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The 2010 Oscar Nominations, and My Thoughts

I got 42 out of 45 of my predictions right on the eight major categories. I don’t know whether that speaks to my abilities as a prognosticator, or to how predictable this year’s nominations are. Still, not too much to be too angry about. The official nominations are below, along with my thoughts.

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

Many great choices. It’s interesting that the additional nominations which were so protested by many (myself included) actually allowed several of the better films that wouldn’t have been nominated in years past to sneak onto the list– specifically, District 9, Up, and A Serious Man. Sure, you have to take The Blind Side now as well, but it’s a big hit that wasn’t as bad as people made it out to be, so I can’t be too offended at that. I would have enjoyed seeing a couple of other films make this list, like In The Loop, Star Trek, (500) Days of Summer, or The Informant!, but I was especially glad that the mega-hyped Invictus missed out on a nomination.

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

The five obvious choices here. Again, I’m glad Clint Eastwood didn’t sneak onto the list. This should be a VERY tight race. I personally would have taken The Coen Brothers or Neill Blomkamp on this list, but I can’t be mad at these five.

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’

Morgan Freeman shouldn’t be here. Sigh. I love him as much as the next guy, but he didn’t bring any depth to the portrayal of Nelson Mandela. Not really his fault as much as the script’s, but all the same– I would have put Michael Stuhlbarg from A Serious Man here, or Matt Damon from The Informant!. I haven’t seen A Single Man yet, but buzz is high for Colin Firth, and it’s nice to see him get a nod. This race is Bridges’ to lose early on, with Clooney as a sleeper.

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

All five were givens, and to be honest, I’m not sure what I would have changed here. I haven’t seen really any films with obvious choices above these five.

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

Again, Damon shouldn’t be here, for the same reasons as Freeman. Alfred Molina for An Education should have gotten this slot, or in a big stretch, Peter Capaldi who was so damn funny in In The Loop. This race is going to be pretty uninteresting, as Christoph Waltz has it locked up already.

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’

Maggie Gyllenhaal making it is interesting, as I thought Julianne Moore from A Single Man had more buzz. No matter– Gyllenhaal gave a lovely understated performance. Both women getting nods for Up In The Air is great, although it just solidifies my belief that this race is as close to a lock as can be for Mo’nique.

Best Animated Feature Film:
‘Coraline’
‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’
‘The Princess and the Frog’
‘The Secret of Kells’
‘Up’

NO CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS???? Ridiculous. I haven’t seen The Secret of Kells, but I’d definitely put Meatballs over Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Best Foreign Film:
Israel – ‘Ajami’
Argentina – ‘El Secreto de sus Ojos’
Peru – ‘The Milk of Sorrow’
France – ‘Un Prophete’
Germany – ‘The White Ribbon’

Haven’t seen any of these yet, but I’m looking forward to both The Prophet and The White Ribbon.

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’

Haven’t seen The Messenger, but I can’t be mad at the four they chose.

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’

IN THE LOOP! YES! DISTRICT 9! YES! So glad to see both of those nominated. Great category.

Best Documentary Feature:
‘Burma VJ’
‘The Cove’
‘Food, Inc.’
‘The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers’
‘Which Way Home’

I never saw any of these. The Cove and Food Inc. have been on my radar though. I’m not pleased that Anvil: The Story of Anvil wasn’t nominated… oh well.

Best Original Score:
‘Avatar’
‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’
‘The Hurt Locker’
‘Sherlock Holmes’
‘Up’

Up and Sherlock Holmes both had such fantastic scores. I wish Marvin Hamlisch’s playful score for The Informant! was here, or Star Trek’s score which I thought was superior to Avatar’s.

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

The Weary Kind has this locked up. I wouldn’t have been angry if it was four Princess and the Frog songs and The Weary Kind… but T-Bone Burnett has this award in the bag.

Best Film Editing:
‘Avatar’
‘District 9’
‘The Hurt Locker’
‘Inglourious Basterds’
‘Precious’

Interesting choices here. Precious and Inglourious Basterds in particular strike me as peculiar, since Precious’s editing was at times brilliant and at times awkward, and Inglourious Basterds suffered from being too long. Other technically savvy films like Star Trek or A Serious Man should’ve taken those slots… maybe Nine.

Best Cinematography:
‘Avatar’
‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’
‘The Hurt Locker’
‘Inglourious Basterds’
‘The White Ribbon’

Harry Potter 6 gets a WELL deserved nomination. There were many deserving films this year, but I can’t be upset at these five. Left out: A Serious Man, Where the WIld Things Are, Nine, Star Trek, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Best Costume Design:
‘Bright Star’
‘Coco Before Chanel’
‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’
‘Nine’
‘The Young Victoria’

Parnassus getting a well-deserved nomination here, as is Nine. I don’t think either of them will stand a chance against the two period pieces and the Chanel movie however.

Best Art Direction:
‘Avatar’
‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’
‘Nine’
‘Sherlock Holmes’
‘The Young Victoria’

Boy, any other year and I would say both The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and Nine would have great chances at winning. But this award will deservedly go to Avatar. Nice to see Sherlock Holmes get a nod for its steampunk London look. The Young Victoria… well, these wig-and-corset dramas always get nominated for these things.

Best Sound Editing:
‘Avatar’
‘The Hurt Locker’
‘Inglourious Basterds’
‘Star Trek’
‘Up’

So many great choices. I would have had something like Harry Potter or District 9 above Basterds, but you can’t win them all.

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

Funny, I’d say the mixing in Transformers 2 wasn’t great– the loud noises blended together a lot. Usually in mixing would be where you’d see a film about music sneak in, so I’m surprised there’s no Crazy Heart nomination, since the music sounded absolutely great in that film. Once again, the Basterds nomination leaves me unmoved.

Best Visual Effects:
‘Avatar’
‘District 9’
‘Star Trek’

No chance that Avatar doesn’t win, but a vicious underdog campaign for District 9 is about to be mounted. The feel good story of the year? The 40 million dollar effects winning out over the effects that cost more than 200 million dollars more. Too bad Avatar is quite possibly the best looking film I’ve ever seen in the effects department.

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~ by russellhainline on February 2, 2010.

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