My thoughts on Oscar nominated films as I posted them on Facebook:
The Descendants: 1 Star
Failed to see what was so great about "The Descendants". Clooney was definitely not worth of the Golden Globe for best actor. I haven't seen "Shame" yet, but I'm 100% certain Fassbender was robbed. Just another Clooney performance.
Self-indulgent, contrived, trope-ridden, nothing to note in the way of cinematography...just a pretty "meh" affair.
The Artist - 2 Star
Should've been called "The Asshole". Really couldn't warm to the jack-holery of the leading man. A well enough executed piece of silent-film mimicry but even at a paltry 90-minutes still felt like it overstayed its welcome.
Ides of March - 2 1/2 Star
A surprising small and insular film revolving around petty grievances of mostly unlikeable characters. No particularly outstanding performances, mostly retreading ground we've all seen before. Any comparisons to "The West Wing" end about 15 minutes in, turning into a rather shallow power-play piece with somewhat contrived plot devices. Underwhelmed.
The Iron Lady - 3 Star
An entertaining enough biopic that I fear lent a bit too far in the direction of a "Thatcher For Dummies" approach to the historical side of this film. Streep turns in a power-house performance as the title character both in her prime and in her faltering, later years, which I believe took up far too much of the film. In saying that, spending too much more time with her during her administrative years would have made the portrayal far less sympathetic.
My Week With Marilyn - 3 Star
An interesting take on Marilyn Monroe's short stint acting in the UK. Michelle Williams turned in an astonishingly well rounded portrayal of the screen queen, shame the rest of the film didn't hold up to quite the same standard (unsure about Branagh's Supporting Actor Oscar nom...another case of the actor playing themselves, really)
Moneyball - 3 1/2 Star
Not as Sorkin-y as I'd expected, a little over long, but an interesting enough "underdog" film.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - 4 Star
Brilliantly shot, with muted 70's aesthetics. A great cast who all played their roles excellently. Gary Oldman's understated Smiley was sublime.
*Hugo: 5 Star *
Wow. "Hugo", once again proving that 3D glasses don't work when you're crying.
A truly beautiful love letter to film, both the physical medium and the projection. If you're a fan at all or film an its history, you really can't let this go by you.
Definitely one to see in 3D, at the cinema.
Note, you probably wont take away the full power of this film if you don't have a passing knowledge of the early years of film. Scorsese does a good job of providing the audience with a crash course, but many might find it boring (as I heard to teens complain after the credits rolled).
I'd say it's easily the best new film I've seen in the past 12 months. Definitely a BD purchase.