Note from Luke: This post was written by Bighead, resident movie guru at Common Vents. Be on the lookout for more of his Oscar previews in the next month.
#10: Capitalism: A Love Story (Best Documentary)
I haven't seen any of the documentaries up for an Oscar this year (and I won't). This means I haven't seen Capitalism: A Love Story, but it's making the list just because a snubbed Michael Moore is the best kind of Michael Moore. I'm really glad I won't have to hear him talk about how much America sucks.
Surprisingly, the most enjoyable project Michael Moore has been involved with was in Team America, a film he did not direct, but merely fake-acted in. Fake Moore played a dangerously obese suicide bomber who detonated in the middle of Team America HQ, triggering (pun!) a series of events that climaxed (remix!) when Spottswoode forced Gary into an act of extreme loyalty.
#9: Invictus/Clint Eastwood (Best Picture/Best Director)
The Academy loves Clint Eastwood and everything that he makes. Add that fact to the decision to expand the Best Picture category to 10 films, and you get an obligatory Best Picture nod for Invictus, right? Well, apparently not.
Before the nominations were announced I put Invictus at the bottom of my Best Picture nominees. Eastwood completely blew it by somehow making this amazing story with two amazing actors amazingly boring. I know Clint doesn't like to do a lot of takes, but it was like he put this high budget movie together in about a week. This snub is completely deserved and I applaud the academy for choosing The Blind Side as its sports movie of the year.
#8: "Stu's Song" The Hangover (Best Original Song)
All of Ed Helms' campaigning wasn't enough to get it into contention. I would've loved to see the orchestra perform it at the classy Academy Awards like 2000's "Blame Canada" for South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut.
I love me some Ed Helms. He was a standout on The Daily Show and he's a standout in The Office and The Hangover. Just look at that picture. Glorious.
#7: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (500) Days of Summer (Best Original Screenplay)
Have you seen this movie yet? I haven't talked to one person who didn't enjoy (500) Days. The movie is a flat-out delight, and it's mostly thanks to the superbly crafted love story. It was completely clever and completely original, so much so that the only reason for its snubbing that I can come up with is the brutally hipster parentheses in the title. Yes, (500) Days, we get it. You're an Indie flick. Do you know how hard parentheses are to type? It's completely inefficient, and even worse, the parentheses don't seem to serve a purpose. This is why you were snubbed.
Regardless, this is a fantastic movie. But even if it DID get a nomination, it had no chance against the likes of Tarantino, the Coens and Pixar.
#6: Star Trek (Best Picture)
Ever since The Dark Knight, movie makers are starting to understand what it takes to make a quality superhero/sci-fi movie. Star Trek was no exception. It injected life into a stale franchise and introduced us to the Next Generation (someone stop me!) of movie stars, including one Zoe Saldana, whom we may see later in this list.
Unfortunately, J.J. Abrams had to release Star Trek in 2009, the year of District 9 and, of course, Avatar. All this does is reinforce my theory that adults named J.J. are big, fat idiots. Let's be frank here, people. Star Trek was great, but three sci-fi Best Picture nominations just was not gonna happen. Abrams will have to be content with the mere $385M Star Trek has grossed worldwide.
#5: Emily Blunt The Young Victoria (Best Actress)
She was dynamite in this film, but I'm actually glad that another portrayal of a Queen of England isn't in the mix (they seem to happen every year). Blunt will get her Oscar soon enough. Just wait. She's my "Pick to Click" for the next couple of years.
Some of you may know that Emily Blunt is engaged to John Krasinski of The Office. And while I'm here, let me just say that The Office has BLOWN lately. The big mistake? Putting Jim and Pam together, of course. Where's the drama? There is none, because they're in a happy marriage. BAH, I say! Come on, NBC! Give The Office some life again! Divorce Jim and Pam! Put Jim with the NEW receptionist and create a feud between him and Andy! Are you telling me you wouldn't watch that? EVERYONE WOULD WATCH THAT.
#4: Ben Foster The Messenger (Best Actor)
Jeremy Renner got a nod for his portrayal in The Hurt Locker by playing a bomb squad soldier in the middle of the war in Iraq, and it would've been nice to see Ben Foster get credit for showing what a soldier serving at home has to go through. His performance was better than both Morgan Freeman and Colin Firth, but one "rising star" in the mix is good enough for the Academy.
Which is complete garbage, of course. I don't understand these legacy nominations. Morgan Freeman is a talented actor, yes. But there's one important detail: Invictus was not a good movie. Not in the least. In fact, it was a huge letdown. So why not reward an actor who'd actually appreciate the nomination? Freeman's been through this before. Come on, Academy. Stop rewarding biopic roles and give nominations to people who deserve it.
#3: The Hangover (Best Picture)
I thought The Hangover's Golden Globe win was going to be enough to put the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time into contention. It would've been a better "complete" list for the average fan if it took the place of A Serious Man.
It looks as though, even with the expansion to 10 Best Picture nominees, well-made comedies are still going to be overlooked. Making a memorable, quotable and hilarious film is not at all easy, and people who are able to pull it off need to start receiving some recognition come awards time. Maybe when Best Picture expands to 20 nominees they'll finally have justice.
#2: Tobey Maguire Brothers (Best Supporting Actor)
He got nominated for Best Actor at the Golden Globes, but if you put him in the Best Supporting category (where he actually belongs), he's the only man who comes close to taking the Oscar away from Christoph Waltz. Instead, he doesn't even get nominated.
For proof of why this is such a travesty, just watch the last five minutes of Brothers. I was afraid Tobey would jump out of the screen and kill me. In all honesty, I was hoping Natalie Portman would be able to make him happy at the end so I wouldn't have nightmares about him. Never thought Peter Parker, aka Emo Spiderman, could make me feel that way.
#1: Zoe Saldana Avatar (Best Actress)
I keep hearing Zoe doesn't deserve a nomination because Avatar is all special effects. Absolutely incorrect. She had me convinced that she ACTUALLY WAS a member of the Na'vi. And it wasn't the effects, but the raw emotion. If you need proof about Saldana's performance, take a look at Sigourney Weaver. When she was in her Avatar body, fully immersed in the special effects, did you believe she was actually Na'vi? No, you didn't.
Zoe Saldana was essentially wearing super high-tech makeup. More than any other character in Avatar, she convinced me that Pandora was a real place. She needs to be given credit for being the best actor in the highest grossing film of all time.
So that does it. Although these are my "Snubs of the Year" and I've bitched about the Academy from time to time, they really couldn't have gotten it much better. It's a great mix of classic Academy voting and "mainstream" movies that will appeal to all moviegoers.
The Oscars are March 7th, but until then, be on the lookout for more of my previews. Peace.