The race for the Oscars has finally begun and with 2011 being the difficult year for cinema that it is its almost hard to tell which films will be nominated for Best Picture. In honest opinion, I can't count ten films that deserve the nomination; I can hardly even count five. The only three films that I would like to see against each other in the race are 50/50, Moneyball, and now The Descendants. While I would like to see Warrior in the running, mostly because I see it as a better quality film than 2010's The Fighter was, I've come to a conclusion that that probably will not happen. With all this being said, Oscar-season has finally arrived and there are still plenty of films to be released that look award worthy. War Horse, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Young Adult, The Adventures of Tintin, and even Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close yet to hit the big-screen, but The Descendants is, and will probably remain, as the best picture of 2011...for many reasons.
1) George Clooney's performance is completely flawless. If you remember his Oscar-nominated performance from 2009's Up in the Air, Clooney only gives a performance that is more powerful and worthy of the win. He may not have won that Oscar, but if he is (and he will be) nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role again this year, he might just be she table to sit another Academy-Award on the shelf with the one he won from 2006. Clooney plays Matt King in The Descendants, or what he calls "The Back-Up Parent". King has a huge decision to make on whether or not to sell land that his family had owned for generations. With pressure riding on his back already, his wife is in a coma and through this tragedy King must cope and deal with his two daughters. Clooney plays the role well, and with the witty dialogue and incredible development on the King, it was easy to really love and feel the character deeply by the time the film had ended.
2) Shailene Woodley presents a performance even better than Clooney's; for that, give her an Oscar now. She really makes a character out of Alex, a troubled-teen holding back a secret from her father that might just turn the tables on everything holding the family together. Woodley has some of the best moments in the entire film and took my breath away in every one of them. One of the best aspects of the film is the conversations held between Alex and her father, and with Clooney and Woodley both giving two of the best performances of the year, The Descendants holds up quite nicely and will certainly face Oscar-attention. Thanks to Woodley and her power to bring the character to life, you feel the character's pain, love, and just about every emotion you can think of.
3) The film masterly blends humor with hard-hitting drama. Like 50/50, another favorite of mine from this year, The Descendants is able to pull the audience in through characters facing serious difficulties, but still manage to make people laugh through everything going on around them, The characters are going through a rough-time, times where viewers may be able to connect with the characters, but with all the bad comes realistic humor that really make The Descendants the excellent piece of cinema that it is. The three men who worked on the screenplay deserve recognition for their original screenplay here. I believe a nomination for Most Original Screenplay would be perfect recognition just for their astounding work with crafting excellent characters and setting-up incredible scenes between a struggling father and daughter. In times of heartbreak, deceit, and life values, the film lights upon tough topics without insulting the audience through hysterical humor. Its a film anyone can enjoy and for that, it deserves an Oscar.
4) The film Sideways was a big winner, was it not? The Descendants, also directed by Alexander Payne, is twice the film Sideways was. The films grasps more meaning and captivates more emotion throughout beautiful characters. Not to mention the beautiful shots of the Hawaiian Islands, which are all breath-taking and beyond beautiful. The Descendants has a captivating look to it that bring out the beauty the film already contains through its storyline and characters. Payne should be familiar with making award-worthy flicks; I really hope we see him again in February for his stunning and glorious work done here.
CHARACTERS: For many other reasons does the film deserve its title as the best film of 2011. With the month of December releasing many great-looking movies I can't one-hundred percent say that this will be the best film of the year by the year's end, but not once this year have I met better on-screen characters. These characters are beautiful on both the inside and out and they truly make The Descendants the excellent film that it is. Not once did I have to glance at my watch, in fact, I wanted the film to continue. I wanted to watch these characters and see what happens with the rest of their lives. If a film can really make you care for characters in that sort of way, its got to be worth something.
It is without a doubt the best family-drama in years, possibly of all-time. The Descendants beautifully sets-up captivating characters the audience can connect with through an emotional time in their lives. The characters will stay with you in your heart long after the film ends and for that... it deserves a round of applause. Give it an Oscar now! The Descendants is this year's winner. I can already tell.
Thanks for the read!
-Written by Corey Wood