2009 OSCAR COMMENTARY / PREDICTIONS
When my 2 most anticipated films were shoved into 2010, I had a feeling 2009 was going to stink... & it did! When you add in the fact that none of my 5 favorite movies were nominated for Best Picture, the Oscar race looks pathetic – by expanding the list to 10 nominees they have succeeded in diluting the award instead of making sure any deserving candidates weren’t left off – they left off the 5 best as far as I’m concerned & I’m only going to tape the Award ceremony this year so I can hear Jeff Bridges’ acceptance speech.
I saw 7 of the 10 nominees so 3 of them didn’t interest me enough to take my time & money to sit through (Avatar, An Education & Precious) I liked 5 of the 7
(Blind Side, Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, Up & Up In The Air) District 9 improved as it went along, & the Jumbo Shrimp Aliens were very realistic, but that first 20 minutes or so were brutal. & finally, A Serious Man??? Are you Serious, man? That one is in my bottom 10. The Hangover being snubbed is my biggest complaint, followed by Amy Adams & Emily Blount not being nominated for Best Actress/Supporting Actress for Sunshine Cleaning.
So with very little interest in the outcome, here are my predictions...
BEST FILM (Let’s bring that up to date while we’re farting around with tradition – it isn’t a ‘picture’ – you can’t hang it on the wall, & if you do, it’s called a ‘poster’)
I’ll go with the process of elimination on this one – The ‘doesn’t stand a chance in Hades’ field includes The BLIND SIDE, DISTRICT 9, An EDUCATION, SERIOUS MAN & UP. Not that I think they’re the 5 worst, I just think they’re the 5 that wouldn’t have been nominated in a normal year.
HURT LOCKER & PRECIOUS were nominated because the people in Hollywood who aren’t gay are afraid of women & if they didn’t nominate the ‘macho’ film directed by a woman & Oprah’s over-bloated baby they’d have to answer to their wives, girlfriends & many mistresses.
I think it’s between AVATAR, INGLORIOUS BASTERDS & UP IN THE AIR & I’m afraid they will give it to the Big Smurf film, which is rather surprising when you realize that earlier in the year they had the Big Blue Scrotum film & snubbed it (You’d think the gays would have put ‘Watchmen’ into the top 10)
BASTERDS & UP IN THE AIR are the 2 nominees that are also in my Top 10 & both are similar in that I enjoyed them both up until the final 15 minutes when one turned ridiculously stupid & the other stopped being clever & went dramatic. I hope one of them takes it, but I believe the Sheep in Hollywood will reward James Cameron for yet another overblown, poorly acted remake aimed at the poor little lambs who’ve lost their way... PREDICTION: AVATAR (& what a joke it will be)
BEST ACTOR – JEFF BRIDGES wins; deservedly so. I thought GEORGE CLOONEY did a better job of acting in the panned MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS. I though COLIN FIRTH was mediocre in the less-than-entertaining A SINGLE MAN. MORGAN FREEMAN, my overall favorite among these 5 actors, gave one of his weakest performances in INVICTUS – still a surprise it didn’t get a Best Film nod even though it wasn’t nearly as good as expected. & JEREMY RENNER falls into the Who? category – he had one impressive scene & I guess he deserves to be recognized for it because it was one of the most memorable of the year but am I the only one who thought The HURT LOCKER dragged quite a bit & was put off by the fact that the squad got their original bomb specialist killed & then THEY are the ones who are worried about the new guy?
BEST ACTRESS – SANDRA BULLOCK wins because like Sally Field, I think most voters like her. HELEN MIRREN, the best actress of the group already has one so there’s no need to reward her for a ‘career achievement’. CAREY MULLIGAN has a chance because she was prominently mentioned earlier in the year – but Hollywood usually gives newcomers 'Supporting' wins. If Mulligan takes it, I will be happy because she carried 'An Education'. ‘PRECIOUS’ can’t be taken seriously since I’ve heard from those who have seen the film that she’s basically playing herself. JULIE & JULIA was just falt out awful & to reward MERYL STREEP for her annoying portrayal of a cookbook writer would be a travesty.
