[Top 10 Snubs]
I'm combining the Best Picture and Best Director categories because they happen to fall in the same order. The directors are going to be in parentheses following their respective movies.
10. The Blind Side
Sandra Bullock single handedly carried this movie to the top ten. This feel good summer blockbuster will get more viewers tuning in to the Academy Awards which is the main goal for expanding back to ten nominees. Is it one of the top ten movies of the year? Probably not. However, this is the perfect movie to round off the Best Picture category.
9. Precious (5. Lee Daniels)
8. A Serious Man
I'm pretty sure the Coen brothers can't miss. Especially with the new format of ten Best Picture nominees, they could make one movie every year and it'd be up for an Oscar. They write, produce and direct every time and they seem to never fail. And although this movie isn't even close to the caliber of say...No Country For Old Men, it's quite enjoyable.
Michael Stuhlbarg plays a Jewish professor in this dark comedy whose life basically gets dumped on over and over again. His wife hates him, his children don't respect him, and his brother (the only constant in his life) is socially awkward and won't leave his house. I know. Sounds hilarious, right?
It's held back by its unknown status and the fact that most people don't especially like dark comedies, but I highly recommend Netflixing it.
People are really stressing the fact that this is only the second animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture and I guess that's an honor, but let me tell you why I have trouble putting Up in the "Best Animated Picture Ever" category.
- It's not even close to Beauty and the Beast
As some of you may know, Beauty and the Beast was the only animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture and that was when there were only five nominees. It was nominated because it was ahead of its time and it's hard to a.) make a good musical, and b.) make a good animated feature. Beauty and the Beast did both.
- It's not even close to WALL-E
WALL-E is the best animated movie ever made. Hands down. And although Up is a masterpiece and Pixar is really learning how to tug at your heart without making it inappropriate for kids, I find it hard to give it the credit that I probably should.
6. An Education
You can come out of this movie with two different mindsets: I hated it because it was creepy, or I loved it because the creepiness didn't seem as creepy as it should have. If I read the script before I saw the movie I would've freaked out and refused to see it.
Plot: A thirty-something man has sex with a sixteen year old. Oh wait, she made him wait until her seventeenth birthday. So it's totally not creepy.
Carey Mulligan owns the whole time, and Peter Sarsgaard somehow makes his character charming, not creepy. Hard to do in a role like the one he played. The supporting cast does exactly that; they support Mulligan to perfection, and there are two dominant and memorable cameos by Emma Thompson and Sally Hawkins that top off the picture.
5. District 9
This movie give me hope for the film industry. Sometimes movies come along where I think, "is this the best Hollywood has to offer?" When I see a movie being remade for the tenth time or Rocky still fighting while he's in a wheelchair, I tend to get a little upset. Can't somebody on earth be creative? But then this sci-fi thriller comes along and my heart feels good.
Like last year's Best Picture winner, Slumdog Millionaire, right after I watched this movie, I was mad that I wasn't the one who thought of it. If you haven't seen D9 yet (and you don't mind some blood and you can stomach your way through it), watch it now.
(And I'm mad at myself for forgetting Sharlto Copley on my 10 snubs list. I would've loved to see him nominated for Best Actor. He deserves it this year more than Morgan Freeman.
4. Inglourious Basterds (4. Quentin Tarantino)
I've heard from a lot of people that Basterds has the best collective acting in the bunch, but it all starts with Tarantino. I wish I could write like he can. He's the best at writing 20 minutes of well-crafted, meaningful dialogue, and then following it up with 3 seconds of mass chaos.
I was hooked on this movie the moment I saw the first trailer. I knew going into it that I was going to see a lot of blood, and that the movie itself was going to feel like Tarantino (ensemble cast, broken up into chapters, strong female lead, etc). It had everything I hoped for, and then some. Listen, I have no sympathy for Nazis. What was shown in that movie was nothing. SPOILER ALERT: How Hitler dies in this movie is not even close to how I wished he died. It was Tarantino saying "Forget facts! I'm making history the way I want to make it!" Awesome.
