I'm talking, of course, about American Sniper and Whiplash.
|You can't even tell which is which.|
This year there are two Oscar-nominated films that are historical dramas about impaired British scientists and their groundbreaking work: The Theory of Everything, the story of physicist Stephen Hawking, and The Imitation Game, the gripping of tale of mathematician Alan Turing's quest to break the Nazi code with the world's first computer.
Also known as oh my God Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch are amazing.
|Who knew science could be so adorable?|
|And still sassy.|
Here's another problem: We have two movies that hinge on the main character's relationship with a strong, intelligent woman, and those parts are still way underwritten. Not that Keira Knightley and Felicity Jones don't give really excellent performances. They do. It's just that they're making the most of parts that simply don't have the depth and complexity of the male leads. Or even of the secondary male characters in their respective films.
|Mark Strong as MI6 agent Stewart Menzies|
especially blew me away.
I hate even having to rationalize it that way. And the most frustrating part of all is that Felicity Jones gave the stronger performance of the weaker character, and vice versa for Keira Knightley.
|They're both too awesome to have to split hairs like that.|
But enough venting. Both movies really are very, very good. I'm thinking, though, that being so similar in general subject matter, they may end up splitting the Academy's vote, both for Best Picture and Best Actor. Kind of a shame, but on the other hand, kind of an embarrassment of riches.
I recommend them both, but if you only see one, see The Imitation Game. The ensemble cast works better for my money, and the script is a smidge more artful.
I will not squee, I will not squee.
From an abundance of professional admiration, of course.