Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oscar Nominations!

So at long last, we finally have this year's Oscar nominations. It is somewhat appropriate that The Hurt Locker and Avatar led the way with 9 nominations each, as these are the two films that will really be fighting it out for the Best Picture win this year. My personal favorite, Inglorious Basterds, was right behind them with 8 nominations - this in spite of the fact that it missed two noms I thought were sure things - costume design and art direction. Anyway, overall, I went 81 for 104 in my predictions (I didn't pick any of the short categories), which was 78% which is right around my average (I usually get between 75-80% in the nominating round). Fuller commentary for each category below. I will do a much more detailed analysis in the coming weeks when I make my winner predictions.

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

I went 9/10 here, thinking that the prestige sports drama Invictus would beat out the populist sports drama The Blind Side. I cannot say I'm shocked, since I did list The Blind Side as my 11th man on my final predictions. What is key here is that I think that nomination pretty much locks in Sandra Bullock for the win. I couldn't be happier that the Coen's A Serious Man snuck in here - definitely one of the most divisive films of the year, I thought it would hold on, but wasn't sure.

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

I went 4/5, thinking that as normal, the nominees wouldn't match up with the DGA noms exactly, and thinking that the Precious backlash would keep Daniels out in favor of Blomkamp. Again, I'm not shocked here - this was the safe lineup. I was hoping for a left field choice like Haneke, but apparently the directors had no imagination here.

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

Went 5/5 in this category. These were the five that kept showing up all season, and despite Invictus falling a little in the last few weeks, we knew this was coming. Solid, if boring, choices.

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

Again, 5/5. The most predictable lineup of the day.

Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelon, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Went 4/5 here, thinking that the Invictus backlash would hurt Damon's chances to get in, and that one of the two An Education men would sneak in. I still think that Molina and Sarsgaard split their own vote too much, meaning the weaker Damon was able to hoble into the line-up.

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

Went 4/5 here, thinking that Oscar favorite Julianne Moore would get instead of Gyllenhaal. This is the biggest surprise of the major nominations today, as Gyllenhaal didn't really show up in any precursors, and had a muddled campaign that first put her in lead, then moved to supporting. Cruz, it seems, is the only cast of Nine that was able to overcome the fact that the film underwhelmed many.

Best Adapted Screenplay
District 9 – Neil Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell
An Education – Nick Hornby
In the Loop – Jesse Armstrong/Simon Blackwell/Armando Iannucci/Tony Roche
Precious – Geoffrey Fletcher
Up in the Air – Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner

Went 4/5 here, but I am happy to be proven wrong, since the one I didn't predict was In the Loop, which was clearly one of the best screenplays of the year. A little sad that neither kids films - Where the Wild Things Are or Fantastic Mr. Fox broke through though.

Best Original Screenplay
The Hurt Locker – Mark Boal
Inglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino
The Messenger – Oren Moverman & Allesandro Camon
A Serious Man – Joel & Ethan Coen
Up – Pete Docter & Bob Peterson & Tom McCarthy

Went 4/5 here, thinking that the popular indie comedy 500 Days of Summer would beat the somber indie drama The Messenger. Am happy to be proven wrong.

Best Animated Feature Film
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells

Went 4/5 here, and to me, this is the biggest shocker of the day - although upon reflection it shouldn't have been. The Secret of Kells is the film no one was predicting, but after it got nominates at the Annies, perhaps we should have paid more attention. The fifth spot was always in flux. Hopefully, now more people will see Secret of Kells which is a wonderful little film.

Documentary (Feature)
Burma VJ
The Cove
Food, Inc.
The Most Dangerous Man in America
Which Way Home

Went 3/5 here, and I'm happy with that as you never know where the hell this category is going. I have seen three of the nominees, and will do my damnedest to see The Most Dangerous Man in America and Which Way Home by Oscar night - but I have no idea if I'll manage it.

