SUMMARY: My short takes on all the nominees.
OK, I'm a little late for the Oscars. But someone (a skilled and successful fiction writer whose work I love, and therefore who has exceptional cred in terms of what makes a great story) accused the winner, The Artist, of being "self-indulgent" and didn't like it.
I responded briefly:
I see a lot of movies every year and I really enjoyed it. Did it deserve best picture? I don't think it was a bad choice--and now, EHO (Ellen's humble opinion), to justify that position--your opinions may differ:
"The Artist" : I enjoyed it, acting was excellent, story was charming, issue of being outdated seemed somehow relevant to today. And of course the dog was great. :-) (But I wouldn't make a best picture award based on a cute dog.) Parts were a little predictable.
"The Descendants": Clooney was excellent and believable, raised some interesting issues, but it was a little slow in a lot of places.
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close": Didn't see it but wanted to.
"The Help": Well done, well acted, poignant reminder of where we've been and seem to still be in parts of this country; this would've been a good best picture, too.
"Hugo": OK but not great. Saw it right after The Artist and some of the themes seemed similar, so maybe my enjoyment of the Artist colored my perceptions here.
"Midnight in Paris": Fun but not classic. "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" theme.
"Moneyball": Really liked this one, Pitt was amazing, subject matter was intriguing, this would've been a good winner, too.
"The Tree of Life": Didn't see it and didn't want to. Not impressed by previews or reviews.
"War Horse": Very pretty and at times riveting, but the plot was basically, horse gets into bad spot, gets out of it, repeat, add million-to-one odds happy ending.