Saturday, May 14, 2011
Moulin Rouge!: 10 Years Later
Despite the mixed reaction, at years end, Moulin Rouge! received eight Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture, and Nicole Kidman for Best Actress; it won two awards-- costume design and art direction (both of which were shared by Luhrmann's wife Catherine Martin.) And while the awards momentum for such a nutty film is accomplishment in itself, for a film so widely acknowledged by the Academy, two were unfairly snubbed. The first was for leading actor Ewan McGregor, who so charmingly and with such unbridled abandon played our dashing hero with utmost sincerity and vulnerability; his work is easily, I'd say, the best of his career, and one of the grandest emotional performances that any male has brought to the screen in a some time. Kidman's work was acknowledged, and while wonderful-- I'd argue it's one the strongest pure movie star roles since the days of Marilyn; she has to be sex pot, muse, lover, and martyr nearly all at once-- McGregor's work is probably the more challenging. The other unfair snub was for the man who created this wondrous descent into madness-- director Baz Luhrmann, without which the whole thing would never have been. Nearly on a technical side alone (the opening shot had, I believe, the largest scale of visual effects ever for a sequence at that time) he was due, yet for the balance of comedy and tragedy, the influences that ranged from Nirvana to MTV to Shakespeare to classic French farce to La Boheme and Hollywood, it still strikes a nerve in me.
Until then, we can harken back to the tenth anniversary of one of the greatest films ever made. It hasn't aged a bit.