Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Reaction To 2009 Oscar Nominations

The Blind Side is a Best Picture nominee. Let the absurdity of that sink in for a few seconds. Now, let me ask, who in their right mind is voting for this as one of the year's best films? It's given that the number ten spot is a placeholder and a wild card, but I'm stunned that we ended up with The Blind Side over films such as A Single Man, Star Trek, 500 Days of Summer, and The Messenger. I even would've rather seen Invictus nominated (a film I didn't particularly like) simply because it had good enough reviews to be nominated. The fact that many AMPAS members will look back on 2009 and think of The Blind Side as one of the year's best pictures is a sad thought for me (more analysis and full list of nominees after the jump).

As far as the categories I predicted yesterday, I ended up going a healthy 49/60. My instinct was correct in predicting that Invictus would fall out of the Best Picture scenario, but my replacement choice of The Messenger didn't pan out. I also predicted Abbie Cornish (Bright Star) and Alfred Molina (An Education) to replace The Last Station's duo of Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer, but that proved to be wishful thinking. Forget about who is voting for those performances, I'd just like to know how many people have actually seen the film. Helen Mirren won an Oscar for The Queen -- an overrated film and performance -- just three years ago, so where's the sudden passion to throw another nomination her way?

The last big surprise of the day comes in the form of the complete exclusion of 500 Days of Summer. It had an outside shot for a Best Picture nod, but almost everyone had it being recognized in the Original Screenplay category. It ended up getting snubbed in favor of The Messenger, which puzzles me. If the Academy wasn't going to nominate either film for Best Picture, then why wouldn't they split the nominations for each film in their other respective categories. In other words, The Messenger is already being represented at the Oscars by Woody Harrelson, so I'm confused as to why they wouldn't want to automatically give 500 Days of Summer -- a popular, critically-acclaimed film -- recognition in the Original Screenplay category. Where's the motivation to heap multiple nominations towards an indie film if you're not willing to nominate it for the big prize? Maybe it's just me, but excluding 500 Days of Summer completely isn't going to do anything to help the ceremony's ratings.

Changing gears now, let's take a look at the big winners. Avatar and The Hurt Locker are neck and neck, making the race for the top prize even more interesting:

  • 9 nominations - Avatar, The Hurt Locker
  • 8 nominations - Inglourious Basterds
  • 6 nominations - Precious, Up in the Air
  • 5 nominations - Up
  • 4 nominations - District 9, Nine, Star Trek
And now, the complete list of nominees:

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
Performance by an actor in a leading role

  • Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
  • George Clooney, Up in the Air
  • Colin Firth, A Single Man
  • Morgan Freeman, Invictus
  • Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Performance by an actress in a leading role

  • Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
  • Helen Mirren, The Last Station
  • Carey Mulligan, An Education
  • Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
  • Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Performance by an actor in a supporting role

  • Matt Damon, Invictus
  • Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
  • Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
  • Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
  • Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Performance by an actress in a supporting role

  • Penélope Cruz, Nine
  • Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
  • Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
  • Mo’Nique, Precious
Achievement in directing

  • James Cameron, Avatar
  • Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
  • Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
  • Lee Daniels, Precious
  • Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Adapted screenplay

  • Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, District 9
  • Nick Hornby, An Education
  • Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, and Tony Roche, In the Loop
  • Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious
  • Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
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
  • Bob Peterson and Pete Docter, Up
Best animated feature film of the year

  • Coraline
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox 
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • The Secret of Kells
  • Up
Achievement in art direction

  • Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, and Kim Sinclair, Avatar
  • Dave Warren, Anastasia Masaro, and Caroline Smith, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • John Myhre and Gordon Sim, Nine
  • Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer, Sherlock Holmes
  • Patrice Vermette and Maggie Gray, The Young Victoria
Achievement in cinematography

  • Mauro Fiore, Avatar
  • Bruno Delbonnel, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Barry Ackroyd, The Hurt Locker
  • Robert Richardson, Inglourious Basterds
  • Christian Berger, The White Ribbon
Achievement in costume design

  • Janet Patterson, Bright Star
  • Catherine Leterrier, Coco Before Chanel
  • Monique Prudhomme, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Colleen Atwood, Nine
  • Sandy Powell, The Young Victoria
Best documentary feature

  • Burma VJ
  • The Cove 
  • Food, Inc.
  • The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
  • Which Way Home
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 à la Berlin
Achievement in film editing

  • Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua, and James Cameron, Avatar
  • Julian Clarke, District 9
  • Bob Murawski and Chris Innis, The Hurt Locker
  • Sally Menke, Inglourious Basterds
  • Joe Klotz, Precious
Best foreign language film of the year

  • Ajami (Israel)
  • El Secreto de Sus Ojos (Argentina)
  • The Milk of Sorrow (Peru)
  • Un Prophète (France)
  • The White Ribbon (Germany)
Achievement in makeup

  • Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano, Il Divo
  • Barney Burman, Mindy Hall, and Joel Harlow, Star Trek
  • Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore, The Young Victoria
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

  • James Horner, Avatar
  • Alexandre Desplat, Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, The Hurt Locker
  • Hans Zimmer, Sherlock Holmes
  • Michael Giacchino, Up
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (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
Best animated short film

  • French Roast
  • Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty
  • The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)
  • Logorama
  • A Matter of Loaf and Death
Best live action short film

  • The Door
  • Instead of Abracadabra
  • Kavi
  • Miracle Fish
  • The New Tenants
Achievement in sound editing

  • Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Avatar
  • Paul N.J. Ottosson, The Hurt Locker
  • Wylie Stateman, Inglourious Basterds
  • Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin, Star Trek
  • Michael Silvers and Tom Myers, Up
Achievement in sound mixing

  • Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson, and Tony Johnson, Avatar
  • Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett, The Hurt Locker
  • Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti, and Mark Ulano, Inglourious Basterds
  • Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson, and Peter J. Devlin, Star Trek
  • Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, and Geoffrey Patterson, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Achievement in visual effects

  • Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, and Andrew R. Jones, Avatar
  • Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros, and Matt Aitken, District 9
  • Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh, and Burt Dalton, Star Trek

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