Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Who's Taking Home The Gold '10

Well, it's that time again. How predictable did this year in Oscar turn out to be? Just about the usual, I'd say. But, who knows, maybe "Inglourious Basterds" will just be a dark house and astound everyone.

My verdict for how the night will unfold: "The Hurt Locker" will sweep while "Avatar" will win for Art Direction, Visual Effects and nothing more.

Best Picture: While "Avatar" might have been the talk of the town, "The Hurt Locker" has this one locked.

Directing: Without any question, Kathryn Bigelow.

Best Actor: As much as I may want Colin Firth to take this one, it'll be going to Jeff Bridges for "Crazy Heart."

Best Actress: Sandra Bullock for "The Blind Side" cannot be beat at this point.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz for "Inglourious Basterds" is certain.

Best Supporting Actress: Another lock: Mo'Nique for "Precious."

Animated Feature: "Up" has it.

Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" will most likely nab this one. Who else could proclaim that the power of cinema is what beat the Nazis in WWII?

Best Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for "Up in the Air" seems to be the most logical choice.

Sound Editing: This is tough. Although "Avatar" could likely take this, the tides have changed, and I'm predicting "The Hurt Locker."

Sound Mixing: Again, I'm going with "The Hurt Locker."

Film Editing: Since I have it winning Best Picture, it can only go to say this: "The Hurt Locker."

Documentary Feature: I'm predicting "The Cove" for this one because it's the most well-known and best reviewed documentary of the year.

Foreign Language Film: It could randomly be given to "A Prophet," but I'm still going to go with "The White Ribbon."

Cinematography: Another tough one. While I first thought "Avatar" had this one in the bag, since the British Academy gave it to "The Hurt Locker," my prediction will lie there.

Makeup: "Star Trek," right? I mean, there were green people.

Costume Design: "The Young Victoria" because it's a period piece from a lovely looking period of time.

Visual Effects: Here's your win, "Avatar." Enjoy it.

Original Song: "The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart" has this locked because the music was such a huge part of that movie.

Original Score: Michael Giacchino for "Up" nailed this.

Art Direction: I'm predicting a second win for "Avatar" here. The movie was gorgeous, and there's no denying that.

Tune in to ABC on March 7 at 8:00pm to catch the 82nd Annual Academy Award ceremony to find out how correct your own predictions turn out to be!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The British Academy Knows Best

The winners of the British Academy Film Awards were announced earlier today, and I must say they made some excellent choices, and by the looks of how many awards "The Hurt Locker" won and how many "Avatar" didn't, for the Oscars coming up in a few weeks the tight race just fell into favoring "The Hurt Locker." Sorry, "Avatar," but your awards potential went flat once you stop being number one at the box office.

Kathryn Bigelow walked away with Best Director while her film went on to win Best Film, Cinematography, Editing, Sound and Original Screenplay. And, yes, it's almost guaranteed that this is exactly what we'll be seeing come March 7th.

"Avatar" only won for Best Visual Effects and Production Design, which is another fancy way of mentioning visual effects.

A few nice twists came for Best Actress and Best Actor, which went to Carey Mulligan for "An Education" and Colin Firth for "A Single Man," respectively. Sadly, though, this probably will not be replicated with the Academy's selections.

Another surprise came with Best Film not in the English Language with "A Prophet" beating out Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon." Will this hurt Haneke's chances at the big time win?

"Fish Tank" also beat out the likes of "An Education" in Best British Film while Duncan Jones was awarded Outstanding Debut for his direction of "Moon."

And so, while it appeared that "Avatar" had its chances, things have changed, and James Cameron's self-promotion is falling by the wayside. The clear front-runner now is "The Hurt Locker" with the only potential upset for Best Picture being Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds."

A full list of the British Film Academy Award winners can be found here.

Stay tuned for my official predictions for the Oscars soon to come!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

This Island Is No Vacation

Movie Review
Shutter Island (2010)

What we see here is a master at work but also having fun at the same time. Just take note of the cameo. It's like Martin Scorsese is throwing us a little treat, a hint to the fact that even he isn't taking this all too seriously. He's having fun with us, and we better be ready and willing to go along for the psychologically thrilling and exhausting ride. Even when Scorsese is playing with us, he's masterful. No, his latest film, "Shutter Island," is not perfect. But even when not at perfection, Scorsese is a master at the craft and knows how to make a compelling motion picture. His love for filmmaking and for cinema in general is apparent throughout the movie's lengthy running time, quite like Quentin Tarantino's latest work, "Inglourious Basterds." Both present a history that is changed and unreliable, and they both are inspired by endless genres and older works. Martin Scorsese knows how to make a film, so let him have his fun, and "Shutter Island" is it. It's dark and delirious, a waking nightmare, and I, for one, loved it.

