Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oscar Nominations: Some surprises

Hey World Family,
The Oscar nominations have some surprises, some omissions, and some downright…huh?!

So, for the most part, the major nominations were predictable. Having 10 Best Picture nominations this year, but still only five Best Directors meant someone was going to be left out. Although the top pics have expanded, I still think they missed a few.

Of course, Avatar, An Education, A Serious Man, and Inglorious Basterds made the cut-Precious did, too, and Falcon is thrilled about that. Up in the Air is still going strong, and The Hurt Locker, one of the most powerful films Falcon and Dove have seen in a long time is also in the hunt. The Blind Side and Up round out the 10, along with District 9.

Okay, I just don’t get it. I admit it. District 9 is full of visual flaws every time I see something from it. I don’t like the story, I thought the editing left something to be desired. If we were gonna go sci-fi to round out the top 10, I would have had Star Trek in there: very well produced and directed. J.J. Abrams is a stone cold genius, and the ensemble actors assembled were perfect-something that is very difficult to do with a franchise like Star Trek has been. Star Trek has 4 Oscar nominations by my count, that is pretty darn good. District 9 is also nominated for Visual Effects, along with Avatar of course, and Star Trek, which left out Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which got a Best Cinematography nomination, and should have. I can’t believe voters sat in the 15 minute bake-off of each of the seven remaining films and decided District 9’s visual effects held up to the stuff done in HP: HBP’s use of Squirt and Maya. If I have left some of you behind on this one, don’t worry; just pick up a couple of copies of Cinefex magazine and it will explain it all.

Falcon also wants to go on the record for saying that we all enjoyed Up a lot. Should it be nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay when Avatar isn’t for the latter? Heck, no. Sorry, it just wasn’t that good. Cute, entertaining, but just not that good. Yes, I liked the love story, and I get the whole ‘wanting to get away from it all’ and ‘hero failure’ (Christopher Plummer will work forever-love you!) and I loved Dug the dog-I quote him frequently, but it just isn’t what I would have considered Oscar worthy in nomination for Best Picture, sorry. If I was going to nominate an animated feature from 2009 for Best Picture, it would be Coraline (which is nominated for Best Animated Feature Film, along with Up, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog, and a surprise, The Secret of Kells, very cool) hands down. Magnificently realized stop-motion hand built animation with a strong story (although subtle, which may have left some in the dark about a couple of thematic overtones), organic POV, and stunning visual effects-Falcon just doesn’t think this film got enough attention. Glad it is nominated for Animation, though.

Most nominations is a tie between Avatar and The Hurt Locker. Both these films rock so no worries there. Did you know that Kathryn Bigelow, the director of The Hurt Locker and also the winner of this year’s Director’s Guild of America award (DGA) is the ex-wife of James Cameron? I think it’s hysterical that they are nominated against each other frequently for Oscar-they are both good natured about it, and wish the best for each other. That’s nice.

Favorites nominated: Colin Firth, in A Single Man-he is very talented and versatile: Falcon and Dove are glad he is getting some strong recognition recently for his outstanding work. Lee Daniels for Precious-enough cannot be said about how great this work is. Mo’Nique is nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, along with Gabby Sidibe for Best Actress and Lee for Best Director. This has been an outstanding year for film, and this film, its director, and its talent, stand high above the din. Lee Daniels is a gifted visionary, and deserves all of the accolades he receives. Stanley Tucci is one of my favorite actors, ever-he is superb in The Lovely Bones. Meryl Strep did Julia Child well, and this is coming from one of Julia’s biggest fans, Falcon. Stanley Tucci is also in Julie and Julia, and we loved him in that as well.

It is great to see The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (go Chris Plummer, again!) get a couple of noms, as well as Sherlock Holmes got one-we thought this one might get a little more. Documentary Feature nominee, Food, Inc. is an insightful work-nice to see it acknowledged for its strong character and unblinking interviews. The Messenger is nominated for Best Original Screenplay, and yet not Best Picture? A strange omission, me thinks. Woody Harrelson was outstanding in this film; nice to see his Best Actor in a Supporting Role nomination.

Best Makeup-just how much makeup difficulty was there in Il Divo? I didn’t see it, so I don’t know…someone let me know.

About The Blind Side…great story, good film. Oscar is pushing it. Do I love Sandra Bullock? Absolutely. Do I think this is a Best Actress performance? Nope. She was very uncomfortable with a lot of this role, and frankly, it shows. I love her films, and believe that she will one day be cast in a role that truly shows all of her spectrum. This is not the role, and this is not the film.

It feels good, it’s a true story, but when aligned with such strong performances in this category, Falcon would be disappointed that an Oscar would go to someone who has said time and time again in interview that they didn’t do their best work. We hope this category is given its full consideration and this isn’t a gimme. There are some tremendous performances nominated this year; let’s look at the ones that feel good… and the ones that don’t. I think the woman she portrays should have a bronze statue in her honor, but this category is stiff this year with tremendous performances.

Gabby Sidibe should not be written off as a one time; she is incredibly gifted and versatile-I hope she works a whole lot more. Screenwriters: write some strong women roles for these talented actresses. Hollywood: put some money behind the projects. Helen Mirren is stellar, and Carey Mulligan should get more than a passing glance for her performance in An Education. It is a Best Picture nomination-a joy to behold.

Missed-well, there’s a lot. It was a great year for film. The technical categories being narrowed down to three every year bothers me. Why three? Why not five? Five would be better. Art Direction is five; Cinematography is five-let’s do five (at least five) in all of them.

Quentin-now what are you going to do now that you are accepted by the establishment?! Hehe

The Academy Awards will be on March 7. Until then, everyone place your proverbial bets. There will be lots of discussion. In the meantime, we will be back to the issues of the day.
Every day is a new day.
Falcon and Dove

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