Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Very Early Oscar Preview.

The weather is getting colder. This means one thing, Oscar Season has arrived. Much has been made about two big changes to the 2010 Academy Awards. The first change is that it has moved back in the calendar, to March 7th, 2010. The second (and more peculiar) change is that there will be 10 nominees for Best Picture, rather than the usual 5. Several already released films have gotten plenty of buzz, as have several films that haven't been released yet. For your convenience I have broken down my predictions into 3 groups, Locks, Probables, and Dark Horse Candidates. Obviously, these are just guesses and I would not be surprised if I am way off. As William Goldman once said of Hollywood, "Nobody Knows Anything." So, with that in mind, lets do this. First, the locks:

- Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
- Up

These three very different films are my three locks for nomination for very different reasons. There are some experts who are saying Precious is the best acted film of the year. Oscar worthy performances are turned in by Mo'Nique (not kidding), Mariah Carey (still not kidding), and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe. The movie did surprisingly well at the box office and was pushed (no pun intended) by both Oprah and Tyler Perry (those two together are the equivalent of eleventeen Barack Obamas).

Up is an interesting case. If it is in the category for Best Picture, does that mean it automatically wins Best Animated? That point aside, Up is most definitely going to be nominated but will have a tough time winning. No animated feature has ever won, and only one other, Beauty and the Beast in 1991, has ever been nominated for best picture. One could definitely argue that animated films will benefit the most from the expansion of the number of nominated films.

Avatar, James Cameron's $300 million dollar movie, is the third and final film that I consider to be a lock for Best Picture. Since it has not been released yet, and the previews are not revealing much it is leaving the general public in a state of confusion. However, it did cost $300 million dollars to make and it is James Cameron, that is enough for me to believe it will be there.


-Up In The Air
-A Serious Man
-The Lovely Bones
-Inglorious Basterds
-An Education
-The Hurt Locker

This category has a ton of big names, which could lead to big buzz.
Up In The Air has George Clooney and everyone's new favorite director Jason Reitman.
A Serious Man has the Coen Brothers.
The Lovely Bones is a Peter Jackson film.
Invictus is Eastwood+Damon+Freeman.
And of course Inglorious Basterds has Tarantino and Pitt (although Christoph Waltz is the best part of the movie).
The more intriguing films are the two that lack star power. First we will look at An Education.
An Education is a movie that nobody will talk about much in the mainstream media, but will certainly garner a lot of attention when it comes time for the Oscars. The movie left people amazed at both The Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals.
The Hurt Locker is the movie that should have had the most impact of any release this summer due to the fact that it is a movie about a few soldiers in Iraq. However, the best part of the movie is that it did not inspire any political rhetoric what so ever. Director Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break) did not make the movie about the war, no she made the movie about war and about the people in war. The movie was nearly perfect, save for one random, gratuitous scene.

Dark Horse Candidates
-500 Days of Summer
-The Road
-Public Enemies

I picked these four movies either because I really liked them or because I have not heard much about them other than that they are supposed to be very well made, well acted films. In the case of both Public Enemies and 500 Days of Summer, I picked them because these are two of the better movies I saw thus far this year. 500 Days was a breath of fresh air for Romantic Comedy fans. Public Enemies was just a well made movies. It captured the feeling of the time, and made you fall in love with a murderous villain. The Road and Nine, on the other hand are supposed to be very, very good movies. Much is being made about Viggo Mortensen's performance in The Road. It is another Cormac McCarthy novel being adapted, as was No Country for Old Men, the winner in 2007. Nine is a Rob Marshall film. Why is that important? It isn't really except for the fact that he is rumored to be directing the fourth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean. Also, Daniel Day-Lewis stars in Nine. Which means that no matter what, it will get a lot of buzz.

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