Monday, February 23, 2009

Slumdog Owns The Show

Last night's Academy Awards ceremony sure went as planned as to who was expected to win. "Slumdog Millionaire" walked away proud winning eight of its nine nominations. The international rags-to-riches story swept the night clean capturing the win for Best Picture along with Director, Original Screenplay, Song, Score, Cinematography, Editing and Sound Mixing. And Danny Boyle never failed to have an entire crowd of extremely pleased Indians surrounding him.

The real surprise of the night came in the form of how the whole event was put together. The orchestra was put on the stage itself, which had an overhanging arch made of crystals glimmering above, a scene that replicated Coconut Grove where the first Oscar ceremony was held. The other surprise was how Hugh Jackman decided to go about his hosting duties. His opening musical number recognizing all the nominated films was a frantic and goofy choice, but I think it turned out well as it earned him a standing ovation. The setup of the audience was intimately more close to the point where Jackman only had to take a few steps to reach the front row to literally sweep Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway off her feet.

Hugh Jackman even cracked a few jokes. One in particular had him drawing our attention to the power couple Brangelina. "I'm contractually required to mention them five times during the show," he said. His charm was certainly undeniable.

The new style of presenting categories for acting was an inspired idea. Rather than simply listing off names, five previous winners in the category would stand on the stage and single out each nominee praising them for their work. Not only was it nice to see those previous winners collected together, but even more, it was wonderful to watch each nominee's reaction in the front row. Not only these presentations, but each other one, as well, had a distinctly new structure and design to it. The presentations for screenplay were especially clever as Steve Martin and Tina Fey were introduced by a script that typed itself out.

The rumored duet between Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé came true, which added yet another show piece to be included along with the live performance of the nominated songs. Later in the night, Queen Latifah added a little something to the "In Memoriam" segment by singing a rendition of "I'll Be Seeing You." The Jean Hershlot Humanitarian Award went to Jerry Lewis whose short and sweet acceptance speech was appreciated.

Penélope Cruz opened the wins with the first great speech of the night as she burst out into a flurry of Spanish. As predicted, she accepted her win in the category of Best Supporting Actress for her fierce role in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." This was quickly followed by an astonishingly moving acceptance speech from screenwriter Dustin Lance Black whose screenplay for "Milk" won. He told every gay and lesbian kid out there that they are "beautiful, wonderful creatures of value."

Closing the evening was another pair of memorable speeches. Kate Winslet took home her Best Actress award for "The Reader," a much-deserved first win after five previous nominations. She said that she'd be lying if she hadn't already rehearsed this speech as an 8-year-old girl in the mirror holding a shampoo bottle. "Well, it's not a shampoo bottle now!" she exclaimed. She then asked her dad to whistle so she could wave to her parents. Following such an adorable speech was Sean Penn's for his Best Actor win. His portrayal of gay activist Harvey Milk beat out Mickey Rourke of "The Wrestler" in what was considered to be the toughest race. Penn showed his love for Rourke by closing with, "He's my brother."

When arguably the biggest upset of the night came in the category of Best Foreign Language Film, you know it certainly was not an evening of surprises. The film "Departures" from Japan beat both France's "The Class" and Israel's "Waltz with Bashir." The win could've been promoted by the new rule that the Academy members must actually see every film in the category before casting their vote. I just hope that this win allows the film to makes its way to playing in theaters here.

After its whopping 13 nominations, "The Curious Case of Benjamin" only came out winning in the technical categories of Visual Effects, Makeup, and Art Direction. As the best-reviewed movie of the year, "WALL-E" of course captured its win for Best Animated Feature as director Andrew Stanton accepted the award. Another memorable moment came with the win for "Man On Wire" in the category of Best Documentary Feature as tightrope walker Philippe Petit opened his speech with "Yes!" and then proceeded to balance the Oscar statue on his chin and make a coin disappear saying how magic is possible.

