I have been disillusioned with the Oscars for many years possibly since Forrest Gump beet Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption and Three Colours: Red (nominated for best director but not best picture) to the best picture Oscar. Despite this, as a movie blogger I still take something of an interest in movie awards. As such a I recently had a conversation about next years Academy Awards with a friend who is move interested and excited about them than I am. The basis of the conversation was if Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks) or Sandra Bullock (Gravity) have a chance at winning the Best Actress Oscar or if Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) has it sewn up. The conversation then moved to a film that for me is head and shoulders above everything else I have seen this year but is unlikely to be nominated for any major awards. Normally I would keep my thoughts to myself until my own awards next year, but Stevee Taylor’s “Make a Case for blogathon” caught my eye.
Best Picture: A coming of age melodrama, a simple genre horror or a clever and intense thriller? I am really not sure what Stoker is, it feels very familiar and totally original at the same time, it is a weird beautiful and sublime movie.
Best Director: I first became aware of Chan-wook Park when Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) was shown as part of the Asia Extreme Season in 2002. A year later I saw his masterpiece Oldboy (2003). Since then I have taken a great interest in his movies. As much as I love Lady Vengeance (2005) and Thirst (2009), Stoker is Park’s next best film after Oldboy.
Best Original Screenplay: Second rate actor Wentworth Miller (the bloke from Prison Break) has crafted a melodrama worthy of Douglas Sirk or Nicholas Ray, a thriller worthy of Alfred Hitchcock and a teen drama worthy of John Hughes.
Best Actress: Australian actress Mia Wasikowska appeared almost from nowhere when she appeared in Alice in Wonderland and The Kids Are All Right in 2010. Her performances here is so measured and un-showy that it won’t even be on the radar of the academy.
Best Cinematography: Shot by Chan-wook Park’s long time collaborator Chung-hoon Chung. The colours, shadows and unusual camera angles leave you feeling very uncomfortable, but at the same time every scene looks like you could freeze frame and hang it on your wall.