Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Music in My Heart (1940)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

Nomination: Best Music, Original Song: Chet Forrest and Bob Wright for "It's A Blue World"

The Academy Award ceremony held in 1941, like the other ceremonies held in the era, must have been full of musicians.  Nine films were nominated for Best Original Song, 17 films for Best Original Score, and nine more for Best Score.  The old Academy rules allowed for large numbers of nominations in several categories, giving scores of musicians the designation "Academy Award nominee."  While this was no doubt a great thing for those nominated, for the Oscar completist it can be a mixed blessing.  Many of the films nominated in these categories, particularly Best Song, tend to be light and frivolous films that would have had no chance of an Oscar nomination without the music categories.  Sometimes this allows me to watch fun and lighthearted comedies that I would have otherwise missed, but more often I am stuck watching dreadful films with one halfway decent song.  Thankfully, "Music in My Heart" is an example of the former.

Starring Tony Martin and Rita Hayworth and directed by journeyman director Joseph Santley, "Music in My Heart" is a lighthearted romance with a plotline so forgettable that just 24 hours after watching it, I am having a tough time recalling it to write this post.  The pleasure of "Music in My Heart" comes not from the story, however, but instead from a charming leading performance by Tony Martin and some entertaining songs, including the nominated "It's A Blue World."  Though not the best song in the film, "It's A Blue World" is a pleasant tune worthy of its nomination, but it had little chance against the Oscar winning "When You Wish Upon a Star."

I'll completely forgot that I watched this film in a month, but it was a short, enjoyable movie and it made for a pleasant afternoon.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

List of Academy Award nominations and reactions

The Oscar nominees are in.  Below is a complete list along with my thoughts in each category.  This year has been a busy one for me, so I've seen less of the films than I have at this point in any other year in recent memory.  Without a clear runaway winner, this year promises to be an interesting one for Oscar watchers.

Films I have seen are in bold.

Best Motion Picture of the Year
12 Years a Slave
Dallas Buyers Club
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
The Wolf of Wall Street

I am woefully underqualified to comment on this category, having seen only two of the films.  Of the two I have seen, Gravity was by far my favorite.  12 Years a Slave is the likely winner, though don't count out American Hustle for a late run at the trophy, especially after receiving ten nominations, including noms in each of the acting categories.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Bring Back Droopy!

Okay, I admit this one's a little far out, but after recently watching "One Droopy Knight" I was reminded just what a great character Droopy is and how he has fallen into neglect in recent generations.  I started a petition at The Petition Site, and we're collecting signatures calling for the production of a new Droopy cartoon.

Are there better things in the world to petition for?  Of course.  But that doesn't mean we can't call for a brand new Droopy cartoon.  So pass the word and let's get as many signatures as we can, calling for a new Droopy cartoon.

Sign the petition at:

Valgaften (Election Night) (1999)

1 Nomination, 1 Win

Win: Best Short Film, Live Action - Kim Magnusson and Anders Thomas Jensen

Anders Thomas Jensen has a knack for creating Oscar fare.  Three of his short films have been Oscar nominated for Best Short Film, Live Action: "Wolfgang," "Ernst & Iyset," and "Valgaften," and the latter won the statuette.  Since then, he has written the Best Foreign Language Film winning In a Better World and The Duchess, which won an Oscar for costume design and received a nomination for Art Direction.

While he's helped others win Academy Awards, the sole Oscar awarded to Jensen came for his short Valgaften or Election Night, a film about a man desperately trying to make it to the polls to vote before they close, but disgusted by the prejudices of those he meets along the way.  Initially shocked by the bigotry he sees in those he meets, he first becomes overwhelmed by it and eventually finds himself unexpectedly making an unintentional yet hurtful bigoted comment of his own.

Riding in a taxi sure must be a trying experience in Denmark.  Though I have heard a cab driver or two espouse bigoted comments, it certainly hasn't happened with frequency or to the same degree that the protagonist endures.  Of course, the frequency of the bigotry encountered is meant to prove a point, though I'm not quite sure what the point is.  Is it that we are all prejudiced in our own ways, and it's just a matter of degree?  Perhaps, though the prejudice he shows is hardly on par with what he hears from cab drivers.  Is it that he overreacted to the initial somewhat prejudiced comment he heard, and after seeing what serious prejudice looks like he is less certain in his self righteousness?  Perhaps, though that would be a pretty cynical interpretation.  Or maybe it's that despite our best intentions, there will always be bigotry in the world, so we might as well accept it, which would be the most hopeless interpretation of all.

I'd love to read any comments regarding what you took away from the short.  Am I completely missing an obvious explanation?