Obsession of the Week: “Inception” – The Best Picture of the Year

I’ve seen “The King’s Speech” and, yes, I really liked it, and, yes, it won the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay. It was a good film, maybe even great, but definitely not the best of the year. Sadly, the Academy got it wrong this year just like they did the year “How Green Was My Valley” won over “Citizen Kane” and “Forrest Gump” won over “Pulp Fiction”.

When history looks back at this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture and sees “The King’s Speech” won out over “Inception”, it will be deemed a bad choice. Both “The King’s Speech” and “Inception” each won 4 Oscars. One thing was consistent on Oscar night (other than how bad the hosts were), one name came up more times than any other in acceptance speeches – Christopher Nolan, who as a director was not even nominated and as a writer lost out to “The King’s Speech”.

How an inventive and fresh screenplay like “Inception” doesn’t win the Oscar after winning the Writer’s Guild of America award for Best Original Screenplay (writers pick this one) is a tragedy. How a movie with such originality that takes you into the dream within the dream within the dream within the original dream isn’t counted as the best original screenplay, especially when compared to an insignificant English history lesson is beyond reality. The complexity, detail and multiple layers of “Inception” alone are worthy of being called the best screenplay.

When you look at the two films casts, certainly “The King’s Speech” had three gems of performances but when history looks back at “Inception” and the stars of that film, it will likely look back at an ensemble similar to that of the original “Godfather”. “Inception” offers a cast of international scale with some of the best young actors working today. While I don’t think Leonardo DiCaprio has done his best work in this film, you cannot overlook the ensemble Nolan assembled here that includes Japanese Ken Watanabe, French Marion Cotillard, Indian-American Dileep Rao and England’s Michael Caine and the late Pete Postlethwaite. Not to mention the up-and-covers Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy. The “Inception” cast, like all of Nolan’s films, is an integral part of the success and genius of the film and that shouldn’t have been overlooked.

Going beyond the acting and story, the visuals are stunning, like no film before it. Its Oscar-winning cinematography and visual effects will be studied for decades to come. Nolan’s attention to detail here is insurmountable. Nolan puts everything he’s got up on the screen so while the audience is watching, deep into the plot of the film, it’s amazed at everything it’s witnessing. From the visuals to the script, even the music in this film is multi-layered unlike any other film this year, blending a richly unique picture.

A great film stays with you. Makes you think. Makes you second guess what you think you saw and makes you want to see it all again to verify it. That’s part of the genius here with Nolan and “Inception”. The ending is one of the best ever, giving closure to those who want it and thought to those who crave it. Online there are “Inception” theories and discussions about what was real and what was a dream and what the ending was meant to be. Not since the TV series “Lost” (whose own ending was a cop-out) has there been so much chatter and theories about a fictional story. What makes “Inception” such a classic film goes beyond the story, the cast and the visuals, it’s the fact that the film makes you think and even second guess yourself about what you think about it. No one is out there debating the plot and ideas of “The King’s Speech” or even “The Social Network” for that matter. It’s all about “Inception” –  the best picture of the year.

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