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
Coco Before Chanel
El Secreto de Sus Ojus
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
In the Loop
Julie and Julia
The Last Station
The Lovely Bones
The Milk of Sorrow
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellseberg and the Pentagon Papers
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells
A Serous Man
A Single Man
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
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
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
Music by Prudence
The New Tenants
Rabbit a la Berlin