The most beautiful and heartbreaking moment of the entire evening was the award for Best Supporting Actor given to the late Heath Ledger for his unforgettable work in "The Dark Knight." That was the blockbuster's one of two wins, the other being in the category of Sound Editing. Ledger's father, mother, and sister gathered on the stage to accept on his behalf, which caused tears to flow from the eyes of many audience members including my own.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


What is Quentin Tarantino up to now? Whatever it is, count me in.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Who's Taking Home The Gold '09

So, with the Oscar ceremony taking place in less than a week now, I thought I'd provide my predictions for the outcomes of the night:

Best Picture: All signs still point to Slumdog Millionaire as it continues to win all of the pre-Oscar awards.
Directing: Danny Boyle won the Directors Guild Award, so that seems to be a pretty good indicator.
Best Actor: As much as it may still be a toss-up between Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke, I still believe Penn will win for his outstanding portrayal of Harvey Milk.
Best Actress: Yes, it very well could be Meryl Streep. Or maybe the Academy will award newcomer Anne Hathaway. In the very depths of my gut, though, I honestly believe Kate Winslet is finally going to win. Her performance in The Reader made that movie.
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger for Dark Knight. Duh. And not just because he passed away. If he still were around, he would still win. His Joker is brilliant.
Best Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz of Vicky Cristina Barcelona is the favored pick, but I think Viola Davis of Doubt will cause an upset.
Animated Feature: Bolt, of course. Just kidding. WALL-E, no question.
Best Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black for Milk because it's the only original screenplay nominated for Best Picture.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire, simple enough.
Sound Editing: I normally don't predict this category, but I honestly think if The Dark Knight wins anything, it should at least win for this. I mean, it's a loud action movie, and one that is done extremely well.
Sound Mixing: The Dark Knight again for the same reasons above.
Film Editing: Slumdog Millionaire could very well win this, but I'm still placing my bets on The Dark Knight in yet another technical category because it deserves to win the second-best award next to Best Picture.
Documentary Feature: Man On Wire because it was really, really good.
Foreign Language Film: Waltz with Bashir because it's more widely-released than The Class, even though both are front-runners.
Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire because of its crazy angles and colors, and it really was just a beautifully shot film.
Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button because just remember how Brad Pitt aged.
Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button because, well, remember how Brad Pitt aged.
Original Song: That rousing number in the closing credits of Slumdog Millionaire? It's called "Jai Ho," it's nominated, and it'll probably win.
Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button because it had a poetic visual style.

So, there you have it. Tune in to ABC on February 22nd at 8:00pm to catch the 81st Annual Academy Award ceremony to find out how correct your own predictions turn out to be.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"The Texter" Totally Just Texted Me

He's Just Not That Into You:
2 ½ out of 4

Basically, I was more into He's Just Not That Into You than I thought I ever would be. Yeah, I said it. Taken from a self-help book of the same name, the movie is overly self-conscious of this fact and is segmented into chapters that really don't properly correlate with the order of things unfolding on-screen. It's a wholly unnecessary gimmick as each chapter opens with fake interviews asking various people off the street their opinion on what to do in situations such as, "...When he's just not calling you." The moral of the entire thing boils down to this: If the guy likes you, he's going to make the effort. If he doesn't, well, then you won't hear from him. Simple as that. And yet the movie, while not perfect, takes such seemingly obvious revelations and spins them into a surprisingly engaging experience.

There is an all-star cast of actresses, and each woman has their own personal story told in a series of small, comic vignettes. And among all these women, along with the men they're trying to understand, there is at least one person who knows another to keep them all loosely connected in a social networking web. Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), who narrates the movie, is down on her luck. She's a big-hearted and eager girl who's also just a little too naive. She's frantic on dates with guys and gets lost in the conundrum of who's supposed to call first. She paces around watching her home phone and, when she's out, flips open her cell every couple minutes to see if she missed a call. She turns to a sly bartender named Alex (Justin Long) for advice to dealing with her own relentless desperation, describing all different types of signs and signals she swears she picked up from the guy.

