Since we last talked..since you last read me...you know what I mean, since then I have seen The Fighter and Black Swan. Interesting pairing, to be sure, and not just because Darren Aronofsky was/is connected to both. I didn't see them on the same day. I liked The Fighter better. I didn't dislike Black Swan, but I didn't love it. For something that is getting a lot of breathless wow-that's-so-amazing talk, it's pretty predictable. A lot of it is shocking - but very little, if anything, in it is surprising.
Natalie Portman, who used to bug me, officially does not annoy me anymore, because she has been entirely swept away by Anne Hathaway, whose very existence at this point is like the proverbial nails on a chalkboard for me. That said, in this movie, Natalie Portman is kind of annoying, in a psychotic-annoying way. You want to slap some sense into her, tell her to stop with the high-pitched little girl voice, tell her to speak from the thoracic diaphragm (the same diaphragm we later get to see prodded and poked like a water balloon), and tell her to run far, far away from her equally(?) psychotic mother and the decorated-in-pink bedroom in mother's house. Of course, if Natalie Portman's "Nina" did any of these things, we wouldn't have a movie, so you don't really want to tell her to do them.
But what you really DO want to tell Natalie Portman, Darren Aronofsky, and any sound mixers who might be listening, is to knock it off with the sniveling fear breathing in Every.Single.Scene. You know - that quick inhale kind of thing like when the about-to-be-offed horror movie character is slowly walking down the dark basement stairs and isn't saying anything, but you know they're scared because of their quick, quiet, shaky inhales. Natalie Portman does an awful lot of that in this movie. I'm sure all her acting was heartfelt, but when you watch the film it comes out more like a remix of all the times she did that one on top of the other, like you might see in a Daily Show collection being forwarded around You Tube of every time Fox News said some crap over a month.
I rather enjoyed The Fighter. I liked the Massachusetts-ness of it and the way certain lines and bits and ideas were hit pitch perfectly, and I liked that it made me care about what goes into a boxing match (because nothing previously in life has made me care about this), and I liked hearing "Saints" by the Breeders, which catapulted me back to the mid-1990s. But most of all, I liked Christian Bale. Whoa! Christian Bale, man! He absolutely, completely, totally, 100% blew me away with the awesomeness that he brought to this performance. There is one confrontation scene between him and Amy Adams that is close to perfection. I'm a little sad that he is going to be, obviously, put out there as a Supporting Actor, because he was really more of a co-star in the film, but you know how it is.
Melissa Leo and Amy Adams might both get supporting actress nominations, and I'm not sure who would win out of those two. Perhaps they'll cancel each other out and Jacki Weaver will win. I really don't think Mila Kunis should win. No offense to Black Swan, but just no. It was really quite fluffy in a way, a kind of Baby-Jane way. Not lighthearted by any means, but not totally seriously dark, if you see what I mean.
This is my Christmas Day prediction of which films will get the ten Best Picture slots, roughly in the order I am sure (roughly!), with the ones I've seen in bold:
The King's Speech
The Kids Are All Right
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
Part of me thinks The Town replaces Black Swan on this list. Maybe tomorrow I will post another list with that prediction. I don't think either one should get a Best Picture nom. Here are the films I think SHOULD get Best Picture nominations, admittedly only out of what I've actually seen:
The Social Network
The Ghost Writer
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Maybe Winter's Bone