With just two films remaining in this premier countdown, some might assume I left the best two for last. And while I hate to be somewhat predictable, the answer to that assumption would be yes, as the final two films being honored this week are the two films I felt were the best of 2010. Strip away all the buzz, bias and unheralded politics and it’s pretty easy to see which two were flat out better than the rest. Because no matter what you may think a Best Picture should look like, to me, the only two films that deserve to win Oscar night’s greatest prize is “Inception” and “The King’s Speech.” For two completely different reasons, each of these films were the best of the best last year and while I can value the other eight nominees in this category, they simply did not have what these two films had. In fact, had “Inception” and “The King’s Speech” come out in different years, I would bet each would be a Best Picture winner. But, as we all know, only one can win now and because they did come out in 2010, we are left to debate why one or the other will win.
With 20 nominations combined, it’s no wonder why I saved the best two for last, but in all honesty, it should have been more. Yes, believe it or not, there were a couple categories missing and for “Inception,” none was bigger than the award for “Best Director.” I’m not sure what the Academy was thinking or doing when they voted for directing, but to leave Christopher Nolan off the ballot is just about the biggest snub these two eyes have ever seen. Forget the fact this entire film would not even exist without Nolan and just focus on the directing, which was absolutely remarkable from start to finish. Nolan, like James Cameron, produces, directs and writes most of his films, so to nominate him for producing and writing, but not directing makes absolutely no sense. So, I apologize if I don’t get on board with the slanted logic that since he is up for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture, he doesn’t have to be nominated for Best Director. Not only should he be nominated, he should be the winner after what he created with “Inception.” Anyone that watched that film can tell you that, which is why the eight awards this film was up for should have been at least nine.
Even the Academy knows that, because had he been nominated, he would have easily walked away the winner as no other director did what Nolan did. Not many could, as creating a world like the one seen in “Inception” is mind boggling. The essence that sets “Inception” apart from other films isn’t so much the incredible visuals, as much as the story that accompanies it. Knowing this idea had been in Nolan’s head for the better part of 10 years makes sense when you start to dig through all the layers of this film. Just the amount of detail put into it is incredible as nothing seemed to be out of place within the dreams or reality. That played a big part into why it was so easy to “let-go” and dive into the ‘dream’ that was “Inception.” By doing this, you would literary get stuck within every moment of intense drama, almost forgetting to breathe until the incredible score stops playing. And given all the levels within levels that accompany this maze of a story, I couldn’t be more taken back over the entire experience. That’s what you get from Christopher Nolan and why not seeing him among the list of Oscar nominated directors is ludicrous.
Having said all that, seeing this film among this list of nominees for Best Picture is nice, when you figure that would have never been the case 10 years ago. And what’s funny is how I can easily see this film just about sweeping all the categories its up for, as choosing another nominee just feels wrong. Sorry, but no other film matches what Nolan and Co. did from a pure visual effects standpoint, so cross that category off as a win. While you’re at it, go ahead and include an easy victory for Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing, as layering in this many highs and lows of sound is like nothing I have ever felt before from a motion picture. And then, since “Tron: Legacy” was somehow left out of the category for Best Score, count another win for “Inception” there. I mean, I could pop in that score right now and be taken back to each and every scene the individual track’s played through. That’s vintage Hans Zimmer and why he should win come Sunday. But, where this film shined the most was within the tremendous script penned by Christopher Nolan. Just thinking about how he put this story together makes my head hurt, so the fact he created all this from scratch shows the extreme talent he possesses.
Just to be able to fit all the action and drama around the well-written story is a task many filmmakers would not even begin to attempt, but for Nolan, it’s a challenge. And that’s the brilliance behind it all, as coming through with something that looks and feels the way “Inception” does is frankly ‘one-of-a-kind.’ That’s why it should be the winner for Best Picture as films like this don’t come around that often, if at all. So, to then add in the talented cast was all must too much, as even after seeing it, you forget just how good they all were. In fact, when looking back, it’s some of the best chemistry I have seen in quite a while, which was impressive given the depth of the story they were acting in. And at the helm was Leonardo DiCaprio, who continues to show me the wide range of talent he possesses. There’s nothing this guy can’t do and sooner or later the Academy will have to give him an Oscar, but obviously that won’t be this year as he was mysteriously left off the ballot. That’s a shame, because his character carried a lot of weight in the story, both with conflict and emotion, allowing the well chosen supporting cast to do their jobs almost flawlessly.
It’s not often a film’s ‘look’ can overshadow the rest of the film, but that’s exactly what happens when taking a peak into “Inception.” And ironically, the same could have been said last year with “Avatar,” which also was something we have never seen before. It too walked away empty handed when it came to this category, begging the question of what it really means to be the absolute best picture? Clearly, transforming movies for the next 20 years is not part of the voting equation, or “Avatar” and “Inception” would be winners. Instead, they each will walk away with a few technical awards and that’s it, despite all the things that will come from future films because of what they helped introduce. I mean, had “Avatar” not shocked the world with its 3-D world, do you really think we would have seen as many films this past year in 3-D? I don’t, which is why films like it and “Inception” deserve a lot more accolades at the end of the day.
To read my review on “Inception” in its entirety, click here
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