Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Oscar Nominations & Thoughts

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

I did this last year, and it sparked some interesting conversation and deep thinking, so I figured I'd do it again. The nominations came out this week, and it's very different, since there can now be 10 nominations
Keep in mind that I see a lot of movies that don't get nominated for squat, so my commentary is different from others you'll read, I'm sure.

Best Motion Picture of the Year :
- Avatar
- The Blind Side
- District 9
- An Education
- The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
- Precious
- A Serious Man
- Up
- Up in the Air
Last year at this point I hadn't seen any of the nominees. At least I've seen 3 this year, and am actively trying to see 3 more. I'll pick Avatar... you know, since that's the "obvious" choice.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role :
- Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart
- George Clooney for Up in the Air
- Colin Firth for A Single Man
- Morgan Freeman Invictus
- Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker
Haven't seen any of these, but I love George Clooney and he's been getting good reviews, so I go with him.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role :
- Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side
- Helen Mirren for The Last Station
- Carey Mulligan for An Education
- Gabourey Sidibe for Precious
- Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia
I did Netflix Julie & Julia, but I don't think it's gonna win the Oscar in this category. I'm torn between voting for Sandra Bullock or Gabourey Sidibe, since both roles have gotten a lot of press for the actresses' efforts. I think I'll push a little more for Sidibe, since I actually don't care for Bullock, personally.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role :
- Matt Damon for Invictus
- Woody Harrelson for The Messenger
- Christopher Plummer Hoffman for The Last Station
- Stanley Tucci for The Lovely Bones
- Christopher Waltz for Inglourious Basterds
I'm not thrilled with these options. at all. I vote for Matt Damon because he's generally some good eye candy. ;)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role :
- Penelope Cruz for Nine
- Vera Farminga for Up in the Air
- Maggie Gyllenhaal for Crazy Heart
- Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air
- Mo'Nique for Precious
I never realized that Mo'Nique didn't use a last name. And I hate that. So she's out. I go with Anna Kendrick because (like I mentioned last year) I hate Penelope Cruz. And I'm not familiar with who Farminga is. And I know there's been some confused folk over Maggie's nomination.

Best Achievement in Directing :
- James Cameron for Avatar
- Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker
- Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds
- Lee Daniels for Precious
- Jason Reitman for Up in the Air
Um, James Cameron. Duh.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen :
- The Hurt Locker (Mark Boal)
- Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
- The Messenger (Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman)
- A Serious Man (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen)
- Up (Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Tom McCarthy)
I go with Up. It was a very cute storyline, and even if I didn't agree with everything in the film, it was well-done.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published :
- District 9 (Neill 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)
I go with Precious, since it's gotten a lot of press in EW about the novel, etc.

Best Achievement in Cinematography :
- Avatar
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- The Hurt Locker
- Inglourious Basterds
- The White Ribbon
I haven't heard of The White Ribbon, and Harry Potter never wins anything. So, Avatar it is.

Best Achievement in Editing
- Avatar
- District 9
- The Hurt Locker
- Inglourious Basterds
- Precious
I chose not to pick a winner last time, since this is an area where I am unqualified to render an opinion. But, this year, I'm taking into consideration some advice that I received. I'm thinking about pacing within the film, and how abrupt scene changes are... and with 24 frames in a single second of a movie, that's a LOT of potential editing. I'm not going to go with Avatar, since nothing stood out for me in that. And I hated Inglourious Basterds too much to consider it for anything, really. So, blindly choosing here... District 9.

Best Achievement in Art Direction :
- Avatar
- The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
- Nine
- Sherlock Holmes
- The Young Victoria
Again, I love this category. I vote Sherlock Holmes, as it intrigued me more than Avatar did in this area.

Best Achievement in Costume Design :
- Bright Star (Janet Patterson)
- Coco Before Chanel (Catherine Leterrier)
- The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Monique Prudhomme)
- Nine (Colleen Atwood)
- The Young Victoria (Sandy Powell)
Again, this is a category where I'm definitely qualified to judge, but I haven't seen any of the four films (and have never heard of Bright Star or The Young Victoria). I don't even remember trailers for any of the films except Nine, so I got with that by default.

Best Achievement in Makeup :
- Il Divo
- Star Trek
- The Young Victoria
I choose Star Trek, again by default. I've not heard of the other two, let alone seen anything about them.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score :
- Avatar (James Horner)
- Fantastic Mr. Fox (Alexandre Desplat)
- The Hurt Locker (Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders)
- Sherlock Holmes (Hans Zimmer)
- Up (Michael Giacchino)
Sherlock Homes, an easy one. Love Hans Zimmer, loved the soundtrack in the film.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song :
- The Princess and the Frog - Randy Newman ("Almost There")
- The Princess and the Frog - Randy Newman ("Down in New Orleans")
- Paris 36 - Reinhardt Wagner & Frank Thomas ("Loin de Paname")
- Nine - Maury Yeston ("Take it All")
- Crazy Heart - Ryan Bingham & T Bone Burnett ("The Weary Kind")
Tricky one. Haven't heard any of them in full, but I like the commercials that include "Down in New Orleans," so I am choosing that one. Plus, I love New Orleans. :)

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing:
- Avatar
- The Hurt Locker
- Inglourious Basterds
- Star Trek
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Um, this one is hard. I actually saw four of these. Star Trek comes to mind, but not sure why. I thought Transformers was good in sound, but maybe notasmuch.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing :
- Avatar
- The Hurt Locker
- Inglourious Basterds
- Star Trek
- Up
This was another category that I abstained from choosing last year. But this year, I vote Up. It needed a lot of work in this area, I think, and it was well done.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects :
- Avatar
- District 9
- Star Trek
Avatar is gonna take the cake on this one. Easy. I'd be super-surprised if it did not.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year :
- Coraline
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
- The Princess and the Frog
- The Secret of Kells
- Up
Um. shhhh. don't tell anyone, but I've only seen one of these. But I'm voting for Fantastic Mr. Fox, since that is the one out of this list that I still reallllly want to see.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year :
- Ajami (Israel)
- El Secreto de sus Ojos (Argentina)
- The Milk of Sorrow (Peru)
- Un Prophete (France)
- The White Ribbon (Germany)
From last year: "I don't really do foreign films. Every one I've seen (with subtitles), I've hated. And I'm talking films like Pan's Labyrinth and Amelie, both of which ended up being loved by so many. Yeah, I can't stop hating them. And that's all there is to say about that."

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'm going with Food, Inc. as I've heard great things and it's on my Netflix list. ;)

Best 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 a la Berlin
haven't heard of any of these, but The Last Truck sounds like it would be an interesting subject, hehe.

Best Animated Short Film :
- French Roast
- Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty
- The Lady and the Reaper (La Dame y la Muerte)
- Logorama
- A Matter of Loaf and Death
I choose the last one, based on the title, and the fact that it's Wallace & Grommit.

Best Live Action Short Film :
- The Door
- Instead of Abracadabra
- Kavi
- Miracle Fish
- The New Tenants
um, I have no idea. Instead of Abracadabra sounds like fun.

Let's see if I can do better with these selections this year... after all, I only got 10 out of 24 last year, so let's go for half, hehe.
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