By Matthew Murdoch
2011 seemed like a slightly underwhelming year for film. Blockbusters like ‘Tintin’ failed to make the splash they should have done and more thoughtful mainstream movies such as Tom Hanks ‘Larry Crowne’ didn’t really register at all. Amongst the morass of biopics clearly made with awards season in mind (we’re looking at you ‘Iron Lady’) there were however a few excellent releases last year.
Here are our picks for the big four Oscars.
If you have some pennies put them on ‘The Artist’ to win best picture. Everyone is drooling over it at the moment and the bookies odds on it winning are getting shorter and shorter by the day. We aren’t convinced though and despite its originality we think that any statuette should go to ‘Drive’. Everything about this film’s concept screamed clichéd stereotypical shit to us, yet somehow this cars and crime thriller ended up being excellent.
Drumroll please . . . we’re giving our invisible Scotcampus statuette to Gary Oldman for ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’. After a long spell as a high octane rent-a-baddie during the 1990s Oldman has reinvented himself in recent years by playing a series of thoughtful but tough characters. Most of these roles (such as Commissioner Gordon in Batman) have been secondary, but in this ensemble spy thriller he is very much the leading man. American’s weren’t bowled over by the film (perhaps a lack of Royals?) but Oldman’s subtle, weary portrayal of an aged intelligence officer is much more deserving of an Oscar than last year’s celebrated winner Colin Firth.
Pundits are saying that Meryl Streep might have a chance for her excellent turn as Margaret Thatcher in the ‘Iron Lady’. This however would be a travesty, not because she was bad, but because despite the wigs and the voice she was nowhere near as convincing as Tilda Swinton was in portraying the mother of a High School mass murderer in ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’. Her fragile, selfish, stressed Eva took the character from Lionel Shriver’s novel and made her as real as anyone could hope for.
When Martin Scorsese won an Oscar for ‘The Departed’ a lot of critics said that it was really his swansong, an opportunity to reward him for his previous films rather than that particular picture. While that might have been partly true, it hasn’t stopped the New Yorker putting out amazing TV shows and films since. His most recent release ‘Hugo’ came out last Christmas and although it wasn’t as big a box office success as many expected it was still an excellent family film. Scorsese directed a cast including Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Lee, Ray Winstone and Jude Law and not once did it miss a beat.