Best Foreign Language Film
Ajami (Israel)
The Milk of Sorrow (Peru)
A Prophet (France)
The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina)
The White Ribbon (Germany)

Went 4/5 here, which is my best showing ever. I thought that the WWII drama Winter in Wartime would get in (there always seems to be a WWII film nominated here), instead of Ajami. Again, I have only seen three, but I will catch up with The Milk of Sorrow soon, and hope to have a chance to see Ajami before Oscar night. Am thrilled, that for once, these morons didn't overlook the two obvious masterpieces - A Prophet and The White Ribbon - the hard part for me is telling which one is better.

Best Art Direction
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Sherlock Holmes
The Young Victoria

My weakest category at 2/5. How did they not nominate Inglorious Basterds? Am not nearly as surprised that they didn't go with two of my other choices - Public Enemies, which I think they forgot about and A Serious Man, which was probably too subtle for them. Am I not really shocked by any of their choices (okay, maybe a little for Doctor Parnassus), but this branch always goes its own way.

Best Cinematography
Avatar – Mauro Fiore
Inglourious Basterds – Robert Richardson
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Bruno Delbonnel
The Hurt Locker – Barry Ackroyd
The White Ribbon – Christen Berger

Went 4/5 here, and I all I have to say is Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince? Really?

Best Costume Design
Bright Star
Coco Before Chanel
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Young Victoria

Went 3/5 here, and feel pretty stupid about one of my non-predictions: Bright Star. Of course it got nominated, because just like Coco Avant Chanel (which I did predict), the films were ABOUT designers, and the clothing was talked about quite a bit. Why I didn't predict it, I don't know. But again, no Inglorious Basterds? Why?

Best Film Editing
District 9
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds

Went 3/5 here, thinking that the editing snub at the guilds for Inglorious Basterds would carry forward here, and that Precious wouldn't make it either. Am happy though, at at least about the first one.

Best Makeup
District 9
Il Divo
Star Trek

A perfect 3/3 and I'm proud of this one. Not many were going with the Italian film Il Divo, but I knew the voters would see it.

Best Music (Original Score)
Avatar – James Horner
Fantastic Mr. Fox – Alexandre Desplat
The Hurt Locker – Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders
Sherlock Holmes – Hans Zimmer
Up – Michael Giacchino

Went 3/5 here, and am happy with that, since this branch is loony and you never know where they're going to go. Up and Fantastic Mr. Fox had the two best scores of the year, so I'm happy they got in, and Avatar's was inevitable. Should have probably seen Sherlock Holmes coming, but I did think that Marvin Hamlisch's return would be too big to pass up. The Hurt Locker had a great score, but who saw that nomination coming? No one.

Best Music (Original Song)
Crazy Heart – The Weary Kind
Nine - Take it All
Paris 36 - Loin de Paname
The Princess and the Frog - Almost There
The Princess and the Frog - Down in New Orleans

Went 3/5 here. If The Weary Kind doesn't win, I'll throw something at the TV. Am happy that they recognized that Take It All was really the best original song in Nine (now do your best to best Marion to perform it), and you knew at least one song for The Princess and the Frog would get in. What the hell is Paris 36? No idea, but I will try and track it down before Oscar night.

Best Sound Editing
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek

Best Sound Mixing
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

I went 4/5 in Sound Editing and 3/5 in Sound mixing, but really, this branch continues to confuse me with some of their choices. Perhaps I don't understand them as much as I think I do.

Best Visual Effects
District 9
Star Trek

3/3. This one was fairly obvious.

Documentary (Short Subject)
China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province
The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
Music by Prudence
Rabbit à la Berlin

Didn't do any predictions here, but I will for the winning round. Have only seen one of the nominees (The Last Truck), and will try and see the others before Oscar night, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to, as unlike the other short categories, these don't get released in an omnibus type format.

Short Film (Animated)
French Roast
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty
The Lady and the Reaper
A Matter of Loaf and Death

Short Film (Live Action)
The Door
Instead of Abracadabra
Miracle Fish
The New Tenants

I have not seen any of the nominees in either of these categories, but will head up to Waterloo the last two weekends in February to catch all 10 of these shorts. Am looking forward to it. If you want a little heads up, I would assume that A Matter of Loaf and Death in the animation category has the edge, as it is directed by Nick Park - one of the Wallace and Gromitt boys.

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