I used to enjoy the fact that the BAFTAs focused on the British film industry. But in recent years it seems that the same names seem to get the attention and the awards at all ceremonies regardless of the organisers or the country. Sometimes I wonder whether it may not be easier to just have one international award ceremony for the English speaking world and be done with it.
Whatever criticisms I may have of it, the MTV Movie Awards and whatever anybody else may have to say about their awards categories which include Best Kiss, Best Onscreen Dirtbag and Best Frightened Performance, at least they are doing something different and putting their own unique branding on the Awards season.
One good thing about this globalisation of movies is that we in the UK do not seem to have to wait weeks or months for films to be released in this country. For one of the first time, I feel that I have been able to see most if not all of the main contenders. I remember a time not too long ago when I used to watch the Oscars through the night wondering when the nominated movies would be getting release dates on this side of the pond.
I have missed 2 of the big players; Silver Linings Playbook because it did not strike me as a 'necessary to watch at the cinema' film and Django Unchained because I can't remember the last Quentin Tarantino film I truly enjoyed. I will watch it - I just was not ready to spend money to do so. Of the ones I have seen, they all have elements of the impressive, in varying degrees.
Les Miserables was a faithful adaptation of the stage musical, which made it longer than the movie version needed to be. The sets were impressive, the costumes and make up very good and the cast strong. It just didn't hold my interest. I prefer the stage show. Anne Hathaway worked hard in her role as Fantine and her awards so far have been well deserved; I expect an Oscar is on it's way to her display cabinet. If you have not see the brilliant send up of her role: you really should check it out here:
Whilst I understand the need for big names to get opening weekend returns and allow established actors to flex their acting or singing muscles, I did not think Russell Crowe was the right choice for Javert, he played the part well enough but his singing was sometimes painful to witness. Hugh Jackman did the part of Jean Valjean justice and was in tune most of the time at least. The younger actors played their parts well, Samantha Barks standing out as Eponine.
It was just a little too long, some parts dragged and the finale which should have been the most exciting part of the movie nearly put me to sleep - well it was dark and I had been concentrating for a while..... It was a little disappointing especially after such a big build up.
This brings me to Argo. One of the best films I saw last year, to say that it kept my attention from beginning to end would be an understatement. I was on the edge of my seat, biting my fingernails into oblivion with my eyes as big as saucers. The actors were fantastic, this was not a showreel for Ben Affleck or any of the other performers, they worked as a team, understated and portraying their tension beautifully. The film worked - the pace was perfect, the location fantastic, the build up excruciating - in a good way, building up to a crescendo of a climax.
I do not expect Argo to win individual actor awards, although it would have been good to see Ben Affleck get one for Best Actor and Alan Arkin as Best Supporting Actor. I am so pleased to see it win Best Picture and Ben Affleck getting Best Director so far. It is shocking that Ben Affleck has not been nominated for an Oscar for Best Director. And it is very unusual for a film to win best Picture if it has not been nominated for Best Director. But here's hoping Argo breaks the trend and gets the Oscar for Best Picture - well deservedly.
Ar - Go get yourself an Oscar!