Road to the Oscars: Philomena

In case you haven’t heard the Academy Award nominations, go here and check them out. For each film I write about, I will list the nominations received. This blog will be focusing on the melodramatic comedy, Philomena (Frears, 2013). The film was nominated for the following:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actress
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Best Original Score

To begin, Philomena’s (Judi Dench) nuns were much different than Maria Von Trapp’s car-jacking nuns — I pity my early comparison. In fact, much of the film took me by surprise! I was expecting the typical human interest piece going through the motions of finding a long, lost family member. While the film does mimic conventions of melodrama, I found the plot twists clever and the comedy charming. In fact, since I know many will venture to theatres or get their hands on a copy, I’ll try not to reveal too many of the surprises in the film. Go see it. There will be scads of older people in the theatre — embrace it. Yes, they will laugh at colonoscopy jokes, but remember one day that will be you.

I found the controversy of faith versus unbelief intriguing. The film caught some flack for offering another attack on the Catholic church, but if you truly pay attention to the film, it is evident Philomena is the best representation for Christianity apparent in recent films (and not directed by Kirk Cameron). The dichotomy between Philomena and journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) creates much of the comedic tension throughout the narrative, and I suppose it offers some sort of “inclusivity” for non-believers — though I think Philomena’s faith and forgiveness prevails.

But is it Oscar-worthy? I don’t see the film winning Best Picture next to the films it is up against. Best Actress is a possibility, though Cate Blanchett seems to be making a clean sweep with her role in Blue Jasmine (P.S. I’m a little peeved Emma Thompson didn’t make the cut). To be honest, I’m not confident in any of the categories in which Philomena received nominations, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great film. I just know what the Academy likes… and I don’t see it happening.

On the next Double Take… Road to the Oscars: 12 Years a Slave… 

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