Get ready for the ABC Oscar broadcast on March 7, hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. Be sure to download the official ballot here to follow along.
I am a little nervous about this year’s Oscars. While I like Alec Baldwin, he’s the best thing on 30 Rock by a mile; I wouldn’t call him and Steve Martin exactly “hip and happening!” I guess they are geriatric wild and crazy guys!
Until they can bring Johnny Carson back from the dead, Oscar will continue to audition hosts on Oscar night. Most aren’t asked before. One wonders why Hugh Jackman, who did a much better-than-average job last year, couldn’t take a break from his Broadway to run in Steady Rain to host. We need to hope that Martin leaves his banjo at home.
In the key nominations, I think the choices are simple to handicap, except for the two asterisks.
Best Picture: Avatar
Director: James Cameron – Avatar
Leading Actor: Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
Leading Actress: Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz – Inglorious Basterds
Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique – Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Animated Feature: Up
Original Screenplay : * Quentin Tarantino –Inglorious Basterds
Adapted Screenplay : * Terry Tatchell & Neill Blomkamp – District 9
Avatar has to win the best picture. Voters must respect what that film means to the movie business and what an accomplishment it is for its visionary and director James Cameron. Sure, Hurt Locker was suspenseful, well-edited, and poignant in a most subtle way – great direction led to a terrific lead performance by Oscar-nominated Jeremy Renner. But taking the Swiss cheese screenplay, Cameron wrote and turning it into the Avatar phenomenon is the best direction.
Jeff Bridges was overlooked for too long, easy win. The dude will abide. Without Sandra Bullock in Blind Side, it’s a Lifetime movie – she elevates it and everyone around her into the great film it is. If you haven’t, see this movie right away.
Sorry, Gabourey, you were better than Mo’Nique, but your category has stiffer competition. Not a fan of Precious or it’s ridiculously long title. That’s not a fun night at the movies.
Waltz’s win was predicted by many in the first viewing of Basterds (including myself). That was a star turn of the highest order – an unexpected character twist in every scene.
Pixar continues raising the bar on itself with Up – it is the only animated feature nominated for best picture.
The screenplays are tougher to call. Hurt Locker, written by embedded journalist Mark Boal, is maybe the best work. It’s loaded with insight and nuance about a situation that is complex and unclear and still going on. Tarantino, however, is a force of nature, and his movie is a bit of screenwriter porn, rewriting history while taking potshots at Hitler and Goebbels. It’s a piece that could only come from Tarantino – and that indelible stamp of individuality deserves some credit.
District 9 is by far the most creative and original movie this year. It’s wild, disgusting, and hard to watch, yet you can’t turn away. Without any star power to carry it, unlike Up in the Air, which would be nowhere with Clooney in the lead role, this is the one that should get the award.