Each week this column will highlight one winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, progressing chronologically until all winners have been discussed. There will be a brief discussion of the film itself followed by a mention of what we wish won from the nominees in the given year (though in many cases there were films that were superior in terms of quality and/or impact that were not nominated). This week’s entry is No Country for Old Men (2007).
In the reverse of my stance on The Departed, No Country for Old Men is absolutely lesser Coens in my mind. I generally seem a bit out of step with the majority consensus on their work, much preferring Hail Caesar! and A Serious Man to their much more popular work like Fargo and The Big Lebowski, but I always appreciate their brand of humor which was unfortunately less pronounced here as they tried to blend their style with Cormac McCarthy’s. They’ve returned many times to the western genre and it generally suits their sensibilities, with the desolate landscape perfectly enabling a sort of nihilism to come out, but here the characters seem as desolate as their surroundings and never find any sort of development as the film takes itself too seriously for one so drenched in absurdity.
The Real Best Picture:
Of all the years with the contentious races that still get endlessly debated, this is the one I am by far the most passionate about. Michael Clayton should’ve won Best Picture and every other award and probably a few in subsequent years for good measure. Do I look like I’m negotiating?