Mary (Drew Barrymore) finds herself in a similar situation as she is lost in the world of cyber-dating and only surrounds herself with her co-workers, all of whom are stereotypically gay men with no real world advice to supply. To perfect her image, she doesn't change herself, but rather, updates her profile page. Beth (Jennifer Aniston) has been with Neil (Ben Affleck) for seven years and has yet to be proposed to, and it's not that Neil doesn't love her, he just hates the idea of marriage. Beth isn't satisfied without a ring on her finger. Janine (Jennifer Connelly) is married to Ben (Bradley Cooper) and is in the middle of renovating their new home. She ends up taking out her marital frustration through the project. Their marriage has lost its original spark. Then there's Anna (Scarlett Johansson) who is persistently courted by Conor (Kevin Connolly), except she has an infatuation with a married man who she met in line at the grocery.

Aniston and Affleck are convincing as a couple, Connelly showcases a believable portrait of a control freak, and Johansson works her lips and curves in a painfully one-dimensional role. The true revelations of the movie are Ginnifer and Barrymore who both admit what a lot of people probably secretly think to themselves about over-analyzing and dissecting every dating situation. Barrymore has the least amount of lines in the movie but also the best. In one strikingly humorous and relatable monologue, she complains about all of the different technologies she has to check just to be denied by the same guy through all of them. She longs for the simple days when everybody had just one phone and one answering machine.

There are a lot of separate story lines to follow, but the benefit of this is that once you get bored with watching one, the scene will quickly shift over to another. The most charming of situations is Gigi's, and it's hers that the movie rightfully spends the most time focusing on. It's through her dilemmas that the movie makes rather sharp and witty commentary on the status of relationships and dating in the technology-oriented society we live in now. The only real problem with He's Just Not That Into You is its impulsive need to provide the audience with an obligatory happy ending. Each subplot gets nicely tied up in the end in its own way, and it works as a cop-out that lies to reassure women that, look at that, it turns out he is just that into you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Buttons On The River

4 out of 4

Writer-director Henry Selick's Coraline is a macabre wonderment, a childhood fantasy that transforms into a nightmare. To say that this is a movie strictly for children would be to say that those must be some genuinely brave children. Here's an animated film that pushes the limits of its PG-rating because some of this stuff gets exceptionally sinister and scary. It dives deep down into the crevices of what not only children fear but everyone. Let's not compare this wonderfully weird movie to The Nightmare Before Christmas, but rather just say that this is another crowning achievement from Selick that holds the same level of sheer imagination.

In glorious stop-motion animation, this is the best use of 3-D I've yet to see. It's never overbearing and simply makes all the sceneries pop. The movie has an eerie yet beautiful look to it, and it's fascinating because the more grotesque everything becomes, the more hauntingly gorgeous it gets. It all starts with an 11-year-old girl named Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning) who just moved into a creaky old apartment complex with her mom (Teri Hatcher) and dad (John Hodgman). They write for a gardening magazine but never have time to actually go outside and plant something. Both of her parents have checked out and don't pay one ounce of attention to their daughter. This has turned Coraline into an insufferable and pesky young girl who gets especially testy when people get her name wrong. She longs for something different and exciting, and one night a mouse awakens her and leads her to a small door in the wall. Inside is a tunnel that takes her to what appears to be her same house, but upon entering the kitchen she finds her mother preparing a delicious meal. Something isn't right.

The house is an idealized version of Coraline's real house and contains idealized versions of her parents, Other Mother and Other Father. They're warm and welcoming, but just like everyone else in this alternate world, they have buttons for eyes, a frightening image that'll haunt you for a long while after the movie is over. Even amongst all of the seemingly pleasant delights in the alternate world, there's always something unsettling lurking beneath the surface. Coraline finds herself ultimately in three separate worlds that are each aesthetically different. The first is Coraline's real house, which is bland and plain. The second is her alternate house, which bursts with color and life. There's even a magical garden that blooms right before her eyes. The final world shows its face when the second world turns on Coraline, and she is introduced to a whole new level of ugly creepiness.

