The best and the worst from this decade’s Oscars

When the curtain fell on the night of the Oscars on Feb 23rd of this year, the last of the Oscars in the first decade of the 21st century were given away. I had to make a list post and what better way to make lists than talk about the Oscars, the Academy’s short sightedness and baseless favouring of some movies over others. The Oscars have been long notorious for the fact that they often snub some great cinematic masterpieces for ephemeral success stories though they are often seen as the bastion for the best of world cinema. So this is the list of movies which were nominated and won (or dint win) in the Oscars from the year 2000 to 2009.
Here in this post I list out the top 5 movies of this decade which were nominated to the Oscars and yet dint get the love they deserved. These movies certainly should have won many more statuettes or in some cases won atleast something. Following that list will be another top 5 of the movies which were nominated to the Oscars but got far more awards/credit than they deserved. One important thing you need to know is I have taken into consideration only the movies which were nominated. So there might be some movies which weren't nominated at all but were very good pieces of Cinema which deserved to be. Taking them into consideration would just make the list very complex. So here they are:

Top 5 nominated movies that were overlooked

5:Memento in 2001: The classic modern Film Noir. It is not something you expect the academy voters to appreciate and sing laurels about but not even the oscar for screenplay? Are you kidding me? I coudnt believe it when it got beaten by Gosford Park. Also what kind of genius can pull off such a stunt with a screenplay that screws with your head and yet make it an infinitely repeat watch and not get a nomination for direction. Nolan only! First it was Memento then Batman Begins and then The Dark Knight.
Also Wall-E in 2009: Animation movies are no less than any other live action stuff but the people at the Oscars still think they are for kids. They have a separate category for them which is nice but they dont let the children stray into the living room. In the occasional circumstances the child(animation movie) is precocious they snub it. Wall-E is the perfect example. In a perfect world where there is no prejudice it would have been nominated for the best movie and may have beaten the dogs out of the slum.
4: Atonement in 2008: Atonement was fighting a losing battle right from the start with its competition being the likes of No Country for Old Men and There will be Blood.
What many people fail to realise is just because it is a love story doesn't make it less cinematically brilliant. It was heavileternalsunshinepubvy nominated but it failed to win any major ones. People will remember that year to be that of Daniel Day Lewis and Coen Brothers.

3: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in 2005: The Oscars of 2005 weren't really a great fair just like the ones in 2007. Everyone was just talking about the grand old man called Clint Eastwood and how Harry was still dirty and kicked ass just as they were singing songs of Scorsese in ‘07. In the process of crowning Million Dollar Baby they forgot the wonderful gem made by Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman. This movie is wonderful on so many different levels that there is probably no one who has seen it and not loved it.

2: Good Night, and Good Luck. in 2006: The year Brokeback Mountain and Crash were taking in all accolades there was one true gem which will stand the test of time. 10 to 20 years down the line people will look back at this movie and say wow! What a classic. David Strathairn gave a brilliant performance playing Edward R Murrow the iconic TV presenter who made modern TV what it was before it began to rot again. This movie showcases the power of the medium.
1: Road to Perdition in 2002 : Taking the trends at the Oscars, this the movie the academy’s voters should love to bits. It seems like as if it was custom made for them as it has got a great setting, well shot, good star cast and a touching storyline. However this movie was relegated to the sidelines and wasn't even nominated for the major awards. Sam Mendes’s follow up to American Beauty may not be as brilliant but it definitely leaves strong impressions.
Honourable mentions:
LOTR: Two Towers, My favourite movie from the trilogy. The love not shown to it and its predecessor was more than made up by showering on the final installment.
Requiem For a Dream: If you have seen the movie, you know what I am talking. It is just gold in terms of acting, directing, cinematography, music and everthing else. But people at the Oscars dint understand Indie then.

Top 5 undeserved oscar winning movies

5: Brokeback Mountain in 2006 : The movie of the year everyone said. Everyone couldnt stop talking about two gay cowboys getting it on in the mountains. It was Iconic, yes but only a decent film not much different from heavy straight love dramas. It was very boring too. However Hollywood loves to promote the gay cause. I do to. But not by making a mediocre film a cult.
Babel in 2007: Alejandro González Iñárritu made a wonderful movie called Amores Perros and then made 21 grams. He repeats the same intersecting story lines structure in each of his film and Babel was no different. It was slow, a bit boring and nothing more to while away an idle afternoon. This movie however got 7 nominations.
4: The Departed in 2007 : There were several good movies in 2006 but it was a dull year for the movies when you take into account that there was none of the usual one or more two movies each year which blow you away. Martin Scorsese had been snubbed by the oscars for about 2 decades when in the first place he should have won it for Taxi Driver and Goodfellas long long ago. This one was just a fast paced mafia/thriller/cop movie with heavily loaded star cast. If this movie doesnt convince you that the oscar panel is sometimes swayed by the people behind the movie than the movie itself nothing will.
3: The Cider House Rules in 2000: Thank heavens for American Beauty that year or else I fear Cider House Rules would have had its way. The movie was just all right and it was a bildungsroman of an orphan boy. It still managed to gain 7 nominations and win 2 including the best screenplay based on previously published material beating The Green Mile, Talented Mr Ripley and The Insider. For me even the Insider was a better film than the run of the mill Cider House Rules.
2: Gosford Park in 2001: This movie is at its best just a good thriller. It has a great star cast but what is the point if the storyline is just out of an Agatha Christie novel. It does do well in capturing the turmoil and emotions of the character but 7 nominations and one win! come on! And you know what that win was for ? Best Screenplay directly written for the screen which it won at the cost of MeChicagomento, arguably the most wonderful piece of screenwriting in the history of cinema. How could they?
1: Chicago in 2003: This is the only movie I havent seen in the list but still it is definitely the worst mistake of this decade for one simple reason. How can a musical however great the musical is upset movies like Gangs of New York, The Hours, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Pianist and win the Best Movie Oscar.
(Dis)honourable mentions:
A Beautiful Mind: Good movie but not as great as they paint it to be
Michael Clayton: I dont even know what it was doing there. So many nominations and thankfully only one win.
By the time you reach here I am pretty sure you were vigorously nodding or shaking your head on many of the mentions but hey this is what I thought. Do let me know where you think I went wrong and do mention if you think I omitted something important which belongs to the list in the comments below.

