So when I first rented this film about seven years ago, I thought it was pretty, but boring. I watched it again last night hoping maybe my opinion would change. This was not the case. There are moments in this film that are truly wonderful, but as a whole it, for me, feels lifeless. It’s a pretty sexy subject, too, so it’s a shame they didn’t find a way to capture that (see The House of Mirth for a film that does it right). The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning three: Best Art Direction (won), Best Costume Design (won), Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay (won), Best Supporting Actor Denholm Elliott, Best Supporting Actress Maggie Smith, Best Director and Best Picture. The other films up for Best Picture that year were Children of a Lesser God, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Mission and winner Platoon.
I really love this movie. When I first saw it in theaters I was with my mother and afterwards all we wanted to do was eat good chocolate. In recent year, I’ve noticed a tendency in film bloggers to complain about this movie for being nominated for Best Picture. They use it as a way of showing that a “mediocre” film can get nominated for the top prize with a great campaign and/or if it’s backed by the Weinsteins. I think this is a completely unfair and narrow view of the film. I would in no way call this a “mediocre” film, for one. Also, it’s a film that was both critically acclaimed and loved by audiences. Isn’t that the kind of film we always wish the Academy would nominate? You can’t complain about the Academy being too pretentious with one breath and then bash this perfectly lovely film with another. This film was nominated for five Academy Awards – Best Actress Juliette Binoche, Best Supporting Actress Judi Dench, Best Score, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture; it didn’t win a single award. It was up against Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Traffic and winner Gladiator. 2000 was actually one of my favorite years for Best Picture nominees (behind 1997, which is maybe my favorite year) as I love every single film that was nominated for the top prize.