Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Film News - 2009 Oscar Nominations

Yesterday lunchtime the nominations for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards were announced. Some during a live presentation from Academy president Tom Sherak (nervy) and Anne Hathaway (giving one of her worst performances, but I liked the suit) and others as a press release afterwards.

I get a little grumpy about the artificial distincting between the big prizes and the techies. A wonderfully written script, with a career best acting performances and steady direction would be utterly rubbish (and probably completely ignored) if it was lit badly or the editing didn't help focus the attention. However I can see why the announcement is kept short and highlights the categories which bring in the punters.

There are plenty of websites that will offer indepth analysis of the nominations, many of which I am an ardent fan of. Awardsdaily provides a good starting block with witty and intelligent writing, Kris Tapley of In Contention also wasted no time in getting together with Anne Thompson and recording their reaction. Many of the blogs on the right will also have some interesting comments so please take a look.

For myself I have little to say, the biggest surprise today was that there were so few surprises. Anyone who regularly follows the progress of the precursers and the awards buzz will have have the final nominees as either predictions or as highly credible alternatives. Even the choices which were a little out of the blue like The Blind Side for best picture, The Secret of Kells for Animated picture and Maggie Gyllenhaal in the supporting actress category had a certain logic to them. I have yet to see any of these films so I have no positive or negative comments regarding their inclusion.

As ever I'm slightly saddened that my own choices weren't reflected - I'm still firmly behind Where the Wild Things Are even if the Academy completely forgot about it - at the same time I understand that one of the beauties about film is that you and I will always differ about what we think is better.

All our experiences of the film landscape in 2009 was different and therefore our own responses will be different. We can, and will, passionately put forward our own picks regardless of critical recognition, peer awards or box office success. In five years time when the dust has cleared and a thousand new stories have been told we will undoutably have forgotten about the intensity of the battle between James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow and instead each of us will be left with only moments of film that stick in our memories. I will be left with Maria Larsson taking her self portrait and Max starting a dirt fight - others will have IEDs and Home trees - none of us are wrong.

Saying that recognition from your industry colleagues is a wonderful thing, and the Oscars can have a huge beneficial effect of the carrers of the nominees. So it is with great pleasure and due humility that I offer my hearty congratulations everyone nominated today and, in the spirit of my second paragraph, to the entire film-making teams, from the Executives who bankrolled the budget to the caterers who kept the tea flowing, in all of these films:

The Blind Side
Bright Star
Burma VJ
Coco Before Chanel
The Cove
Crazy Heart
District 9
An Education
El Secreto de Sus Ojus
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Food, Inc
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker
Il Divo
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
In the Loop
Inglorious Basterds
Julie and Julia
The Last Station
The Lovely Bones
The Messenger
The Milk of Sorrow
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellseberg and the Pentagon Papers
Paris 36
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells
A Serous Man
Sherlock Holmes
A Single Man
Star Trek
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Un Prophete
Up in the Air
Which Way Home
The White Ribbon
The Young Victoria

And the Shorts

China's Unnatural Disaster: The tears of Sichuan Province
The Door
French Roast
Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty
Instead of Abracadabra
The Lady and the Reaper
The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
A Matter of Loaf and Death
Miracle Fish
Music by Prudence
The New Tenants
Rabbit a la Berlin


TomS said...

Ben...I'm sure we will all have lots more to say in the run-up to the March 7 spectacle.
I think on the whole the Academy missed a chance to honor some really good work in the field of
ten..... I will enjoy following you in the next few weeks...and beyond!

Runs Like A Gay said...

I see what you're saying Tom, but we have to remember the Academy isn't an elite group of artists and critics who look at the diversity and range of modern cinema and they don't all get together to form a consensus decision to elevate quality and timeless work

Instead they're character actors and sound mixers - people who are just trying to get along in the business. I like to think that they voted for the films that touched them the most. Or ones they felt showed a degree of artistry or creative passion. Even voting along box office lines is acceptable - it is show business.

With all of that in mind I can understand why this ten were chosen.

Sure, it's not the ten I would have picked Where the Wild Things Are, Drag Me to Hell, Antichrist, Away we Go and Brothers (retrospectively) would have ended on the list if I was choosing. But that's part of the reason we wait for these results to be announced; so we as individuals can sit there and assess the errors of the voters.

Now it's time for the second phase of the race to start. Bigelow vs. Cameron. Place your bets here.

Alex in Movieland said...

sorry about the Where the Wild Things Are snubbing. If Harry Potter got nominated for Best Cinematography (my head is spinning), I'm sure Wild was also in the mix there, and Bright Star too.

I myself am heartbroken for the lack of love for Public Enemies and 500 Days of Summer, two of my favorites.

Runs Like A Gay said...

I certainly would have thought either the costumes or sound mixing on Public Enemies should have got some attention.

Alex in Movieland said...

It's silly. I still remember a month before Public Enemies release, when someone said this is the one to beat for Best Picture... I just don't see what happened...