Coraline is surrounded by eccentric neighbors who play an integral part to the story. Downstairs there's the British old lady duo (Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French) who are retired stage actresses wishing to relive the olden days. Upstairs is a Russian gymnast named Mr. Bobinsky (Ian McShane) who has lanky blue limbs and a big potbelly, and he takes pride in running a circus of trained mice. Coraline also comes across a strange boy on a motorcycle named Wybie (Robert Bailey Jr.) whose full name is Wyborn. Every one of these characters gets their own personal "improvement" in Coraline's trip to her alternate home. We get to witness the British duo give a performance where their fat wrinkled bodies are mere costumes and their beautiful selves lie within. Mr. Bobinsky puts on a show as his mice bounce, jump, and play instruments. Wybie's transformation for the alternate world is shockingly ominous. And then there's a mysterious black cat (Keith David) whose role only becomes gradually clear.

As Coraline's adventures play out, we act as spectators with her along for the ride. There's lush detail in each and every scene and great satisfaction in simply letting it all soak in. It all results in the unraveling twine of a big finish, like a string of puzzles where you just absolutely don't know what's in store around the next corner. Coraline tells a classic story with a dark twist about loving what you have, a story that proves that the grass most certainly isn't always greener on the other side. Welcome to the first great moviegoing experience of 2009.

Frozen River:
3 ½ out of 4

Frozen River gets its name from the vast expanse of ice the two main characters find themselves crossing with illegal immigrants packed in the trunk of their car. Courtney Hunt's debut film presents a devastating and challenging portrait of poverty and scraping bottom. Here's a film that doesn't dare to sentimentalize the situation or make it into something it isn't. The drama and suspense comes not from contrived situations, but rather, from situations that feel all too real with striking authenticity. Taking place in the snow-filled, bitter, winter cold of upstate New York, it's a stark bleakness that perfectly matches the bleakness of the movie itself. And yet, with a movie so small, it packs in a powerful punch that cuts to the core. This is some of the very best American independent film has to offer. And that it's acquired two Academy Award nominations, now is the time to take notice.

Ray Eddy (Melissa Leo) is a single mother living in a cramped trailer with her two sons. Ray's husband, a gambling addict, bailed on his family and ran for Atlantic City taking with him the money Ray was saving up to buy a double-wide trailer. Ray makes her living at the Yankee Dollar Store, and more often than not only has popcorn and Tang for her kids at dinner. She rummages through the couch cushions for their lunch money. One day when Ray is out looking for her husband, she comes across his car in the parking lot of a Bingo joint. A Mohawk Indian from a local reservation thought the car was abandoned and took it for herself, and so Ray follows her home to get the car back. The woman's name is Lila Littlewolf (Misty Upham), and she informs Ray of a smuggler who'll give her $2,000 for the car, no questions asked. And so, what starts off as a one-time trip trekking aliens across the border turns into a continued moneymaking scheme for Ray.

Ray and Misty drive across a nearby frozen river because it's unchecked by the Canada/US border control. Their journeys across are harrowing and treacherous but also hold an odd beauty, as well. Misty assures Ray that they're safe because she's seen semi trucks drive across. She also tells Ray that they won't get stopped because they have the advantage of a white woman, Ray, commanding the vehicle. There is one certain state trooper (Michael O'Keefe), though, who's lingering dangerously close to Ray and begins asking questions. But these encounters are played with a similar solemness to the rest of the movie, and even though the trooper suspects something, there's underlying sympathy.

It's no wonder the Academy awarded Melissa Leo with a Best Actress nomination because her performance is nothing short of amazing. It transcends performance, and it appears as if we're not watching an actress, but rather, a real life woman's dire situation. Leo plays the role straight, not allowing Ray to care about who she's transporting across the border; it's just for the money. She's forced to remain entirely emotionless and unconnected during the trips because, otherwise, she might not do it. She brings a sharp urgency to the part and is utterly heartbreaking. She's assisted greatly by Misty Upham whose performance is at the caliber of a Best Supporting Actress nomination. She's blankly morose and sad as her one-year-old son has been taken from her, and she longs to get him back. Do Ray and Lila bond? Not necessarily. Each actress plays their character rightfully cold. This is a human connection solely created through need and desperation. They find something in common in that they both have nothing.

