Most recently, I watched two contenders for this year's trophies, one that was criminally underrepresented and the other being well placed for a win yet going home alone that night.
Gone Girl received only one nomination(for Rosemund Pike's performance and she certainly deserved it), a real shame considering how well writer Gillian Flynn adapted her bestselling novel to the screen.
While some of the nuances of that may be lost on those who didn't read the book(what changes there were made from book to screen were minute at best), I think anyone seeing it for the first time can agree with readers that this was one hell of a story telling feat.
However, David Fincher(who also deserved to be nominated for his work here) and Flynn manage to make this hat trick work. The last film of Fincher's that I saw(The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) was also an adaptation of a best seller which felt really flat to me. I vastly preferred the European version of the film, which was done by an entirely different set of folks, but Fincher has more than redeemed himself in my eyes with GG and much thanks for that is due to Flynn, in my opinion.
It helps that they had a great cast and kudos to Kim Dickens, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris and Carrie Coon for their back-up plays made. Next to Pike, MVP honors belong to Ben Affleck, who perfectly embodied the character of Nick Dunne, a guy who couldn't hide his cluelessness if his life depended on it(and it certainly did!):
Perhaps it was the lack of a likability factor, something that many were troubled by in both incarnations, that made voters pause on Gone Girl. However, that is no excuse since Hollywood is also no stranger to dark tones and hard to like characters in film-American Beauty, The Godfather films,Ordinary People, I could go on and on.
Oh,well, your loss, Academy, not ours. If you haven't seen GG yet, I insist that you treat yourself. The twisted pleasures of Amazing Amy's company are not to be denied or envied for that matter:
This past weekend, I saw Foxcatcher, which was up for several Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Steve Carell. To be honest, this wasn't a movie that I had much interest in when it first came out.
However, the more I heard about it,plus the numerous nominations, made me curious to see what all the fuss was about. It's based on the true story of millionaire Jon Du Pont(Carell) and his burning desire to run a wrestling team that would be able to compete for the Olympics.
Du Pont initially recruits former gold medal winner Mark Schultz(Channing Tatum) but soon insists upon having his brother David(Mark Ruffalo) join up as well. Mark, despite his medal and college degree, is an easily lead fellow looking for a powerful person to grant him the approval he so desperately needs and Du Pont is eager to have such a willing supplicant.
David is caught in the middle of this and while to some extent, he's guilty of exploiting his brother's vulnerabilities, there is a line that he will not cross, unlike Du Pont. That seismic clash sets off a chain of events that leads to a tragic death and I so will not tell you any more than that about the plot.
This is the second Bennett Miller film that I've seen( enjoyed Capote back in 2005) and he made a lot of smart choices here. Most directors might have been tempted to be more obvious in depicting the suspect undertones of Du Pont and Mark's relationship but Miller allows the audience to fill in the blanks and let the actors express what their characters can not say with body language and the right set of p.o.v. shots:
What oddly enough I did have some complaint about regarding a nomination for Foxcatcher was the Best Make-Up category(it lost to The Grand Budapest Hotel). I wanted Guardians of the Galaxy to get that win but it just wasn't in the cards.
Foxcatcher did deserve to be in that spot, as the work on Carell's face and hair is pretty top notch and eerily believable. I am glad that I did watch this film as it was quite the intriguing eye opener with top marks for sinister subtlety:
It occurs to me that there is a connective thread that ties these two movies together and that theme is Destructive Relationships. Whether it's family, friends or lovers, the bond between two or more people can all too easily make what feels so right go all so wrong very fast indeed.
Perhaps that theme is what made Hollywood, a town strongly reliant on interpersonal relationships, shy away from both of these films in the end. Finding that perfect friend or enemy is both a scary and exciting discovery that has lead one more that one movie hero down a road he or she never thought they would be on to begin with: