Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oscar: The Groundhog?: Award Show Fever

First - It's Groundhog Day!  Second - Its Oscar Nod day!  Or wait - First - Oscar, Second - Groundhog? Such a weird pairing to have Oscar Nominations and Punxsutawney Phil vying for "center stage" so early this morning.  But, they did - and who won out at my house? Academy President Tom Sherak and Ann Hathaway making announcements at 6:38am this morning - thats who.  And there weren't that many surprises - and I love surprises. 

My biggest disappointments were in omissions.  Emily Blunt - in Young Victoria - I so wanted her to get a nod - and while Sandra, Meryl, Gabby and Helen seemed locked in for the category - there was a fifth "open" slot (though I may be the only one who thought it was open) that went to Carey Mulligan in An Education.  Maybe I'll feel differently when I actually see An Education, but Emily Blunt made my movie going experience with Young Victoria - so great - I really had hopes for her.  Also - I REALLY wanted Star Trek to make into the 10 nominee Best Picture category - no luck.  And I thought it would have been funny if The Hangover would have made it - but of course - I know that the Academy rarely has a sense of humor.  How could 500 Days of Summer not be nominated for Original Screenplay?  , 500 is nothing but originality.  That one is a major bummer. And... I would have loved, loved, loved if Robert Downey, Jr had won a nomination for Sherlock Holmes... his Golden Globes win for this still makes me giggle.  I absolutely adore him.

On to the actual nominations list - only a few mild surprises and one regular sized surprise.  First, Maggie Gyllenhaal's nod for Crazy Heart was a regular sized surprise.  Largely overlooked this award season - it seems Jeff Bridges did have some help in this little movie.  Penelope Cruz in Nine is a smaller surprise as this movie does not have critical or box office success behind it - but the Academy just loves her...so its not that shocking.  I would say Matt Damon and Woody Harrelson weren't sure things but their names were certainly on the short lists. 

A few fun observations:

Up is up for Best Animated Feature and Best Film - I'm surprised this is allowed.  If Up is really good enough to be a Best Picture nominee doesn't that automatically make it the Best Animated Feature?  I guess it will be interesting if it doesn't win Animated Feature.  And its up for original screenplay.  Nice.

Speaking of Best Animated Feature - What is "The Secret of Kells"?  And why was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs not on this list...if just to hear it announced at the Oscars.

First year with 10 nominations for Best Film since 1943.  From 1931 to 1943 there were 8 to 12 best-picture nominees.  There were 10 in 1943 when Casablanca won, but then it switched to 5 until this year.  Will it change the outcome, I wonder?  Or will it just make the nomination list longer - so 5 more films can put 2009 Best Picture Nominee on their DVD Jacket?

Meryl Streep continues to reign as the most nominated actor in Oscar history.  Increasing her tally to 16 nods, she is gaining a significant lead over Kathryn Hepburn and Jack Nicolson (both at 12).  Its a wonder she only has 2 trophies - 1 lead (Sophies Choice)and 1 supporting (Kramer vs Kramer).  Steep did just break the record for most best actress nominations - now at 13.  (All 12 of Hepburns were Best Actress).  Hepburn is still the most honored - with 4 trophies (Morning Glory in 1933, .Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, 1967, The Lion in Winter, 1968, On Golden Pond, 1981) Nicolson ( ("As Good as It Gets," 1997; "Terms of Endearment," 1983; "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," 1975), Ingrid BergmanMurder on the Orient Express," 1974; "Anastasia," 1956; "Gaslight," 1944) and Walter Brennan (The Westerner," 1940; "Kentucky," 1938; "Come and Get It," 1936) are tied for 2nd with 3 triumphs a piece.

Razzie Award Nominations for the Worst in Film were released 2 days ago.  Sandra Bullock leads the Razzies and the Oscars (with her first nomination - really first?) in the same year.  She really has had a big year...2 big box office successes, The Proposal and The Blind Side, Golden Globe and SAG trophies and appearing in one of the worst films I have ever paid to see, All About Steve.  I think its an interesting dichotomy...and while the Razzies do not have the critical acclaim or respect of the Oscars - and really don't deserve to be in same paragraph with the Oscars... it is still a feat never before achieved.  Sandra Bullock could win a Razzie for the Worst Actress of 2009 and then the next day win an Oscar for the Best Actress of 2009 (and she will win that Oscar - that one is locked up).   I mostly just think its really funny. 

