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The nine films that won't win an Oscar

Last updated on: February 25, 2011 17:24 IST

The nine films that won't win an Oscar

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Raja Sen in Mumbai

An interesting bunch, this. The 10 Oscar nominated films are a very mixed bag, featuring characters ranging from a gruff ranger to a puppet cowboy, from a emotionally high-strung ballerina to a king incapable of saying too many words in a row without stopping.

Yet there can be only one winner, and while odds might say something else entirely, this is the time of year I stick my neck onto the Oscar guillotine and rank the nominated films.

Here, then, are the nine films that do not deserve the Best Picture prize this year.


Image: Scenes from Winter's Bone, Inception, Black Swan, True Grit, 127 Hours, The King's Speech, The Kids Are All Right, Toy Story 3, The Fighter and The Social Network

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9. Winter's Bone

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The best thing about Debra Granik's unbelievably painful and bleak film is Jennifer Lawrence's performance as a young girl facing insurmountable odds. There is heartbreak around every corner and the film is so credible it hurts, but after a while the constant spiralling south begins to evoke its own dulling apathy.

A fine film, but one far too sad.

Watch the trailer here.


Image: A scene from Winter's Bone

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8. Inception

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Christopher Nolan's dizzying visual spectacular folds Paris in half and sets up a heist in dreamscapes instead of St Tropez, and there is much to admire and be awed by. Cerebral this blockbuster may well be, but Inception, mired in thesis-length passages of expository dialogue, poses more open-ended questions than, I suspect, even the Nolans have answers to.

Watch the trailer here.


Image: A scene from Inception

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7. Black Swan

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Ying fights Yang in ballet shoes in Darren Aronofksy's latest psychological thriller, a deeply disturbing watch with fine performances all around. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis play diametrically opposite sides of the same character in a production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, and the film focusses on Portman careening out of control, far past the edge of a nervous breakdown.

A stunning film, but significantly incoherent.

Watch the trailer here.


Image: A scene from Black Swan

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6. True Grit

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The second adaptation of Charles Portis' Western novel of the same name -- the first having earned John Wayne a Best Actor Oscar -- this is a rousing, massively entertaining film that sees the Coen Brothers unashamedly having a good time.

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld are the pick of the actors in this well-performed, well-made revenge saga that confesses to no ambitions beyond being a good ol' genre movie.

Watch the trailer here.


Image: A scene from True Grit

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5. 127 Hours

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One would consider a film about a trapped mountaineer to be static, but the hyperenergetic stylings of Danny Boyle make sure his 127 Hours is more uplifting than anything else.

James Franco is spectacular in the lead role as real-life climber Aron Ralston, and Boyle's film frequently shines -- quite a feat given its surroundings. A solid, atypical film with a prosthetic money-shot worthy of nightmares, this one works -- and fails -- simply because Boyle does too much with it.

Watch the trailer here.


Image: A scene from 127 Hours

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4. The King's Speech

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Tom Hooper's lovely film about the stammering Duke Of York who steps hesitatingly onto the throne of England to become King George VI is cleverly written and beautifully acted. That said, it very safely follows a traditional sports-film narrative throughout.

Watch the trailer here.


Image: A scene from The King's Speech

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3. The Kids Are All Right

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Lisa Cholodenko's heartwarming film about two lesbians living together and coping with a man entering the equation is the obligatory dramedy in this year's Oscar race.

A sincerely sweet and delicately etched out film, it engages constantly and even throws in a knockout punch. Good stuff.

Watch the trailer here.


Image: A scene from The Kids Are All Right

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2. Toy Story 3

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Quite possibly the best third part to any franchise, Pixar's Toy Story 3 is a true gem. We first met Woody and Buzz back in 1995, and they have since become an inexorable part of our memories. That is precisely why this Lee Unkrich film about nostalgia and growing out of toys we once loved is such a deeply affecting film, the most resonantly emotional of last year's bunch.

A spellbinding, heartbreakingly beautiful film.

Watch the trailer here.


Image: A scene from Toy Story 3

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1. The Fighter

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A biopic of a forgotten boxer is the kind of thing we see at the Oscars every other year, but this David O Russell film is so fantastically made and acted that it truly emerges as one of the best of the genre -- no small considering both Raging Bull and Rocky at either end of the boxing movie spectrum. A wonderfully involving film with.

Watch the trailer here.


Image: A scene from The Fighter

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And the winner is...

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Those are nine very good films, several of which would have deserved the prize in a lesser year.

But only once in a very long while do we find a film as epochal and as relevant as this masterpiece.

If there is any justice, those nine will be also-rans. In my mind, they already are.

Do you agree with Raja Sen? Which film do you think will win Best Picture?

Watch the trailer here.


Image: A scene from The Social Network

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