I typically see all the nominated films for best picture, it's just the sheer volume of movies I go to. This year I saw an all time low of all time low quality.
Here are my opinions... THERE ARE SPOILERS.
The Artist- I am the only person I know who didn't like this movie. They stopped silent films for a reason. They are so two dimensional (literally, duh, and figuratively). The depth & breadth of expression is limited. Sure, in some ways that forces the actors to be much more; animated and stretch themselves to physically act. The problem with The Artists was not the actors acting. They did a fine job. The problem was the story. So shallow. So unrealistic. So not enough. Like his suicide attempt, seriously. And she magically knew to go to him... since she knows him so well... wait she doesn't. If it were a non-silent film, no one would like it.
The Descendants- opposite from The Artist, Descendants is deep, complex, and still has good acting on top of all of that. It's a somber movie, one that I did not particularly enjoy watching. But it was well done. The script was thought out, the direction was pretty perfect, the characters were fully developed, and Hawaii doesn't hurt as a on-location shoot for cinematography.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close- Ok, it was a good story and an average movie. I don't get why this was nominated really? Oh yeah, because there wasn't anything else worth nominating.
The Help- I know exactly why this was nominated- and it has nothing to do with being a good movie. It has to do with the political sentiment of it all... which they even got that wrong. Spoiler alert: A white woman comes in and saves an unappreciated black subculture. What?
Midnight in Paris- My favorite of the lot. Not necessarily the best of the lot... That said, if this movie had been done by anyone else (besides Woody Allen) it would be touted as the best movie... too bad it was created by a man who produces movie greatness so regularly they forget how amazing it is. It amazes me that somewhere in someones mind was this idea and that they were able to put it in a movie script and it played well. I think they did the best with casting. Each was perfect for their role. It may have been a tinge too niche. If you aren't familiar with turn of the century american arts, you may not have appreciated some of the subtleties that really knocked this one to a whole new level inside a well crafted plot with beautiful people in a beautiful place with a beautiful message.
Moneyball- Brad Pitt playing Brad Pitt playing Billy Bean. Also, we have seen this underdog sports movie before, it was called Rudy, Remember the Titans Miracle on Friday Night Lights.
The following were nominated, but I did not see...
The Tree of Life
I still can't wait for Sunday.