Really Oscars?

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There's a cool slideshow on Entertainment Weekly today about Oscar snubs you can't believe this year.

I'm mostly up there in the (500) Days of Summer category. Not a single nomination? Not even screenwriting? Seriously? That's all kinds of brutal. Ultimately the ten-picture thing makes it a bit exciting this year...not so much in the sense that the squeakers are going to actually win, but it does make a case for fan-based campaigns to influence things in that way.

Let's see where my picks stacked up against what was actually nominated:

Avatar - 95%
Duh, especially after the Golden Globes big wins. Probably in the top 3 to take the cake at this year's Oscars. I feel like Lost...it's a question of 'faith' (a heart-pounding story like The Hurt Locker) vs. 'science' (for the technical wizardry of Avatar).

The Hurt Locker - 100%
Another duh, and also in the top 3 to take the top honours. I liked this movie and it brought home the Iraq war like nothing I'd ever seen, but I'm not sure it was as spellbinding (or rewatchable) as winners in past years.

Inglourious Basterds - 80%
And thank god for that or I would have been livid. Having seen most of the top 10 at this point, I would have been super choked if this film had been left it. MY pick for best of 2009.

Precious - 100%
This film has lost a lot of its early steam, but it might win Best Picture to avoid an Avatar / Hurt Locker upset. It will likely fare best in the Supporting Actress category for Mo'nique again.

Up In The Air - 100%
Another no-brainer, although like Precious, it has lost a lot of its early awards-season prestige for just being labeled a good movie. Hurt Locker and Avatar have really taken centre stage.

(500) Days of Summer - 60%
In my opinion, the biggest snub of the Top 10. It was a critics and fan favourite (although slightly more obscure than other nominated tripe), and unlike virtually every film nominated this year, completely and totally rewatchable, if not more enjoyable upon repeated viewings. WTF OSCARS.

The Hangover - 0%
Someone in the EW slideshow named this as an upset (after winning the GG, I guess), but I'm not surprised. This movie wasn't even that good people. Seriously.

It's Complicated - 10%
Another non-surprise that basically squeaked into the Golden Globes on pre-movie hype and expectations (similar to 'Nine').

Julie & Julia - 75%
I'm most surprised by J&J and (500)'s exclusions. I guess the Julie part of the movie was really that unlikable. Critics have noted that giving the Blindside a best picture nomination has given Sandra Bullock an edge in the Best Actress department. I'm not sold either way.

Nine - 40%
After the continual panning of this musical, there was no way Oscar could save it from its doomed Golden Globes performance.

So two of my 'likely' top six didn't make it. What are the remaining movies that did then?

The Blindside - 60%
I noted that this movie had the lowest tomato rating of the potential Best Picture nods, and it's something many critics have pointed to in perhaps the biggest upset of the nomination season. It's the Academy's equivalent of throwing the audience a Hangover-ish bone I guess...it's also one of two movies I haven't seen because I really didn't think it would get nominated. I'm blaming the Blindside for ousting (500) Days as I gave them both a 60% chance of getting in.

District 9 - N/A
I didn't even consider District 9. Granted I liked this movie, it had a ton of positive coverage this summer, and I'm happy to see it on the list, but it just never occurred to me this would be the audience bone for the dudes (I would have tapped Star Trek perhaps). It takes a bit of shine off of Avatar's alien / Sci Fi lustre in the category, which I appreciate. I'm not anti-Avatar, but technical wizardry does not a best picture make (at least not alone).

An Education - 60%
I'm surprised this made it when all was said and done. There are really, really great performances in this movie, but it's such a small film compared to all the other nominees - in terms of visibility, box office take, star power, and plot. I would have rather seen (500) Days here but I think it's more deserving than The Blindside or Julie & Julia.

A Serious Man - N/A
Another movie I didn't give a thought to. Of the two 'man' movies I've heard much more about "A Single Man" than this one. My parents saw it just before noms came out and were unimpressed - apparently it's a very insider film in terms of Jewish culture. I'm not actually looking forward to watching this AT ALL, so thanks Academy, for continuing to kiss the Coen Brothers' butts and making me shill out money to see this at the cheap seats. I've heard it's underwhelming.

Up - N/A
I didn't think about this one either because it lacked the same level of fervor around it as Wall-e did last year. That being said, I'm very happy that being a best picture nom doesn't eliminate this fantastic film from taking home Best Animated Film. Cause it deserves that one at least. I'm not sure it's peak Pixar (I ranked it at #9 on my top 10 rankings), but Pixar slightly off-peak is better than 99.9% of movies hope to be.


Other snubs I'm *right there* with the angered fans out there? Emily Blunt in 'The Young Victoria' is classic Oscar fare. Helen Mirren's role is so invisible it's insanity that Blunt didn't nab that final spot on decorum alone. I know Christoph Waltz is (deserved) Aces, but his costars also deserved some nods in the supporting categories. I also wished 'The Messenger' made it to Best Picture status because it'd be more likely to actually appear on our screens here and I really, really want to see that one. Sigh.

I'm done dwelling on the nominees for now. I'm two films away from completing my Oscar route and many posts from determining who will win. Right Avatar has the momentum post-Globes, but Hurt Locker is on DVD and might snag a larger viewing audience in the coming weeks. Plus don't forget other top contenders Precious, Inglourious (FTW), and Up In The Air!

- B

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