(& yes, I didn’t want to bother to take the time to look up Precious’s real name for the correct spelling)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Usually my favorite category because here’s where you get the guys who aren’t doing it to become ‘stars’ – they are more interested in their craft. Unfortunately, The MESSENGER only played in Seattle for one week at one hard to find parking near it theatre. I really wanted to see it & was hoping for an early DVD release so I can’t comment on Woody Harrelson other than to say he was the best part of the awful ‘2010’ & very off-the-wall entertaining in ‘ZOMBIELAND’, so to add on this serious turn which others deemed Oscar worthy, he has to be considered for my made up category ‘Actor Of The Year’ – but I don’t think he’s in the running here. Neither is Matt Damon, whom I thought should have been given a Best Actor shot for The INFORMANT not for his mundane role as a rugby player in INVICTUS. Nobody saw The LAST STATION so there’s no need to mention that CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER played Tolstoy in it & that’s why the snobs insisted he get a nod. To me, this category comes down to STANLEY TUCCI & CHRISTOPH WALTZ. From the outset, it’s easy to say WALTZ has the advantage, but I’m not so sure he’s a shoe-in. WALTZ was outstanding, but in a film that was full of impressive performances (Diane Kruger SHOULD have been given a Supporting nomination & Brad Pitt gave his best performance to date) TUCCI, on the other hand, stood out as the best part of the much-hyped though poorly executed The LOVELY BONES. TUCCI made my skin crawl with his creepy portrayal. Both were excellent, memorable performances. The question is – do they want to throw Peter Jackson a lovely bone by rewarding Tucci – or give it to the previously unknown WALTZ to reward Tarantino for finally making something watchable? Either way, the Oscar goes to an actor who played an unscrupulous basterd.
Which is what usually happens in this category, isn’t it? PREDICTION: WALTZ
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – This has WHO CARES? written all over it. They’ll give it to MO’NIQUE. Didn’t PENELOPE CRUZ win here just a year or two ago? Why was she nominated instead of Blunt or Kruger? VERA FARMINGA loses out to ANNA KENDRICK in UP IN THE AIR so there’s your ‘cancellation votes’.
MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL was a nice surprise nominee because she has deserved to be recognize many times before & has not.
BEST DIRECTOR – Do they totally suck on CAMERON’s ample teats here or do they go for the upset & hand it to the chick (KATHRYN ‘DEUCE’ BIGELOW) ? That’s what I believe it comes down to & sheep being sheep, they won’t throw a monkey wrench into the tradition of rewarding any piece of garbage James Cameron throws up on a screen. I’ll be rooting for JASON REITMAN or QUENTIN TARANTINO. & I won’t bother to even mention the 5th nominee because it’s kind of embarassing that they’d recognize someone who simply got his main actresses to be themselves’
For my picks, I lost my notebook where I graded every film, so I had to decide if I wanted to go back & read all of my reviews from this sucky year to make an accurate list – or just wing it... Winging away, here’s my ‘BEST of 2009’ lists...
10 BEST FILMS (Alphabetical) BROTHERS***
500 DAYS OF SUMMER
The INVENTION OF LYING
The MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS
UP IN THE AIR
*** (In My Top 5) & my #1 favorite is . . . “THE HANGOVER” (by a landslide)
JEFF BRIDGES*** (Crazy Heart)
GEORGE CLOONEY (Men Who Stare At Goats/Up In The Air combo)
MATT DAMON (The Informant)
ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. (Sherlock Holmes)
JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT (500 Days Of Summer)
Honorable mentions to... Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) / Russell Crowe (State Of Play) / Jake Gyllenhaal (Brothers) Viggo Mortenson (The Road) / Brad Pitt (Inglorious Basterds)
AMY ADAMS*** (Sunshine Cleaning)
AMY BRESLIN (My Sister's Keeper)
SANDRA BULLOCK (The Blind Side)
ZOOEY DESCHANEL (500 Days Of Summer)
CAREY MULLIGAN (An Education)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS (Hangover)
ED HELMS (Hangover)
TOBEY McGUIRE (Brothers)
STANLEY TUCCI (Lovely Bones)
CHRISTOPH WALTZ*** (Inglorious Basterds)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
EMILY BLOUNT*** (Sunshine Cleaning)
MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL (Crazy Heart)
ANNA KENDRICK (Up In The Air)
DIANE KRUGER (Inglorious Basterds)
SUSAN SARANDON (Lovely Bones)
SCOTT COOPER (Crazy Heart)
CHRISTINE JEFFS*** (Sunshine Cleaning)
JASON REITMAN (Up In The Air)
JIM SHERIDAN (Brothers)
QUENTIN TARANTINO (Inglorious Basterds)
I went with the 5 films I thought got the best performances from their casts & I can make a case for each one being the best directed film of 2009... I would lean toward Tarantino because he got great performances from Pitt & Kruger (& that wasn’t easy) but I was also turned off by that idiotic assassination scene, so that puts Christine Jeffs in the spotlight for making a nearly flawless vastly under-rated film.