Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oscar watch: Winter's Bone

One of the first movies of the year to gain attention (it won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in January) was Winter's Bone. Starring more-or-less newcomer, Jennifer Lawrence (left), as Ree Dolly. Ree is a tough 17- year-old who must cross literal and emotional terrain as she bucks the unspoken system to find information on her missing criminal father. If he doesn't show up for his court appearance the family will lose their house. Meanwhile, she is responsible for the her two younger siblings and her mentally ill mother.

The movie rests on the shoulders of Lawrence and she does a brilliant job. John Hawkes (right) plays her uncle Teardrop and Garret Dillahunt plays the sheriff (mini Deadwood reunion!). Hawkes' role is larger and as usual, he delivers on his performance. Teardrop is a hardened man, who is mysterious, frightening, and aggressive in the beginning and then protective towards the end. But you're never quite sure where his loyalty lies.

It was fascinating to watch a family and region (Missouri Ozarks) so tightly knit and impenetrable, but it was also frustrating, as a viewer so outside of that realm, to understand why it all had to be that way. A chilling insight into a sub-culture of the American landscape.

Oscar predictions: Lawrence will be nominated for Best Lead Actress, Winter's Bone will be nominated for Best Picture. John Hawkes, though, will be left out in the proverbial cold.

Find it in the catalog!