THE CONTENDERS: ‘Million Dollar Baby’


I was not fortunate enough to see a screening of this film before I did my top ten of 2004, but now that I have it definitely would have come in at number one and I may have to make an exception for my best of 2005 by giving it an honorary number one spot at the end of the year.

Million Dollar Baby is one of the best films I have seen… EVER. Clint Eastwood is magnificent from his directorial duties down to his emotional and heartfelt performance, and along with Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman Million Dollar Baby brings to life a story as memorable as any I have seen.

As far as Oscars go, Million Dollar Baby is poised to pull the same results garnered Charlize Theron last year with the end of the season run Monster made, as Swank is certain to earn a nom for her performance in the Best Actress category. Swank worked for three months with legendary boxing trainer Hector Roca as well as with weight lifter and trainer Grant Roberts several hours a day to build the necessary muscle mass to convincingly play a highly conditioned professional athlete, and on top of the buff and brawn Swank taps into every emotion necessary to tug at your heart strings making you want to stand up and cheer her on.

Her dedication to the role shows in every scene she is in and she is my current pick to earn her second Oscar to put next to her 2000 statue for her performance in Boys Don’t Cry.

Also, almost guaranteed a nom is Morgan Freeman in the Best Supporting Actor slot. As Eddie “Scrap Iron” Dupris, or just Scrap as he is known in the film, Freeman narrates the story of Million Dollar Baby and is the voice of reason during the film and a character you immediately fall in love with. Eastwood will also certainly be up for Best Director and if the competition wasn’t so stiff this year in the Best Actor category he would be up with the best there as well.

Another aspect of the film that is sure to gain some recognition is Tom Stern for his cinematography. Stern’s use of lighting is magnificent as it sets scenes in shadow, revealing all that is necessary to tell the story as much through the words and acting as through what is seen and what is not.

Finally, Million Dollar Baby, is my front runner right now for Best Picture and it seems The National Society of film Critics feel the same as it was just picked by that group as the best film of 2004. The emotion and power that is displayed in every corner of this film is moving and once you get to the end you are spent. No movie is expected to be this good and it is almost unbelievable.

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Weekend: Nov. 15, 2018, Nov. 18, 2018

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