Oscar Watch: Why the Best Picture Nominations are (August) Wilsonian
I find it interesting that the movie with the most Academy Award nominations, “Hugo” with 11, is directed by an American but set in France, while the movie with the second-most nominations, “The Artist” with 10, is directed by a Frenchman but set in America. Artistic tips of the hat, as it were.
The nine nominees are also Wilsonian, as in August, in that almost every decade from the 20th century is represented:
- 1900s: Hugo
- 1910s: War Horse
- 1920s: The Artist, Midnight in Paris
- 1930s: The Artist, Hugo
- 1950s: The Tree of Life
- 1960s: The Help
- 2000s: Moneyball, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
- Contemporary: The Descendants
Too bad we couldn't have added this one:
- 1970s: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
I can't think of other 2011 movies—decent ones—that would fill out the other decades. I'm not talking brief flashbacks, such as in “Moneyball,” with a young Billy Beane in the 1980s. I'm talking something longer and deeper (and uncut).
Another question: Which of the above films is least nostalgic about the period it portrays? “Midnight in Paris” cautions against nostalgia but still gives us rip-roaring times with Hemingway and Fitzgerald and Marion Cotillard. “The Artist” is a very relevant movie, I would argue, but its raison d'etre is a form of nostalgia. “War Horse”? It's nostalgic for John Ford movies. “The Help”? Paints pretty pictures of a brutal period; of the great American tyranny.
No, the above film least nostalgic about its time period is “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” Probably why it didn't get nom'ed.
Who could forget all those crazy times in Mississippi, 1964?
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