Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oscars of the Aughts: Best Picture 2007

This is it: the last entry for 2007. Overall, it was a fairly decent year for the Oscars, with more great nominee selections than not-so-great (my opinion, of course). I'm looking forward to what 2006 will bring: it'll be a while before those show up, since I'm nowhere near done seeing the films, but be on the lookout.

BEST PICTURE
 Atonement
 Juno
 Michael Clayton
 No Country for Old Men
 There Will Be Blood


Winner: No Country for Old Men


This year's nominees feature some dark material; even sprightly comedy Juno is about teenage pregnancy. However, each one finds a different level of success. Atonement tries, sometimes too hard, to be an examination of redemption and a love story, but has trouble balancing these elements in a fulfilling fashion. However, its a beautifully shot film, with some magnificent images and good performances. Michael Clayton is a taut thriller, exciting and intelligent; its the perfect antidote to the big-explosion blockbusters of the summer. No Country for Old Men is even better, making a bold statement about meaningless violence and how sometimes things don't happen for a reason, they just happen. But here's where I'm sure I'll cause quite a controversy: I love There Will Be Blood, which overcomes its Saw-like title to become one of the best films of the past decade, a magnificently-shot, perfectly-acted, meticulously-made examination of morality in American capitalism. But I have to go with Juno as my Best Picture winner: its a pitch-perfect comedy, so sugary-looking that you can easily miss the dark cynicism boiling underneath. The film does something that very few others have ever accomplished: it presents the way real teenagers talk, interact, and respond to their circumstances. Not to mention its career-making lead performance by Ellen Page. To me, nothing was more deserving.

My ballot:

1. Juno
2. There Will Be Blood
3. No Country for Old Men
4. Michael Clayton
5. Atonement

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