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26 February 2011 @ 11:48 am
our (enourmously long) annual oscar post  
Oh man, lots of real life stuff is kicking our butts lately, so it's time for an escape...

And with the Oscars just a day away, you all know what that means... ;) Time for our annual analysis post!!! :D This is the first year in ages that we've seen every single nominated film & performance in all of the major categories, so we're especially excited for the ceremony. As usual, most of you will probably want to skip right by this hugely long post... ;P


Black Swan - This movie is something else. It was an intense and at times scary thriller, which balanced creepily between sane & crazy as the events progressed. Truly great direction, with an incredible score that almost felt like a character of it's own. And of course Natalie Portman's INCREDIBLE performance was the biggest standout. We loved Mila Kunis in this, too. Wow!!!

The Fighter - Talk about a top-notch cast. Christian Bale is absolutely AMAZING. Mark Wahlberg & Amy Adams are both excellent as well. And if not for seeing her name in the credits, neither of us would have believed that Melissa Leo was the actress behind Alice. She literally BECAME that character. Wow wow wow. And the story is not as much about boxing as it is about the power of family and the struggle of fighting for a better life. SO beyond impressed with everything about this movie.

Inception - This is honestly one of THE most intense and mind-blowing movie-going experiences we've ever had. You literally sit on the edge of your seat and hold your breath for the full 2.5 hours. The complexity of the plot, mixed with incredible performances, unbelievable visuals & an amazing score, makes this one of the BEST films of the year.

The Kids Are All Right - To be honest, this was one of our biggest disappointments of the year. Not even sure we can explain why, because the performances were all incredible and the chemistry of the cast was amazing. But we both walked out of the theater feeling let down, and that doesn't happen to us very often. Maybe this needs a second-viewing.

The King's Speech - What an absolutely marvelous story about friendship and overcoming fears. It's powerful, really funny and just so unbelievably touching. The performances from Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush & Helena Bonham Carter were just absolutely superb. There aren't even words to describe. We absolutely loved every single thing about this movie!

127 Hours - This is one of the most intense and emotional movies we've seen in quite awhile. It tells the unbelievable true story of Aron Ralston, a climber who struggled to stay alive after getting his hand trapped under a boulder in the mountains of Utah in 2003. Danny Boyle did a remarkable job of telling the story in a truly unique and artistic way, and the cinematography is just beautiful. But the truly AMAZING thing about this is James Franco's absolutely FANTASTIC performance (which we'll get to below).

The Social Network - Absolutely adored this movie. Everything from the performances, script, direction... it was all incredible. The film is engaging and absolutely hilarious. And Jesse & Andrew are both ridiculously good in their roles. GAH. (Plus it brought those two together, which is something we can't say THANK YOU for enough!!! ;DDD) One unpopular opinion we have: we thought Justin Timberlake was mis-cast. We really did not buy him as Sean Parker. And this is coming from HUGE fans of his, who have thought he's given awesome performances in other movies. He just didn't work in this one. But otherwise, LOVE this movie.

Toy Story 3 - This movie, put simply, is absolutely ADORABLE, HILARIOUS and so incredibly TOUCHING. We honestly cannot watch the last ten minutes of it without bawling our eyes out. The creators did an unbelievable job of providing a truly satisfying ending to the BEST trilogy ever. We seriously can't say enough good things about this movie. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

True Grit - We are not fans of westerns at all and have never seen the original, so we honestly didn't have very strong expectations going into this movie. But BOY, were we ever VERY pleasantly surprised! We enjoyed it SO much! It's really funny, touching and was carried almost completely by the incredible Hailee Steinfeld (though Jeff Bridges & Matt Damon were both quite excellent, as well). Truly loved everything about this movie (including the score, which was gorgeous)!

Winter's Bone - This movie felt so real that you start to forget that you are even watching a movie at all. It's incredibly powerful and heartbreaking (we both felt on the verge of tears from start to end), but also ultimately hopeful. And Jennifer Lawrence's performance is nothing short of amazing. We HIGHLY recommend this film. It sticks with you long after the credits role!


OUR PICK(S): Sooooo hard to choose, but have to say The King's Speech, The Fighter, The Social Network or Inception.

The King's Speech or The Social Network.


Javier Bardem (Biutiful) - He plays an incredibly dark & conflicted character, but due to his incredible portrayal, you also see a man full of intense love and unbelievable devotion to his children. It's so strong that you can honestly feel it right through the movie screen. This was truly such a raw and emotional performance. Had us in absolute tears. SUCH a well-deserved nomination!