The year is 1954, and U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is on his way to the fog-covered, doom-and-gloom-promising Shutter Island with his partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo). The island is home to a prison for the criminally insane with a ward that used to be a fort in the Civil War. In other words, there's nothing inviting about this place, and the horrifyingly pounding score at the film's opening confirms this notion without question. The two have been assigned to a case of a missing patient, a woman named Rachel (Emily Mortimer) who is guilty of killing her three children. It appears impossible to leave the island alive as it is surrounded by cliffs of jagged rocks. To the prison's director, Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley), it would seem that Rachel just evaporated through the walls.

Adapted from a novel by Dennis Lehane, the story is simple enough upon first glance. But the trick is that there's something awfully terrifying about this island. There's something hidden amongst the endlessly heavy walls of gray concrete, and Teddy becomes obsessed with finding out just exactly what it is. The investigation hits a dead-end when the two marshals meet Dr. Naehring (an ever-menacing Max von Sydow) who gives the vibe of being a co-conspirator with Dr. Cawley. Just what could they be hiding in this place? Teddy becomes entrapped by his own involvement and investment to the island as he delves into motives beyond himself.

DiCaprio gives a deeply felt and haunting performance as a man torn between his memories and the reality of what is happening to people on the island. Teddy comes across people who could either be ghosts of his past, a trick of the imagination, or mere people who remind him of his own trauma. We receive glimpses into Teddy's history, his involvement in liberating a Nazi camp, along with the life he had with his wife (Michelle Williams) before she died tragically in a fire. They're presented in dreams, hallucinations, and flashbacks, and they're vibrant and beautiful even in their horror. As a hurricane brews with strong winds and sweeping trees, so brews the hurricane inside Teddy's mind. His partner is not nearly as involved, but he cares for his partner. "You OK, boss?" he frequently asks of him. Meanwhile, a visit with a patient named George Noyce (Jackie Earle Haley of "Watchmen" and "Little Children") and an encounter with a different Rachel (Patricia Clarkson of "Lars and the Real Girl") send Teddy deeper into the downward spiral of confusion, frustration, and madness.

Every performance here is sublime, no matter how minor the role. The singular scene with Patricia Clarkson is arguably the film's most emotionally potent, and Kingsley never fails to have a glimmer of menace even behind the kindest eyes. This film is all about atmosphere and the tone, that feel of film noir, the pulpy complexity and dramatization of it all. The key is the mystery, following along only with the instinct of your senses, of what you see, hear, and ultimately feel. The movie is an extremely sensory experience, and in the same vein, a surprisingly emotional one, too. It becomes nearly stressful, but only in the best way a movie can transfix and transport you.

Scorsese deals with some weighty themes in "Shutter Island," and even here he continues to explore the aspects of human nature that have intrigued him in his other films. The question becomes the clarity of the dividing line between what is considered to be sane or insane and the violence that may come with such. Is it ever justifiable? Nothing is ever what it seems even up to the film's final frame. To speak of the ending would be pointless. Some may like it while others may detest it. For me, I think it works, and it makes sense with the narrative that unfolds. And, best of all, it makes you want to go out and see it again.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lots Of Romances For The Price Of One!

Valentine's Day

For my review of director Garry Marshall's "Valentine's Day," I've decided to never refer to the actual characters' names in the movie, but rather, the celebrities who play them. I honestly think that this is the way the director would have wanted it. He wants you to remember the faces you saw, and, most notably, the number of faces you saw, not the characters they played.

Massive spoiler alert in this next paragraph. Although, isn't it all so predictable anyway?

