The 82nd annual Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscar nominations have been announced.
Most of the films have been to Tri-Cities, and I’ve seen those in the major categories except for The Last Station and I’ll have seen it by the Oscar telecast on March 7.
Big change this year. There are 10 best-picture nominations instead of five. All other categories remain the same.
Ten best pictures? I struggled for a week trying to find 10 that I loved enough to put on my best list at the end of last year. As I look at the Academy’s list, there are three that shouldn’t be there: Avatar and District 9 which have show in Tri-Cities, and Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man which hasn’t.
For example Star Trek — my pick for last year’s best movie — is a far better piece of science fiction than District 9. So is the clever and creative sci-fi indie hit Moon. Both are better written and acted than Avatar. I can, however, understand Avatar’s getting the nomination because of the exceptional special effects.
(500) Days of Summer is a much better film than those two and a better pick than Precious, A Serious Man or Up which also ended up — no pun intended — in the best animated feature category and will likely win there.
I like The Hangover instead of Up and instead of A Serious Man and the others.
Here is what I do like and what may be controversial for some: The Blind Side. The film is an incredible and heart-warming story and so is how this movie got to where it is now. Who wants to be the second movie the weekend The Twilight Saga: New Moon opens? My theory is people faced with staggering lines of people decided to try the Sandra Bullock film and loved what they saw. The word spread and soon it’s a huge hit.
The movie deserves the accolades though it isn’t close to a best picture.
That leads to a question. Why the Academy is doing this? Dumb idea. Even with five films in the category, it usually it comes down to one or two really having a chance. This year’s choices are Avatar, The Hurt Locker and Up in the Air.
Up has an outside chance. I think it would be a hoot for an animated feature to win best picture and best animated feature. Wall-E from last year’s group of animated nominations was actually the best picture of the year, but it didn’t get in the best picture category.
That is the only benefit I can see so far to the 10-nomination format.
Avatar had nine nominations and so did The Hurt Locker. Do they deserve them? Maybe, maybe not. The Hurt Locker is very well-written and acted, and it is a straight-ahead "this is how war is" film that doesn’t veer politically left or right. The other two Iraq/Afghanistan focus films Brothers and The Messenger were better and were ignored.
The Messenger made my best list.
Ben Foster was also ignored for best actor. He gave the only performance last year in the leading man category close to as good as Jeff Bridges who will no doubt finally win one for Crazy Heart. Bridges has been better but deserves the Oscar. He’s an actor with the ability to salvage movies not worth seeing if he isn’t in them. Personally, his best work — and the one he should have gotten an Oscar for — is The Door in the Floor in 2004.
He didn’t even get noticed.
All of the actors in the best actor category are terrific, but the sentiments will be for Bridges and the voters will go that way.
Bullock stands a good chance to win for The Blind Side though the category is the year’s strongest. Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) and Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia) are also strong contenders. If the vote gets split, then Carey Mulligan who is brilliant in her first film An Education could sneak home and get the win.
In the supporting categories: give the Oscar to Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds. He’s the best, but Stanley Tucci was exceptional and almost as good as the villain of The Lovely Bones. Tucci — who like Jeff Bridges and a number of wonderful character actors — deserves an Oscar for his exceptional body of work. He could be a sentimental favorite, and I wouldn’t be upset if he wins. But Waltz clearly gave the best performance by anybody in any category last year.
Here is a category I would like to see. Lump all the acting performances into a category. Call it the best of the best or something. Here are some non-winners that really stand out and who were clearly the best actors of any category in the year they were nominated: Leonardo DiCaprio for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, William H. Macy in Fargo, Annette Bening in American Beauty, Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense and Morgan Freeman for Million Dollar Baby.
There are many, many others but you get the point.
Supporting actresses this year are so-so. I wouldn’t put Maggi Gyllenhaal in there at all, and I wonder why she was nominated. If Crazy Heart has a down side — other than it’s a country song turned in movie — she’s it. The Oscar will be taken home by Mo’ Nique for Precious.
And Up will win the best animated feature, though I liked Coraline better.
That’s my analysis and opinion. What do you think?