Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Thoughts on Oscar Nominations

Out of the 58 films nominated, I've seen 21 of them including 8 of 10 Best Pictures. Some of the films I still need to see are A Serious Man, The Blind Side, Crazy Heart, Invictus, The Messenger, The Last Station, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Un Prophete, and The White Ribbon. I doubt I'll get to see them all before the actual show.

Also out of the 121 nominations, I've seen 73 (60.3%) of them. Below, I've bolded the films/performances I have seen...

  • Avatar
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Up in the Air
  • Precious
  • Up
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • A Serious Man
  • The Blind Side
The decision to expand the Best Picture list to ten was mostly thought of as an exercise of getting more mainstream movies into the fold. Along with including the highest-grossing movie ever, it also found a place for two films to crack $200 million and another two to get at least $100 million. Money is one thing, but it's also worth a look to see the kinds of movies they picked. A CGI-filled fantasy mega-blockbuster, an Iraqi war film, a purely Tarantino movie, an animated movie, a gore-tastic sci-fi thriller... these types of movies don't get nominated or if they do, it's rare. The one film that surprised me was The Blind Side, but everything else was fairly predictable. Other than The Blind Side and A Serious Man, I've seen all of the other films and have given them all at least B+.

  • Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
  • James Cameron, Avatar
  • Lee Daniels, Precious
  • Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
  • Quentin Tarantino, Inlglourious Basterds
This is the list of directors that everyone expected and nicely divides our top ten Best Picture nominees into "the real 5" and "the other 5." It's no surprise also that the films of these five directors also garnered the most nominations. I'd say it's anybody's game, but I'd be lying since it will most likely go to immense front-runner Kathryn Bigelow which would mean she would be the first woman to win an Oscar for directing. Her biggest competition is interestingly enough her ex-husband James Cameron. As they will fight so will both of their films which tied with 9 nominations each.

  • Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
  • George Clooney, Up in the Air
  • Colin Firth, A Single Man
  • Morgan Freeman, Invictus
  • Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
No surprises here as these are the five actors to be nominated at the SAG Awards. The media would like you to believe it's a two-man race between Clooney and Bridges, but don't be fooled. Bridges has ALL of the momentum and even though anything can happen, he looks to grab his first Oscar. It's really great to see Firth and Renner get their first Oscar nominations, but for them the nomination is its own reward.

  • Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
  • Helen Mirren, The Last Station
  • Carey Mulligan, An Education
  • Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
  • Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Unfortunately Sandra Bullock now holds the distinction of being nominated for a Razzie and an Oscar in the same year. For the former she was nominated for her role in All About Steve, for the latter in the Blind Side. She is the front-runner to win as much as it pains me to say. While she didn't win any critic awards, she won the important industry awards so far. Her closest competitor is 16-time nominated Meryl Streep who was so very close to her second leading role Oscar. There was some heat for Milligan early on, but it's since been dissipated by all the Streep vs. Bullock talk. The other two are just happy to be nominated.

  • Matt Damon, Invictus
  • Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
  • Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
  • Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
  • Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
It was a guessing game as to who the other four nominees would be since Christoph Waltz pretty much won everything in sight this year similar to Heath Ledger last year. Suffice it to say, he's the overwhelming front-runner especially since he's the only one to appear in a Best Picture nominee. Supporting categories, however, are known for their wacky results so don't completely rule out Tucci or Plummer being honored for their career. But, I'd tell Waltz to brush up on his inevitable speech about all of the people named Oscar he knows.

  • Penelope Cruz, Nine
  • Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
  • Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
  • Mo'Nique, Precious
The only surprise nominee here is Maggie Gyllenhaal since she didn't appear anywhere else leading up to her nomination. But with all the love that her co-star is getting, it was less of a shock to see her included. She knocked off Julianne Moore and perhaps a woman from Inglourious Basterds. Still, Maggie Gylenhaal is an Oscar nominee now! Think about it! This prize is going to go to Mo'Nique. Like Waltz, she's dominated the precursor awards with only Anna Kendrick putting up a fight, a measly one at that.

  • Coraline
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • The Secret of Kells
  • Up
No one saw The Secret of Kells coming. It most likely took the place of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs or even 9, but the other four were widely predicted. This year it's not a complete slam dunk for Pixar as it's been getting some competition from Fantastic Mr. Fox. Though it'll probably still go to Up.

  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • The Messenger
  • A Serious man
  • Up
A solid list of nominees that were more or less predicted except for the out-of-left-field choice of The Messenger. The notable exclusions are WGA nominated (500) Days of Summer, Avatar, and The Hangover. The former especially since the one things it's been awarded for this whole award season has been it's script. Very sad to see it get ignored. This will most likely come down to the Inglourious Basterds and The Hurt Locker.

  • District 9
  • An Education
  • In the Loop
  • Precious
  • Up in the Air
Precious and Up in the Air will win this and they are also the only two who also got nominated by the WGA to make it in. The other three were deemed ineligble for the WGA, but were expected to get an Oscar nomination. An Education was a bit of a surprise. Films not nominated that could've been include Fantastic Mr. Fox, Crazy Heart, Julie & Julia, and Star Trek. Shout out to Where the Wild Things Are which totally should've been nominated!

