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July 26, 2010

Oscar picks for Inception (no spoilers)

We saw Inception last night. Here are my predictions for its Oscars:

Category

Will win?

Best Picture

Yes

Director (Christopher Nolan )

Yes

Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio)

No

Supporting Actress (Marion Cotillard)

No

Supporting Actor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt )

Yes

Special Effects

Yes

Cinematography

No

Original Screenplay (Christopher Nolan )

Yes

Score (Hans Zimmer)

No

Sound

Yes

Sound Editing

Yes

Editing

Yes

Art Direction

Yes

That’s twelve nominations. Titanic was nominated for 14, Avatar for 9. Inception is certainly better than either of those two movies, not that that has anything to do with it.

I’m not saying I agree with the Academy’s decisions here. I don’t think Marion Cotillard deserves a nomination, and I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was very good in this, will win to reward him for playing humans with decent haircuts in indie movies after “3rd Rock from the Sun.” But then you have to ask why Ellen Page didn’t get a nomination. Sometimes I just don’t understand the Academy!

But Inception is an excellent movie. Much better — in my opinion! — than Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which I thought was a mess rescued by Heath Ledger’s performance. I also liked it better than Nolan’s The Prestige, a movie I liked a lot even though in the end the plot cheated. As for Memento, well, that movie is just special. Inception is special, too: a Hollywood movie of its sort (no spoilers here!) that actually works. It is conventional enough that you’ll predict some large-stroke stuff, it’s arbitrary enough in its rules that you’ll feel it’s all a bit weightless, and it’s confusing enough that you’ll leave not sure if it followed its own rules (I think it does). But it’s well-imagined and extremely well-told. It’s The Matrix with a brain.

M. Night Shyamalan must be kicking himself that he didn’t come up with the idea of Inception so that he could direct it and really f*ck it up.


Screenrant’s page on Inception is nothing but spoilers, but it usefully goes through the film’s rules and narrative. Read it after you see the movie…

[Later that day] Here’s a Donald Clark’s thoughtful appreciation of the movie, also full of spoilers (via Seb Schmoller).

[Later that day] I put in “screenplay” twice. D’oh. I meant to include cinematography. So, I fixed it.

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