February 2, 2010
Look at all those best picture nominations
The Oscar nominations are out. I had big hopes that this year's change from 5 to 10 best picture nominations would allow some smaller movies that don't normally stand a chance to be acknowledged, and in some cases this has happened. None of the movies I named back in June when the change was announced actually ended up with nominations (Moon, Adventureland, Goodbye Solo) but A Serious Man, District 9, and Up probably wouldn't have made the list otherwise.
I usually try to see all the Best Picture nominees before the Oscars, but my primary movie-watching partner wrote to me this morning saying, "Jesus Christ, are we gonna have to watch The Blind Side now??" I think I'm OK with letting this one go.
I guess that's what you get with a longer nominations list. I'd like to think The Blind Side would never have made a list of 5, and I still sort of can't believe it beat out The Hangover. The weekend it came out, I happened to be at our nation's largest retirement community, The Villages, and, gee whiz, did old white people sure get excited about that movie. Maybe this nomination is the Academy trying to reach out to middle America and show them they love feel-good star vehicles, too (especially the ones whose moral seems to be, in the words of A.O. Scott, that "the best hope for a poor black child in America is to have rich white parents.") And the people who produce the Oscars are psyched that so many huge hits are in the mix this year.
It's looking like Avatar is going to get Best Picture, in spite of everything. I'm still chasing the dream that Kathryn Bigelow will get Best Director for The Hurt Locker, since every so often the movie that win Best Picture doesn't also win directing or acting awards. All the recent movies I can think of that fall into this category have been big, bombastic movies that are, arguably, sort of terrible and don't hold up to much scrutiny: Gladiator, Chicago, and Crash won Best Picture but not Best Director, and of those three I think only Gladiator won a major acting award. Avatar could join that list: it got nominations for best picture and director, but, notably, no acting or writing nominations, probably because the acting and writing are mostly awful. So there's some justice.
Right now I'm going to say Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock (I know, I don't understand it either) will get the acting awards, Avatar gets Best Picture, and Kathryn Bigelow gets Director.
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