Oh, remember when Patrick Dempsey, excuse me, McDreamy, was a sleazy two-timing slut? Oh, oh! And when the other one, what's his name? Oh yeah, McSteamy turned out to be gay?! Oh, and you'll never guess with whom: Bradley Cooper! And remember when Julia Roberts was in the army stuck on the airplane with Bradley Cooper? Oh, and Ashton Kutcher proposed to Jessica Alba, but she really wasn't having any of it because she was too work oriented. But then Ashton Kutcher got with his best friend, Jennifer Garner, after she got two-timed by McDreamy. Oh, and then remember George Lopez as Ashton Kutcher's Latino friend? Yeah, he represented that minority pretty well, didn't he? It was funny when Taylor Swift played a super annoying ditz, and then her boyfriend was also named Taylor because it was Taylor Lautner! That's clever. And then Jessica Biel threw that anti-Valentine's Day party, but then she just ended up falling in love with Jamie Foxx? Oh, and then Kathy Bates was Jamie Foxx's boss for no reason? Oh, and who could forget when Anne Hathaway was an adult phone entertainer and how, what's his name? Oh yeah, the guy from "That 70s Show" found out! Too cute. Oh, and then Anne Hathaway worked for a tough-talking Queen Latifah.

I'm pretty sure that's the only summary you'll get from anybody who goes to see this movie, but you know what? It's really all you need. Garry Marshall composed this fluffy piece of nothingness with a whole slew of A-list celebrities just for thrills. Who would want to watch non-famous, ugly people throughout the Los Angeles area fall in and out of love on the most romantic day of the year? Nobody! Exactly. So that's why we get to watch a whole bunch of attractive, famous people. It's more fun that way, and in that respect, Marshall knows exactly what he's doing. He's a veteran at this stuff.

And, believe it or not, it all comes off pretty inoffensive and digestible considering that it's so unashamed of the batch of endlessly sugary and vapid clichés its serving up to viewers. Except, the only true day people want to see this movie is on Valentine's Day, so what else would such a movie want to provide? It gives you what you want, puts you in a coma of feeling love or desiring love, and then lets you continue on with your life.

This certainly isn't the date movie from hell that some critics have been calling it because, really, it's just a ho-hum menagerie, a collage, a mash-up of every element from any romantic comedy we've ever seen before. Think of every romantic scenario you can, and you'll probably a find a version of it here in "Valentine's Day." And you know what else? The movie works well for those with a short attention span. Tired of hearing about that love story? Good, because we're about to head over here to learn more about this one instead. And then go over here. And then here. And then jump back. Forget how all these people are loosely connected? Who cares! Remember when Bradley Cooper and McSteamy were gay? All right then.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Emily Blunt Loves The Wolf

The Wolfman

What makes "The Wolfman" work at the level it does is the romance between Lawrence (Benicio Del Toro) and Gwen (Emily Blunt), and the most thanks to this satisfactory romance can be given to Emily Blunt. Here's an actress I never really appreciated before, but now I can say I fully do. No, it isn't necessarily her performance in this movie that makes me admire her, but rather, the aptitude of her performance within even stuff like this. She gives the movie the heart and life it needs and makes you believe that a woman can fall in love with a man-turned-wolf.

Director Joe Johnston does not update the original story to a contemporary setting, but instead embraces the 1891 gloomy, dark, Gothic horror Victorian setting with the decaying mansion, the flickering candles casting ominous shadows, the rainy streets, the overcast skies, and, of course, the shine from the full moon. And amidst all of this eeriness is a murder, and not just an ordinary murder. It has the savagery of a beast or the makings of a mad lunatic, but we all know the culprit. The man's name was Ben, and his fiancée, Gwen, writes a letter to Ben's brother, Lawrence, an American stage actor who is temporarily performing in London. She wishes for him to follow up on Ben's murder. Their father is a strange, graying man living in solitude inside the aforementioned decaying mansion, and his name is Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins). As the previously estranged Lawrence makes his first appearance, Talbot emerges from the shadows much like everything else in the movie.

And from here, especially when Lawrence himself falls to the sad fate of becoming a werewolf, the movie takes an abrupt turn from subtlety to near madness. There's running through the woods, the streets of London and into the halls of an insane asylum, and they're all very nice to look at in their own ways. The movie is well-shot with rather noteworthy art direction capturing the feel of the period eloquently. The movie works best as a period piece, actually, which could be one of its drawbacks. When the action picks up and things start getting violent, it almost becomes unintentionally campy, especially when the tone set before was so serious and embedded in realism. The gore is a bit gratuitous as I could've done without the multiple decapitations and slew of bloody intestines. Things get a little carried away, to say the least.

