Best picture nominees are a funny thing: They start out as fascinating pieces of work, and by the time the Oscars roll around, the commentary surrounding them has often turned into something less interesting. Something that boils down to either "Good!" or "Not that good!" This year, we wanted to look back at the nine best picture nominees and remind ourselves — and you — that reactions to film are complicated, hilariously varied, and wonderfully individual. So we looked over every comment for every nominee at RottenTomatoes.com, and we brought you some of our favorites. We'll be rolling these out between now and the Oscars, and we begin with a pro-con debate over American Hustle. (Many thanks to my dear pal Bob Mondello and rad NPR Multimedia whizzes Claire O'Neill and Kainaz Amaria. As you will see as these unfold, we had a lot of fun.)
Bob's sincere Internet movie review: A reality-based caper comedy that's sharp and funny from its first shot of Christian Bale's comb-over to its Abscam-aftermath wrap-up. The script's a hoot, the pacing never slackens, and the grand slam of Oscar-nominated performances was richly deserved.
Linda's sincere Internet movie review: I can understand why this movie got a lot of nominations and attention; it's almost impossibly stylish. But for me, the stylishness and the narration held me at a bit of a distance, which kept it from being quite as effective.
Know your stuff before Oscars day!
- Here's an interview with director David O. Russell
- David Edelstein reviews American Hustle on Fresh Air
- Kenneth Turan reviews American Hustle for Morning Edition
- A conversation with Bradley Cooper about American Hustle on Here & Now
- Some more thoughts from Linda about the nominations