Kathryn Bigelow is now only the 4th woman in Oscar history nominated as Best Director (Lina Wertmüller for 1976's Seven Beauties, Jane Campion for 1993's The Piano, Sofia Coppola for 2003's Lost in Translation) - and may be the first ever to win.  After besting her former husband (Bigelow and Cameron were married from 89-91) James Cameron at the Directors Guild Awards in a bit of a surprise win - she is now the favorite to win for The Hurt Locker.  But, you never know - Avatar is surprising everyone - and James Cameron is still the King of the World.  I'll have a firmer opinion of this once I see Avatar.  Am I the ONLY one left who hasn't seen it?  I liked The Hurt Locker - it looks and feels different than any other movie I saw from 2009 - and is an apparently fairly accurate telling of modern day war - it was interesting and quiet and haunting. 

A note about this awards show season - it seems the last few years have each had a couple of events that were too close together.  Last year the Golden Globes and Oscar nominations were hours apart.  This year, the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards were 6 days apart.  Both televised - the SAG Awards, the unfortunate 2nd of the 2, felt like deja vu.  The winners score cards were almost identical for the acting categories...it felt like TV repeat week as we saw the same actors in different attire - giving 2nd acceptance speeches.  There were a few exceptions to the winners tally - Tina Fey won a SAG - Toni Collette won the Globe.  Inglorious Basterds cast won the SAG - Avatar and The Hangover won the Best Picture Globes. But, still it just felt so overdone being so close together.  If not for the Achievement award given to the lively Betty White - the SAGs would have been entirely uneventful.  Spread these things out - please!  All the award shows deserve their due!

Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin co-host the Oscars on March 7th.  What fun!  Steve Martin has done it solo - and I enjoyed it...but I think this pairing is brilliant! After starring together in Its Complicated (a film noteworthy only for  the remarkable performances of its players - Baldwin, Martin - Meryl Streep and John Krazinski) the only way I would have expected to see them together again would be on an All-Star SNL tribute.   I can't wait to see how it all plays out.

Full nominations below
Bold - my pick to win
Italics - if I were an Academy voter and could vote in EVERY category...I would vote for...

Best Picture


'The Blind Side'

'District 9'

'An Education'

'The Hurt Locker'

'Inglourious Basterds'


'A Serious Man'


'Up in the Air'

Best Director

James Cameron, 'Avatar'

Kathryn Bigelow, 'The Hurt Locker'

Quentin Tarantino, 'Inglourious Basterds'

Lee Daniels, 'Precious'

Jason Reitman, 'Up in the Air'

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges, 'Crazy Heart'

George Clooney, 'Up in the Air'

Colin Firth, 'A Single Man'

Morgan Freeman, 'Invictus'

Jeremy Renner, 'The Hurt Locker'

Best Actress

Sandra Bullock, 'The Blind Side'

Helen Mirren, 'The Last Station'

Carey Mulligan, 'An Education'

Gabourey Sidibe, 'Precious'

Meryl Streep, 'Julie & Julia'

Best Supporting Actor

Matt Damon, 'Invictus'

Woody Harrelson, 'The Messenger'

Christopher Plummer, 'The Last Station'

Stanley Tucci, 'The Lovely Bones'

Christoph Waltz, 'Inglourious Basterds'

Best Supporting Actress

Penelope Cruz, 'Nine'

Vera Farmiga, 'Up in the Air'

Maggie Gyllenhaal, 'Crazy Heart'

Anna Kendrick, 'Up in the Air'

Mo'nique, 'Precious'

Best Animated Feature Film


'Fantastic Mr. Fox'

'The Princess and the Frog'

'The Secret of Kells'


Best Foreign Film

Israel - 'Ajami'

Argentina - 'El Secreto de sus Ojos'

Peru - 'The Milk of Sorrow'

France - 'Un Prophete'

Germany - 'The White Ribbon'

Best 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'

Peter Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy, 'Up'

Best Adapted Screenplay

Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, 'District 9'

Nick Hornby, 'An Education'

Jesse Armstron, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, 'In the Loop'

Geoffrey Fletcher, 'Precious'

Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner, 'Up in the Air'

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 Original Score


'Fantastic Mr. Fox'

'The Hurt Locker'

'Sherlock Holmes'


Best 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 Film Editing


'District 9'

'The Hurt Locker'

'Inglourious Basterds'


Best Cinematography


'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince'

'The Hurt Locker'

'Inglourious Basterds'

'The White Ribbon'

Best Costume Design

'Bright Star'

'Coco Before Chanel'

'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus'


'The Young Victoria'

And if anyone cares.... Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and we've got 6 more weeks of winter folks.  Mostly, though. on this Groundhog day - I think Phils spotlight was stolen by Oscar...

Sorry Phil!