Notes from awards committee:
The jaw dropping strangeness of the 2011 Academy Awards was a big reason why we wanted to do the Simpson Awards in the first place. So it goes without saying that every winner of the Big 3 Academy Awards was changed for the 2011 Simpson Awards. In fact, not one of the Oscar winners was even nominated for a Simpson. We liked a couple of Academy nominations, namely Inception and True Grit, but only one film, Secretariat, a behind-the-scene look at the GOAT Triple Crown winner, screamed "Best Movie of the Year!" Unfortunately that excellent film was snubbed by the Academy. We are proud to correct that mistake with a Simpson Best Picture award for Secretariat, as well as, the Best Actress award for the star – Diane Lane, in the performance of her life. She was not only a strong female character, but also a very classy lady with brains and plenty of heart. John Malkovich was also terrific in Secretariat, but was edged out by Leo Di Caprio in a photo finish. Leo starred in Inception; the sci-fi, crime movie would not have worked without him. He centered a strong cast and was brilliant in the bittersweet, tragic romance story that was surprising and touching.
We were slow to figure out this Academy gang, but gradually came to the unfortunate conclusion that the pseudo-cool, hipsters of the Academy had shifted to a decidedly anti-American attitude. Any film that celebrates American Greatness, such as Secretariat, is shunned. Why? Blame the Iraq War, blame Obama, blame Reverend Wright, but the social climate shifted to negativity, sneering satire, or ridiculous parody on the topic of the Mother Country. So now we are faced with the sad but true fact that the Oscar awards have lost their meaning and validity. It is now time to correct that mistake.
Winter’s Bone – A teenage girl, well played by Jennifer Lawrence with quiet determination and strength, struggles to save her family. Tight emotional substance with sympathetic insight for poor, rural Americans.
Heist film The Town stars Ben Affleck in his role as the head of a team of bank robbers hailing from Charlestown, Massachusetts. Sure, we have all seen plenty of gunplay in cops and robbers movies, but nothing was more impressive and realistic than one of the final handgun exchanges in The Town that took place with no more than 15 feet between combatants. While both characters dumped an entire magazine, they only managed about a 50 percent hit rate. Most movie directors utilize “magic bullets” that only hit what needs to be hit and miss what doesn’t. However in real life people miss close-range targets like this all the time, especially when those close-range targets are shooting back!
Disappointments of the year
Most over hyped movie was The Social Network, a Facebook origin story focused on tech nerd, Mark Zuckerberg and how he zucked his partners. Not a bad subject for a low budget made-for-TV feature, but the big screen treatment was a waste. I watched it on an airline mini-screen during a cross country flight and never once did it occur to me – “this one should be enjoyed on the big screen.”
Likewise for the overrated (Oscar winner) The King’s Speech, yet another mediocre, pity-party film with minimal visual impact and a boring story about a British Royal overcoming a speech handicap. A talented troupe of actors made it a watchable movie, but not the year’s best film effort. In fact neither of the two above mentioned Academy darlings made our cut-off for Best Picture nominations.
I had high hopes for The Tourist, but the beautiful, romantic settings of Venice and Paris could not save this drama-crime-romance flick. There were zero sparks between the two big stars – Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. Then again, when it comes to letting the designer gowns, glam shots and make-up do the acting and work of character building, Angelina Jolie is your girl.
Black Swan is a psychological horror movie that just happens to be set in the world of ballet. This film went off the rails. Forget Black Swan; Inception is the real fever dream movie of all time.