Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Tell-Tale Heart (1953)

1 Nominations,  0 Wins

Nomination: Best Short Subject, Cartoons - Stephen Bosustow

Oh what a difference a few years can make.  After watching several Oscar nominated short films from the 1940's over the past few days, I stumbled into "The Tell-Tale Heart" and felt as if I had taken a ride in a time machine.  Though the short came out only a few years after some of the other shorts I have reviewed recently ("The Rookie Bear," "Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt," etc., "The Tell-Tale Heart"is of an entirely different generation than these films.

"The Tell-Tale Heart" is an adaptation of the classic Edgar Allan Poe tale, narrated by the inimitable and legendary James Mason.  The film is a weirdly ingenious film, eschewing the traditional hallmarks of animated shorts for a much more abstract and form-bending effect.  This is the type of effort that would eventually be lampooned in the Mel Brooks Oscar winning short "The Critic," but was produced a decade before such abstract efforts became ripe for parody.

"The Tell-Tale Heart" has everything going for it: innovative animation with a strong depth of field, chilling narration, and a classic story.  This is not a conventional animated short, and resembles many of the nominees from recent years more than its contemporary efforts; "The Tell-Tale Heart" lost the Academy Award to "Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom," a relatively creative but far less daring Disney cartoon.  I enjoy many of the nominated animated films from the early years of the category, but after watching a few too many in a row, the spookiness of "The Tell-Tale Heart" was a welcome change of pace.

Remaining: 3168 films, 871 Oscars, 5443 nominations

The Rookie Bear (1941)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

Nomination: Best Short Subject, Cartoons - M-G-M

"The Rookie Bear" is, like many short films made in the early 1940's, the story of a young recruit adapting to life in the military.  What is different about this short, beside the fact that the protagonist is an  animated bear, is that the film approaches military life with a gently sardonic, questioning attitude.

"The Rookie Bear" is a MGM cartoon featuring Barney Bear, the star of a couple dozen animated shorts produced by MGM.  Barney awakes from hibernation to find that he has been drafted into the Army, though because of the vague wording of the telegraph, he believes he is the lucky recipient of a vacation.  Heading out for his trip, Barney soon learns the difficulties of serving in the military, notably the endless marching.

As the story unfolded, I was confident that Barney would soon discover the pride and honor that come with serving in the military, but instead things get worse and worse for him.  By the film's end, when through a minor twist Barney learns that he is committed to the military even more than we previously thought, Barney is entirely disappointed by this revelation.

"The Rookie Bear" is short on humor and has only one sight gag worth mentioning (the goldfish out of his bowl early in the film), but you don't get too many chances in life to watch an anti-military cartoon from the early 1940's.

Remaining: 3169 films, 871 Oscars, 5444 nominations

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt (1941)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

Nomination: Best Short Subject, Cartoons - Leon Schlesinger

Released on June 7, 1941, "Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt" was just the fourth official Bugs Bunny short, coming out less than a year after "A Wild Hare" (though Bugs had appeared in a few Merrie Melodies shorts before 1940, "A Wild Hare" is generally considered the official first Bugs Bunny film).  Though some of Bugs's signature personality traits and madcap humor are on display, it is clear that this was an early Bugs effort, and the short is not in the same class as the best of the Bugs Bunny cartoons that would be released in the following years.

The short is one of the many Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies stories built around one character hunting another, in this case a young Hiawatha hunting Bugs Bunny.  Hiawatha displays the single-minded focus of Wile E. Coyote or Sylvester or Elmer Fudd in hunting his prey, as a nonplussed Bugs easily eludes his predator.  The story is paint-by-numbers, but Looney Tunes shorts succeed or fail not based on the plot, but the set pieces chosen to tell the story.  "Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt" is a bit lacking in this department, with the best consisting of Hiawatha attempting to cook Bugs in a vat of boiling water in an attempt to make rabbit stew.  There's some outstanding anatomical animation of Bugs adapting to the hot water that is a big laugh, but other than that the humor falls relatively flat.

"Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt" has stoked some well-deserved criticism for its portrayal of Native Americans, leading to its virtual disappearance from television.  It's what many people call "of its time," and it reflects the dominant view of Native Americans in film in the 1940's, a view dramatically shifted (though in need of still more improvement) in the present day.  The humor that is at Native Americans' expense is crass and stupid, and robs the film of the timelessness of many Bugs Bunny cartoons.

"Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt" isn't much compared to the best Bugs Bunny offerings, but as an early attempt for the Merrie Melodies team to figure out the character of Bugs, it is well worth watching.

Remaining: 3170 films, 871 Oscars, 5445 nominations

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pina (2011)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

Nomination: Best Feature Documentary - Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel

I had never watched a documentary about German dance before, and were it not for the Every Oscar Ever project I can say with a great degree of certainty that I never would have.  Pina is yet another example of how the Every Oscar Ever project has helped me discover some truly wonderful films that I would otherwise have overlooked through my own ignorance.

Pina is a documentary-cum-performance film celebrating the work of the late Bausch, leading figure behind the Tanztheater style of dance.  The film, directed by the celebrated German filmmaker Wim Wenders, was conceived as a documentary about Bausch before she unexpectedly died shortly before production.  Though the film contains short interstitial interviews with dancers who knew Bausch, the heart of the film consists of cinematic versions of her dances.  

As a philistine when it comes to any type of dance other than Gene Kelly or my wife's viewing of Dancing with the Stars, I grew wary once I realized that the film would be almost entirely performance, with very little in the way of traditional documentary storytelling.  This concern was heightened by the fact that I viewed the film in 2D through Netflix Instant Watch, instead of in the 3D in which it was conceived and which was reportedly utilized brilliantly.  Yet I was surprised to find that I was drawn into the film in a rather deep way.  Bausch's choreography is unlike anything I've ever seen, appearing to me to be an extension of natural human movement more than staged dance.  The opening piece, Le Sacre du printemps, an aggressive dance recorded on a stage covered by soil, had me riveted, and though not every dance had the same verve, each was radically different from the rest yet part of a cohesive whole.

What especially impressed me about these dances was that several were filmed not on a stage, but in the real world, including on in-service buses, in busy city intersections, and even one involving a leaf blower in nature.  This decision to move the dance from the purely theatrical not only made the film more visually interesting, but put the dance in the context of the real world and outside of the stuffy confines of the theater.

I wish I had seen the film in theaters and in 3D, as it was evident by much of the staging that Wenders clearly conceived and planned for the film to be in 3D.  Still, even in 2D the film was visually compelling, and not simply a stationary camera statically filming dance sequences as I feared.  The camera is subsumed into the dance in a completely natural manner, bringing the film to life.  Wenders's direction is truly marvelous and deceptively simple, and the Academy should have considered him for a nomination for his direction.

Though Pina is not for everyone, film lovers should think twice before dismissing it.  It is a wonderful and completely unique piece of art, both a part of and separate from Pina Bausch's own legacy.  This is very much a collaboration between Wenders and Bausch's legacy, and well worth watching even for those who who can't tell a fouette from a foxtrot.

Remaining: 3171 films, 871 Oscars, 5446 nominations

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Service with the Colors (1940)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

Nomination: Best Short Subject, Two Reel - Warner Bros.

"Service with Colors" is an unintentionally goofy two reeler produced in the years immediately preceding America's direct involvement in World War II.  The short is a recruiting video for the Army, and the final minutes of the film contain some stunning shots of Army marches, including tracking shots of Army marches that would make Stanley Kubrick smile.  Unfortunately, the first reel and a half are the story of a new recruit, played by future head of Warner Bros. Television William T. Orr (or Wm. T. Orr as he was later known), who is inexplicably displeased with Army life, a displeasure that he makes known loud and clear.  The film is a bit of a "Scared Straight" for Army recruits, and the message is that the Army isn't just for young people looking for a decent job, but for patriots who want to defend their country.  There's nothing wrong with that message, just with the ham-handed delivery of it in this short.

Aside from the impressive shots of the military parade at the film's end, the reason to watch this film are the beautiful Technicolor shots of the Golden Gate Bridge, which had opened just over three years before the release of "Service with the Colors."  This was likely the first good look many audiences had of the Golden Gate Bridge, and what a look it is.

It's amazing that the same director who composed such stunning shots of the Golden Gate Bridge and the military parade was responsible for the amateurish shots of our sullen hero; the disparity between the two cannot be ignored.  "Service with Colors" has a stupid little story and overt proselytizing, but is worth watching solely for the beautiful Technicolor visuals.

