Richard: We talked about the Oscars a few weeks ago, but we didn’t touch on Billy Crystal coming back as host. I loved the old Crystal shows, but really hope he finds a new fresh approach for this year. I’m not interested in seeing him do another opening montage where he inserts himself into the nominated footage. What do you, oh comedy guru, hope he does with the show?
Mark: Oh, Richard, you know he’s gonna do it; this time in black and white, in flip-flops and silent. Those montage sequences are like a drug to him — his name is Crystal, after all. It’ll be old and hoary, but at least there will be some laughs. Of course, Billy’s getting so old he’ll have to turn his hearing aid up extremely loud and the teleprompter will have to be incredibly close. Your prediction on Best Picture, Richard?
RC: The Artist was the most fun I had at the movies last year but I’m not sure that means it deserves a best picture win. I think it will take it because it has won all the guild awards, but in my heart it’s between Moneyball and Tree of Life. What’s your choice?
MB: My choice is The Descendants, a movie of great maturity and mid-tone emotion. I had considered it a shoo-in until recently, because I thought The Artist was original to the point of gimmickry. But now I think The Artist is going to take it. It’s a movie I liked a lot, but it’s not very subtle. As far as Tree of Life goes, I thought it was pretentious hooey. And I heard they used non-union dinosaurs.
RC: Pretentious hooey! I accept that the birth of the universe sequence separates the men from the film snobs, but I loved how evocative of childhood it was. It captured something deeply emotional, even spiritual, whereas The Artist simply entertained the eye. The Descendants, for me, was a so-so movie with nice performances. Perhaps if Clooney had been working opposite a dinosaur I might have enjoyed it more.
MB: Yeah, I know, Tree of Life certainly has its fans. The divisive film I loved was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I guess the childhood depicted in that picture — melancholic, guilt-ridden, borderline Aspergers — was evocative of my own. But it doesn’t stand a chance to win the Oscar, and I’ve made my inner peace with that.
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