March Madness for Indoor Kids - 2010 Oscar Nominations

I haven't seen most of the movies nominated this year. That's what happens when you only get to the theater 4 or 5 times a year. But I'm not going to let an absence of facts and experiences get in the way of forming opinions, because that's how it works on the internet. Here are some thoughts on the nominations (at least in the categories that matter to me, anyway).

Best actor in a leading role Oscars 2010 nominees
* Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart” (Fox Searchlight)
* George Clooney in “Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios)
* Colin Firth in “A Single Man” (The Weinstein Company)
* Morgan Freeman in “Invictus” (Warner Bros.)
* Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment)

Morgan Freeman is pretty much living Oscar-bait as Nelson Mandela, and Colin Firth is always good, even when stuck in a Bridget Jones movie or that one with Amanda Bynes that was pretty much the princess-less Princess Diaries, but I'm rooting for Jeff Bridges here. He's long overdue, I think, and his performance is the one I'm most excited to see.


Best actor in a supporting role Oscars 2010 nominees
* Matt Damon in “Invictus” (Warner Bros.)
* Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger” (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
* Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station” (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones” (DreamWorks in association with Film4, Distributed by Paramount)
* Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company)

Christoph Waltz stole every damn scene in Inglourious Basterds, and managed to make the simple act of pouring a glass of milk absolutely terrifying. As Joel once said on MST3K, evil is a lot more effective when it's more subtle. Waltz proved it's even moreso when it's cheerful, even almost personable.


Best actress in a leading role Oscars 2010 nominees

* Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side” (Warner Bros.)
* Helen Mirren in “The Last Station” (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Carey Mulligan in “An Education” (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)
* Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia” (Sony Pictures Releasing)

Is it wrong that I want Carey Mulligan to win almost entirely because she was Sally Sparrow, one of my favorite characters of all from Doctor Who? An Education looks fantastic, but still... Sally Sparrow.


Best actress in a supporting role Oscars 2010 nominees
* Penélope Cruz in “Nine” (The Weinstein Company)
* Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios)
* Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart” (Fox Searchlight)
* Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios)
* Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)

As my mom reminded us several times over Christmas, Anna Kendrick is from Portland, Maine. I doubt she'll get it, I think Mo'Nique has this pretty much locked up, but I do feel a little obligated to root for the person from my home state.



Best animated feature film of the year Oscars 2010 nominees:

*“Coraline” (Focus Features) Henry Selick
*“Fantastic Mr. Fox” (20th Century Fox) Wes Anderson
*“The Princess and the Frog” (Walt Disney) John Musker and Ron Clements
*“The Secret of Kells” (GKIDS) Tomm Moore
*“Up” (Walt Disney) Pete Docter

No Ponyo? Huh. I bet the animation people themselves were confused about that. Anyway, I've only seen Up, but it was very, very good, and has the Disney and Pixar muscle behind it. Though maybe they'll want to go traditional and go with The Princess and the Frog.


Best Director Oscars 2010 Nominees:
*“Avatar” (20th Century Fox) James Cameron
*“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment) Kathryn Bigelow
*“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company) Quentin Tarantino
*“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate) Lee Daniels
*“Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios) Jason Reitman

Everyone is touting this and Best Picture as The Battle of the Exes between Cameron and Bigelow, as well as the battle between big, glossy entertainment and a smaller film with Something To Say. How awesome would it be for some dark horse to ride in and take it from the both of 'em? C'mon, Quentin!


Best in music written for motion pictures Oscars 2010 Nominees (Original score)

*“Avatar” (20th Century Fox) James Horner
*“Fantastic Mr. Fox” (20th Century Fox) Alexandre Desplat
*“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment) Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
*“Sherlock Holmes” (Warner Bros.) Hans Zimmer
*“Up” (Walt Disney) Michael Giacchino

Up's score was sweet and lilting, light as the balloons so prominent to the plot, and I can't think about the scenes without also hearing the accompanying music in my head. Now that's a score right there.


Best in music written for motion pictures Oscars 2010 Nominees (Original song)
*“Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” (Walt Disney) Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
*“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” (Walt Disney) Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
*“Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36″ (Sony Pictures Classics) Music by Reinhardt Wagner. Lyric by Frank Thomas
*“Take It All” from “Nine” (The Weinstein Company) Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
*“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” (Fox Searchlight) Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Randy Newman's nominated twice? The hell, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? And I say that as someone who actually enjoys Randy Newman. Anyway, I'd like to see (and hear) The Weary Kind win here. It's always nice when something other than Big Sweeping Movie Song wins.


Best animated short film Oscars 2010 Nominees:
*“French Roast”A Pumpkin Factory/Bibo Films Production Fabrice O. Joubert
*“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” (Brown Bag Films) A Brown Bag Films Production Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
*“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” A Kandor Graphics and Green Moon Production Javier Recio Gracia
*“Logorama” (Autour de Minuit) An Autour de Minuit Production Nicolas Schmerkin
*“A Matter of Loaf and Death” (Aardman Animations) An Aardman Animations Production Nick Park

Haven't seen any of these, but I definitely want to track them all down. Sight unseen, I lean toward Nick Park and Wallace & Gromit, but Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty looks great, too.


Best in Adapted screenplay Oscars 2010 Nominees:
*“District 9″ (Sony Pictures Releasing) Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
*“An Education” (Sony Pictures Classics) Screenplay by Nick Hornby
*“In the Loop” (IFC Films) Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
*“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate) Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
*“Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios) Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Best in Original screenplay Oscars 2010 Nominees:
*“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment) Written by Mark Boal
*“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company) Written by Quentin Tarantino
*“The Messenger” (Oscilloscope Laboratories) Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
*“A Serious Man” (Focus Features) Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
*“Up” (Walt Disney) Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter
Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

Screenplay awards are usually one Best Picture honorable mention and one that felt was truly unique though wasn't nominated any place else, but with 10 Best Picture nominees, that's kinda out the window. So maybe District 9 for being allegorical, and either The Hurt Locker if Avatar gets Best Picture, or Basterds if it doesn't.


Best motion picture of the year Oscars 2010 Nominees:
*“Avatar” (20th Century Fox) A Lightstorm Entertainment Production James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
*“The Blind Side” (Warner Bros.) An Alcon Entertainment Production Nominees to be determined
*“District 9″ (Sony Pictures Releasing) A Block/Hanson Production Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
*“An Education” (Sony Pictures Classics) A Finola Dwyer/Wildgaze Films Production Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
*“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment) A Voltage Pictures Production Nominees to be determined
*“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company) A Weinstein Company/Universal Pictures/A Band Apart/Zehnte Babelsberg Production Lawrence Bender, Producer
*“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate) A Lee Daniels Entertainment/Smokewood Entertainment Production Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
*“A Serious Man” (Focus Features) A Working Title Films Production Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
*“Up” (Walt Disney)A Pixar Production Jonas Rivera, Producer
*“Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios) A Montecito Picture Company Production Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

For making such a big deal about expanding the field to 10 pictures this year to allow for more variety, it still seems a pretty standard group of selections. Again, the real race is between Avatar and Hurt Locker, I think, but who knows, maybe the larger field will water down the vote and allow for that dark horse I mentioned earlier. Wouldn't we all just stomp away angry if The Blind Side won, for instance? Doubt it'll happen, but stranger things occur (see also: The Greatest Show on Earth, or Marissa Tomei)

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