86th Annual Academy Awards

With my most recent page focused on the topic of “Awards Season”, I have considered it worthwhile to post my own comments in regards to the upcoming Academy Awards.  This is merely the opinion of one man, and they are not to be read as predictions.  I have merely selected those films which I think should win, not those that shall win.  This was a fantastic year for film, and there were, therefore, no shortage of “snubs.”  I should make some preliminary comments: the Academy is primarily American, and these awards are undoubtedly ethnocentric.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.  So, while foreign films do indeed have a category of their own, and while these foreign films do indeed get the occasional nomination in other categories—including “Best Picture” every now and again—I am not putting up a fight that we should take the Academy Awards ceremony away from its home.  I am the first to assert that the world as a whole produces better films in cooperation as opposed to the narrow scope of Hollywood, which casual movie-goers too-often consider as the only true factory of film.  However, I will not try, in this blog post in particular, to fight against a solid, respectable tradition.  So, there there are two foreign films that make the “Best Picture” race, at the expense of a couple very popular American films (sorry), but for the most part, the ethnocentrism is maintained.  Critics who decry American films get annoying, after all.  It’s not like we can’t make a good movie ourselves.  We often make the best movie in a given year.  Granted, it takes 100 movies to make one good one.  But that’s beside the point.  Besides, think of all the jobs we’re creating.

KEY:  My pick for winner is in boldface.  The asterisks (*) mark those who shouldn’t have been nominated in my opinion and should rather have been replaced with those that were “snubbed.”  The “snubbed” category refers only to those films that should have been nominated, not those that could have been or those that barely missed the cut (there are three exceptions here…you’ll see them in the “Best Picture”, “Makeup and Hairstyling”, and “Original Song” categories).  I include various notes to explain my more controversial picks.  You will notice that some “snubs” were so egregious that even the person or film who should have won it all was not even nominated (“Makeup and Hairstyling”, “Original Song”, and “Foreign Language Film.”)  I watched all the movies that were, and might have been, nominated, with the exception of a few that I refused to watch based on sexual content or lack of personal appeal.  These movies were Blue is the Warmest Color, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, and The Wolf of Wall Street.  I also could not get to most of the short films, as most of them are accessible only in certain windows of time. Other than that, my opinions should be considered pretty valid. Continue reading

The 22 Most Important Films of All Time

While historical significance certainly plays its role in helping me determine my favorite films (see my “Greatest Films of All Time” list), other factors played equally poignant parts: my own personal bias, the impact of the film upon viewers, film quality and popularity, to name a few.  But, insofar as this blog is designed to help the casual movie-goer become a competent one, I must help by making more specialized lists.  This particular list looks at historical and cinematographic significance as a complex dual-characteristic: namely, “importance.”  Often, lists of this type go by the name of “influential.”  But “influential” means important only in the context of history and fad.  “Important,” on the other hand, involves the goal of this blog.  These films are “important” in that they help create a backdrop wherein one can contextually understand the development of film and the proper languages of film—as André Bazin would put it—which open your eyes to the world of cinema.  I wish I had paid better attention to lists like this one in my early days of movie-going.  I believe that it would have helped a lot.

The following movies were “influential” to other movies that followed.  They are “important” to you and to me, the viewers, in our attempt to become more competent movie-watchers. Continue reading