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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

MisenPOPic Review Of The Oscar Nominations

Yesterday morning, the nominations for the 2010 Academy Awards were announced. Ever since I was 13 years old, I've always had an interest in the awards and the ceremony itself. Even though the awards really don't mean much, I'm still proud of the fact that I can roll off of my tongue the best picture winners since 1965, and the majority of the winners for the acting awards since 1975. Ok, so I am a loser! So of course I was excited for the nominations, and although with so many other awards shows kind of ruining the surprise of which movies would get nominated, it still was cool to find out. I have even more of an interest because I've seen most of the movies that have gotten nominations. Now I only have to see Crazy Heart, and District 9. Although it's early, I figured I would do a quick review of the major awards and give you my thoughts on who's going to win.

Best Picture
Avatar (Mikey's Rating: A)
The Blind Side (Mikey's Rating: A-)
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker (Mikey's Rating: A)
Inglourious Basterds (Mikey's Rating: A-)
A Serious Man
Up (Mikey's Rating: B+)
Up in the Air (Mikey's Rating: A)

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

Analysis: It's pretty cool that ten films are recognized for the first time since sometime in the forties, but the race for the Oscar is probably between two films: Avatar and The Hurt Locker. Both are deserving and were two of the best movies I have seen over the past few months. Keep in mind that the awards show is about ratings more than it is about actual film noir, which is why I think Avatar is going to win. The condolence prize will be Kathryn Bigelow becoming the first woman director to win for Best Directing. Or it could go the opposite with The Hurt Locker winning best picture and Cameron only winning for direction. James Cameron even thinks his ex-wife's film is the best of the year and based on his cockiness in 1997 for Titanic, won't win another Best Picture award. Right now it's 50/50, but I'd give the nod based on Oscar politics to Avatar even though The Hurt Locker was a better film. There could be a twist and I wouldn't be upset either if Quentin Tarantino shocks the world by winning one or both of the awards.

Best Actor
Jeff Bridges, ‘Crazy Heart’
George Clooney, ‘Up in the Air’
Colin Firth, ‘A Single Man’
Morgan Freeman, ‘Invictus’
Jeremy Renner, ‘The Hurt Locker’
Analysis: The early front runner was George Clooney, but his stock has plummeted, and he's still got a ways to go until he wins his first award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He was outstanding in Up In The Air, but kind of just being himself won't cut it. Morgan Freeman was good in Invictus, but he's just lucky to be nominated. I'm glad that Jeremy Renner got the nomination after being snubbed at other awards ceremonies. In my review of The Hurt Locker, I pretty much indicated that he is most deserving of the award. Yet, the Academy usually gives the award to an actor with a broad history in the industry. And I hear Jeff Bridges was phenomenal in Crazy Heart! It looks to be his year, and unless Renner can pull an Adrian Brody and win the award even being more anonymous than the other nominees, Jeff Bridges is going to win.

Best Actress
Sandra Bullock, ‘The Blind Side’
Helen Mirren, ‘The Last Station’
Carey Mulligan, ‘An Education’
Gabourey Sidibe, ‘Precious’
Meryl Streep, ‘Julie & Julia’
Analysis: Sandra Bullock finally gets an Oscar nomination, and although she was very good in The Blind Side, I wouldn't say her performance was Oscar-worthy. She is probably the front runner, but I'm not sure she will be able to keep her steam rolling until March. I didn't see Carey Mulligan or Gabourey Sidibe's performances, but considering they are unknowns, I'm sure there chances are minimal. Helen Mirren also doesn't have a chance, but she won only a few years ago for The Queen, so she must be happy just to be nominated. Meryl Streep has been nominated a record 17 times or something like that, but hasn't won since 1982 for Sophie's Choice. I'm putting my money on Streep to win her second Oscar for acting in a lead role, and her third overall. (She won the best supporting actress award in 1979 for Kramer Vs. Kramer which was most deserved.)

Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon, ‘Invictus’
Woody Harrelson, ‘The Messenger’
Christopher Plummer, ‘The Last Station’
Stanley Tucci, ‘The Lovely Bones’
Christoph Waltz, ‘Inglourious Basterds’
Analysis: There really is no need to analyze this one. Christoph Waltz is a shoo-in to win this award. In my opinion, his performance in Inglourious Basterds was probably one of the ten best acting performances I have ever laid witness to. He deserves all of the praise and recognition. Matt Damon was good in Invictus, but he stands no chance of winning.

Best Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz, ‘Nine’
Vera Farmiga, ‘Up in the Air’
Maggie Gyllenhaal, ‘Crazy Heart’
Anna Kendrick, ‘Up in the Air’
Mo’nique, ‘Precious’
Analysis: I thought Vera Farmiga was terrific in Up In The Air, but neither her or Anna Kendrick have a chance. Maggie Gyllenhall got a surprise nomination (her first) for Crazy Heart and might be a dark horse. Penelope Cruz won last year, and only one other actor (Jason Robards) ever won two consecutive awards for a supporting role, so her chances are slim. I have heard good things about Mo'nique's performance in Precious, and I think she's the front runner. If she does win, I think she would be the first one-named actress to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Best Animated Feature Film
‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’
‘The Princess and the Frog’
‘The Secret of Kells’
Analysis: Another one that doesn't need anaylsis. Considering Up was only the second animated film ever to be nominated for Best Picture, logic indicates it should at least win this award.

Best Original Screenplay
Mark Boal, ‘The Hurt Locker’
Quentin Tarantino, ‘Inglourious Basterds’
Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman, ‘The Messenger’
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, ‘A Serious Man’
Peter Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy, ‘Up’
Analysis: I'd love to see Tarantino win this one, but critics have faulted him for always stealing ideas and dialogue, so I'm not 100% sold on him winning. It's going to be a two man race between him and Mark Boal for The Hurt Locker, and I'd give the nod to Boal for his brilliant script.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, ‘District 9’
Nick Hornby, ‘An Education’
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, ‘In the Loop’
Geoffrey Fletcher, ‘Precious’
Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner, ‘Up in the Air’
Analysis: Reading the actual novel, Up In The Air, has been a challenge, but Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner really spruced up the plot for the movie turning it into a completely different direction. District 9 could be a sleeper, but I'll give the nod to Reitman.

Best Original Score
‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’
‘The Hurt Locker’
‘Sherlock Holmes’
Analysis: A personal favorite award of mine even if they've seemed to miss the boat much of the time. Why is the list of nominees for Best Score always comprised of movies nominated for other awards, but never for a movie that might have been lousy but had a fantastic soundtrack? I thought James Horner's score for Avatar was one of his best. Although I'm still not 100% sure of Michael Giacchino, I thought the score for Up was also brilliant. This one could go back and forth, but I think Giacchino wins his first Oscar since James Horner already has one for Titanic.

Best Original Song
‘Almost There’ from ‘The Princess and the Frog,’ Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
‘Down in New Orleans’ from ‘The Princess and the Frog,’ Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
‘Loin de Paname’ from ‘Paris 36,’ Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
‘Take It All’ from ‘Nine,’ Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
‘The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)’ from ‘Crazy Heart,’ Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett ’
Analysis: No reason to get my hands dirty on this one either. The Weary Kind from Crazy Heart is winning this one. Sorry Randy Newman!

Of course, Avatar is going to win all of the special effects and sound awards.

The Awards will be handed out on March 7th. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are the hosts. I'm not so fond of Alec Baldwin, but Steve Martin always makes me laugh. Considering he has starred in three of my top 50 movies of all time (Three Amigos, My Blue Heaven, & Parenthood), I always root for him!

I'd love to hear what you think, please leave your comments below on movies you support or think might have gotten snubbed!

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