Anthony Hopkins is effective in his morally ambiguous role; that is until an overwrought werewolf showdown that comes off like an orgy of fur, blood, flames, growling, snarling and gnashing teeth. The werewolves themselves are actually quite laughably rendered, which really takes away the scare factor throughout the movie. They just look too fake-looking at some points, especially when Lawrence in his werewolf form runs across the rooftops. When in human form, however, Del Toro does a fine job of giving us a man tormented by his horrifying condition.

Hokey though "The Wolfman" may be, with a heart in the right place at its center, and with the lovely Emily Blunt looking into the eyes of Lawrence, even in his werewolf state, like she does, you may just find yourself feeling something there. That's when I knew the movie's small success had crept up on me.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Siblings Take On An Eroding Estate

Summer Hours

"Summer Hours" is a luscious and lovely French drama. It is a soft-spoken and subtle meditation on life, loss, the conundrum of getting older and the traces of what we leave behind. Writer-director Olivier Assayas crafts this modestly-sized film with such articulate detail that every single conversation and important moment hold deeper meanings than what's presented on the surface. Here is a film that doesn't give you a simple answer; audiences are forced to search out their own answer and conclusion, and, sometimes, these are the best kinds of films. With a touch of humor and heartbreak, this movie haunts and lingers with its implications on the passing of time and generational ties.

A mother, Helene (Edith Scob), has her 75th birthday, and her children, with their children, all come to visit her. The conversations quickly turn to how far they had to travel to come visit her and about their jobs that take them overseas with ever-changing schedules. Adrienne (Juliette Binoche) lives in New York with her boyfriend (Kyle Eastwood) and works for a company based in Tokyo designing contemporary flatware. Jérémie (Jérémie Renier) lives with his wife and kids and has a job that forces him to commute to China. The only one left is the eldest of the three, Frédéric (Charles Berling), who Helene pulls aside to discuss her passing. She lives in a house full of valuable art such as furniture, paintings, table sets and statues. With Frédéric she discusses what will happen to her estate when she is gone and, with it, all the memories of her uncle of whom she was very fond. As much as Helene is aware that her children rarely come visit her due to their busy lives, she knows this and accepts this, and in her own way, she lives among the objects and the memories associated with them in her home. Her children live their own lives, and she has given up on taking an interest in them.

The film is full of adults having intellectual conversations. The three children of Helene discuss what to do with the memories and possessions of their mother because, yes, she passes away shortly after their visit. The process is tedious with the details all being fleshed out thoroughly and completely, and we as viewers end up feeling like we're living it with these characters. The house acts as the center of the family. It's what brings the family together, and it's heartbreaking to watch them have to tear it apart. While Frédéric assumed that his siblings would have wanted to keep the estate within the family, unknown to him, their plans have changed. Adrienne announces an engagement with her boyfriend, which means she'll rarely be returning to France, and Jérémie announces a permanent job in China, which means he'll be living there. Frédéric is last to know, and so, they decide to sell Helene's home and all the valuables inside.

The film's emotional power sneaks up on you, and it's thanks to the way each element builds onto itself. It's a movie that doesn't tell you how to feel about all of the themes with which it deals, but rather, it lays everything out on the table and lets you decide how to feel. The beginning of "Summer Hours" and its end have fascinating parallels between them in terms of youth. Is there a loss of innocence, or preservation of the past? And what does it mean for memories to be preserved? See this film, and then decide for yourself.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oscar Nods '10

The nominations for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards were announced early this morning, and leading the pack was a tie between James Cameron's "Avatar" and Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" with 9 nominations each, which heats up the already-brewing competition. Close behind was "Inglourious Basterds" with 8 nominations and "Up in the Air" and "Precious" each with 6.

This is, I believe, the most interesting Oscar race we've had in a while with a heightened drama at its center. The reality-based, low-grossing film on the war in Iraq, "The Hurt Locker," is faced up against the mammoth success story of "Avatar," a film also about war, except far detached from reality. And both of these films come from directors who used to be married. And now they're tied for nominations.

The big change this year was the expansion of the Best Picture category from 5 nominees to 10. The nominated films were "Avatar," "The Hurt Locker," "Up in the Air," "Precious," "Inglourious Basterds," "Up," "A Serious Man," "An Education, "District 9," and, yes, "The Blind Side." How this last selection managed to sneak its way into the top category is beyond me. The fact that it did better at the box office than expected probably has something to do with it, along with Sandra Bullock's performance. She now, more than ever before, is a lock to win the award for Best Actress now that the film she starred in is nominated.

