28 February 2011

83rd Academy Awards

Just a short blurb here about last night's Academy Awards. I didn't watch it as I don't have television, but I did familiarize myself with the results.

The King's Speech seems to be the biggest winner, with four awards including the coveted Best Picture and Best Director awards, as well as Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay. I must admit that I have not seen this film yet. Personally, I was actually kind of hoping that Toy Story 3 would win Best Picture, if for the very fact that I don't recall an animated feature ever winning that category, and that it's honestly the one movie that was in the running that I would honestly consider owning one day.

At any rate, Inception tied with The King's Speech in the number of awards, but not in the level of "prestige." All four of its awards fall in the technical categories with Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. I have seen Inception, and while it was certainly entertaining, it was a far more technically impressive film than anything else, so none of this is too surprising. That said, I think Black Swan had better cinematography, personally.

However, there was one place where I was really, really hoping for "my" film to win, and it did. Yes, the only category at the Academy Awards that I really care about is Best Foreign Language Film. Not because I am so snooty as to think that foreign films are the only things worth watching and that American films are all garbage. No, it's because the rest of the categories won't really change what kind of movies we see. Not in any major capacity, anyway. However, countries that win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film often gain a larger American audience in the years following their win.

So what am I getting at? Well, in case you missed it, In a Better World (Hævnen) won the award for Denmark, but I wouldn't be surprised to see all Nordic nations getting a bit of a boost from this. After all, Nordic films are often international productions between numerous countries, and then attributed to the nation that, essentially, originated the idea. In a Better World was financed by both Denmark and Sweden, as well as the Nordisk Film-Fond, an international company that funds films from all of the Nordic countries. As such, the film features both Danish and Swedish actors who speak their native language to each other (the Nordic languages are similar enough that they could almost be considered very distinct dialects).

At any rate, I'll be watching In a Better World as soon as it becomes available on Netflix and letting you know what I think. I'll also be excited to see the influx of Nordic films to the States that this award will likely bring.

Oh, and I figure I might as well mention it here: My essay "Understanding the Politics of Friðrik Þór Friðriksson's Devil's Island" is going to be published in the new issue of Senses of Cinema, and online film quarterly. I'll be sure to let you guys know when it goes up.

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