So Now The Oscar Season Begins

Being a movie fan, I try to see as many of the nominated films as possible before Oscar night, which this year is back in the month of March, where it belongs. March 7, to be precise, which happens to be my birthday.

I am shocked, really, that, in what I consider a paucity of movie viewing on my part, I managed to see six of the ten nominees for Best Picture, and at the cinema:


*“The Blind Side”
*“District 9″
*“An Education”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
*“A Serious Man”
*“Up in the Air”
Of course, I haven’t seen the behemoth that is Avatar yet, and I was accused of losing my geek cred this week. I didn’t know I HAD geek cred; in any case, I’ll probably see it in the next four weeks. Precious I actually had a chance to see, but passed, in favor of The Blind Side; I’ll still try to see it. But the two war movies will be harder to come by.
I’m really curious how the instant runoff voting will affect this race. A lot of early backlash against Avatar.

Best Direction
“Avatar” — James Cameron
“The Hurt Locker” — Kathryn Bigelow
“Inglourious Basterds” — Quentin Tarantino
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” — Lee Daniels
*Up in the Air” — Jason Reitman
If there had only been five nominations for Best Picture, would these have been the five? We’ll never know, but, based on the other nominations, I tend to think so.
Right now, I’m guessing The Hurt Locker for both Best Pic and Director. Bigelow vs. ex-husband Cameron? A Hollywood dream.

Actor in a Leading Role
Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
*George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
*Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”
Crazy Heart just started playing here, so I can see that, but Invictus is gone. Will it be available on DVD this month? Doubtful.

Actress in a Leading Role
*Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
*Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
*Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”
I had to ask about The Last Station, which I totally missed hearing about. Turns out, it won’t make it to Albany’s Spectrum Theatre until February 26. Still have a chance.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Matt Damon in “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”
Just wasn’t up for seeing The Lovely Bones. But The Messenger is playing currently.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
*Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
*Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Nine is leaving Thursday; wanted to see for Cruz and Sophia Loren, but ain’t gonna happen soon.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
*“District 9” — Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
*“An Education” — Screenplay by Nick Hornby
“In the Loop” — Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” — Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
*“Up in the Air” — Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
Totally forgot about In The Loop. Did that play here?

Writing (Original Screenplay)
“The Hurt Locker” — Written by Mark Boal
“Inglourious Basterds” — Written by Quentin Tarantino
“The Messenger” — Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
*“A Serious Man” — Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
*“Up” — Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy
Love the fact that the animated story got a nod.

Animated Feature Film
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”
*“The Princess and the Frog”
“The Secret of Kells”
Logic would suggest Up should win here and lose in the Best Picture. But it could theoretically get shut out of both.

Art Direction
“Avatar” — Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” — Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
“Nine” — Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
“Sherlock Holmes” — Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Young Victoria” — Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray
I’m less concerned about seeing the movies for the techie awards; a good thing, too.

“Avatar” — Mauro Fiore
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” — Bruno Delbonnel
“The Hurt Locker” — Barry Ackroyd
“Inglourious Basterds” — Robert Richardson
“The White Ribbon” — Christian Berger

Costume Design
“Bright Star” — Janet Patterson
“Coco before Chanel” — Catherine Leterrier
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” — Monique Prudhomme
“Nine” — Colleen Atwood
“The Young Victoria” — Sandy Powell

Documentary (Feature)
“Burma VJ”
“The Cove”
“Food, Inc.”
“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers”
“Which Way Home”
Will the popular Food, Inc. win, or will the Academy work hard to avoid the popular, as they’ve done in the past? My wife DID see Food, Inc. and recommends it.

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”

Film Editing
“Avatar” — Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
*“District 9” — Julian Clarke
“The Hurt Locker” — Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
“Inglourious Basterds” — Sally Menke
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” — Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film
“Ajami” — Israel
“El Secreto de Sus Ojos” — Argentina
“The Milk of Sorrow” — Peru
“Un Prophète” — France
“The White Ribbon” — Germany
The White Ribbon comes to Albany February 19.

“Il Divo” — Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
“Star Trek” — Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow

The Young Victoria” — Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Music (Original Score)
“Avatar” — James Horner
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” — Alexandre Desplat
“The Hurt Locker” — Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
“Sherlock Holmes” — Hans Zimmer
*“Up” — Michael Giacchino

Music (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
Of the two, I’d pick Almost There; more anthemic.

Short Film (Animated)
“French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert
“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia
“Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
“A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)
“The Door” — Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
“Instead of Abracadabra” — Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
“Kavi” — Gregg Helvey
“Miracle Fish” — Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
“The New Tenants” — Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing
“Avatar” — Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
“The Hurt Locker” — Paul N.J. Ottosson
“Inglourious Basterds” — Wylie Stateman
“Star Trek” — Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
*“Up” — Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing
“Avatar” — Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
“The Hurt Locker” — Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
“Inglourious Basterds” — Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
“Star Trek” — Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” — Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson
Thank goodness Transformers was nominated for SOMETHING, he smirked.

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

So, the realistic goal is to see Avatar, Crazy Heart, and when it comes out, The Last Station by March 7. Maybe The Messenger, Precious (if it’s around) and anything I can find out on DVD.


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