Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oscar Noms

While I'm hard at work on my top 10 films of 2009 (just trying to round it out with a few foreign ones), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did me one better this morning, releasing their 2010 Academy Award nominees. An interesting change this year is the expansion of the Best Picture field from 5 films to 10. As a result, the Pixar film Up became the first animated film since the inception of the Best Animated Feature category to be nominated for Best Picture. It doesn't stand a chance, but as they say at the Oscars, "It's an honor just to be nominated." I'm going to list the major nominations and bold who I think will win, and italicize who I think should win. If they are the same, then it's going to look weird. I'll also try to list a few snubs if I can think of any.

The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up in the Air

With 10 nominated films, there aren't a lot of best picture snubs. With that being said, it would have been nice if the Academy went out on a limb and choose a small-ish film like Moon or Where The Wild Things Are (especially since WTWTA is a non-animated "kids" film). It's nice to see District 9 and A Serious Man up there though.

Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
George Clooney – Up in the Air
Colin Firth – A Single Man
Morgan Freeman – Invictus
Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker

I haven't seen Bridges in Crazy Heart, but I've heard enough good things and was generally unimpressed with the performances of Renner and Clooney in their respective films. A MAJOR snub was A Serious Man's Michael Stuhlbarg (who would have been my choice). Another inspired choice would be Viggo Mortenson from The Road, but that movie never generated enough buzz to garner nominations of any sort. Also, Sam Rockwell was pretty incredible in Moon as were Nicolas Cage in Bad Lieutenant and Sharlto Copley in District 9.

Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side
Helen Mirren – The Last Station
Carey Mulligan – An Education
Gabourey Sidibe – Precious
Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia

Really a pretty pathetic field for Best Actress this year without Kate Winslet or Judi Dench involved. I loved Carey Mulligan in An Education though, but Meryl Streep is Meryl Streep and the award is hers to lose. Sadly not many strong female lead performances this year, but I do have a few snubs for Supporting Actress.

Matt Damon – Invictus
Woody Harrelson – The Messenger
Christopher Plummer – The Last Station
Stanley Tucci- The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

This award is a slam-dunk. Christoph Waltz completely stole every scene of his in Inglorious Basterds as the sadistic Nazi colonel Hans Landa. Woody Harrelson was pretty good in The Messenger, but I think Ben Foster was better (not sure on what distinguished Best Actor from Best Supporting Actor in regards to screen time.) Michael Fassbender was another standout performance from Inglorious Basterds who should have been recognized. He was also great in Fish Tank which I reviewed last week. Another worthy addition would be Jake Gyllenhaal in Brothers.

Penelope Cruz – Nine
Vera Farmiga – Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick – Up in the Air
Mo’nique – Precious
Maggie Gyllenhaal – Crazy Heart

Mo'nique, like Christoph Waltz, has this one all wrapped up. Maybe if the Academy had nominated Marion Cotillard from Nine or Melanie Laurent (or Diane Kruger!) from Inglorious Basterds, she'd have a little competition. I think Anna Kendrick was much better than the chilly Vera Farmiga in Up In The Air. Zooey Deschanel was great in 500 Days of Summer, but I think that would probably qualify as a lead performance.

James Cameron – Avatar
Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds
Lee Daniels – Precious
Jason Reitman – Up in the Air

Tarantino did a fantastic job with Basterds, and although it isn't my favorite film of 2009, his flair for dialogue and tension made for 3-4 absolutely riveting scenes. This is what makes a director great. Pacing and tension. The Coen Brothers are an obvious snub for this award, as is Werner Herzog for Bad Lieutenant.

Mark Boal – The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino – Inglorious Basterds
Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman – The Messenger
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen – A Serious Man
Bob Peterson, Pete Docter – Up

I think this is probably a tight race minus The Messenger, but since The Hurt Locker will be beat out for Best Picture, the academy will probably offer Best Director an Original Screenplay to save face. I personally think it's a toss-up between QT and the Coen Bros, but what do I know. Moon and The Brothers Bloom deserve some consideration here.


Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci & Tony Roche- In the Loop
Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell- District 9
Geoffrey Fletcher- Precious
Nick Hornby- An Education
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner- Up in the Air

Kudos to the Academy all around here, for 5 solid choices. I wish Where the Wild Things Are and The Fantastic Mr. Fox got nods, but that's being a bit critical. I doubt Where The Wild Things Are qualified as an adaptation anyway, considering how short the book is.

Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells

As much as I was entertained by Up and Coraline, The Fantastic Mr. Fox was a better film in almost every regard. I hope people don't confuse Best Animated Film with Best Children's Film. Sad not to see Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, and I have no idea WTF The Secret of Kells is.

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