02
Feb
10

OW: First Impressions

Finally, after long last, Oscar nominations came out at 3:30 am Hawaii Standard Time. Since I value my sleep, here are my first thoughts (literally) on a few of the Oscar categories. Keep in mind that I haven’t seen all the films.

BEST PICTURE – 7/10 nominees viewed*
Avatar* :: The Blind Side* :: District 9* :: An Education :: The Hurt Locker* :: Inglourious Basterds* :: Precious :: A Serious Man :: Up* :: Up in the Air*

Ok, let’s get this out of the way . . . the ten best picture nominee experiment, it’s going to bring in a few more viewers. I mean, just look at how balanced these picks are. You have big studio pictures in Avatar, Up, and The Blind Side, but you also have indies (An Education, Precious, The Hurt Locker), the usual Coen Brothers nom (A Serious Man), and even some sci-fi for you there on the side (District 9). If this isn’t balanced, I don’t know what is.

As I talked about in my previous post, does having ten nominated pictures even matter in the grand scheme of things? To be honest we won’t actually know until after we know the outcome of this year’s awards. The only way it won’t is if one of the big four (Avatar, Hurt Locker, Basterds, Up in the Air) don’t win Best Picture.

Final thoughts . . . while my favorite has always been Hurt Locker, glad to see that An Education, Up, and District 9 got some academy love this year, even though it may only be token nominations.

BEST DIRECTOR – 4/5 nominees viewed*
James Cameron, “Avatar”* :: Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”* :: Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds”* :: Lee Daniels, “Precious” :: Jason Reitman, “Up in the Air”*

No surprises in the nominations here. I actually think this could be a pretty close race and can’t really give a clear favorite as I enjoyed most of these pictures.

BEST ACTOR – 3/5 nominees viewed*
Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart” :: George Clooney, “Up in the Air”* :: Colin Firth, “A Single Man” :: Morgan Freeman, “Invictus”* :: Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker”*

Not having seen Crazy Heart or A Single Man, I have to go with my boy Jeremy Renner. You can’t deny he delivers a tour-de-force in Hurt Locker. I think Bridges might be the front runner though as I heard a lot of good buzz about his performance in late 2009. Clooney and Freeman . . . both are good actors and the parts they had in these movies, while good, didn’t make them shine.

BEST ACTRESS – 2/5 nominees viewed*
Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side”* :: Helen Mirren, “The Last Station” :: Carey Mulligan, “An Education” :: Cabourey Sidibe, “Precious” :: Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia”*

I’m going to admit it, I’m seriously behind in this category having seeing only two of these performances. Don’t get me wrong, Meryl is fantastic as Julia Child, but I hear Mulligan and Sidibe give great performances as well. And don’t forget the unofficial actress of the year . . . Sandra Bullock. Her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy made her a mom everyone would want.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 2/5 nominees viewed*
Matt Damon, “Invictus”* :: Woody Harrelson, “The Messenger” :: Christopher Plummer, “The Last Station” :: Stanley Tucci, “The Lovely Bones” :: Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”*

For this category it’s going to be harder to pick the runner up than it is to pick the winner. Christoph Waltz  was one of the best things about Basterds and every time you saw him on screen he made you want to hate his character. Matt won’t get it, I kind of thought he was phoning in his performance. And while Stanley Tucci is a great actor, I hear the material he was given in Bones wasn’t the greatest. Runner up goes to Harrelson who I also her gives a nice performance in Messenger. Come on, you have to give it to the Jew Hunter right?

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 2/5 nominees viewed*
Penélope Cruz, “Nine” :: Vera Farmiga, “Up in the Air”* :: Maggie Gyllenhaal, “Crazy Heart” :: Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air”* :: Mo’Nique, “Precious”

I absolutely love the fact that both Farmiga and Kendrick BOTH got nominated for their supporting roles in Up in the Air. I thought they both gave really solid performances. Unfortunately I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Mo’Nique takes it home. While I haven’t seen Precious, you can’t have miss footage from previews and all the buzz surrounding her performance as an abusive mother. In the same vein that Christoph Waltz takes home the statue for a “love to hate” performance, so should Mo’Nique.

———————————————-

Well, there you have it. Am I totally off base or did the Academy actually get things right this year? Off the top of my head I can’t figure if anyone got snubbed. I’m sure some will show up though.

Up next, My Favorites of 2009 . . .

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