Few surprises in Oscar nominations

February 2, 2010
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Just as movie trailers tend to give away so much that the films themselves can sometimes seem redundant, all of the lead-up blather can make the announcement of the Oscar nominees an anticlimax.

Just a few minutes ago, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced its nominees for this year and only a small handful of choices are likely to raise an eyebrow. Interesting that Matt Damon scored for Supporting Actor in "Invictus." And that Maggie (driving spell check crazy) Gyllenhaal made it for "Crazy Heart." And a shame that "(500) Days of Summer" was roundly ignored.

Doubling the number of Best Picture nominations made that category open to such films as "District 9" and "A Serious Man" that otherwise would have been ignored. Unfortunately, the Academy only made room for one animated film, taking "Up" but leaving out the wonderful "Fantastic Mr. Fox." And where the heck is "Where the Wild Things Are"? That remarkable film scored exactly zero nominations--not even one for adapted screenplay.

Deeper into the category list, it's no surprise that "The Weary Kind" was nominated for Best Song (Let's see them turn that into a big production number). It's up against two Randy Newman "Princess and the Frog" tunes, one from "Nine," and something that doesn't stand a chance from a film called "Paris 36."

I'm always hoping to see films that were screened at the Heartland Film Festival or Indianapolis International Film Festival show up in the documentary, short film, or other categories. This year (and this is a correction from an earlier draft of this post), Heartlanders can cheer on "Kavi," while IIFF-ites can root for "Miracle Fish." Alas, no nom for Hal Holbrook, who gave what I think is the performance of the year in "That Evening Sun," which screened at Heartland.

In all, it looks like a year I'll be rooting against some films (""Avatar" and "Inglourious Basterds") rather than for others.

Then again, I still have to see "District 9," "An Education," "Precious," and "A Serious Man," so maybe there's hope.

Your thoughts?


  • Goodnight "Moon"
    I must admit I was a bit disappointed to see that Sam Rockwell had been ignored for a Best Actor nomination for his role in "Moon." His performance was transcedent. I applaud the noms "The Hurt Locker" received - and will be glued to the tube to watch the ceremony.
  • Seven to see
    Looks like I'll be spending some time in the dark before March 7th. The 10 Best Picture nominees are killing me - especially considering that I'm going to have to see District 9. Of the ones I've seen (which do not include Avatar, An Education and A Serious Man), I have to say I'm not bubbling over with enthusiasm for any above the others. Lots of good movies; no great stand outs. Glad to see Maggie Gyllenhaal get nominated. Looking forward to the arrival of The Last Station. Ahhh...I love Oscar season!
  • An Education
    An Education was a very good movie. Every year it seems the same people and movies get a certain "buzz," and that determines the trajectory the awards will take. The Oscars have never been especially meaningful or fair, but at least they used to be fun and capable of surprises.
  • Happy Surprises
    This year had some surprises, but most of them were actually good ones. Yes we had the insanely flawed Blind Side up for Best Picture, but we also had An Education and A Serious Man up for the same honor. Those are two movies that I really adored and hopefully more people will see them now.

    Ultimately, the coolest nomination was In the Loop actually received a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. This was easily my favorite comedy of the year and almost no one saw it.

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