p.s: In case you want to see the complete list of winners. Check out Oscars past at imdb for 1929 to 2007 and for 2008 and 2009

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lingua franca: Cinema

Everybody loves movies. Some love them for the entertainment and some love it as an art form and some love the whole medium for all that it presents. Whatever the reason might be most people have certain reservations against what kind of movies they watch. Some want non stop action-thrillers, some prefer comedy, some rather cuddle up with the so called chick flicks and some others enjoy the rush horror movies give them. But the most common preferences are in language and time. Most people I know prefer recent movies mostly of this decade or at most the last and would happily stick to English language.
I have been championing classics right since the time I fell in love with them especially the great movies which have come from the ‘Golden Age of Hollywood’. Also I am a big fan of foreign language movies i.e. the non English ones from all over the world. This post is about the latter. I say if you haven't watched movies from different parts of the world you cannot truly say you love movies and call yourself a buff.
lolarennt poster
There is something magical about movies. They let you delve into different worlds and make you experience the plethora of emotions that we could seldom gain in our real life. And this is done without any bar of language or time. Each part of the world has a different and one or more characteristic styles of filmmaking which sets them apart from the rest. The perspective each filmmaker give on the same subject is quite different and a major part of it obviously rests on where he comes from. For who we are and what we think are influenced by where we live.

Watching exotic films from various parts of the world with audio playing in its native language (I despise dubbed movies) with subtitles appearing at the bottom is one of my favourite things to do in life. They tell me about new places, teach me about native lifestyles, give an insight into people’s mindsets and yet appeal to the basic human in me. Where we are, whatever clothes we wear or language we speak our basic tendencies and nature remains the same. Whatever may be the native tongue the movie speaks it communicates to us the human language.
People complain about that they usually spend too much energy reading the subtitles and being unable to focus on the movie. I agree it is a problem. but only at the first. After a few films it becomes second nature and you don't consciously look at the subtitles. One more thing you need to be prepared for is the diversity of the styles. The Japanese and Koreans may shock you with gore and wild themes, the Chinese may befuddle you with people almost flying, the Indians bedazzle you with the dance and colours, the Iranians with their down to earth storytelling and so on. Whatever they might be, there are something you should never miss if you are a genuine movie lover.
So if you are out there and haven't tasted the magic yet, you could start now. Given below is the list of few selected films which could be pretty nice to start off your foreign language film tryst. They will reel you in and make you fall in love. Also the foreign language film nominations at the Oscars are a good place to start off. The order has been made moving from the right of the world map to the left. Also a random mix to appeal to the enthusiast and also the newbie. If you find some movie interesting do let me know by adding it in the comments.

Japanese: Yojimbo / Batoru Rowaiaru
Korean: Oldboy / Yeopgijeogin geunyeo
German: M / Das Leben der Anderen / Der Untergang
Italian: La vita è bella / Nuovo cinema Paradiso / Ladri di biciclette
French: Du rififi chez les hommes / La science des rêves
Random picks Cidade de Deus / Det sjunde inseglet / Vals Im Bashir / Ying xiong

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Hello after a long time (again). As I mentioned once before this blog seems to take new direction each time I take a break and come back with more content. Each time I come back I promise greater content and sustainability. This time I am really serious about it. I have decided to shed the excess workload, streamline work and focus on few projects and too much cinema is on top of that list.

Too Much Cinema shall shed its laziness (and me of course) and become an active and interactive blog. For this, to increase the quality and visibility of this project I have decided to take the 31 day challenge to build a better blog (problogger). I really have heard good reviews of it and I am disclosing it before hand so that you may not crib about it later.

The first task is to write a multi level Elevator pitch for the blog. It helps me understand what this blog is for and also tells you, the reader what to expect from this one. I am pretty keen on this blog not being like all the other blogs out there and an effort has been made to make it special and save you and it from redundancy. This is how it shall go for too much cinema.


Too Much Cinema-where (good)cinema is everything

The short pitch:

It is a film blog dealing mostly with good movies from different time and different parts of the world.

The long pitch:

I love movies. There is no discrimination based on genre, language or the time they are from. Only heavy discrimination against the bad ones.

I dont review (or watch) all movies and definitely keep away from the universally acknowledged crappy ones. More often than not you will find movies reviewed here to be the 'pick among the lot'. On the rare case it isnt I write why I dint like movies which some sections of people really loved. Also I have strict no spoiler policy. In case something is important for the review it shall be covered in the vaguest of ways. So this is one place you can look for good movies without any spoilers.

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