Nomination: Best Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song - Troy Verges, Tom Douglas, and Hillary Lindsey
It's a fine line between Oscar bait and manipulative tripe. It is hard to point to exactly what separates Crazy Heart and Country Strong, two films with a similar subject matter but vastly different in quality. Both films tell the story of country music singers battling their addictions and dealing with newer and younger competitors. But while Crazy Heart treats the subject with sincerity and maturity, Country Strong is more of a paint-by-numbers type movie that seems contrived almost entirely to deliver Oscar gold, instead offering little but cliches.
|Country Strong poster, courtesy of Sony Pictures.|
Gwyneth Paltrow plays a country diva who is battling addictions and recovering from an emotional breakdown triggered by a tragedy in her life, forced by her husband to go back out on the road before she has completed her treatment. This gives Paltrow plenty of opportunities to ham it up, eschewing any sense of subtlety for maximum hysterics at every possible moment. It's been said that the best way to act drunk is to play someone who is trying not to appear drunk, but Paltrow does pretty much exactly the opposite. Garrett Hedlund works hard to bring some sense of realism to his scenes with Paltrow, but she is too busy chewing the scenery to notice.
It should come as a surprise to no one who has seen Duets or an episode of Glee that Paltrow can sing, and Hedlund is more than credible as a rebel country singer. Though Leighton Meester isn't the best singer, her talents are appropriate for a character whose rising star is based far more on her looks than her vocal abilities.
Country Strong received only one nomination, which went to Troy Verges, Tom Douglas, and Hillary Lindsey for the unremarkable song "Coming Home," which I forgot the moment it ended. There's nothing wrong with the song, but it doesn't even began to compare to the sophistication of Randy Newman's winning effort from Toy Story 3, "We Belong Together."
Country Strong is an absolute stinker and in hot contention with The Wolfman for the worst Oscar nominated film of the 83rd Academy Awards.
Remaining: 3137 films, 867 Oscars, 5385 nominations