The Oscar nominations are out. Yawn. Largely another year of Academy naval gazing with complete disregard to what audiences actually like and go see.
The two best movies of the year were, without a doubt, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Warrior. Drive was also very good. Rise was a very pleasant surprise because I wasn’t expecting much except a routine summer action movie and what I got was a very human story that only became the man vs. ape drama that you see in the commercials at the end. On the other hand, Warrior is the only MMA themed film that actually lived up to its pre-hype among fans of mixed martial arts. Even knowing the very unkept secret of the basic plot (two brothers) and acknowledging the highly implausible scenario (a high stakes tournament that lets in scrubs) the movie grabs you and doesn’t let you go. The fight scenarios at the climax are Rockyesque in their effectiveness. At least Nick Nolte got a best supporting actor nod.
I wouldn’t argue that there is a one to one correlation between movies that are commercially successful and movies that are good. Rise made more money than anticipated based on extraordinary word of mouth. Warrior underperformed despite being an excellent film because I have determined that mixed martial arts enthusiasts are just not very avid movie goers. Notice that Haywire underperformed this past weekend also. But sometimes I get the feeling that the Academy is snobby for snobby’s sake. It is snobby just based on general principles. Why no love for Rise which garnered critical and viewer praise and happened to make a lot of money?