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Oscar Countdown, Day 5: 127 Hours

Posted on the 22 February 2011 by Cinefilles @cinefilles

Counting down the hours until Hollywood's most golden of awards galas? So are we! Semi-obsessively. Join us at noon for the next ten too-long days as we mentally prep our Oscar pool ballots and give each of this year's Best Picture nominees a once over and half.
Oscar Countdown, Day 5: 127 HoursPhoto: allmoviephoto.com
127 HOURS
THE RUNDOWN:
If you don't know what 127 Hours is about based on the title and photo, it's about a man stuck in a canyon for 127 hours. Aron Ralston (James Franco) is a thrill-seeking adventurer who likes to go off on dangerous day trips on the spur of the moment without telling a soul what he's up to. One day, while exploring a canyon, trailing through walls of rock, a boulder falls loose and jams his arm underneath. Unable to free himself, he's left struggling to stay alive and trying to get out.
WHY IT'S GOLDEN: You might think watching one man stand awkwardly between a rock and a hard place (That's actually the title of Ralston's memoir about the incident!) for two hours would be boring as well, standing between a rock and hard place for two hours. But it's the exact opposite, thanks to Danny Boyle's frantic and fantastical directing, which seamlessly rams us back and forth between hysterical hallucinations (Is that Scooby Doo!?) and hellish reality. And don't even get me started on Franco's hilarious yet heartbreaking one-man show. If Colin Firth wasn't in the running, he'd be the one to beat. Hands, er hand (?) down. Terrible, insensitive jokes aside, 127 Hours deserves Oscar gold is because it turns a ridiculously remarkable story about a true triumph of the human spirit into something even more remarkable, at least in Hollywood: a film that is both accurate and original. - Emily
WHY IT'S NOT: Despite remarkably building an interesting narrative out of a man stuck between rocks for 127 hours, there still isn't much to bite off. I mean, there is no driving force at present, except trying to break free, which an extremely slow struggle. The film is more of a portrait than a story. We learn about a man, who is he, what's happened in his past and then his inner battle between himself and his past, all while lodged in a crack in a canyon. The storyline does progress, through very gradually and very insignificantly. - Michelle
THE FINAL VERDICT: While it's safe to say the Academy has a serious hard-on for Danny Boyle - they gave him multiple trophies, including this one, for Slumdog Millionaire two years back - I'm not sure they've got enough of one for this film. Sure it got six nominations, but I've been doubtful of its actual chances since they made Franco a host. It seems like their version of a highly-publicized consolation prize.
Check out Emily's original review here! Tomorrow, we find out how True Grit stacks up.

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