Tomorrow evening, we will find out who have garnered the Oscar nod for best picture, actors, directors, screenplays, etc. I think of the contenders and I’m excited and nervous for them. Of the nine nominated films for best picture, I have seen six. I must say that I enjoyed all of them in varying degrees.
I traveled to Manila sometime in January. I was quite surprised that not many of my friends have seen Lincoln, the powerfully portrayed story of the tumultuous passing of the 13th amendment with the backdrop of the civil war. My brother had seen it. He shrugged when he told me that he did not think the movie would be well-received by the Philippine audience. I was shocked! How could they not be riveted by the events as they unfolded, the superb acting, the wonderful script, the excellent costumes, settings, and cinematography?
I realized then that perhaps, the American side of the Filipino-American in me has made me into a flaming civil libertarian, with opinionated opinions about how the United States should change and live its most protected ideals. All this history resonates with me. I lapped up every speech and felt every impassioned plea.
I told my brother that I thought the movie had a stellar cast. Daniel Day Lewis was a superb actor. He did not portray Lincoln. He became Lincoln in the film. I thought the supporting cast was exemplary. Tommy Lee Jones was a lovable grump who spewed his arguments with such eloquence, logic, and with much acid, you could almost hear the sizzle. I thought that the screenplay by Tony Kushner was clever, poignant, and meaty. He was able to parlay the frenetic volleys between parties, individuals, and the behind the scenes propping, stitching, and burrowing. Sort of reminds me of today. Many things have changed but the back and forth posturing and cantankerous arguing has not really. Steven Spielberg did a magnificent job creating this.
As an aside, I heard today on Weekend Edition Saturday, that the state of Mississippi, the last of the 36 states in the Union at that time to vote for ratification of the 13th amendment, only did so finally in 1995. However, two astute Mississippians discovered after watching the Spielberg film, that the ratification was not made official because Mississippi did not report it officially to the National Archives! Nobody bothered to file the paperwork after the 1995 ratification. (If this were a tennis game, there was no follow through). I can’t help but wonder if this was a purely innocent oversight or if this was more a sin of omission by those who grudgingly voted for it and shoved it in some desk drawer—- all through these 148 years! Boy, all this racial animosity is really hard to eradicate!
Well, it might please you to know that ALL 36 states in the Union at that time have finally ratified the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery. The official letter had arrived from the Federal Register to the two gentlemen who brought the issue before Mississippi’s secretary of state, on February 12, 2013, which happens to coincide with President Abraham Lincoln‘s birthday.
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Argo and I believe Ben Affleck did a great job, creating tension and suspense, without too many things exploding or body parts flying. He also had a stellar cast and great writing. The movie seems so retro. It was fun seeing it that way too.
The other film I really enjoyed was Silver Linings Playbook. I thought this film is well-written, has authentic characters portrayed by such clever and natural actors. I thought that for two actors who are such eye-candy, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, they played these characters such that you did not really like them very much in the beginning in spite of their über-attractiveness. At most, you felt maybe sorry for them. But they were such pathetic, sad, down-trodden but volatile creatures with layers and layers of dysfunction, in a very shallow and plebeian existence. I mentioned to my hubby at the end of the movie that perhaps had this been a European production, it probably would have had a different ending.
I thought Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained were excellent pieces of work. But I don’t really see them as Oscar winners. I am a big fan of Kathryn Bigelow‘s work ever since I saw her previous Oscar winning movie. And as for Quentin Tarantino, I have always had the highest respect for his work. (And I love Christoph Waltz!).
By this time tomorrow, we will know.
- It’s official: Mississippi ratifies 13th Amendment (seattlepi.com)
- Mississippi ratifies 13th amendment abolishing slavery … 147 years late (guardian.co.uk)
- Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ Reminds Mississippi to Finally Ratify Thirteenth Amendment Outlawing Slavery (slashfilm.com)
- Seriously?? Mississippi Finally Abolishes Slavery (newstalkcleveland.com)
- Lincoln (onemovieeachday.com)
- Lincoln (thefilmlounge.net)
- Who will take home the Oscar? Maine film experts and BDN staffers share their thoughts (bangordailynews.com)
- 85th Academy Awards (culturebomb.net)
- Think You’ve Re-Written Your Scene Enough? Tony Kushner on Re-Writing “Lincoln” (othernetwork.com)
- Daniel Day-Lewis: the greatest screen actor ever? (telegraph.co.uk)