There's also Ray's 15-year-old son T.J., (Charlie McDermott), who realizes the meaning behind his family's financial situation. He looks at his own mother with pity and helps take care of his younger brother. T.J. asks a friend to run to Kmart late on Christmas Eve to pick him up the Hot Wheels toy his little brother wants from Santa. There's an elegantly rich level of detail in Courtney Hunt's screenplay, which got nominated for an Oscar, and it's this that makes Frozen River such a compelling piece of work.

Ice Dance & Clown Face

I really don't know why I had never seen this movie before now.

And I nearly forgot about the existence of this hidden gem.

Here It Is

Well, it appears to be that time of year again when numbers and rankings start floating around in my head. It's a little late coming, and so, without any further delay, here's the second annual list of what I believe to be the top ten best films of the year:

2. Milk
3. The Dark Knight
4. The Wrestler
5. Revolutionary Road
6. Synecdoche, New York
7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
8. Doubt
9. Frost/Nixon
10. Slumdog Millionaire

Is There An Award For Full-Frontal Nudity?

My Bloody Valentine 3-D:
2 out of 4

Consider the following scene from My Bloody Valentine 3-D: A blonde woman runs completely naked wearing only stilettos out of a motel room chasing after a man who just left her. She reaches the man and starts arguing with him only to watch a pickax get stabbed into his head. The pickax-wielding killer then chases after the still naked woman. She takes refuge back in her motel room scrambling to find a place to hide, rummaging through a closet of clothes, and still not bothering to cover herself. She hides underneath the bed, a hiding place soon to be discovered by the killer. He proceeds to flip over the mattress, and the woman takes the frame of the bed and uses it as a shield in front of herself as she stands up against the wall. She's still completely naked. And she's still in heels. The bed frame acts as a cage where the point of the pickax can only penetrate so far. She continuously dodges the lunges taken at her face. The killer then goes for a low blow. We're not shown where it strikes, but we get the idea.

This is a by-the-numbers horror flick in every respect, aside from, say, what's described above. The movie goes for shock value and tries to be as gratuitous as possible, and it's actually this aspect of the movie that makes it as bearable as it is. So, thank goodness for 3-D. The effects are cleverly and humorously implemented throughout, which revives the whole experience from having zero entertainment value whatsoever. It's a hybrid of this cutting-edge technology with an old school, generic horror style. The traditionally leaden acting and stale story full of clichés and conventions get tiresome, so when eyeballs, splashes of blood, giant tree limbs, and many angles of a bloody pickax come flying at you, it's a relief.

There's nothing really rewarding about going to see this movie about a mining suit-clad serial killer who, on Valentine's Day, cuts out the hearts of his victims and sets them on display in nice candy boxes except perhaps to take in oodles of gore in three dimensions as opposed to only two. And while there are only so many ways a pickax can creatively murder someone, My Bloody Valentine 3-D could've been a whole lot worse.

Oscar Nods '09

The nominations for the 81st Annual Academy Awards were announced early this morning, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button led the pack with a total of 13 nominations followed by Slumdog Millionaire with 10 nominations. The largest blockbuster in years, The Dark Knight, came closely behind with 8 nominations, but they were only in technical categories aside from Heath Ledger's nomination. Tied at 8 nominations with The Dark Knight was Milk. WALL-E came next with an honorable 6 nominations, followed by Frost/Nixon, Doubt, and The Reader with 5 nominations each. Revolutionary Road and Changeling each received 3 nominations.

The expected players received their nominations for Best Actor, including Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon, Sean Penn for Milk, Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler. The surprise was the selection of Richard Jenkins for The Visitor over Leonardo DiCaprio for Revolutionary Road and especially Clint Eastwood for his final role in Gran Torino. It's a tough call whether Rourke or Penn will take home the gold, but my vote still goes to the latter.

The pleasant surprise in the category of Best Supporting Actor was the nomination of Michael Shannon for his haunting role in Revolutionary Road. Other nominees included Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt and Josh Brolin for Milk. Now, Robert Downey, Jr. was really good in Tropic Thunder, but I had no idea the performance was sophisticated enough to earn him a nomination here. Good for him. The win, however, goes to Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight. As for the other actors, the nomination alone is their win because there's no beating Ledger.

