For the first time since 1943, The Academy has seen fit to nominate 10 films for the Best Picture top prize. I think this is fun.
They should expand the Best Picture category to 25 nominations next year. Why not? They could briefly describe each nominated film at the beginning and end of each segment-- or they could throw out all the rules and go live for five solid hours. (And wouldn't it would be a hoot to see what all those amazing dresses and expensive tuxes will look like after being sat on for five hours?) And with a field of 25, the tipping point for a winning film goes to a hair over four percent of the votes, which would guarantee a certain amount of amusing chaos.
I am very curious as to how they are going to divvy up the screen in that moment before the envelope is torn open. Ten little boxes-- it's going to look like a security camera suite at a very expensive, very exclusive mall.
Anyway, here are the nominees, in alphabetical order. I actually saw quite a few of these: Last year, I was 0 for 5, pathetic. Because I have I'll just go ahead an annotate my take on each film's chance of actually winning:
Avatar - It's a "Hollywood Votes For Itself" sort of shoe-in. Best odds in the bunch. I am very happy to see Avatar didn't get a nom for screenplay-- it almost restores my faith.
The Blind Side - Didn't catch this one. John Lee Hancock didn't get a director nom, so I wouldn't bet on it.
District 9 - An excellent movie, and a gratifying choice. I think it has the best chance of the ones on this list-- one that did not get a director nom, that is. Which means, unfortunately, there's no way it'll win.
An Education - Didn't catch this one either. By the look of it, this film will clean up with the academy members with schoolgirl fetishes and those who are fans of "Mad Men." Director Lone Scherfig didn't get a nom, so it'll do nothing.
The Hurt Locker - An amazing movie. It's the front-runner for the "Hollywood Votes for Quality" academy crowd. It absolutely confirmed the fact that a very good film could be made about the Iraq war-- All they had to do was put away the crying towel and embrace an action-film ethos. Go get 'em, James Cameron's Ex! (And a big nod to Modesto's own Jeremy Renner, the nominated star of The Hurt Locker. I seriously thought this guy was doomed to play weasel-faced bastards, as he did in Dahmer and S.W.A.T.)
Inglourious Basterds - I saw it. It has a chance, because Quentin was nominated too. But why? For every good scene with Christoph Waltz, there is one of Brad Pitt masticating scenery. There were so many references to Pabst, Pola Negri and UFA I thought I was back in Film School and I was being graded on it. I read on several news sites that Tarantino was "due" for a major nod. If his recent output was, in terms of box-office and relevance, in any way indicative of this, I'd agree.
Precious - My Austin Film Festival Precious story: I was sitting down to a screening of Calvin Marshall and a woman-- by the look of her accessories, a very well-off woman-- sat down next to me. She had just seen Precious and gushed about how powerful and devastating it was. I had read the extensive article on it in the festival program, so I kind of knew what she was talking about. But there was something about a rich white woman telling me about her cinematic peek at soul-crushing black inner-city poverty that made me kind of ill. Precious has the best chance of any of the Indie underdogs to score an upset victory, mostly because I suspect half the Academy voters are like that woman in Austin.
A Serious Man - The Coens got their Oscar hardware two years ago, so never mind.
Up - Hey-- Isn't there another category for this film already? I quite enjoyed it, and it's so well-written and paced it deserves to duke it out in the Best Picture category.
Up in the Air - Saw it, liked it quite a bit. Strong second or third place, if the Academy had such things... Wait...
Hey, I just got a whole NEW idea! Instead of adding more nominations, how about additional Silver and Bronze Oscars in all categories? Anything to get to that magical 5-hour broadcast length...