Inglourious Basterds

The Nominations:

  • Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Cinematography
  • Directing
  • Film Editing
  • Best Picture
  • Sound Editing
  • Sound Mixing
  • Writing (Original Screenplay)

The Black-and-White:

A review by spacedcowboy:

The latest opus from Quentin Tarentino, Basterds was well-liked by the Academy and this scribe alike. With 8 nominations, this film is among the most decorated films of the year.

Here is a synopsis of the film from imdb.com:

Chapter 1: Once upon the time, in Nazi occupied France in 1941, the shrewd and sadistic SS Colonel Hans Landa presses a French farmer to disclose the hideout of the Jewish Dreyfus family he has hidden and executes all the members except Shosanna Dreyfus that escapes. Chapter 2: Inglorious Bastards is the name of the brutal Jewish-American elite forced teamed up by Lieutenant Aldo Raine in 1941 to terrify the Nazis, scalping and slaughtering their troops. They become famous in France, sparing the German soldiers that collaborate with them but marking a swastika in their foreheads. Chapter 3: A German Night in Paris. In 1944, Shosanna changed her identity to Emmanuelle Mimieux and owns a movie theater in Paris. When the decorated sniper Private Fredrick Zoller meets her, he tries to flirt with her ; then he convinces Joseph Goebbels to bring the screening for the summit of Nazi leaders of the film “Nation’s Pride” about his deed to her movie theater. Shosanna plots to trap the Germans inside and set on fire the theater. Chapter 4: Operation Kino: Meanwhile the British command uses the German actress and collaborator Bridget von Hammersmark to plot a scheme to bomb the movie-theater. They schedule a meeting in a tavern, but things go wrong and the three Bastards that speak German are murdered and a shooting. Chapter 5: Revenge of the Giant Face: Col. Landa discovers the plan to attempt against the Nazi leaders and arrest Lt. Raine. However, he surprisingly asks to negotiate with Aldo’s superior to surrender. Meanwhile both plans against the Nazi leaders are set in motion.

There is little to dislike in the film. It clearly deserves victories in at least 2 Oscar categories: Original Screenplay and Supporting Actor. In the latter, there is little dispute among any of the pundits in the days rolling up to showtime. Christoph Waltz creates a heartless yet sympathetic performance as the Nazi-you-love-to-hate Colonel Landa. It is a role that could have easily devolved into something far less interesting and far more stereotypical. Instead Landa is nuanced, and his motives are slowly unveiled as the film progresses. Tarentino shines in producing films with lovable villains, and Landa is more-than-welcome to their pantheon.

The writing is fantastic as well. Arguably, more in keeping with a piece of literature than film, this is an intelligent, funny, journey through a revisionist history of the end of World War II. It was a courageous choice to so blatantly alter such a well-known era of history, but it worked. It more than worked, and perhaps for that alone it deserves the nod for writing. However, the story doesn’t stop there. None of the characters are anything less than complicated, multilayered and interesting. Although there is a large cast, each character has a story to tell, and a lifetime of experiences to share. Tarentino hit the bulls-eye with perhaps his best written film yet.

In the categories of Directing and Cinematography, the nominations are similarly well-deserved. Concensus is that Basterds is not among the favorites for these Oscars, but certainly is not out of place in either.

In the first year of the re-expanded 10 Best Picture nominations, Basterds more than deserves a nod. And in any other year, I think it would be a well worthy of consideration as well.

Glourious.

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