Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Single Man vs. A Serious Man

So, I saw A SINGLE MAN last night because it was the only major Oscar nominee that I hadn't yet seen. While Colin Firth was very good and the story was potent (a gay may in the '60s struggles to maintain his public persona while secretly mourning the death of his longtime partner), the movie itself was infuriatingly pretentious from act 1, scene 1. Pretty much exactly the kind of artsy crap you'd expect from a fashion photographer-turned-filmmaker's directorial debut -- half of the movie was filmed like a Tom Ford Vanity Fair cover... which, I suppose, could have been interesting... but wasn't.

Anyway, I sort of had some suspicions when the Oscar nominees were announced, but now I am certain: With all due respect to Colin Firth, the Academy clearly got confused and accidentally nominated him for Best Actor instead of a far superior and more deserving performance: Michael Stuhlbarg in the Coen Brothers' latest masterpiece (and my #1 movie of the year), A SERIOUS MAN. I submit for your consideration:

1. Most obviously, the titles. A SINGLE MAN. A SERIOUS MAN. We should probably be thankful that Sam Raimi's A SIMPLE PLAN didn't come out this year, or the whole system would have fallen apart!

2. Both main characters are middle-aged, average-looking men with short curly hair and big black glasses. Also, both are teachers.

3. While the specific subject matter is very different, both movies deal with underlying themes of identity, mortality and persecution.

4. Both movies are set in the '60s, primarily in suburban neighborhoods.

5. George from SINGLE and Larry from SERIOUS both have odd relationships with a lonely, abandoned housewife neighbor.

6. Even the posters both kind of invoke similar feelings of isolation....

Honest mistake, right? Sure, except for the fact that Michael Stuhlbarg gets screwed despite giving one of the year's best performances! Ah well... I guess the Academy had already expended all its energy to avoid confusing UP and UP IN THE AIR....

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