The 2013 Academy Awards are now on the books, and the only question left is: which of these movies are actually worth paying money to see? TAC has answers:
Winner of Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay:
- Noah Millman feels Argo backfired as a campaign ad, and misfired as a film.
- Scott McConnell on the other hand, explains what Argo got right on Iran
Winner of Best Actor and Production Design:
- Millman was “carried along by the universally excellent performances,” and dives into the tension, dramatic and historical, of the film.
Winner of Best Foreign Language Film:
- Eve Tushnet found Amour a “totally compelling, emotionally devastating movie,” and felt it was misunderstood as pro-euthanasia shilling because it was “a portrait, not an allegory.”
Life of Pi
Winner of Best Director, Cinematography, Original Score, Visual Effects:
- Rod Dreher found Life of Pi to be “mostly wonderful, and certainly one of the most visually stunning films any of us had ever seen.” He discusses the “provocative religious message in the movie” in a spoiler-filled consideration (you have been warned) and finds “as a Christian I don’t share the film’s pantheistic worldview, but I found it philosophically engaging all the same.”
- (Update): Noah Millman adds to the list with a consideration of Life of Pi‘s multiple stories, and what stories mean to us in art and faith.
Zero Dark Thirty
Winner of Best Sound Editing
- Noah Millman gives Zero Dark Thirty a deep, thorough consideration and concludes “Don’t go to this movie to learn whether torture was necessary or not to get bin Laden. Go to this movie to understand why we – not just the Bush Administration or the CIA, but much of America – embraced torture.”
- Noah Millman finds The Sessions “a sweet little film … a heartwarming story, and one would have to be a churl not to cheer Mark on, particularly since he is so self-deprecatingly charming throughout,” but “I suppose I’ll have to be a churl,” giving a through-going consideration of all the film’s many merits along with its shortcomings.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
- Eve Tushnet “can tell you it is worth it. The things you’ve probably heard already are true: This is a lush, heart-wrenching fable about a little girl and her daddy, in a rural Louisiana enclave barely clinging to the high side of environmental apocalypse,” then gives the movie a thorough consideration.
- Millman “still can’t make up my mind what to think about Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, which I saw last night. Not that I’m not sure it was a great film – I know what I think of it. I’m just not sure what I think about it,” ultimately concluding “Something has finally been mastered, but whether it is Dodd or Quell, or the language of self-mastery itself, I couldn’t say.”
Winner of Best Original Song, and Sound Editing:
- We didn’t review “Skyfall” per se, but Stephen Tippins, Jr. gave James Bond himself a through review in a recent issue, finding the double-oh agent to be more than a glamorous womanizer, rather “defending the West against itself.”
Winner of Best Supporting Actor and Original Screenplay:
- Rod Dreher didn’t review Django, exactly, but rather explains why neither he nor The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates plan to see it at all, despite Rod expecting he would enjoy it.