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WGUC Reviews

2010 Oscar Preview

2010 Oscar Preview
Rated Various
Now Showing at: most major theaters.
Review by: Larry Thomas

Tonight is the one time of year when cinephiles all around the globe are glued to the tube. The 82nd annual Academy Awards are being handed out, and no matter how much things change, the more they stay the same. Every year, the producers of the show promise it will be better. Every year, the audience hopes it will be better. And maybe one of these days, it will be better. Will tonight be that night? We won’t know until it’s over. In the never-ending search for the perfect host, tonight you will get double-teamed by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. They worked together just fine in It’s Complicated. Let’s see how they do on live TV in what usually proves to be a very over-produced show.

No doubt you have your list of nominees at hand, ready to mark your choices. Here’s how it may shape up tonight.

Best Documentary Feature – The nominees are Burma V.J., The Cove, Food, Inc., The Most Dangerous Man in America - Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, and Which Way Home. You could make a case for the merits of each of these worthy nominees, but I’ll hang my hat on The Cove, a beautifully done tract on the abuse of dolphins in Japan. Never underestimate the popularity of sea creatures.

Best Foreign Language Feature – The nominees are Ajami, The Secret in Their Eyes, The Milk of Sorrow, A Prophet, and The White Ribbon. Considering the antiquated rules governing how these films are selected, it’s always one of the hardest categories to nail down. However, I’ll go with Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon.

Best Animated Feature – The nominees are Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog, The Secret of Kells, and Up. No doubt about it, Pixar will win for Up for two reasons: (1) it is the best animated film of the year, and (2) it doesn’t stand a chance of winning for Best Picture, for which it is also nominated.

Best Original Score – The nominees are Avatar, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Hurt Locker, Sherlock Holmes, and Up. Rack up a second win for Up, and Michael Giacchino’s sublime music.

Best Director – The nominees are Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, and Up in the Air. No matter how much I want Quentin Tarantino to win, I think the academy will give the award to the first woman to ever win this prize, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker.

Best Supporting Actress – The nominees are Penelope Cruz, Vera Farmiga, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Anna Kendrick, and Mo’Nique. Since most of the prizes handed out so far this year have gone to Mo’Nique, survey says she will also nab a little golden man tonight.

Best Supporting Actor – The nominees are Matt Damon, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Plummer, Stanley Tucci, and Christoph Waltz. Once again, we have a no-brainer. It will be Christoph Waltz for his mesmerizing performance in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.

Best Actress – The nominees are Sandra Bullock, Helen Mirren, Carey Mulligan, Gabourey Sidibe, and Meryl Streep. Everyone always roots for Meryl, and rightly so. However, since it may have been the role of a lifetime, I think Sandra Bullock, for The Blind Side, will walk away the winner.

Best Actor – The nominees are Jeff Bridges, George Clooney, Colin Firth, Morgan Freeman, and Jeremy Renner. After five nominations, and many overlooked great performances, if Jeff Bridges doesn’t win for Crazy Heart, it may affect the tilt of the Earth’s axis and we’ll all go careening into the sun.

Best Picture – For the first time since 1943, the Academy has expanded the Best Picture category to ten nominees, presumably to make it accessible to more commercial films, even though they may be critically snubbed. The nominees are Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, A Serious Man, Up, and Up in the Air. What should win? Inglourious Basterds for its outrageous and entertaining spin on revisionist history, and just darn fine moviemaking. And there are those who think that Avatar will nab the gold just because of all the dollars its raked in at the ticket wickets world wide. But my money is on another critically revered small film that opened in art houses: Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. If that happens, it should make it twice tonight that Bigelow has trumped the nominations of her ex-husband James Cameron.

There you have it. Keep your list and check it against the winners as we all watch the 82nd Annual Academy Awards tonight at 8 pm on ABC-TV.


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