OSCAR THREAD….I was OK with most of the Academy Awards last night except for the winners in the two supporting actor categories. Javier Bardem was fine as hit man Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, but I often wonder if intense, showy roles like this are really all that difficult to pull off. (Comments on this score are welcome from people who know more about the craft of acting than I do.) I would have chosen Casey Affleck instead for his genuinely interesting and affecting turn in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

And Tilda Swinton? Spare me. We’ve seen the cold corporate lawyer character a hundred times before, and Swinton didn’t do anything new or interesting with it. I think I would have chosen any of the other nominees over her, with my top pick going to Amy Ryan in Gone Baby Gone. I didn’t actually care for the movie all that much (more flash than substance and an ending that was too heavy handed for my taste), but Ryan’s performance was pitch perfect.

But we all have our gripes. And I was certainly happy to see No Country for Old Men beat out There Will Be Blood. TWBB was arresting and, often, enthralling, but like a lot of people I’m growing tired of Paul Thomas Anderson’s inability to take all his bits of interesting filmmaking and turn them into a genuine, complete film. On that level, No Country was simply a better movie.

What did you like or hate about the Oscars? The floor is open.

UPDATE: Lots of disagreement in comments over my dissing of Tilda Swinton. Will Allen: “Look at how she interacts with the Ken Howard character; it is a study in self-loathing via bootlicking servility.” Ralph: “Swinton’s performance was the antithesis of a cliche and made the true villain of the piece all too human.” I’m not really on board here, but these are good points. Read the thread for more.

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