Hello, dear readers! I'm glad you enjoyed my Black History Month columns written by guest columnist Joe Vince. You may see his work again in the future, but for now, I'm back. March is women's history month, and I'll be discussing women in film later, but for now, I can't even think about women when Steve Martin is co-hosting the Oscars.
I'm writing this several days before the Oscars, but this column will run on actual Oscar day, which doesn't enable my readers much of a chance to see the films I think you should beforehand, so instead, let's chat like we've all seen all the movies, shall we? (No spoilers, I promise).
Unless you've been unplugged, you know that the following films are nominated for best film:
THE BLIND SIDE
THE HURT LOCKER
A SERIOUS MAN
UP IN THE AIR
What should win: THE HURT LOCKER. What a spectacular movie! I am not a fan of war movies. In fact, as a general rule I hate them, but, while THE HURT LOCKER is a fantastic war movie, it simultaneously transcends "war movie." It's a workplace drama that just happens to be in a warzone. What's truly remarkable about THE HURT LOCKER is that it shows the stress and raw human emotion of war without a political bias. It's amazing that a movie with explosions can have subtlety, but here we have it.
What will win: THE HURT LOCKER. It damn well better.
The nominees for best director are:
Kathryn Bigelow (THE HURT LOCKER)
James Cameron (AVATAR)
Lee Daniels (PRECIOUS)
Jason Reitman (UP IN THE AIR)
Quentin Tarantino (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS)
Who should win: Once again, I think Kathryn Bigelow for THE HURT LOCKER. In a film that could have depended on explosions, Bigelow instead demanded and achieved amazing performance from her actors.
Who will win: I have a feeling Cameron will get the honor for creating Pandora and all the depression his lanky blue people caused. If it is Cameron, it will be for achievement in special effects (not story), which really isn't what good moviemaking should be all about, but whatever.
Best actor nods went to Jeff Bridges (CRAZY HEART), George Clooney (UP IN THE AIR), Colin Firth (A SINGLE MAN), Morgan Freeman (INVICTUS), and Jeremy Renner (THE HURT LOCKER).
Who should win: Patton Oswalt for BIG FAN. Oswalt proved himself as a brilliant actor in this terrifically written and directed film by Robert Siegel.
Who will win: Jeff Bridges will probably win. There's something about playing an unwashed skeaze with surprising talent that snatches up much attention.
Best actress nominees are: Sandra Bullock (THE BLIND SIDE), Helen Mirren (THE LAST STATION), Carey Mulligan (AN EDUCATION), Gabourey Sidibe (PRECIOUS), Meryl Streep (JULIE &JULIA).
Who should win: Maya Rudolph for her subtle, beautiful performance in AWAY WE GO. But I won't seriously do that to you two for both best acting categories, so I'll give you someone who was actually nominated. So I'll say Meryl Streep. She rocked as Julia Child in this lovely film. (A rich, warm film that got passed off as a chickflick, sadly).
Who will win: My money is on Sandra Bullock. The Academy will enjoy bestowing this gift to one of America's sweethearts. She's been famous for decades, but I'm not convinced she deserves it—she doesn't seem to take her career seriously; why should anyone else? (ALL ABOUT STEVE, Sandra, really?)
Best supporting actor nominations are:
Matt Damon (INVICTUS)
Woody Harrelson (THE MESSENGER)
Christopher Plummer (THE LAST STATION)
Stanley Tucci (THE LOVELY BONES)
Christopher Waltz (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS)
I'm going to go with Mr. Moviephone and everyone else and say Christoph Waltz. He was full of hate in four languages. THAT's talent.
Best supporting actress nominations are:
Penelope Cruz (NINE)
Vera Farmiga (UP IN THE AIR)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (CRAZY HEART)
Anna Kendrick (UP IN THE AIR)
Who should win: While I would like to see Vera Farmiga (the best thing about UP IN THE AIR, IMHO), but I'm going with Mo'nique. This adorable comic showed that she's a powerful dramatic actress, too.
Who will win: Mo'nique.
Best animated feature film:
FANTASTIC MR. FOX
THE PRINCESS AND THE FOX
THE SECRET OF KELLS
This category is such a no-brainer that I can't believe I'm taking the time to write it out, but UP should and will win. It's nice that they nominated UP for Best Picture, but it wouldn't have been if there were but five noms. Animation still isn't getting the respect it deserves, but next decade, after a few years of eating at the grown ups' table, animated films will become real contenders for the Best Picture category. For now, well both statues look equally sexy on a mantelpiece.
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