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Barb Kromphardt

And the Best Picture goes to ...

The Oscars are coming up this weekend, and once again I’m looking forward to the annual extravaganza of Hollywood’s beautiful people cavorting in glamorous costumes and borrowed jewels.

The Oscars are always more interesting if you’ve seen a number of the movies, and I’ve had a pretty good year at the theater.

I’ve seen four of the Best Picture nominees: “Argo,” “Django Unchained,” “Lincoln” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”  All four of the movies were truly amazing examples of what Hollywood can do better than anyone else.

“Argo” and “Lincoln” brought history to life, although “Lincoln” was certainly a more accurate depiction. “Argo” brought back the pictures and stories of my youth, the terrors of the Iranian hostage crisis and the interesting image of Muslim fundamentalists that included gun-toting women.

And “Lincoln?” Never did I imagine anyone could take the larger-than-life caricature of the 16th president and turn him into a real human being. I understand some people were bored by all the talking in Congress. I found it fascinating, mostly because their flowery over-the-top language indicated a level of intelligence you don’t hear out of Washington every day. Those representatives knew their history, knew the English language, and knew how to deliver an insult!

I loved “Silver Linings Playbook.” I’m not a big fan of pretty boy Bradley Cooper, but he gave his character a life and a passion and a humanity I was blown away by. Robert DeNiro showed that the line defining mental illness is an awfully thin one, and we all have our own mental issues. And Jennifer Lawrence? I was dragged kicking and screaming to “The Hunger Games,” and I’ve been a huge fan of her’s ever since. That young girl has an old soul, and I look forward to seeing how she grows as an actress in the coming years.

And then we have “Django Unchained.”  Oh my! I had been a proud member of the “I’ve never seen a Quentin Tarantino movie fan club” for many years. No “Reservoir Dogs” or “Kill Bill” for me. But “Inglourious Bastards” with its questionable spelling and World War II setting dragged me in, and I sat watching it in gape-jawed amazement.

And so there was “Django Unchained.” Vulgar, violent, inappropriate and yet so incredibly well-written and acted. I saw it with my husband and two of our children in a mixed audience up in the suburbs, and  every one of us was engrossed.

So my pick for Best Picture? I think “Argo” is going to win. Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated for Best Director, and that seemed to annoy the voters of the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards. I think that annoyance is going to work in “Argo’s” favor and bring home the statuette for this little-known piece of American history.

Tonica News Staff Writer Barb Kromphardt can be reached at news@tonicanews.com.

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