The Academy Awards are almost upon us. Whether that's good or bad is yet to be seen, however the overly drawn out, politically motivated, live action tabloid experience is imminent. We'll watch, like we always do, as our favorites, from films that we haven't even seen, blubber their way awkwardly through their acceptance speech or feign gracious defeat when a lesser actor/actress gets the coveted statue that they so desired. We'll cry, we'll jeer, we'll laugh, and most importantly, we'll forget all about them by the following week. But we seem to overlook what's most important about the awards ceremonies, the films that they supposedly honor. One such film, directed by David Fincher, and a true power house at these 81st annual Oscar ceremonies, getting nominated for 13 golden dildo... uhm statues, is the ironically lengthy titled film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
The concept of the film is simple; Benjamin (Brad Pitt) is born as an old man-child and goes through life in reverse. We, the audience, are taken on every journey, through every friendship, every job, every intimate relationship, and thusly, get to experience Benjamin's life backwards, but forwards in his case. Trust me, it's simple.
This film boasts a relatively well known cast of characters. The decorated and accomplished Cate Blanchett plays Benjamin's adult love interest, Daisy. Pitt's fellow gypsy and Snatch alum, Jason Flemyng as his father, Thomas Button. With tremendous screen presence, Tilda Swinton plays an adventurous fling, Elizabeth Abbott, during one of Benjamin's many journeys. Teraji P. Henson plays Benjamin's adopted mother, and does so, quite possibly stealing the spotlight. And my favorite, the fledgling artist and tugboat captain, Captain Mike, played by Jared Harris, is always good for a laugh.
Why You Should Watch:
The main cast, although seemingly in everything now-a-days, is tried and true. The film is always entertaining, bringing you in to feel what Benjamin feels at all the right times and letting you sit back and observe at others. The make-up/CG is top notch, leading you to believe that Brad Pitt would be foolish not to hire them on full time. The film tugs at your heart strings and plays with your emotions from beginning to end. A classic in American Film for some time to come. Is it one of the best? Well...
Why You Shouldn't Watch:
Bottom line... the film is too long. With previews, look to spend three hours of your day watching Button. Without breaks, Button is harder to sit through than any Lord of the Rings, which also topped out near the three hour mark. It is a beautiful, mushy, emotional and drawn out film... but it is beautiful, you know like Titanic (at least Titanic had the lengthy post-iceberg scene to keep us at the edge of our seats). Also like Titanic, it will draw the right audience (and their horny boyfriends/husbands looking to score points). Also, Pitt's supporting cast mates constantly out perform him. He has his moments, but they're inconsistent. Is it worth all the nominations? Well, let's see...
Will It Win?:
These are all my opinion and should be taken with a grain of salt. I will not pay you back for any money you lost in your 'Oscar Pool' at the office. These predictions are completely an act of fiction and were written in a sleepless daze. That being said... Visual effects and makeup are good. Good enough to win? It's up against some stiff competition in both categories but may actually pull through. Film editing, costume and original score... let's be honest, who really knows? Teraji P. Henson would be a welcome surprise as supporting actress, but I wouldn't bet on it with the Academies track record. David Fincher for Best Director, I don't think so. Brad Pitt as Best Actor? Sorry, I don't see it. Not his strongest performance... good, but not good enough. And lastly, Best Picture... Again the competition is stiff, so I would be surprised.
Watchability factor: See it in theaters, I think it's still out... despite the almost three hour length, it's worth it. But, because Brad Pitt could have done better and was consistently out-performed by his supporting cast, I give The Curious Case of Benjamin Button...