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Immersed in Movies: Final Oscar Thoughts

Photo of Bill Desowitz By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood February 22, 2013 at 1:47PM

During this final week leading up to Sunday's 85th Academy Awards, I was reminded of the extraordinary meta-experience that underlies several of this year's nominees. In the end, at least for me, it's not about the frantic Oscar race and ultimately who wins and who doesn't but about the joy of making and watching the movies...

Lincoln, window

Meanwhile, with the third stop-motion nominee, Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie," he attained a more traditional experience with the technique while exploring a black and white retro world of monsters and memories. It's the most personal movie he's ever made, imperfect yet joyful in its celebration of individual creativity and anti-bullying in its own right.

Creativity and responsibility were at the heart of both "Brave" and "Wreck-It Ralph." Mother and daughter repair the fabric of their bond and save their kingdom in the uneven yet gorgeous Scottish folk tale, while two unlikely video game characters unite in an act of bravery to save their world. But for Rich Moore, "Ralph" was also about embracing the Disney legacy and bringing it into the 21st century with new vitality.

As for the live-action best picture nominees, I was particularly struck by the transcendence in both "Lincoln" and "Life of Pi." They bridge the past and present to help us find meaning and purpose in these difficult times, and I came away awestruck. It's not easy to convey inner and outer worlds simultaneously, but Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee did so with insight and joy. Somehow Lincoln summons the strength to help repair the great divide in his family and in the nation, and Pi and Richard Parker reach a greater understanding about co-existence.

It was a pretty good Oscar season after all.

This article is related to: Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, Brave, Wreck-It Ralph, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Ang Lee, Steven Spielberg, Awards, Features, Immersed In Movies

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.