The Oscars “Best Picture” candidates: The Kids Are All Right

Scott Nover ('13)/Eastside staff

In one’s efforts to watch a movie at a theatre, he or she is constantly plagued with a multitude of trailers for films that are supposed to appeal to him or her and the surrounding audience. Some trailers preview films that from first glance leave the viewer with a certainty that the movie will be terrible. Others excite the moviegoer and inspire him or her to return in a matter of weeks. Others just look like “nice” movies. These films often go under the radar and even if they are excellent, often fail to bring in ticket sales. The Kids Are All Right started out, to many people, just like that; but eventually the hype from that past January’s Sundance Film Festival caught on and the movie drew crowds from all over. Despite a very limited release, the film netted approximately twenty-five million dollars, having only spent about four million in production.

Well, enough about statistics, what is the movie even about? The Kids Are All Right is a story about two children, Joni and Laser (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson), and their lesbian mothers, Nic and Jules (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore). Jules and Laser search for and find their mothers’ sperm donor Paul (Mark Ruffalo) and the entire family establishes an interesting relationship with this new figure in their lives. Through conflicts with parenthood, drugs, sex, sexuality, and overall identity, the characters’ lives are forever changed with the introduction of an unfamiliar male presence, and the question of what family really is and really means becomes the focal point of the movie. Needless to say, The Kids Are All Right is one of a kind. Though the public may generalize it as a typical sexually charged indie drama, it is far different than anything that has come before.

Winner of the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, The Kids Are All Right is now nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture. Following up on the 2007 success of fellow indie sex drama and Sundance favorite Juno (which won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Picture), The Kids Are All Right looks to make another big impression on general audiences by taking home at least one Oscar statue. Any win for the film will be sure to be a big one, as movies like this do not usually get the recognition they rightfully deserve.

Also nominated for an Academy Award is Annette Bening (Best Actress) for her role as Nic, the ever-worrying OB/GYN. While some may argue that Julianne Moore had the more dynamic and powerful role, Bening beat her out for the Golden Globe and is now standing alone among four contenders for the Oscar. Though perceived as an underdog by many, to Natalie Portman’s powerful performance as Nina Sayers in Black Swan, Bening is nevertheless revered for her own performance.

The Kids Are All Right began as a surprise hit at Sundance and has made its long journey up to becoming a first-rate film. The nominations and the awards are just recognizing great achievements in film, but ultimately the verdict lies in the viewer. Honestly, very few viewers were displeased with this charmingly powerful movie and its success continues to be elongated. Unfortunately, the journey for The Kids Are All Right will come to an end on the night of the twenty-seventh of February, but perhaps it will go out in style. No matter what happens at the Academy Awards, it should be an exciting night and one that is full of surprises. And maybe, just maybe, if The Kids Are All Right is involved with one of those surprises, it truly would be well deserved.