That should have been a bingo.

Last night I won my Oscar pool when The Hurt Locker (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was named best picture. I wasn’t picking with my heart, mind you, I simply played the odds and picked the film which had won the Producer’s, Director’s and Writer’s Guild award. Only eight times has a film won all three of those awards, and seven of those eight films went on to win the best picture Oscar.

However, as I said, I didn’t pick what I wanted to win, I picked what I thought would win. It’s not that I disliked The Hurt Locker, but after a second viewing Friday night I could confirm what I felt upon first seeing it some 18 months ago: that it was good, but not great. That it had some terrific moments, but that it also veered into a tone-deaf section (which at the time I called “the John Wayne factor”) and glossed over the psychological impacts. That it just didn’t rock me back the way Slumdog or No Country did.

True, there were few other films which could have legitimately challenged for the best picture title. Up was a sure thing in the animated feature category. The Blind Side, An Education, District 9 and Up In The Air were too light. A Serious Man was too obscure and Precious was too not. And Avatar…no way. Stunning as it was to watch, there’s no way that thing should be feted as a standout film. It should just win every technical award up for grabs.

That leaves the film I think should have won it all: Inglourious Basterds. From eight nominations it took one award — Christoph Waltz, a no-brainer for best supporting actor — but in my opinion it got robbed on original screenplay. I don’t think they were ever really in it for best picture though. Maybe the academy doesn’t consider Tarantino a worthy Oscar winner, or maybe they just didn’t want a remade/re-imagined film to win the big prize. Or maybe it just didn’t have the votes. Whatever the case I wish they’d reconsidered. I found it far more epic, inventive, entertaining and memorable than The Hurt Locker, and would’ve liked to see the Bear Jew climb onstage and take his victory.

"I think all we can aspire to in this situation is a little bit of grace."

Oh, it was a movie-watching weekend, it was. We’re still trying to whittle down the PVR storage before going on vacation, but today we went to the Scotiabank theatre for a little Natsie killin’.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was better than I thought it would be. Woody Allen movies can be hit and miss with me, but I’ve found his more recent films (which don’t star him or a reasonable facsimile thereof) really enjoyable. All four main actors in this are fantastic, but Barcelona itself was a huge part of the film. It looked as cool and interesting and complex as any of the characters. Maybe Woody has a new muse to go along with New York.

I’d been avoiding Away From Her (imdb | rotten tomatoes) for a while, partly because I’d read mixed reviews, and partly because Alzheimer’s scares the living shit out of me. While I can say that finally watching it did nothing to assuage the latter, it did a great deal to refute the former. I thought it was excellent, and awful, and heartbreaking, and so very well done. Alice Munro’s words, Sarah Polley’s direction and gargantuan performances from Gord Pinsent and Julie Christie made it at once nearly unwatchable and nearly perfect.

Shifting gears just a tidge, Inglourious Basterds (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was pretty much as advertised: a violent, talky piece of revisionist history about Nazi-killing. There were  a lot of great scenes — the savage finale in particular — but Cristoph Waltz nearly stole the show in the first ten minutes. Brad Pitt felt pretty out of place there…I found myself longing for Aldo Raine as played by Daniel Day-Lewis. Alas, I wasn’t asked to take charge of casting. Still, a highly enjoyable 2.5 hours.