In my prediction, I had "The Blind Side" swapped out for "Invictus." The snubbing of Clint Eastwood still surprises me since usually the Academy views his work as Oscar-worthy. His film, however, didn't make the cut even with 10 slots available.

This brings us to Best Director and also to the reason why the 10 nominations don't really matter because there's still a clear real 5 nominees. Nominated for directing were Jason Reitman for "Up in the Air," Quentin Tarantino for "Inglourious Basterds," Lee Daniels for "Precious," James Cameron for "Avatar," and Kathryn Bigelow for "The Hurt Locker." Clint Eastwood is absent in this category as Lee Daniels appears to have taken his place, which makes Daniels the second African American to be nominated in the category. Everyone is rooting for Bigelow, especially her female comrades. Since her DGA win, she's a surefire front-runner.

So, take a look at those directors and the movies with which they match up. Those are the five Best Picture nominees that would've been chosen if the category hadn't been expanded. So, why the expansion? One can only wonder. To give popular movies like "The Blind Side" some more credit? Maybe. But I wouldn't say that "The Blind Side" is this year's "The Dark Knight." No way.

It's nice to see "A Serious Man" nominated along with its nomination for screenplay. And with the nomination for "Up," it finds itself in two categories but only winning in one. It has also gained the honors of being the first animated film nominated for Best Picture since "Beauty and the Beast."

This also marks a big year for sci-fi genre films. "Star Trek," "Avatar," and "District 9" all got note-worthy nominations. Usually comedies are the genre film to make a statement, but "The Hangover" and "(500) Days of Summer" both got snubbed. I was really expecting at least "(500) Days of Summer" to gather a Best Original Screenplay nomination. Guess not. Or even a Best Picture nod. "The Blind Side," really?

And, hey, whatever happened to "Where the Wild Things Are" and the musical score by Karen O? No honors there.

"Up in the Air" received some snubs, as well, most notably for Best Editing where "Precious" replaced it. In my opinion, "Up in the Air" had some really sharp editing. The lack of a nomination in this category sadly bumps it further behind in the competition. Other nominees for Best Editing included "Avatar," "District 9," "The Hurt Locker," and "Inglourious Basterds." It's a toss-up between "Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" for this one, and it could be arguably stated that the winner of this one determines the winner of Best Picture.

No love for "Up in the Air" in Best Cinematography, either, as the nominees were "Avatar," "The Hurt Locker," the black-and-white "The White Ribbon," "Inglourious Basterds," and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" as a nice addition. The latest in the "Harry Potter" series really was gorgeous.

There were zero surprises in the category for Best Actor. The nominees were, as expected, Jeff Bridges for "Crazy Heart," George Clooney for "Up in the Air," Jeremy Renner for "The Hurt Locker," Colin Firth for "A Single Man," and Morgan Freeman for "Invictus." Renner's nomination here puts "The Hurt Locker" one notch ahead "Avatar" as the latter received no acting nods.

Best Actress contained no surprises as Sandra Bullock got her nod for "The Blind Side," alongside Carey Mulligan for "An Education," Gabourey Sidibe for "Precious," Meryl Streep for "Julie & Julia," and Helen Mirren for her role as Leo Tolstoy's wife in "The Last Station."

Christoph Waltz led the way for Best Supporting Actor along with nominees Stanley Tucci for "The Lovely Bones," Matt Damon for "Invictus," Woody Harrelson for "The Messenger," and Christopher Plummer as Leo Tolstoy in "The Last Station."

Best Supporting Actress is where things get complicated. The nomination for Maggie Gyllenhaal for her role in "Crazy Heart" seemed to come out of left field. She probably bumped Julianne Moore of "A Single Man" right out of the last spot. Alongside Gyllenhaal is, of course, the front-runner Mo'Nique for "Precious," the two ladies of "Up in the Air," Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga, and, as another surprise, Penélope Cruz for her role in "Nine." My question: Why wouldn't Cruz get nominated for her role in "Broken Embraces" instead? But wait. Why wouldn't Marion Cotillard just get nominated for "Nine" instead? But wait again. What about either of the lovely ladies of "Inglourious Basterds" who both got snubbed?