I think this post might just be my masterpiece.
3. Up In the Air (3. Jason Reitman)
Both Basterds and the film not to be confused with Pixar's Up had scripts that owned. It'll probably win Best Adapted Screenplay, and this might be my favorite acting cast this year, so it feels strange putting it at number 3 on my list with such qualifications, but I have two very big reasons for it (see number 1 and number 2).
Everybody just fits perfectly into their roles in Up in the Air. George Clooney was at the top of his game and Vera Farmiga's quick wit complemented Anna Kendrick's spastic ways to perfection. Even Herny Rowengartner's mom made a great appearance.
Also, Jason Reitman is officially a director not to mess with. He's here to stay. Thank You For Smoking in 2005, Juno in 2007, Up in the Air in 2009. Very impressive, especially considering the guy's 32 years old. Whatever he makes in 2011, I'm seeing.
2. Avatar (2. James Cameron)
The next two movies are the clear front-runners for both of these categories, and although I feel the Best Picture and Best Director winners should always go to the same movie, that doesn't always happen. This is because only directors in the Academy vote for best director and the entire Academy votes on Best Picture. Most years this doesn't matter, but I think this year it will.
Avatar was unlike anything you will ever see. James Cameron created a whole new world. I felt like Jasmine in Aladdin. Awwwwww SNAP. If they made a 24 hour featurette called "The Making of Avatar," I would watch every second...Twice. I think the Na'Vi are a real species. They sure seemed real to me. Unfortunately, if I had the ability to do what Cameron did, there were a couple things in this movie where I went "I would have done that differently." Sigourney Weaver quickly comes to mind.
Between Best Picture and Best Director, Avatar has the best chance to win Best Picture. Regardless, it will most likely clean up at least 5 of its 9 total nominations. Avatar grossed over a billion dollars and changed film making forever, but as far as Oscar is concerned, this is not Cameron's year.
1. The Hurt Locker (1. Kathryn Bigelow)
There is nothing wrong with this movie. Let's go through it.
All movies start with the script. Mark Boal went into Iraq and followed a squad of bomb techs around, so he knows his stuff and it shows. He writes about their job and that's it. As a strong conservative, one of the biggest things I can't stand about movies involving Iraq is the bashing of our government. Boal leaves the politics out of it. Hurt Locker isn't pro-war or anti-war. It simply tells a story. It just happens to be an incredibly powerful story, and one that makes you think once it's over.
Jeremey Renner gives one of the most memorable performances of the year. Hands down. Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty are the everyday soldiers. They are not douchebags like Channing Tatum that because they have huge muscles, that means they belong in a uniform. Wow, do I hate Channing Tatum. Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse were all flawless (and they're collectively on screen for about 10 minutes).
Everything about this movie is perfect. Choosing a cinematographer whose main background is documentaries so you feel like you're in the action with the soldiers was brilliant. Using real explosives instead of the "Hollywood BALLS OF FIRE" was brilliant. Making the movie independently so you could film it on the border of Iraq instead of somewhere like Morocco was brilliant. Making it independently also means you can choose your actors. A studio would have picked Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, and Adrien Brody as there three main characters. That wouldn't have worked here, because:
*HUGE SPOILER ALERT*The two most famous people in this movie die two minutes into their scenes. Brilliant. Katheryn Bigelow, thank you for making this masterpiece. Oh, and you are extremely hot for 58.
The winner of the Director's Guild top award has won the Best Director Oscar 55 out of the last 61 years. Lucky for Katheryn Bigelow, she has already won the DGA Award so I think this is hers to lose.
So there we have it. Bigelow and The Hurt Locker are my pick to bring home the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars. The Oscars are tonight. You need to watch them. JUST DO IT. IS IT IN YOU? I'M LOVING IT!