Jeff Bridges (True Grit) - Terrific performance, as always. We would expect nothing less! He played this role with such great strength. Haven't seen the original, so can't compare, but we thought he was excellent.

Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
- What an incredibly compelling performance! Even though he portrayed a highly unlikable character, he was able to add a real underlying hint of heart and subtle emotion that makes you root for him despite his questionable actions. Plus, his chemistry with Andrew Garfield is AMAZING. GAH!

Colin Firth (The King's Speech) - WOW. His transformation into this character is truly remarkable. His performance is one that sticks with you long after the movie is over. So incredibly touching and powerful. WOW WOW WOW.

James Franco (127 Hours) - This is THE performance of his career. The best work he's EVER done. He is just so raw, intense, vulnerable... He's especially amazing in one pivotal scene at the end; we seriously couldn't get it out of our minds for days after seeing this. And that is because it felt like we were watching a real person going through the events of the movie. Wow!


BIGGEST SNUBS: Leonardo DiCaprio should absolutely be on this list, not only for Inception but also Shutter Island (two UNBELIEVABLE performances). Ryan Gosling was phenomenal in Blue Valentine. And we also have to mention Aaron Eckhart, who gave his best performance to date in Rabbit Hole. All three of these guys should have made the cut!

OUR PICK(S): SOOOOO hard to choose! All of these guys, especially Colin, Javier, James & Jesse, give performances that are so good we can hardly form words to describe them. What a year for leading actors!!! Whoa!

Colin Firth.


Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right) - The performances were our favorite thing about the movie, and her's was no exception. Extremely realistic and she managed to add heart to a sometimes unlikable/unrelatable character. She can do no wrong!

Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole) - We would expect nothing less, but she gave another beautiful, heartbreaking and extremely relatable performance. It was understated in a really quiet way, but also incredibly strong and deep. Moved us to tears!

Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone)
- SOOOOO blown away by her performance. She played this character with such realism and strength that you absolutely believe every second of it. You can literally FEEL the love she has for her family right through the screen. And there is one scene in particular toward the end of film that we can't even think about without having tears spring to our eyes. WOW!!! So unbelievably excited to see what else she is capable of in future projects.

Natalie Portman (Black Swan) - Wow, what an unbelievably intense, emotionally beautiful and devastating performance! She gave absolutely everything she had and completely disappeared into this role. Her transformation was just startling. It is without doubt her BEST work to date. We were COMPLETELY blown away by this performance!

Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine) - This is another awe-inspiring performance. It was such an incredibly raw, real, honest, human portrayal of a character who is so heartbreakingly damaged and desperate to find someone who loves her as she is. It didn't even feel like acting; you truly believe every feeling she has. Just flawless! (Plus her chemistry with Ryan Gosling was amazing!!!)


OUR PICK(S): All SOOOOO deserving, but our favorites were Natalie, Michelle & Jennifer.

Natalie Portman.


Christian Bale (The Fighter) - He transformed and gave himself completely to this role. It's one of the BEST performances of the year across all categories and THE performance of his career. Plus his chemistry with the rest of the cast was superb. Just WOW!

John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) - To be honest, we were kind of surprised by this nomination. Not because it is undeserved, but because his role didn't feel substantial enough to earn it. That being said, he did give a really excellent performance. He subtly transforms from an intensely scary guy to someone who truly does love his family. Very good!

Jeremy Renner (The Town)
- Wow, what an incredibly layered and intense portrayal of a very tough, hardened and honestly rather unlikable character. But he is SO captivating that are able to forget all that, and you are pulled right in. We absolutely loved this movie and Jeremy's performance was definitely one of the best things about it!

Mark Ruffalo (The Kid's Are All Right) - YAY!!! He's been a favorite of ours for YEARS and we are SO beyond thrilled to see him finally get this kind of recognition! He gave a really terrific and natural performance, even when you don't always understand his character's actions (due mostly to the very uneven writing). Just absolutely LOVE him!!!

Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech) - This is a wonderfully funny, interesting and all-around superb performance. His scenes with Colin were truly a joy to watch, and this was such a well-deserved nomination!


BIGGEST SNUBS: The  BIGGEST snub across all categories for us was the omission of Andrew Garfield for best supporting actor. He was the absolute HEART of The Social Network. One of the BEST performances of year. Such a travesty to see him left off of this list!! :((( Also, Sam Rockwell's performance in Conviction was nothing short of incredible. We are SO sad that he didn't get any recognition at all for his role. SO AMAZING. :( And finally, we also have to mention newcomer Miles Teller, who was just fantastic in Rabbit Hole. His performance was really quiet and subtle, yet so realistic and touching. He completely blew us away!