Remaining: 3172 films, 871 Oscars, 5447 nominations

Siege (1940)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

Nomination: Best Short Subject, One Reel - RKO Radio

I love Pete Smith shorts more than most, but the fact that "Siege" lost out on the Academy Award for Best Short Subject, One-Reel to "Quicker'n a Wink" is one of the more egregious oversights in the history of the Academy Awards.

"Siege" is a remarkable short film made all the more impressive based on the circumstances under which it was filmed. Journalist Julien Bryan had traveled through Europe during much of the 1930's, both writing and filming the activities that would help lead to World War II.  Bryan arrived in Warsaw just as Germany was invading Poland, and most journalists were fleeing the country.  Bryan bravely worked with city government to spend two weeks traveling around Warsaw filming the events of the invasion, starting with the early forced labor of Warsaw's citizens and culminating in the bombing unleashed by German airplanes.

"Siege" is a remarkable document of the German siege of Poland, both at a macro and a micro level.  On the macro side, Bryan assembled stunning footage of Germany planes, bombed out buildings, and other footage that could only have been obtained through his bravery in staying Warsaw during the attack.  As amazing as this footage is, the more personal footage of the people of Warsaw is even more haunting.  The film ends with shots of the faces of the people of Warsaw, a perfect coda to the destruction we have witnessed.  Bryan also offers restrained but forceful narration that avoids the hyperbolic jingoism that is present in so many of the war-time shorts.

"Siege" is a remarkable film that is every bit as powerful and not at all dated 73 years after it was released, a film far ahead of its time.  It was inexplicably overlooked by the Academy, but Bryan produced one of the finest one-reels of the era, and "Siege" has well stood the test of time.

"Siege" has been preserved by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive.  The film is available for viewing on the Museum's website.

Much of the historical information in this post comes from Smithsonian Magazine.

Remaining: 3173 films, 871 Oscars, 5448 nominations

Friday, January 25, 2013

Eyes of the Navy (1940)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

Nomination: Best Short Subject, Two Reel - MGM

In 1940 the United States Navy was in the middle of an ambitious building program, resulting from the restarting of the production of battleships three years earlier after the Washington Naval Conference slowed production in early 1923.  For the first time since the Naval Act of 1916 appropriated more than $500 million to build the "Big Navy" in response to increasingly heated relations with Germany, the United States Navy ruled the seas.  This dominance was a significant contributing factor to Japan's eventual decision to attack Pearl Harbor with hopes of lessening the strength of the Navy.

The Navy, never more powerful before that point, produced in cooperation with MGM the two-reel short "Eyes of the Navy," a profile of the then current state of the Navy.  Unlike many of the shorts that would follow in the coming years after the United States entered the war, this is a film made by a confident service branch looking to show off its superiority.  There is none of the begging for recruits and threats of dire scenarios as in later shorts, but instead confident displays of the grandiosity and greatness of the Navy as it was in 1940.  Though the film still makes the case for enlisting and surely sought to grow the ranks of the Navy, this effort is much more subtle than the film that would shortly come.  The Navy is shown in all its pre-war splendor, and it really is a sight to behold.

As with other wartime documentary shorts that were produced in the 1940's, "Eyes of the Navy" wouldn't fly today (no pun intended).  The film doesn't ask any questions or explore any issues or controversies, and though it is well made, it is at its core little more than a promotional film.  Still, it is hard for a history buff not to enjoy this two-reeler, and it is by far one of the best made and least cheesy efforts of the kind that I have seen.  Though I'm glad the documentarians of today make harder hitting films that ask tough questions and seek answers, these films have a certain charm to them that we have likely forever lost.

Remaining: 3174 films, 871 Oscars, 5449 nominations

Amour (2012)

5 Nominations, Wins To Be Determined

Nomination: Best Picture - Nominees To Be Determined
Nomination: Best Foreign Language Film - Nominees To Be Determined
Nomination: Best Director - Michael Haneke
Nomination: Best Actress in a Leading Role - Emmanuelle Riva
Nomination: Best Original Screenplay - Michael Haneke

Films with the word "Love" in the title are usually light comedic fare (Love, Actually; Everyone Says I Love You) or overwrought romances (Love and Other Drugs, P.S. I Love You), exploring either the fun and exciting side of love or the yearnings of unrequited love.  Director Michael Haneke's films are usually described with adjectives like dark or subversive, and his film about love, Amour, explores the darkest side of love: the end of love, not the beginning.