A shock comes in the category of Best Actress. As expected, Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married, Meryl Streep for Doubt, and Angelina Jolie for Changeling earned their spots. Melissa Leo for Frozen River was selected over Sally Hawkins for Happy-Go-Lucky. The shock, however, comes in the form of Kate Winslet's nomination for her role in The Reader, a role which the Golden Globes considered supporting rather than leading. This placement of her nomination here not only detracts her potential for the win, but it also shuts her out entirely for her role in Revolutionary Road. As tough of a fight as it will be up against Hathaway and Streep, I honestly believe Winslet has a fighting chance. I hope she pulls through.

With Kate Winslet out of the running for Best Supporting Actress, it makes this category suddenly a lot more interesting. Amy Adams and Viola Davis each got nominated for their work in Doubt, along with Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Taraji P. Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler.

In the category of Animated Feature, the nominees were Bolt, Kung-Fu Panda, and WALL-E. We all know the winner. It's interesting to note that this year many other award shows have been placing WALL-E in the category for best film, but it appears that the Academy is standing firm on the fact that animated features are doomed to their separate little category.

It's disappointing to see that Roger Deakins didn't get nominated for Best Cinematography for his work in Revolutionary Road. The nominees in that category include Tom Stern for Changeling, Claudio Miranda for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Wally Pfister for The Dark Knight, and Anthony Dod Mantle for Slumdog Millionaire. Deakins, however, did get nominated alongside Chris Menges for The Reader.

For Best Score, the nominees include Alexandre Desplat for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, James Newton Howard for Defiance, Danny Elfman for Milk, and A.R. Rahman for Slumdog Millionaire. Thomas Newman received his nomination not for Revolutionary Road, but rather, WALL-E.

It's shocking to me that Bruce Springsteen's song for The Wrestler got skipped over in the category for Best Song. Meanwhile, Slumdog Millionaire obtained two nominations in this category for "O Saya" and the rousing number in the credits, "Jai Ho." WALL-E also received a nomination for its song, "Down to Earth."

For Best Documentary, the nominations were The Betrayal, Encounters at the End of the World, The Garden, Trouble the Water, and the magnificent Man on Wire.

In the category of Best Foreign Language Film, there were The Baader Meinhof Complex, The Class, Departures, Revanche, and Waltz with Bashir. While Waltz with Bashir is the most well-known of the selections, The Class has enough acclaim to perhaps sneak out from underneath it.

Eric Roth for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, John Patrick Shanley for Doubt, Peter Morgan for Frost/Nixon, David Hare for The Reader, and Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire all were nominated in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay, as it appears this year the Oscar season contained not so many original screenplays.

The ones that did get nominated for Best Original Screenplay were Courtney Hunt for Frozen River, Mike Leigh for Happy-Go-Lucky, Martin McDonagh for In Bruges, Dustin Lance Black for Milk, and for the second time ever for an animated feature, Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter for WALL-E. My question is, why not The Wrestler or Rachel Getting Married?

For Best Director, the nominees were David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon, Gus Van Sant for Milk, Stephen Daldry for The Reader, and Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire. The big upset here is the selection of Stephen Daldry over the favored Cristopher Nolan for The Dark Knight.

And in the ever-important but overlooked category of Best Film Editing, the nominations went to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, and The Dark Knight, which replaced The Reader.

Falling right in sync with the Best Director nominees, the nominations for Best Picture were The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, and Slumdog Millionaire. And here lies the largest upset of the morning, and that is the fifth slot for Best Picture. The Reader still surprises me, but it appears its other nominations could only add up to such. The Dark Knight, and I believe many would agree, got snubbed. And the reason for this may lie in the Academy's current trend of focusing on more independent films over more mainstream ones. How many people had seen, or enjoyed, for that matter, No Country for Old Men? It's been a while since the last time a blockbuster hit got recognized in the coveted category of Best Picture. Now, more than ever, would've been the best time.