erik lundegaard

And the Winner Should Be...


And the winner should be...

Scene from Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life"

Terrence Malick's “The Tree of Life”

Because: The dinosaur, which bothers so many, is exactly the point. The movie focuses on a boy and a family in Waco, TX, in the 1950s but it includes the beginning and end of time. It enfolds religion with science. In doing so, it attempts to answer the question that Job, and all of us, ask of God: Why do you allow such suffering? In the Old Testament, God answered, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the Earth?” Terrence Malick takes us there. No other movie has this scope or this ambition. Few ever have. This is what movies were meant to do.
Chance: In hell. Probably won't even get nom'ed.


  • Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
  • Terence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
  • Bennett Miller, “Moneyball”
  • Nicolas Winding Refn, “Drive”
  • Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

And the winner should be...

Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”

Because: For the reasons above. For the patterns of life. For the intermingling of science and religion. For reminding us that nature is what we are while grace is what we aspire to be.
Chance: Fat.


And the winner should be....

Brad Pitt in "Moneyball"

Brad Pitt

Because: He showed his age, his lighter side, his rage, his humor. Because he was interested and interesting.
Chance: Pretty good. Some say Pitt, some say Clooney. They could be the tomato-tomatah of this year's Oscar race. 


  • Juliette Binoche, “Certified Copy”
  • Viola Davis, “The Help”
  • Rooney Mara, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” *
  • Charlize Theron, “Young Adult”
  • Mia Wasikovska, “Jane Eyre”

And the winner should be....

Charlize Theron in "Young Adult"

Charlize Theron

Because: She created one of the most original characters to come out of Hollywood in years—and she did it flawlessly. Because she made us care about an awful, awful person. Because while her character's personality was an outlier, her situation was representative and sympathetic. Because she made us laugh. Because in the end she was just like us: she didn't change.
Chance: The buzz, stronger this summer, is currently elsewhere. But make no mistake: this is a stacked best actress roster. 


And the winner should be....

Christopher Plummer in "Beginners"

Christopher Plummer

Because: He embodied a character, who, in the few years between living a lie and dying of cancer, lived. Because the joy in him was passed on to us. Because that's a rare gift.
Chance: He's the frontrunner.


And the winner should be....

Shailene Woodley

Because: She dipped beneath the surface of the pool and broke down and broke our hearts.
Chance: Not good. But a nom would be nice.


  • J.C. Chandor, “Margin Call”
  • Diablo Cody, “Young Adult”
  • Étienne Comar and Xavier Beauvois, “Of Gods and Men”
  • Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
  • Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig, “Bridesmaids”

And the winner should be....

Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”

Because: “The nuns taught us there were two ways through life: the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you'll follow. ... Grace doesn't try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries. ... Nature only wants to please itself. Gets others to please it, too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things.” 
Chance: I think it'll have to accept being slighted, forgotten, disliked.


  • John Logan, “Hugo”
  • Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, “Captain America”
  • Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
  • Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
  • Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, “Moneyball”

And the winner should be....

scene from "Moneyball"

Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, “Moneyball”

Because: The movie is based upon a true story about a group of misfit ballplayers who get together and do well, and against all odds ... win nothing. They don't win the World Series. They don't go to the World Series. They're always stopped. So the big question for anyone watching with any knowledge of baseball history is ... how do they end it? They ended it with a man who was bloody from being first through the wall. They ended it with a guy who hit a homerun and didn't know it. They ended with the hero caught in a moment of indecision and tension but possible epiphany and release. They ended it in a place that allowed us to carry something beautiful and fragile from the theater.
Chance: Good. Although that would be two years in a row for Sorkin. “The Descendants,” I assume, is the big competition here.

Your results may, and should, vary...

Tags: ,
Posted at 07:12 PM on Mon. Jan 23, 2012 in category Movies - The Oscars  
« My 2011 Oscar Nominations: <I>Clooney, Streep Snubbed!</I>   |   Home   |   And the Nominees Are... »
 RSS    Facebook

Twitter: @ErikLundegaard