Georges and Anne (the common name for leading characters in Haneke's films) are first introduced to us as an elderly Parisian couple with the ultimate cinematic signifier of sophistication, a love of classical music.  As we watch the two go about their ordinary life, Anne tells of a burglar who has recently broken into a nearby home.  This act sounds all the more awful because of how the burglar broke into the home, entering through the ceiling instead of the front door.  This seemingly throwaway bit of dialogue becomes the central metaphor of the film, as Anne has a sudden blockage in her cartoid artery, the artery that supplies the head with oxygenated blood, leading to a flood of health problems that leaves her a shell of her former self.

The ailing spouse plot is not new to cinema, but has rarely, if ever, been told with the same maturity and complexity as it is in Amour.  Like the wonderful 2006 film Away From Her, Amour asks the difficult questions about the extent of love and what love really means, instead of simply seeking to reduce the audience to a weepy state, as in The Notebook.  As we see Georges's heart break as he painfully watches his wife bathed by a nurse or as he unhesitatingly checks whether his wife has soiled her diaper, we see acts of love far deeper than any Lloyd Dobler-esque boombox demonstration or rain-soaked apology/declaration.  Haneke's films look at some of the darkest aspects of humanity, but they also show how humans react to these aspects, and in Amour we see how love can cause us to react to the worst circumstances in the most heroic manner imaginable.  Amour has been repeatedly described as a depressing film, and while it is hardly lighthearted fare, it is one of the truest love stories in years.

Amour is very much Michael Haneke's film in the auteur sense of the word, but as much as the film is the product of his vision, the film's success must also be attributed to the brilliance of the two leads, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva.  Riva's nomination as Best Actress was well deserved, and though I have not yet seen Jessica Chastain's performance in Zero Dark Thirty, of the four nominated performances I have seen Riva would easily earn my vote as Best Actress.  Much of the praise she has received has centered around her ability to portray Anne in her illness, but what should not be overlooked is her ability to transition from that illness to her few moments of clarity, switching from uncomprehending confusion to intelligent curiosity with supreme fluidity.  The difficulty of such transitions in a performance as deep as in Amour cannot be overstated, and Riva's ability to move between what amounts to two very different characters is stunning.

Though Riva's performance has garnered more attention, Trintignant is equally brilliant in a less showy but no less demanding role.  His eyes display such love and compassion for his character's wife, even in the most horrifying of conditions, and he exerts maximum restraint as an actor as he fights with his Georges's daughter over the decisions relating to Anne's care.  This is a sophisticated and heartbreaking performance of the highest order, and the lack of a nomination as Best Actor is a disappointing oversight by the Academy.  Still, it is rare that the Academy gives such recognition to a foreign language film, and Amour has rightly been recognized by the Academy for its deep and sophisticated look at a subject that is too rarely treated with such care.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)

1 Nomination, Wins To Be Determined

Nomination: Best Animated Feature Film - Peter Lord

In the New York Times "And the Nominees Should Be..." article, in which the paper's film critics named their choices for the nominations for the major Oscar categories, Manohla Dargis bestowed imaginary nominations for The Pirates! Band of Misfits for Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Grant) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Gideon Defoe).  I was surprised, to say the least, by this recognition to a movie that I was only vaguely aware of and had mentally jumbled with the VeggieTales movie The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.  I made a mental note that perhaps the film was worth watching on cable in the future, but after the film received an Oscar nomination and I learned that it was produced by the wonderful Aardman Animations, I stopped by my local Redbox and paid my dollar to see whether Manohla Dargis is as crazy as I suspected.

While I believe that Dargis's praise for the film is overblown and that the Academy rightly limited the film to its sole nomination in the Animated Feature category, I was pleasantly surprised by what was an enjoyable and clever, if not terribly unique film.

The Pirates! is the story of The Pirate Captain's (voiced by Hugh Grant) efforts to win the Pirate of the Year Award, a title for which he is woefully unqualified (his only previous award was for Best Anecdote About a Squid).  The Pirate Captain undertakes a harebrained scheme to win this award, but he finds that he must decide if he is willing to give up what is most important to him to win the award. If this plot sounds familiar, it could be because it is a nearly exact copy of Wreck-It Ralph, and at times it feels as if the two tales are two variations from the same Mad Lib (Main Character: Pirate!  Video Game Villain!...Object of Desire: Trophy!  Medal!)

