The nominations for this year's Academy Awards were announced today, and being out here on the world's elbow, it was not surprising that I hadn't seen many of the movies and performances that made the list. Military theatres like to show action flicks, so not every great movie makes in onto our local screens.
Of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture, only three have played in the military theatres on Okinawa: The Help, War Horse (currently playing), and Moneyball which only played here very briefly. I saw Moneyball back in the States while I was home on leave, and I watched The Help at the theatre on Camp Foster, and have yet to see War Horse. I also saw a fourth nominated film, Midnight in Paris, on a long plane ride across the Pacific.
If I had to choose the winner among the three that I have seen, it would be difficult because they are all very good. But of those three, the one that moved me the most was The Help. It was such a great movie on so many levels and tugged at a variety of emotions. Moneyball would be second on my list. This was a film about athletics, something that I did not anticipate liking - but I did. The movie sucked me right into the story and had me rooting for the Oakland A's. Midnight in Paris was the movie about which I was the most hopeful, and it too was very good. Woody Allen tells a sweet tale in most of his movies, and this was no exception - and the backdrop of Paris in the twenties was very appealing to the senses - but the story was just not as gripping as the other two.
The other films nominated for best movie were The Artist, The Descendants, The Tree of Life, Hugo, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. When I was living in Arizona, I would always try to see all of the nominated films before the awards were announced, but that isn't going to happen here.
One comment on the Best Actor: I was surprised that Leonardo DiCaprio did not receive a nomination for his portrayal of J. Edgar Hoover in the Clint Eastwood film, J. Edgar. I saw that movie on Guam and said at that time that it was a disappointment - but, that said, DiCaprio nailed his part. He came across every bit as evil and odious as the famed G-Man. I also felt that Armie Hammer's Clyde Tolson was worthy of a nomination.
Maybe this will be Brad Pitt's year with Moneyball.
And speaking of war horses, the Best Actress category contained two legends of Hollywood: Glenn Close and Meryl Streep. Close is being nominated for her work in the film Albert Noble. This will be her third nomination for Best Actress, and she has also been nominated three times for Best Supporting Actress - with nary a win. Meryl Streep was nominated for her role as Maggie Thatcher in The Iron Lady. This is her fifteenth nomination for Best Actress with only one win - for 1982's Sophie's Choice. She was also nominated twice for Best Supporting Actress and won in that category for 1980's Kramer vs Kramer.
Viola Davis, from The Help, will, I suspect, make this one more "also ran" year for Glenn Close and Meryl Streep.
Beyond that, I can't predict.