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The Town – Oscar Contender?

I’ve been looking around the web at various bits of Oscar-related news and came across WB’s “For Your Consideration” page for Ben Affleck’s The Town. Not convinced. I liked The Town. I’d even go so far as to say that I very much enjoyed it, but Oscar contender? Not for me.

It is one of the most straight-forward, down-the-line, simple films I have seen this year. Affleck’s direction and acting is good, but not world class. I could see Jeremy Renner or Rebecca Hall getting Supporting nominations, perhaps, but the big two are never going to happen, and the day Affleck wins an Oscar for his acting is the day Hell freezes over. And I say that as a fan.

To be fair, Renner and Hall were excellent in this movie – they did everything required of them well and convinced me of their somewhat two-dimensional characters – but there are probably five better nominations I could think of having only seen about 30 films this year – Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley (Shutter Island), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Nic Cage (Kick Ass), Robert Duvall (The Road), Andrew Garfield and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) are all better bets for Supporting Actor than Jeremy Renner, and I would venture that Rachel Weisz (The Lovely Bones), Emily Mortimer and Michelle Williams (Shutter Island), Amy Ryan (Green Zone), Eva Mendes (Bad Lieutenant) and Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter) all did better jobs than Rebecca Hall in their respective roles. OK, maybe it’s a stretch to suggest that the likes of Kick Ass and Harry Potter will get Oscar noms in the big categories, but they deserve them more.

I genuinely liked The Town, but it is no more than a solid film with solid direction and solid performances. It is, in a word, solid. Solid. Although, given that nowadays we get 10 Best Picture nominations, it is possible that The Town will get one of these. I won’t support it, but it’s possible.

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The Social Network’s Oscar Campaign

30/11/2010 1 comment

As everyone knows, David Fincher’s The Social Network is the film of the year. Concise, gripping and brilliant, it lacks nothing and has everything. What Fincher doesn’t have, however, is an Academy Award. The man who made Se7en, Fight Club and Zodiac has not been recognised by the Academy. A travesty, I’m sure you agree.

This week, there has been a lot of Oscar chat, due to the Gotham Independent Awards, at which Winter’s Bone won Best Picture. Now, Winter’s Bone is being talked about as a key contender for the Oscar, alongside The Social Network, Toy Story 3, The Kids Are All Right and The King’s Speech. These all tick boxes for Oscar nominations – token kids movie? Check. Indie movie? Check. Minorities movie? Check. British movie? Check. Best film of the year? Check.

If The Social Network doesn’t win either Best Picture or Best Director, the Academy needs to take a long, hard look at itself. I have gone on and on about The Social Network to whoever will listen, and was disheartened to be told last week that it was “boring”, before being told that Inception was a better film. Not just that it was the opinion of this person that it was a better film, but that it actually is a better film because it is a more exciting story and it has action. Hmm.

What has really surprised me is the story that Justin Timberlake is campaigning hard for a Supporting Actor nomination. He was certainly good in the film, but if The Social Network is to get a Supporting Actor nod, I would expect it to go to either Andrew Garfield, who is heavily tipped, or Armie Hammer, who was fantastic as the Winklevi. Timberlake did a good job, sure, but he was very much a background character. He certainly did something different from what we’ve seen before in the likes of Southland Tales and Black Snake Moan. Whatever the case, he’s a long way from N*Sync now.