Yet even though the plot is simple, the film contains much of the unexpected and unusual humor that has made Aardman's previous efforts so wonderful.  The inclusion of a young, hopeless, and rather pathetic Charles Darwin (voiced by David Tennant) is a great addition to the cast of pirates, and Queen Victoria (voiced by Imelda Staunton) might be the best film villain of the year.

The Animated Feature category this year consists of five big studio films, a shift from the Academy's recent recognition of more independent animated fare (Chico & Rita, A Cat in Paris).  The Pirates! Band of Misfits is very much in the tradition of the standard animated story structure, and it sticks to the structure well to tell a nice, neat story.  The film is at its best when it allows itself to be a bit off-the-wall, and it could have benefited from more of these moments.  Still, The Pirates! is a breezy, enjoyable hour and a half, and I can only imagine that it is far superior to its similarly titled VeggieTales counterpart.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kiss Me Kate (1953)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

Nomination: Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture - Andre Previn and Saul Chaplin

Ten minutes in to my first viewing of Kiss Me Kate, I began to question the wisdom of my action earlier that evening, when I had declared to my wife "Let's watch a classic musical tonight."  The Every Oscar Ever project has given me a long list of musicals that I need to watch, largely due to the music categories, particularly Scoring of a Musical Picture, which gave most musicals the chance to receive at least one nomination.  My wife, never in need of persuading to watch a musical, happily complied, and after finding a Turner Classic Movies DVD Musical Collection at Target that included three nominated musicals I had not seen (Kiss Me Kate, Show Boat, and Annie Get Your Gun) as well as one of my favorites (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers).  After just a few minutes, I had grown so bored that I began to curse the names of Howard Keel, Target, and, I admit, even the sacred Turner Classic Movies.

But like many movies I have watched as part of the Every Oscar Ever Project, Kiss Me Kate slowly won me over.  Once the opening scene in the apartment of Howard Keel's character ended (a scene which the New York Times's original review of the film referred to as "one of the silliest and clumsiest beginnings that a musical has had") and we move to the "put on" portion of the "Let's put on a show" musical, Kiss Me Kate nearly immediately won me over with its clever structure, strong performances, and, most of all, the bundle of top-notch Cole Porter songs.

The film's greatest drawback is its lack of visual interest.  Because Kiss Me Kate is a show-within-a-show, nearly the entirety of the movie takes place in a theater, leading to long, static shots of dressing rooms and wings of the stage, hardly the makings of exciting visuals.  The film brightens whenever the characters are performing The Taming of the Shrew, with the colorful costumes and set design representing the Italian setting of Shakespeare's play, but that vividness quickly dissipates the moment the characters are off stage.  This obviously would not have been a problem for the stage musical, but it is a hindrance to the otherwise lively film adaptation.  While later film adaptations like Chicago would solve this problem by taking the performed scenes out of theater, the earlier backstage musicals often suffered from the problem of static visuals.

When the characters are performing The Taming of the Shrew, there is no such lack of visual interest.  Kathryn Grayson performs a fun and memorable "I Hate Men," and Ann Miller steals a scene of her own with "Tom, Dick or Harry."  The film's best number is "From This Moment On," featuring three dancing couples each taking a minute to perform a duet.  According to the Kiss Me Kate DVD's bonus features, each couple was given wide latitude in choreographing their dance.  The first two couples each perform stellar dances, but they are overshadowed by third couple, Carol Haney and a young Bob Fosse.  In only a minute, Fosse gives the world a preview of what he would bring to the theater in the following decades, jazz hands and all.  Perhaps the jazz dance is a bit out of place in a Shakespearean adaptation, but I can't imagine the film without it.

Kiss Me Kate received its sole Academy Award nomination for its score, losing out to Alfred Newman's scoring of Call Me Madam.  Previn and Chaplin's score is a bright and bouncy effort built around Cole Porter's songs, and the score is a great help in keeping the film feeling lively despite being weighed down by the lack of visual interest.  It is a strong score, no surprise considering the talent of Previn and Chaplin.

