Nothing made me happier on Oscar Nomination Day than “The Tree Of Life” getting the much deserved Academy attention that it received. A Best Cinematography nod was bound to happen with all the award season buzz it garnered, but with Best Picture and Best Directing nominations, “The Tree Of Life” became a frontrunner for both categories. Terrence Malick, the director, is not a stranger to awards and was even nominated for two Academy Awards for his work on “The Thin Red Line” in 1998. As polarizing as “The Tree Of Life” was, however, I do not expect, nor assume that it will take home the big prize and even if it did, there would be an uproar of disapproval.

“The Tree Of Life” is an experimental meditation on life. So many audiences are used to a linear narrative; beginning, middle, and end. If that begins to disappear in a film or the narrative is shadowed with imagery instead of voice, then people begin to question the film. I remember seeing “The Tree Of Life” in theaters and recall fifty percent of the audience walking out at various moments before the film was halfway through. It is not a film for every audience and for that reason, not a Best Picture win, even though I personally believe it would be one of the best wins of all-time.

“The Tree Of Life” is a labor of love. Not many directors could put on the directing cap and produce such a thought-provoking and truly deep experience of a film. Also, I feel many directors wouldn’t even dare take on a task of splitting audiences with such a deep and meaningful exploration. Props have to be given to Terrence Malick for his undertaking of such an enormous project.

On multiple viewings, you are able to catch so many aspects of the film that were missed the first time. This comes off as a very personal and believable meditation that a person goes through when dealing with the loss of a loved one and the ever-present questions on our existence as human beings. Terrence Malick lays out his thoughts for all to see, and whether you loved it or hated it, “The Tree Of Life” is a product of something truly extraordinary.

Will Malick win the Oscar? Probably not. With more down-to-earth films like “The Artist” and “The Descendants”, there is no way “The Tree Of Life” and Terrence Malick will sneak in and win the top awards for a film that fifty percent of audiences truly despised. Though I believe Malick will be recognized someday for his achievements in film, it will not be this year.

This is a category that is bound to get me up-in-arms this year at the Oscars. There is no film on the list that even compares to the cinematography of “The Tree Of Life”. I do not care what your opinion is on the narrative of the film (or lack thereof), but do not disregard this film just because of its experimental nature. That being said, if “The Tree Of Life” does not win Best Cinematography at the Academy Awards, I will be deeply upset.

Every frame of this film is beautiful and surreal. The camerawork is brilliant. And there really is no comparison. This film shut-out every other competitor for cinematography awards this season, cleaning up all the critics awards across the country. Even though there is often a disconnect between critics awards and the Academy Awards, I truly hope the Academy does not drop the ball on this one.

1 Comment on “2012 Oscars Challenge: [33] The Tree Of Life & 3 Nominations

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