The Man with the Golden Sword

We call him Oscar—the little gold statuette that brings all sorts of accolades in the movie industry. He treads closely on the heels of the Golden Globe awards. Sometimes he echoes their praise, and sometimes he offers a dissenting opinion.

This morning we learned the names of those contending for the little man. The list includes actors, writers, directors, producers, set and camera artists, costume designers, and technicians of every type. Some of these names we’ve all heard over the years. A few are new to us.

With the exceptions of Best Picture and Best Original Song, most of the main categories have five nominees competing. And yes, they will all tell you that it’s an honor just to be nominated—but of course they all covet the Oscar.

Ask Meryl Streep how “honored” she feels. This year makes her 17th Academy Award nomination. It’s a record. But does Ms. Streep have a mantle lined with an army of Oscars? Nope—just two. (poor thing)

I kid. I love Meryl Streep. She’s amazing, as I’ve mentioned before. It will be a tight race, I hear, between Streep, Viola Davis and Michelle Williams. The other two ladies in the Best Actress in a Leading Role category are Glenn Close and Rooney Mara. With these strong women anything could happen.

Have I seen all the nominated films? No. I live in a good-sized city, but not a major market. The Descendants will finally make its debut inAmarillo this weekend. There’s a good chance that many of the nominees will never show in a theatre here. So far I’ve only seen three of the nominees, but I intend to see several more soon.

The thing that strikes me about the list of nominees this year, and maybe this is simply my age, is that with only a few exceptions this list of actors, producers and directors could have been from any of the last twenty years or so. Think about it. Gary Oldman, Nick Nolte, Kenneth Branagh, Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow, Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Gore Verbinski, and last but not least, John Williams.

Do I begrudge them their praise? No way! They deserve their honors. They’ve worked hard. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Viola Davis and Michelle Williams are relatively new compared to them, and they are just now coming into their own.

Will the Academy Awards bring them all the glory for which they wish? Most of them will go home empty handed. But for the next month, all of the nominees are winners. And from now on, each can add the “Oscar-nominated” tag to their names and resumes.

From now until February 26th I’ll be working on my movie list, watching as many nominees as I can. I’ll form my opinions and pick my favorites. I’ll get my dress all picked out for the big night. It’s my Super Bowl!

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading!

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