Despite my reservations early in the film, my initial excitement to watch Kiss Me Kate turned out to be well founded.  Though the film drags for long stretches and screams out for more creative directing, it was far ahead of its time in many ways.  Even at its slowest moments, the unparalleled Cole Porter songs and enthusiastic performances from the cast make the film well worth watching, despite its weaknesses.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How to Survive a Plague (2012)

1 Nomination, Wins To Be Determined

Nomination: Best Documentary, Feature - David France and Howard Gertler

There have been many documentaries made about the AIDS crisis since the outbreak of the disease, including some truly stellar efforts, such as the well known Common Threads: STories from the Quilt.  These films have covered scores of different stories that have resulted from AIDS, but the superb How to Survive a Plague is the first I know of to tell successfully the story not just of the disease, but the early efforts by the brave members of ACT UP and other organizations to fight for increased research and access to crucial medications to battle AIDS.

How to Survive a Plague is David France's first film as director, a surprising fact considering the expert hand employed in culling the vast amount of footage used in the film.  France is best known for his well-respected career in journalism, and he tells this story very much in a journalistic tone.  Though the film does include brief modern interviews from some of the people shown in the film, the success of the film comes from the inherent drama of the footage shown, without modern interpretation or comment.  France knows enough to let the footage speak for itself and allows us to make our own judgments without telling us what to think.

Unlike many documentaries that largely rely on splicing together fly-on-the-wall footage from the past, How to Survive a Plague is able to escape the trap of  emotional distance.  By somewhat narrowly focusing on some of the movement's most compelling figures, notably Peter Staley and Bob Rafsky, we are connected to the human faces of the plague, making the drama even more impactful.  This decision to focus on these figures allowed France not to have to decide between taking a comprehensive look at the response to the AIDS crisis as a whole or focusing on a few individual's stories, but instead to tell the story through the lives of its leaders.  This technique is far from revolutionary, but is all too infrequently used, and rarely as successfully as in France's hands.

The outbreak of the AIDS crisis and the government's inexcusably slow reaction combined to make the period of time depicted in this film one of the most terrifying and shameful eras in American history.  Yet out of this shame, David France has told the inspiring story of the New York homosexual community's brave effort to fight through fear and indifference and push for the rights of AIDS patients.  It is a fine and surprising film, and a beautiful tribute to the heroes of the movement.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The 85th Annual Academy Award Nominations Are In

After a long break in which I recharged my batteries, watched some movies that (gasp) did not receive any Academy Award nominations, and waged war with my cable provider to make sure that I continued to receive Turner Classic Movies, with the Oscar season upon us I am excited to return to the Every Oscar Ever project to watch and write about both this year's nominees and nominees from past years, many of which I will watch on 31 Days of Oscar.

This year's nominations stuck largely to expectations, but there were a few surprises. While I'll be forced to watch a few films I am less than excited about due to their nominations in technical categories, namely Mirror Mirror, the nominations also give me the necessary push to catch some films that interest me, but I might otherwise miss (Chasing Ice, Kon-Tiki).

So without further ado, here are the films nominated that I have yet to see.

Nominated Films I Have Yet to See
Amour - 5
Django Unchained - 5
Zero Dark Thirty - 5
Flight - 2
The Impossible - 1
The Sessions - 1
ParaNorman - 1
The Pirates! Band of Misfits - 1
War Witch - 1
No - 1
A Royal Affair- 1
Kon-Tiki - 1
Mirror Mirror - 1
Snow White and the Huntsman - 2
Hitchcock - 1
Chasing Ice - 1
Prometheus - 1
5  Broken Cameras - 1
The Gatekeepers - 1
How to Survive a Plague - 1
The Invisible War  - 1
"Inocente" - 1
"Kings Point" - 1
"Mondays at Racine" - 1
"Open Heart" - 1
"Redemption" - 1
"Adam and Dog" - 1
"Head Over Heels" - 1
"Paperman" - 1
"Asad" - 1
"Buzkashi Boys" - 1
"Curfew" - 1
"Death of a Shadow" - 1
"Henry" - 1

It looks like I have a full dance card, with 21 feature-length films and 13 short films ahead of me. As always, the hardest part won't be making time to watch the films, but simply finding means of watching some of the more obscure nominees. If anyone has any leads on some of the harder-to-find nominees, particularly the shorts, please get in touch.

First on my slate will be the documentary How to Survive a Plague, which is available via Netflix streaming. I hope to have a review up later this week.

Happy Oscar season everyone!