense of what makes everyone human, it grows past social satire and human melodrama and becomes something more: a great movie. Grade: B+ Read Full Review HERE.
Verdict: Following his one-two punch at the 2009 Oscars with his Best Director and Best Picture wins for Slumdog Millionaire, Boyle largely disappeared from the spotlight. A movie like that, which was lauded with praise and then subsequently deemed overrated and undeserving of its honors, is difficult to follow no matter how you look at it. Like his camera often does, he keeps plowing straight ahead, rushing through the action even when he looks back at the past. His flashbacks are literally gone in a flash. Grade: B+ Read Full Review HERE.
Verdict: Despite those faults, Inception is a thrilling, unique experience. When the movie reaches its second half and the team tries to implant an idea in someone’s mind by creating a three layered dream, it’s impossible to stop watching. The cutting between these three sequences is handled perfectly, and it finds a new kind of sci-fi by blending many good old ideas. Grade: B Read Full Review HERE.
Verdict: Most of The Fighter comes as a surprise, with its amazing acting and powerful direction. Included is a soundtrack sure to please the audience a film of this type draws in. That being said, Russell uses them in terrific ways, propelling scenes along in a way sometimes worthy of a Scorsese film. Watching Dicky flee the cops and then meet up at a restaurant with his family only to get him and Micky beat up by them is accompanied by a Led Zeppelin track and edited to stylistic and emotional perfection. Sure, you’ve seen a lot of this before. But with a gritty new coat of paint and some of the best acting of the year, you won’t mind watching a boxer conquer the odds… again. Grade: B- Read Full Review HERE.
Verdict: True Grit isn’t as good as it could’ve been, but that’s not to say it is without merit. Along withShutter Island and Inception, this one joins the ranks of films made by fantastic directors this year that didn’t quite live up to their potential. These people all know what they’re doing, andTrue Grit definitely has its moments of brilliance. Grade: B- Read Full Review HERE.
The King’s Speech
Verdict: It is to that disappointing period piece end that we find this film. Though the king may find his voice and deliver a speech to rally his citizens to the cause of war, Hooper’s film at times feels tedious and almost always feels unnecessary. Despite bursts of humor and terrific acting, it is in that lack of necessity that the film finds its true connection to the British monarchy. Grade: C+ Read Full Review HERE.
Verdict: Just like the dryness in Frozen River or the arid feeling in No Country for Old Men, the film holds an empty feeling that results from holding itself to the conventions of convention-bucking indie cinema. The conventions rely on being as minimalistic and realistic as possible, which is indeed interesting and brave, but results in a complete lack of tension, which is key for a character based thriller. Grade: C+ Read Full Review HERE.
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