Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2011 Best Picture Nominees: The Short List



For the second year in a row, followers of The Academy Awards have to endure a longer list of movies nominated in the Best Picture Category. It used to be that only five films were nominated, but last year, for the very first time, they expanded the list to a total of 10. In a sense, increasing the list can be considered a good thing because movies that may have flown under the mainstream radar now have an opportunity to be acknowledged; also, since movies nominated in this category can sometimes get a bit of a box office boost, this can also be a good thing for business from an industry-wide perspective.

But there is at least one reason why you could argue that this expansion is a bad thing: there may not necessarily be as many as 10 movies that merit nomination. In truth, some have griped in years past that the Academy would be hard pressed to come up with a list of only five, never mind 10. However, in years where there are five deserving films, are the other five merely filler?

It is with this in mind that I wondered what would have been the nominees for this year if they kept to the old school limit of five films. While I certainly wouldn’t claim to be able to read the mind of the Academy members, I would like to submit which five I personally believe to be most deserving:



Black Swan – Director Darren Aronofsky has, in my view, never made an uninteresting film. In Black Swan, he has crafted something truly unique and Natalie Portman’s performance is nothing short of brilliant.




Inception – Combining science fiction, action and a love story isn’t easy – but it was accomplished in this film, along with a very satisfying surprise twist ending.



The King’s Speech – This is about as close to perfect as a movie can get: inspired performances by an outstanding cast and an inspirational story based on historic events. An excellent family picture, though not necessarily marketed as such.



127 Hours – If you pitched a movie where the protagonist was alone on screen for most of the movie and in the same location for much of that time, you’d be laughed out of the executive’s office and told to go write a stage play. Yet somehow, the filmmakers made it all work.




The Social Network – Another movie based on a true story, but one that’s more modern and whose complete history has not yet been told. It is difficult to tell a story about a protagonist who isn’t very sympathetic or heroic, yet somehow, the tale is told through Zuckerberg’s eyes and we’re spellbound.

And just what do you think?  Would these be the movies nominated if the list was still limited to five?  Are there any from the official list you believe would make the cut if the category was still limited to five?  Post a comment and share your thoughts.

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