Monday, November 9, 2009

FORUM/OPINION: Who Is In/Out of Oscar '09...

So it's finally here. Oscar season '09. We are currently in the middle of the much hyped season, and there are many big films yet to be seen, that have a massive implication as to what films should and will be nominated for the ever important Best Picture.

However, more questions than the quality of those films are confounding all Oscar bloggers.

What will Avatar do?
Where will Up be placed?
Is Precious the current front runner?
What about late bloomers like Crazy Heart?
What's more manly, being Serious or Single
What kind of effect will 10 films being nominated have on the overall scheme of the group? More blockbusters, or more of the same?
Finally, who is in right now?

Hopefully I can voice a bit of an opinion, and give you my respective outlook on the upcoming season.

First, when one goes into the awards discussion, one must clarify what films he or she sees as getting in. At this point in time I see 9 sure-fire locks.

Up In The Air
The Lovely Bones
The Hurt Locker
A Serious Man
A Single Man
An Education

Coming out of all the major film festivals, Precious looks to be the film that everyone will be getting behind, particularly with the soon to be huge push from the likes of Tyler Perry and Ms. Oprah, who are both presenting the film. If they pump this puppy up, as I am sure they will, by at least dedicating a full show of Oprah's to the film, this one is arguably the front runner at this point for the overall prize.

However, after listening to some true Oscar prognosticators, people I trust, it appears that many people are predicting that The Hurt Locker may in the end, take it from Precious, it what I think would be a great win. I haven't seen Precious, but Hurt Locker being the highest of any film on my list on this list, I would have to lean my hat on that rack. And what an action packed, brilliant rack it is.

That all said, I only have 9 films on this list, and even two of those, A Serious Man and A Single Man, may be a bit of a stretch. Although everyone is calling for the two to be nominated, I'm not to sure that it will happen, with the ultimate casualty most likely being A Single Man. Do I think both will be nominated, yes. Would I be surprised if one wasn't, not in the slightest.

So simply leave my list intact, and leave the one slot open. What gets in? What doesn't? That in and of itself may be more interesting than who would win.

The biggest question, both potentially and monetarily (since the budget is rumored at $500 million) is where is Avatar going to place., my go to website for Oscar news has it listed in the top 10, so one should assume that there is at least a chance. No one has seen the film yet, so no one truly knows how well the film will play to both audiences and academy members. Me personally, I don't see it happening. I wouldn't be shocked if it did, but I would find the tech awards a perfect and probable place where the film is going to get it's awards, and I think quite a few are in it's sight.

Then there is Up, the fantastic new Pixar film. This one also made the list over at, and I think that this is where the academy may go for its 10th spot. While it IS an animated film and I do believe that the Academy has a vendetta against the form since relegating it to a separate category, but I think Up is far less out there than Avatar, and will also most likely be far more critically acclaimed. I'm not the biggest fan of the film, but it is just out of my top 10 of the year, so I wouldn't feel to bad about seeing this one take the spot.

Also, something has to be said for the shift to 10 films. While I do believe that the shift is an awful idea and will probably be changed back by at least 2011, if not next year. There had to have been a reason behind it, and while I for the most point think that it will just be more of the same, Oscar bait type films, I do believe that the academy will nominate at least one larger blockbuster, and Up is by far the best.

Inglourious Basterds is out of the hunt, even though some people, particularly just fans, think that both the film and Tarantino will be nominated for their respective awards. Yes, Christoph Waltz will most likely get a nomination for best supporting actor, but even there, a win is a little far fetched. Cinematography and Best Original Screenplay are two categories that I also see a possible nomination for Basterds.

Amelia is dead, Capitalism: A Love Story is out, and District 9 is too, and same goes for personal favorite Where The Wild Things Are. Which brings me to the next and last possibility, my best film of the year, Bright Star.

At this point, I have two films to film at least one spot. Bright Star and Up are both vying for that 10th spot, and personally, I wouldn't be surprised if both get in, and one of the Man films don't get nominated. Bright Star is beyond a soft lob for the academy. Luscious, a biopic, full of costumes and period drama, and from a director, Jane Campion, who is one that the academy has an affinity for. Currently it's between that and Up, but if I have to place a bet on what the 10th film on that list will be, Bright Star is getting my vote.

For the other main races, I think that both the Mal and Female lead categoriesar down to two frontrunners. For the guys, I think the race is directly down to Colin Firth for A Single Man and Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart. My personal pick is having to lean more towards Bridges, primarily in that he both sings in the film, and the guy has been pumping out performance after quality performance for going on 40 years now. I haven't seen either film at this point, so who knows, but from the buzz I've been hearing, and what it appears that the academy likes in their leads and their films, I think these two guys are squarely in the hunt, and everyone else is catching up. Clooney and Freeman should round that category out, with the wild card probably being Daniel Day Lewis for Nine or Hal Hollbrook for That Evening Sun.

Best Actress is also down to two frontrunners, Carrey Mulligan and Meryl Streep, with the lead squarely on the shoulders of Mulligan. Two other surefire locks are Gabourey Sidibe and Helen Miren, with the final spot most likely going to Saorise Ronan for The Lovely Bones. This has been a somewhat above average year for women in film, so this is definitely a race to be on the look out for.

All in all, I think we can pretty much knock the top 10 films squarely into their places. I can put up a list of 8, maybe 9 films that I think are surefire locks to be there come Oscar time. With a lot of time left, and not many of the films getting a release yet, no one can truly say what is in or out, but all in all, when it comes time I think you can take these to the bank.

What films do YOU think will be nominated for Best Picture? What will be out?

Go see something good!


  1. Don't get me wrong: I loved The Hurt Locker. Easily the best action movie of 2009. But nothing I have seen so far this year has carried the emotional punch of Precious. In fact, nothing can even compare to the power of this film.

  2. See, I am unable to comment on Precious, as I haven't had a chance to see it yet. So I'm just going based on my personal opinion, and what the buzz is that I have been hearing from various sources. I know I'll love Precious. I just haven't seen it yet.

  3. I think that "Inglorious Basterds" does have a shot at a best picture nomination. I for one certainly hope that it gets one. I haven't seen "The Road" yet, but it is certainly one of the greatest pieces of literature I've ever had the privilege of reading, and if they did adapt it the way it should have been adapted, then Viggo and Hillcoat and company might have a real contender on their hands (a first for Dimension Films). I also think that "District 9" has a shot, although it didn't do for me what it apparently did for the critics..

    Maybe "Up" will push into the ten nominated films in the Best Picture category, but would it then still be nominated in the Animated Feature category as well? I wonder.. Also, I don't think that I'm alone in hoping for a Best Picture nomination for "Star Trek", however unlikely that scenario seems. Statistically at least, it's doing better critically than "Bright Star" and "A Serious Man", so who knows what could happen come nomination time.. I would love to see "Star Trek" up for Best Picture, because it is a film that I not only loved, but that satisfied and excited both the critics and the general movie-going public.

    I've heard it said that the Oscar telecast has been steadily losing viewers each year, which affects whether or not there will be Oscar telecasts at all in the future (seems unlikely that we wouldn't see one each year), but I think that if "Star Trek" were nominated, there might be more people watching come Oscar night. As much as I am satisfied with "The Dark Knight" not being up for Best Picture last year, I would imagine that if it had been nominated, more people would have tuned in. I think that maybe that is why the Academy expanded the nominees list for this year. After last year, maybe they figured that if they nominated more films, that they would then have more people tuning in to watch the broadcast, cheering their respective pick or picks on.. I just think that it's an interesting year to expand the number of Best Picture picks anyway, considering that production was down due to the writer's strike of last year..


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