My Thoughts on the 2010 Oscars – Thus far…
*Update* At 5;00 pm CST on March 7th, I have changed some of my original picks. I was reviewing my ballot for our Oscar party, and I decided that some of my original picks were not quite right. So these are my official picks. Only 2 more hours till the Oscars! And one more day to vote on the Golden Reels! There’s some tight races so go vote for your favorites!
I’ve decided that this is the year I will see all 58 nominees. Best Picture, Documentary, Animated Short, Makeup, etc. They’re all on the list. And so far, so good. Of the 58 I’ve seen 35. It’s pretty clear, though, that my goal may not be acheived. The shorts are next to impossible to find and the odds are slim that there’ll be any special viewings of them in this dead zone known as Southern Illinois. But I must go forth. With most of the major categories under my belt, I felt it was time to share my picks (and my personal favorites).
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
This year was full of good performances. Colin Firth and George Clooney were both fantastic in their roles in “A Single Man” and “Up in the Air” respectively. But this battle boils down to Bridges and Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker.” I think Renner gave the better overall performance but Bridges’ dominating screen time and pedigree give him the edge. That’s not to say that his performance isn’t worthy of the win because it certainly is. This is one win that Oscar might actually give out based on the performance and not the career.
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Seriously, this doesn’t even need to be discussed.
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock (The Blindside)
It hurts me to even type those words. Sandra Bullock will be an Oscar winner. It tastes like Ipecac. Meryl Streep (Julie and Julia) gave a very Meryl-esque performance and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) ripped my heart out and gently put it back in for her breakthrough role, but Carey Mulligan in “An Education” deserves the award. Bullock’s caricature of a Southern Belle with an attitude is a joke. This category should read the same as the above: “Seriously, this doesn’t even need to be discussed.” The fact that we have to is disheartening.
Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique (Precious)
This doesn’t need much discussing either. Maggie Gyllenhaal proved again in “Crazy Heart” that she can take any role and bring something to it. Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick (both for ‘Up in the Air’) both had solid turns but neither one stood out above the other. Penelope’s (Nine) nomination seems like a pat on the back from the Academy for a career well-done so far. That leaves Mo’Nique with her surprisingly strong performance as an abusive mother in “Precious.” It’s a movie that’s tough to watch and so is Mo’Nique’s character, but when you can bear to watch it you know you’re seeing a career changing performance.
Best Animated Feature: Up
The only nominee I didn’t enjoy was “Coraline.” What a steaming pile of cow crap that was. Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox” still makes me smile when I think about it. “The Princess and the Frog” was cute (and how can you not like little Raymond?), and “Up” was what you’d expect from Pixar – great as usual. But the real surprise here is “The Secret of the Kells.” It’s original, inventive, and absolutley deserves the nomination and the added attention it’s receiving as a result. If you get a chance to see it, you will not be disappointed. I’m crossing my fingers that the Academy takes a chance and goes with the best movie in this category, but I know in my gut it’s going with the populus vote. Such is life.
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
This is where it starts to get dicey. Bigelow deserves it. Plain and simple. But QT throws a wrench into it with his “I’m possibly the greatest director alive and here’s more proof” turn with “Inglourious Basterds.” And Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) and Lee Daniels (Precious) both had solid turns, but the real dark horse here is James Cameron with “Avatar.” He shouldn’t win but that doesn’t mean that he won’t. Cross your fingers on this one.
Best Picture: The Hurt Locker
Basically, see above. With 10 nominees in this category, the Academy is definitely hoping for more viewers. What better way to reward the mainstream with a win for the biggest blockbuster of the decade? Let’s hope that’s not the case. “The Hurt Locker” deserves it and I think it will win. My personal fave is still “Inglourious Basterds.”
Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air)
I’m surprised to see “District 9” in the list. I wasn’t impressed with it, but it’s nice to see a film like that get a nod. “An Education” was wonderful and “In the Loop” was one of the funniest movies I saw all year, but “UITA” is easily the best of the bunch. It’s a movie about our time and for our time. Oscar, give it some love.
Original Screenplay: QT (Inglourious Basterds)
The surprise here is “Up.” It deserved the nomination for the first 30 minutes alone, but the last 30 minutes negated that. I’ll be honest. I saw “A Serious Man” and I’m still not sure I know what it was about. But those Coens, they’ll do that to you. You’ll see it, be confused by it, think you don’t like it. Next thing you know, you’ve seen it 4 times and have embraced it. Maybe that’ll happen with this one. “The Messenger” and “The Hurt Locker” were performance driven movies with well-written scripts to back them, but QT comes flying in with a burst of machine gun fire and blows them all away. He never ceases to surprise me. Seriously, he doesn’t. Here’s a story to prove it.
And to round out the Oscars:
Art Direction: Avatar
Costume Design: The Young Victoria
Best Documentary Feature: The Cove (although I think Food, Inc. was put together better)
Best Documentary Short: China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province (my default pick. It’s the only Doc Short that I was able to see)
Best Editing: Inglourious Basterds
Best Foreign Film: The White Ribbon
Best Makeup: Star Trek
Best Original Score: Avatar
Best Original Song: “The Weary Kind” – T Bone (Crazy Heart)
Best Animated Short: French Roast (I won’t be surprised at all, though, if A Matter of Loaf and Death wins)
Best Live Action Short: The Door (I haven’t heard anything about them so this is a complete guess)
Best Sound Editing: Avatar (I might kick myself later for changing from The Hurt Locker)
Best Sound Mixing: Avatar (I think I should have picked The Hurt Locker for both Sound categories. We’ll see, I guess)
Best Visual Effects: Avatar
I reserve the right to change these as I continue to see more. And don’t forget to vote on The Golden Reels! Polls open until March 7th!