For Best Original Screenplay, the nominees were Mark Boal for "The Hurt Locker," Quentin Tarantino for "Inglourious Basterds," Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman for "The Messenger," Joel and Ethan Coen for "A Serious Man," and a slew of people for "Up." Pixar has found its spot among the writing category for the third time in a row, which is nice. "(500) Days of Summer" and "The Hangover" got squeezed out for "The Messenger," so it seems. This nomination for "The Hurt Locker" is another up it has over "Avatar" which got skipped out for writing. Did James Cameron crank out a too cliché of a script? Let's not go there.

The nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay were Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell for "District 9," Nick Hornby for "An Education," many writers for "In the Loop," Geoffrey Fletcher for "Precious," and Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for "Up in the Air." The last nominee in this category should be taking home the gold.

The sci-fi trio got nominated for Visual Effects: "Avatar," "District 9," and "Star Trek." It's no mystery who will win.

It's interesting to note, too, that both "The Hurt Locker" and "Avatar" got nominated in the categories of Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. Among the other nominees were "Up," "Star Trek," "Inglourious Basterds," and look at that, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." I'm going to say that everything technical "Avatar" gets nominated for, it will win.

Foreign Language Film curiously left out "Broken Embraces," for "Ajami" from Israel, "El Secreto de Sus Ojos" from Argentina, "The Milk of Sorrow" from Peru, "Un Prophète" from France, and of course, Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" from Germany.

"Avatar" also found itself nominated for Art Direction along with "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," "Nine," "Sherlock Holmes," and "The Young Victoria." There's another category it'll probably win.

Another completely random surprise came in the category of Animated Feature Film. Among the nomination for "Up" was "Coraline," "Fantastic Mr. Fox," "The Princess and the Frog," and something nobody has even heard of, "The Secret of Kells." What in the hell is that? Apparently it premiered somewhere just in time to be considered. Somehow this thing beat out "Ponyo."

The song "I See You" of "Avatar" remained absent from the category for Original Song while "The Princess and the Frog" got the love with two nominations for "Almost There" and "Down in New Orleans." Others included "Loin de Paname" from "Paris 36," "Take It All" from "Nine," and expected winner, "The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart."

"The Hurt Locker" received acknowledgement in Original Score for Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, which proves perhaps the Academy's, dare I say love, for this film. Other nominees were James Horner for "Avatar," Alexandre Desplat for "Fantastic Mr. Fox," Hans Zimmer for "Sherlock Holmes," and Michael Giacchino for "Up."

So, what does it all mean? Well, it means that this year is going to be interesting. The playing field has been leveled as "Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. My prediction? While "Avatar" will win more awards in the end, "The Hurt Locker" is going to be taking home the bigger prizes.

Go here for a full list of the 82nd Annual Oscar nominees, and be sure to stay tuned for more updates on the nominees and predictions.

And we're all looking forward to when this all comes to a close during the telecast of the 2010 Oscar ceremony on March 7. Yes, even me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Predicting 10 Instead Of 5

While I've never been one to predict all of the nominations for the Academy Awards, I have always been one to at least predict the nominees to appear under the category of Best Picture. It was usually an easy task, which was mainly the reason why I enjoyed doing it. Yes, the satisfaction of being right. My track record so far is pretty good, granted I've only done it two years. Well, except for "The Reader," but who could've predicted that?

In any case, this year is different because we're looking at not five, but rather, 10 nominations in the category of Best Picture. How does this change things? Well, in my opinion, not much. It does, however, provide recognition for those movies that sometimes unfortunately go unnoticed. If there were 10 nominations for Best Picture last year, "The Dark Knight" wouldn't have gotten snubbed like it did. And, with the expansion of the list, we're potentially looking at the first animated film to be included in the category since "Beauty and the Beast." It'll shake things up but prove no real drastic changes.

So, without any more delay, here are my official predictions for the category of Best Picture for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards:

Sure Things:

1. The Hurt Locker
2. Avatar
3. Up in the Air
4. Inglourious Basterds
5. Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire


6. An Education
7. Up


8. District 9
9. A Serious Man
10. Invictus

Yes, "The Last Station," "A Single Man," "(500) Days of Summer," "The Messenger," and, dare I say it, "The Blind Side" could even find a spot. But, with everything that's been predicted and set in place, the above list is what I'm going with.

Until tomorrow.