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Week In Review

Oscars Schmoscars—DRIVE For The Win

The 168 Turnaround: Jan. 22-28, 2012

When this year’s Academy Award Nominations were announced on Tuesday morning, the overwhelming response was disappointment and surprise. As a big movie lover, I tend to enjoy awards season, especially the Oscars. Three hours long or not, I almost always watch the Oscars from start to finish. This year, however, I’m not sure if I’m all that interested.

Aside from Jonah Hill (of Superbad fame) snagging a best supporting nomination for his role in Moneyball (which he won’t win; that statue has Christopher Plummer’s name written all over it), none of the other nominations are all that interesting. I just don’t feel like rooting for any of them.

What’s most startling about the nominations is the number of outstanding films that were completely ignored. The Best Picture category allows for ten films to be nominated, and yet only nine films made the list, which suggests that other possible titles just weren’t good enough to make the cut.

DRIVE -- My top pick of 2011

And to that I say, really? You’re going to tell me that films such as Martha Marcy May Marlene, A Dangerous Method, Shame, Take Shelter, or (my year’s top pick) Drive weren’t good enough? And then you’re going to suggest that films like War Horse, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and The Help are somehow better films than any of the above titles? Really?

Good God—what has the world come to? No, seriously: I’m actually offended.

In fact, I’m outraged … well, not really. But still.

Look, in my perfect world Ryan Gosling would have nabbed a nomination for Drive. Hell, Drive would have even landed a Best Picture nomination … it might have even won. It’s a film about a stunt driver that is both an action thriller and art-house contender, a film that takes its time in delivering its punches. For me, that film was everything I wanted at the movies this year: nuanced performances; unique and complex characters; themes of uncertainty, love, loss, and troubled morality; violence that feels real and hits hard; and an 80s-synth score that loved me in all the right ways.

Is it the best film of the year? Probably not. I’ll tell you one thing, though—it’s a better film than nearly half of the Best Picture nominations. And yet it and other films of its kind were left off the list.

And so when the Academy Awards rolls around this year, I recommend turning the channel. Instead, maybe rent a movie. For my sake, though, please rent a movie that’s actually worth watching.

The 168 Turnaround is a week-in-review column, a place for me to reflect on the week’s most interesting pop culture news items.  If it mattered to me or I think it might matter to you, then it will be here.  If you have a comment or question, please leave a response below.  Thank you for reading.

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