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.

 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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