Oscars 2010: Boop Calls Best Picture/Best Director (March 6, 2010)

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I have a plethora of nerdy stories to share, and I will share them in time, that will clearly illustrate I have always been uncool. It’s not like publicizing the fact on a blog makes it shocking. It is a truth universally known in my own circle. Not only have some of my past hobbies made it amazing that I ever had sex at all, but it redoubles the thrill of victory that I managed to land a hot husband. Because honestly, I might look alright, but I am a DORK.

Case in point: in the spring of 1996, as a member of Lincoln Park High School’s Academic Decathlon team, I won a gold medal in the interview category. It was the regional competition at Senn High school, and though I had a decent day overall, I knew as soon as I walked out of the classrom where students chatted with judges, that I had nailed it. The crux of my repartee? A detailed, charming and lengthy chat about why I hate to find myself out of the loop on Oscar night; my quest to be as informed when I watch the annual telecast as I am while watching the SuperBowl after 17 weeks of play. Seriously, this superficial swill won me a gold medal, out of about 100 contestants, because I was so freaking earnest. I leave you to decide which is the most nerdy part of this anecdote: Academic Decathlon, a Hollywood insider’s rant about the Academy Awards, or the fact that I was earnest in doing so (there’s honestly no better word to describe it).

But I digress: another year, another Oscars awards show. This year, the producers (including the fab Adam Shankman) are mixing it up: two comedic hosts (Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin), no more Lifetime Achievement honours during the televised program (thank you!) and count them, 10 Best Picture nominees. The latter change is a throwback to the Oscars of yore, pre-1950, and has already lived up to its potential to be exciting and controversial.

Although, in the end I did not see many of this year’s Best Picture nominees, having watched A Single Man and Crazy Heart be shamefully overlooked in favor of the overrated and overhyped Avatar (yes, I said it) and The Blind Side (Really?), I am prepared to call the race for a film I still very badly need to fit into my schedule: The Hurt Locker. I have yet to hear anything less than stellar feedback about this one, and I think it’s high time a female helmer walk off with the Director’s trophy too. Recent bad PR karma caused by an overzealous producer aside, I think it’s Bigelow’s year all around. Please let it not be James Cameron.

If I am wrong, I hope the error favors Precious, Up, or Up in the Air. Who is your favorite this year? And do you like the 10 nominee format for Best Picture?

The Best Actor Race Heats Up (January 30, 2010)

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What in the world is a discerning Oscar follower to do? Hot on the heels of my raves over George Clooney in Up in the Air, and Colin Firth in A Single Man, the decision as to who should walk away with the Best Actor trophy in March just became a whole lot more difficult. Jeff Bridges gives new meaning to the pat phrase, “the role he was born to play” with an unbelievable turn as “Bad” Blake in the amazing film Crazy Heart.

I was a huge Jeff Bridges fan growing up. My sister and I probably watched Starman (another Best Actor nominated performance) a hundred times as little girls. Of course, The Fabulous Baker Boys was another favorite. But in recent years, Bridges has slowed down his filmmaking pace, much the loss of a new generation of moviegoers who may not be familiar with any of his work.

That should change with the growing word of mouth and critical success ofCrazy Heart. Now mind you, I am no great fan of red states and the stereotypical musical and lifestyle tastes they embody. But this film is not at all political. Instead, it is an authentic, naked portrayal of a genius on the decline, as he fights to make his way back to the top. Featuring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Colin Ferrell (a revelation in his own right) in supporting roles, my only regret about the film is that Academy Award buzz swirls solely around Bridges. As you may be aware, Oscar voters are selecting ten films, rather than the usual five, for the Best Picture contest this year.Crazy Heart is easily one of the top films, so I am hoping for a surprise when announcements are read this week.

At the recommendation of one of our loyal blog followers, Sanjiv, I am definitely going to make it a point to watch 500 Days of Summer before finally declaring my own choice for the best film of 2009. Right now, I am simply high on the availability of so much great art at the multiplex.

See This Movie Immediately! (January 19, 2010)

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Bar none, best film of 2009, and not only because it is so “now” tapping into the modern scene of mass corporate layoffs and the soulless road warriors who hand them out. The movie is really that simple, and yet oh so much more. George Clooney, who never fails to be both hunky and and an amazing actor, is truly a revelation in this film.

I have yet to see Crazy Heart but hear Jeff Bridges presents a formidable challenge to Clooney for the Best Actor Oscar. I am going to make it a point to check that movie out next week so I can make a truly informed decision. But George is going to be tough to beat. I should also mention that I like Colin Firth in A Single Man as a possible dark horse spoiler.

But I digress. See Up in the Air. I realize America is enamored with Avatarat the moment (blah!) and doesn’t seem to have an appetite for much else. But I urge you to forget the blue people and check out this film: no special effects, no suspension of disbelief, no cliche happy endings. Just good old fashioned movie making. A beautiful, gorgeous piece of modern art.