This weekend I finished watching the nominations for Best Film for the Academy Awards that I planned on seeing. Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained. Django Unchained is typical Quentin Tarantino - gratuitous violence, sprays of blood, genre homage, great use of music, cameos and a band of boys shooting each other. It is just too long. It goes one segue to far and takes to long to get to the final denouement.
Tarantino's love for spaghetti westerns is quite apparent, and I really enjoyed the cameos of veterans of TV westerns such as Don Stroud and Lee Horsley. Kerry Washington has very little to do except be pretty as the object of affection, she does all that the stories requires of her. Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L Jackson are having loads of fun playing against type. Moustache twirling included. Christoph Waltz is marvellous and Jamie Foxx is a great leading man. But it is way too long. If you like Tarantino films, you will love this.
The feel good film of the nominations is Silver Linings Playbook. Not your usual romantic comedy fare, Silver Linings Playbook has mental illness as the stumbling block to love. Thankfully it is a well crafted, beautifully acted film with very charismatic leads with bucket loads of chemistry. It walks a fine line between giving you an insight into bipolar disorder and ensuring that the leading man is someone you root for. I am sure that it is being criticised for not showing bipolar disorder in the way that expected, however, as I know very little of this area of mental illness. The film sucks you in and takes you on the ride with this family and friends. A white knuckle ride in some places as you are not really sure you should be laughing at some of the very funny scenes. As this film can be classified as a romantic comedy, it has had to overcome quite a bit of bias to be nominated. It is not exactly Oscar bait on paper, but the performances and the direction have it punching above its weight.
We will find out at the end of the month who takes the prize home, but as we all know sometimes the most deserving films don't even get nominated. My prediction is that Argo will win Best Film, edging out the bloated Lincoln. Well that may be more of a hope than a prediction. Let's wait and see.