82nd Academy Award nominees

Here they are in their entirety. I’m writing this before I’ve read anything today other than the list of nominees.

Best Picture:
Avatar. Completely absurd that it’s nominated. If it wins anything other than special effects, I’ll probably be turned off of the Oscars entirely for a few years.
The Blind Side. I haven’t actually seen it, but seriously? The Blind Side? Either the Academy is on crack, or this movie is a lot better than its horrible, horrible trailer would have me believe.
District 9. Okay, I can see that. Doesn’t have a chance to win, and I don’t think it will stand up to time for more than a couple years, but it’s nice to see That Kind of Movie get some recognition. Geeks are no doubt dancing in the streets.
An Education. Haven’t seen it. Really want to see it, but what can I do, I live in central Washington.
The Hurt Locker. I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t win.
Inglourious Basterds. This is the one I’ll be rooting for. I don’t think it has a chance, but whatever.
Precious. Expected and deserved, but I don’t think it has much chance in this category.
A Serious Man. Another good one, but won’t win.
Up. All I’ve got to say is: FINALLY.
Up in the Air. Again, expected and deserved. Might have an outside chance.

Now, if they still only had five nominees for Best Picture, which ones would have made the cut? Certainly Hurt Locker. Probably An Education and Up in the Air. I’d like to think Basterds and Up might have been the other two, but Precious and A Serious Man would be more realistic. Sadly, based on how much I’ve disagreed with the Academy’s taste in the past, I think either Avatar or The Blind Side, or both, would actually have made the cut. With that in mind, the whole ten nominees thing is pretty sweet. We’ve got science fiction, action, a cartoon… No straight up comedy, but there weren’t any great comedies this year. Well, I guess you could call a number of films on that list comedies, but they’re not comedy comedies, you know? Except for Basterds, they all take themselves fairly seriously.

Anyway, will the extra nominees change the end result?  It doesn’t seem like a great year to judge that.  The Hurt Locker doesn’t really have any similar competition for its voters to be split with.  If anything, the extra nominees will split the Avatar vote and minimize the chances of an upset there.  Or at least I can hope they will.

Maybe the Directing award clues us in on who the alternate-universe five Picture nominees would have been:
– 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
Again with the Cameron – what the hell. I’m rooting for Tarantino. In my mind, it’s between him and Bigelow. But my mind is very far away from a group of people that nominated f***ing James Cameron.

Both Actor categories are pretty much exactly as expected, so I haven’t got anything to say there. Except to wonder futilely where Sam Rockwell is. The Actress categories have a couple surprises, but it doesn’t really matter to me as frankly I didn’t see a lot of great female acting this year with the exception of Precious (mind you, I’ve only seen three of the eight movies nominated for female acting).

Writing (Adapted Screenplay):
District 9. Great concept, but I thought the script was a bit crap.
An Education. Again, still need to see this.
In the Loop. I don’t think I’ve even heard of this one.
Precious. Yeah, okay.
Up in the Air. I expected it to be nominated, but personally I thought it was flawed.

Writing (Original Screenplay):
The Hurt Locker. Great movie, but not because of the writing.
Inglourious Basterds. Oh hell yes. Doesn’t have a chance, but I can hope.
The Messenger. Haven’t seen it yet.
A Serious Man. A likely winner.
Up. Great movie, and great ideas, but the story is far from perfect.
I knew it wouldn’t happen, but I had been holding out hope that Moon might have gotten a nomination here. That movie’s writing runs circles around most of those nominees.  Most years, the writing categories are like my own personal Best Picture; the well-written movies are the movies I love.  This year they seem like Best Picture Part II more than ever – almost the same list of titles, except the two crap films, Avatar and The Blind Side, are replaced.

Maybe it sounds like I’m being too harsh on Avatar.  I did like it.  Or at least I enjoyed it.  But it’s just action/spectacle, with no intelligence.  It is not great cinema.  It’s just not.

And, the category that never fails to piss me off, and which I only mention because it pissed me off, Best Score:
– James Horner for Avatar
– Alexandre Desplat for Fantastic Mr. Fox
– Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders for The Hurt Locker
– Hans Zimmer for Sherlock Holmes
– Michael Giacchino for Up
Horner and Zimmer have standing nominations, so it’s no surprise to see them there regardless of whatever crap they’ve been turning out (except for last year, of course, the one time Zimmer was actually involved in something good). The Hurt Locker‘s only there because people love The Hurt Locker. I don’t know how Desplat and Giacchino managed to sneak in; they actually wrote a couple of the year’s best scores. It’s outrageous that The Informant! wasn’t nominated. Personally, I liked Where the Wild Things Are, but I don’t know if that was even eligible. Of the nominees, Giacchino deserves to win.  Horner will probably get it, though (he says because he’s a grumpypuss this morning).

Now, for my own convenience, a list of movies with major nominations that I need to see:
The Blind Side. I can’t say I’m in any hurry with that one…
An Education. Might actually be showing this weekend, depending on which screen it’s on (the only nearby theater that shows independent movies has a tendency to put them on a screen where the sound doesn’t work).
Crazy Heart. The Wrestler part 2? Can probably wait for DVD.
A Single Man. There’s nowhere convenient to see it, so it’ll have to wait for DVD.
Invictus. Looks like this just recently stopped showing. DVD it is.
The Messenger. Same scenario as An Education. I think this one is less likely to be on a working screen, though.
The Last Station. Has to wait for DVD.
The Lovely Bones. Is a movie that’s so universally panned worth seeing just for a supporting performance?
Nine. Really, really do not want to see that one.
In the Loop. Queued!
The Princess and the Frog. Could still see it in the theater, but it doesn’t really look that great.
The Secret of Kells. Never heard of it. Don’t know if it’s going to the theater first or straight to DVD, but either way I’ll have to wait.
– And, of course, the entirety of the Foreign Film category (as if it would be possible to actually see any of those movies…) and the Documentary category (a few of those are on DVD).

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