OUR PICK(S): LOVE all of these guys, but Christian's performance was definitely the best.

Christan Bale.


Amy Adams (The Fighter) - Gosh, she played her character with SUCH an incredible amount strength and toughness!! LOVED the scenes when she went toe-to-toe with Micky's mom and sisters. Whoa, look out! ;) Really enjoy seeing that side of her, too, so hopefully she'll explore it more in future movies! And also have to note that her chemistry with Mark Wahlberg was awesome, too.

Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech) - This felt like such a great step away from the usual quirky roles we are used to seeing her in. Her character is such a quiet pillar of strength for her husband, and Helena played it just perfectly. Fantastic!

Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
- We've said it before, and we will say it again: we honestly had NO idea it was her until we saw her name in the credits at the end. She literally BECAME this role. And even though the character is very tough and hard-edged, Melissa added such an honest touch of humanity and vulnerability that makes you want to reach out to her. AMAZING!!!

Hailee Steinfeld
(True Grit) - She truly belongs in the lead category (and would earn it there, too), but because of her age we're not surprised she was put in supporting. All of that aside, though, this is a truly BREAKOUT performance. What a revelation! She commands the screen in a way that reminded us SO much of Megan Follows in Anne of Green Gables. We are BEYOND impressed!

Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom) - Another chillingly powerful and fierce performance. She plays such a layered character--nice & cheerful on the outside but incredibly ruthless & cruel underneath--to absolute perfection. Very, very impressed!


BIGGEST SNUBS: Dianne Wiest's performance in Rabbit Hole was definitely deserving of recognition. She was AMAZING! And oh gosh, Dale Dickey was absolutely fantastic in Winter's Bone. What a performance!!

We loved every single one of these performances, but have to say Melissa & Hailee were our faves.

PREDICTION: Melissa Leo.


Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
David O. Russell (The Fighter)
Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)

David Fincher (The Social Network)

Joel & Ethan Coen (True Grit)


BIGGEST SNUBS: The fact that Christopher Nolan was left off of this list is absolutely ridiculous. WTAF???

David Fincher or Tom Hooper.

David Fincher.


127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter's Bone


LOVE ALL OF THESE MOVIES! But have to go with The Social Network or Toy Story 3.

The Social Network.


Alright, we lied about seeing all of the major nominees, because we haven't seen Another Year. But we've seen the four others:

The Fighter

The Kid's Are All Right

The King's Speech


The Figher and Inception were two of our absolute favorite movies of the year, but mostly for factors that outweighed the script. We think the best over-all screenplay was The King's Speech.

The King's Speech.


Okay, we lied here too. We've had The Illusionist downloaded on our computer for weeks & definitely plan to watch, but we haven't gotten a chance to yet. So we can only comment on the other two:

How To Train Your Dragon - To put it quite simply: this is the most ADORABLE movie we have EVER seen. EVER. Between the beautiful story (makes us cry!), amazing visuals, awesome voice work and incredible score, it's absolutely MUST-SEE, no matter how old you are. If you don't know by now how much we LOVE this movie, where have you been??

Toy Story 3
- Our thoughts are above. LOVE LOVE LOVE this movie!


Absolutely ADORE both of these movies, but have to go with How To Train Your Dragon. GAH!

Toy Story 3.


John Powell (How To Train Your Dragon)
Hans Zimmer (Inception)
Alexandre Desplat (The King's Speech)

A.R. Rahman (127 Hours)

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (The Social Network)


Ahhhh, instrumental scores are some of our favorite things EVER. And we have such a special place in our hearts for the one from How To Train Your Dragon (it's SOOOO beautiful, especially the "Forbidden Friendship" track ♥), and also really loved the Inception score, which added so much to an already incredible film. All five of these are great choices, though!

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross for The Social Network.


"Coming Home" from Country Strong
"I See The Light" from Tangled
"If I Rise" from 127 Hours

"We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3


OUR PICK(S): Our sentimental fave is "Coming Home" from Country Strong, so we'll say that one. ;)

Only have a wild guess for this one, but going with "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3.

And we also have a few more things to add to our wishlist for the awards tomorrow...

- Dear James & Anne, please do an INCREDIBLE opening monologue, complete with a song & dance number! :D

- Dear Jesse & Andrew, please continue to be ADORABLY IN LOVE and give us amazing new photos & quotes! ♥♥♥

- Dear Networks, please don't let Kathy Ireland get ahold of a microphone. Her interviews on the red carpet last year were AWFUL!

And that is about it. SO EXCITED FOR OSCAR DAY!!!