  • Ajami, Israel
  • El Secreto de Sus Ojos, Argentina
  • The Milk of Sorrow, Peru
  • Un Prophete, France
  • The White Ribbon, Germany
The French and German flicks have been tapped as Oscar nominees ever since they made their splash at Cannes the past year. Un Prophete has had the more award show wins, but The White Ribbon lead in critical awards. Plus the latter is nominated elsewhere (Cinematography). The others can win, of course, but I haven't heard much about them yet.

  • Avatar
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Up
This is usually my unofficial favorite category and I don't think they made bad choices. I have no idea what other films were in the running, but I'm definitely rooting for Up since the composer also worked on the scores for Star Trek and Lost (omg it premieres tonight!!!) Most likely, however, it's between two other Best Picture nominees, Avatar and The Hurt Locker.

  • "Almost There," The Princess and the Frog
  • "Down in New Orleans," The Princess and the Frog
  • "Loin de Paname," Paris 36
  • "Take It All," Nine
  • "The Weary Kind," Crazy Heart
"The Weary Kind" will win just like "Jai Ho" last year. It just has the momentum. I love the nominated for "Take It All" if only for the possibility of Marion Cotillard to sing it. Please don't hire Beyonce to do it. I'm a bit sad that the songs from An Education and Where the Wild Things Are didn't get nominated as well as Leona Lewis' "I See You" from Avatar. Somewhere Celine Dion is smirking singing "My Heart Will Go On."

  • Avatar
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Nine
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • The Young Victoria
Avatar looks to dominate the technical awards and I don't see it not get this award. The others, except for Sherlock Holmes, have a small chance I suppose.

  • Avatar
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • The White Ribbon
If Avatar doesn't pick up a win and either The Hurt Locker or Inglourious Basterds does, then it will tell us a lot about who could win Best picture at the end of the night. Keep that in mind. Oh and look a Harry Potter film is Oscar nominated! When was the last time that happened?

  • Bright Star
  • Coco Before Chanel
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Nine
  • The Young Victoria
Nothing too shocking here. Bright Star finally gets its one and only mention (which is one more than 500 Days so whatever). The Young Victoria might be a slight front-runner here, but really who knows?

  • Burma VJ
  • The Cove
  • Food, Inc.
  • The Most Dangerous Man in America
  • Which Way Home
I need to investigate what the other documentaries are about, but I *did* watch The Cove and I'm still thinking about it. At the very least, it is the front-runner so the other films will really need to resonate more than dead dolphins if they hope to win.

  • China's Unnatural Disaster
  • The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner
  • The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
  • Music by Prudence
  • Rabbit a la Berlin
Like every year, I pick the one with the best name to win. It worked last year with Smile Pinki! This year the titles are a bit dry except for Rabbit a la Berlin. So that's my pick. Of course then I find out it's about the slaughters of rabbits, isn't it?

  • Avatar
  • District 9
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious
Everyone will look to this award to find out who will win Best Picture since the winner here usually goes on to win the top prize. District 9 or Precious probably won't win, but the other three definitely have a chance and again will tell us a lot about the tone of the award show.

  • Il Divo
  • Star Trek
  • The Young Victoria
District 9 was robbed! It was in the short list and it was robbed. I can't even look at this category. Well I'm half kidding, sine it's not a terrible list. At least none of them are Norbit.

  • French Roast
  • Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty
  • La Dama y la Muerte
  • Logorama
  • A Matter of Loaf and Death
Again, pick the best name and run with it. It's toss up between Logorama and A Matter of Loaf and Death. Hopefully I can check them out soon.

  • The Door
  • Instead of Abracadabra
  • Kavi
  • Miracle Fish
  • The New Tenants
I have no idea what any of these are about but I so love love love the title, Instead of Abracadabra, and the general feeling it gives you, you know?

  • Avatar
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basters
  • Star Trek
  • Up
Any of them can win this, but Avatar will probably get it.

  • Avatar
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basters
  • Star Trek
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
See above comment... and wtf is Transformers doing at the Oscars?! Ugh.

  • Avatar
  • District 9
  • Star Trek
And here are the best sci-fi films of the year rounding out the last category. Avatar will win this hands down, but they all deserve to be present in the big show. I'm still tickled pink that District 9 actually finds itself nominated for Best Picture (and Screenplay!). It and Star Trek got 4 nominations each while of course Avatar leads the field with 9. Who says the Academy is afraid of a little bit of sci-fi? They just want sci-fi done right.

Now, I didn't post any official predictions, but I did keep an excel sheet with the top categories and used that to form my own set of predictions. You don't have to take my word on it, but I still wanted to share...

I was 8/10 for Best Picture missing out on The Blind Side and The Messenger. My predictions were (500) Days of Summer and Invictus. I was 5/5 on Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor which just shows you how cut and dried this awards season has been. I was 4/5 on Best Supporting Actress going instead for Julianne Moore instead on Maggie Gylenhaal. I was 4/5 on both Screenplay categories. For Original I went for (500) Days instead of The Messenger and for Adapted I went for Fantastic Mr. Fox instead of An Education.

So in the major categories I went 40/45 which is a very respectable 89%.

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