Oscars Death Race: Animal Kingdom

Inspired by Tomato Nation and my own inner stupid overachieving pop culture glutton, I’m once again attempting to see all this year’s Oscar-nominated films before the ceremony. Here’s how it’s going so far.

In talking and reading about this little Death Race project of mine, I’ve discovered that there’s a significant amount of people who really, really hate the Oscars. And I see their point: The whole “judging of art” thing is not without its issues, and the ceremony itself does feel more and more like a self-congratulatory exercise for Hollywood each year. There are winners and losers and snubs and trophies and at the end of it all, the process feels both more convoluted and less important than it should. Plus, who needs a circle of critics to tell her what movies are good and which are not?

And the answer to that is: I do. With the exception of these few weeks, I do not have the chance to see a whole lot of movies; I don’t have many local friends who are really into film, and The Captain, bless him, actually dislikes movie theaters. (Though that’s starting to change now that we’ve discovered the lychee martinis at Sushi Siam next to the AMC in Aventura.) I’ll see a movie solo from time to time, but it’s significantly less fun without someone to rehash with when the lights come back up. So while I usually catch the biggest movies of the year, based mainly on buzz from friends, I miss a lot. I mean, I missed The Social Network when it was in theaters; I sure wasn’t going to discover Animal Kingdom without the Oscars telling me about it.

Sars said pretty much the same thing in the intro to her review; unlike her, I didn’t love the story overall. The voiceover thing got to me a bit, too, plus I wasn’t entirely clear on the specifics of the crimes and respective punishments, which was distracting. But wow, Jacki Weaver is mind-blowing. She is the ultimate manipulative matron, giving new and seriously creepy meaning to the phrase “killing them with kindness.” That last scene between her character and Guy Pierce’s Leckie has been one of my most memorable movie moments in the Death Race thus far.

With Animal Kingdom, I’ve closed out my first Oscar category: Actress in a Supporting Role. I’m told Melissa Leo is the favorite, and okay, she did an outstanding job with what she was given. But she wasn’t given enough, for me, to believably carry her character through her development. Don’t get me started on Amy Adams, either, for the same reason. I’d love to see an underdog upset here: Helena Bonham Carter was so enjoyable as Queen Elizabeth, and Hailee Steinfeld deserves it too, both for sheer talent and the sheer size of her role. (Can someone please explain to me how Mattie Ross is not the main character in True Grit?) But Jacki Weaver, man. In my own personal Oscars, she takes this one home.

Death Race Tally: 16 seen, 40 to go.
Remaining films:

127 Hours
Another Year
Barney’s Version
Black Swan
Blue Valentine
The Confession
Country Strong
The Crush
Day & Night
God of Love
The Gruffalo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows I
The Illusionist
In A Better World
Inside Job
Killing In The Name
Let’s Pollute
The Lost Thing
Madagascar, a Journey Diary
Na Wewe
Outside The Law
Poster Girl
Rabbit Hole
The Social Network
Strangers No More
Sun Come Up
The Tempest
Toy Story 3
The Warriors of Qiugang
Waste Land
The Way Back
Winter’s Bone
Wish 143


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