A Deeper Look at the 84th Academy Awards

It’s over quickly so paychecks come faster. Football fans either get to cheer on their favorite team in the most intense game of the season, or get closure on another season of double-digit losses. There is a whole day of the shortest month dedicated to celebrating love. And when it comes to arts and culture there is not a more wonderful time of the year with the Grammy’s and the Academy Awards just two weeks apart. It’s easy to see why February is such an exciting month.

The Grammy’s are the culmination of the many other music award shows that occur throughout the year, but for movie fanatics the Academy Awards, it’s the Super Bowl, the Olympics, and the World Cup combined.

This year the 84th Academy Awards will broadcast live on ABC Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. EST. The list of Best Picture nominees includes only nine films, down from the lists of 10 films in 2010 and 2011.

Courtesy of Flickr user Dave_B_

The Best Picture nominees are almost all set in a different time period, and as per usual they all depict complicated, deep, gut-wrenching relationships. All of them can bring you to tears. The best among them can also make you laugh.

For the first time in years, there is no clear front-runner in the Best Picture category. I saw Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Descendants in the same evening, and I can honestly say that everyone in those theaters had their hearts broken, their deeper emotions dragged out into the open, and their souls pieced back together by the charming moments that made them laugh while tears streamed down their faces. Talk about fabulous films.

The Help may be a disappointment to book fanatics, but the film also has the ability to move audiences. Although the film’s nomination came as a surprise, Viola Davis more than deserves her Best Actress nomination for her role as Aibileen Clark. And after winning at the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, she may be the force to reckon with for Meryl Streep, the supposed favorite for her role in The Iron Lady.

Then there is the ever-sizzling combination of George Clooney and Brad Pitt, both nominated for Best Actor. Either could win the Oscar for transforming themselves into characters the audience could connect with and view as someone outside their big name. But if it comes down to it, which it might not after the awards and attention Jean Dujardin is receiving for The Artist, Clooney will beat out Pitt. Clooney is a member of the aforementioned cast that will break a heart with charm, wit, and endearment. He could win for his last moments with his dying wife alone, and that comprises about one minute of the film.

My favorite nominee this year, and possibly the most shocking, is the actress that will be the 84th Academy Awards raunchy sweetheart. Who thought Melissa McCarthy would get nominated for her role in Bridesmaids? The film is hilarious and launches the female right to stereotypically male humor, but I do not think anyone saw Oscar nominations in the crude yet frilly ensemble’s future. Cheers to Melissa. Who knew bullied Megan who wanted to throw a Fight Club themed bridal shower had it in her?

It is interesting that the Academy Awards are comprised of so many different categories and awards that many get glossed over even though it is film’s biggest night. One of my favorite awards after a short stint as a Cinema Studies major and one that I find is a solid predictor of the night’s biggest honor is the award for cinematography. Many people forget that it is this element of every film that sets the tone, the speed, and the point of view from which a film is watched, like the long, tracking shots in Atonement following the delirious wanderings of James McAvoy. This year’s obvious winner should be The Tree of Life.

It is interesting also that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is only nominated for three awards. Not that I felt the film deserved anything more, but it was the end of an era. When the Lord of the Rings trilogy ended the film swept its 11 nominations. But then again, those films stuck to the core story that made them famous in the first place. It goes to show that if directors and producers cannot get over their own egos in doing things there way they do not always win points for their creativity.

2012 is shaping up to be a big year for a lot of big names. No little girls or boys will walk the red carpet this year with their first big nomination. This is a fight among the big kids, those who have been duking it out on that carpet for years. Their class is the only thing that will prevent the carpet from turning any redder.

Leah Kennedy I write everyday of my life. I am obsessed with social media, Pinterest, sports, advertising, coffee, and my Ducks. At some point I will live in New York City, go for runs through Central Park, and turn my bright blue eyes up to the city lights.

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