If I had a ballot

Posted by · 12:04 pm · December 16th, 2009

Sam Worthington in AvatarEvery year I like to keep track of personal favorites throughout the Academy’s designated categories (plus one of my own addition, Best Ensemble). At the end of the year, my “if I had a ballot” post is the result.

Of course, for the most part, I follow Academy designations here. If something is ruled ineligible, I play along. It’s not that often that something like that is egregious anyway, though the music branch consistently tests my resolve on the matter.  In years past I’ve tried to make it an AMPAS/critics’ awards hybrid kind of thing, but this makes it easier.

I know, I know.  “Why don’t you just list what you think should be nominated, the rules be damned?”  Because then I couldn’t call it “If I had a ballot?”  But I guess I’m contradicting myself by adding a category.  I don’t know.  I’m just trying not to be too lamely definitive or authoritative with something like this, I suppose.

Anyway, I’m also abstaining from offering up a list of foreign language nods. Firstly, I feel it’s been a rather weak year in general there, but I also haven’t made my way fully through the list of submissions either. So I’ll address that another time.  The same goes with he doc features, as I’d rather push through more of the eligible titles first.

This year the top 10 is the Best Picture field, obviously, and from there, I toss my two cents into a variety of discussions. Here’s what I came up with…

Best Picture
“Antichrist” (IFC Films)
“Avatar” (20th Century Fox)
“Bronson” (Magnolia Pictures)
“The Cove” (Roadside Attractions)
“An Education” (Sony Pictures Classics)
“The Lovely Bones” (Paramount Pictures)
“Mary and Max” (IFC Films)
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)
“A Serious Man” (Focus Features)
“Up in the Air” (Paramount Pictures)

Best Director
Lars Von Trier, “Antichrist”
James Cameron, “Avatar”
Louie Psihoyos, “The Cove”
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, “A Serious Man”
Jason Reitman, “Up in the Air”

Best Actor
Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart”
Sharlto Copley, “District 9”
Tom Hardy, “Bronson”
Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker”
Souleymane Sy Savane, “Goodbye Solo”

Best Actress
Charlotte Gainsbourg, “Antichrist”
Carey Mulligan, “An Education”
Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Zoe Saldana, “Avatar”
Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia”

Best Supporting Actor
Sotigui Kouyaté, “London River”
Stephen Lang, “Avatar”
Alfred Molina, “An Education”
Stanley Tucci, “Julie & Julia”
Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”

Best Supporting Actress
Marion Cotillard, “Public Enemies”
Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air”
Jennifer Lawrence, “The Burning Plain”
Mo’Nique, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Samantha Morton, “The Messenger”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“An Education” (Nick Hornby)
“The Lovely Bones” (Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh)
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Geoffrey Fletcher)
“Star Trek” (Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci)
“Up in the Air” (Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner)

Best Original Screenplay
“Antichrist” (Lars Von Trier)
“The Hurt Locker” (Mark Boal)
“Mary and Max” (Adam Elliot)
“A Serious Man” (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)
“Sugar” (Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck)

Best Art Direction
“Avatar” (Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg; Kim Sinclair)
“Bronson” (Jane Levick)
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” (Anastasia Masaro, Dave Warren; Caroline Smith)
“A Serious Man” (Jess Gonchor; Nancy Haigh)
“Sherlock Holmes” (Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer)

Best Cinematography
“Antichrist” (Anthony Dod Mantle)
“Avatar” (Mauro Fiore)
“Bronson” (Larry Smith)
“The Cove” (Brook Aitken)
“The Lovely Bones” (Andrew Lesnie)

Best Costume Design
“Bright Star” (Janet Patterson)
“An Education” (Odile Dicks-Mireaux)
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” (Monique Prudhomme)
“Inglourious Basterds” (Anna B. Sheppard)
“Red Cliff” (Tim Yip)

Best Film Editing
“Antichrist” (Åsa Mossberg, Anders Refn)
“Avatar” (John Refoua, Stephen E. Rivkin)
“The Cove” (Geoffrey Richman)
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Joe Klotz)
“A Serious Man” (Roderick Jaynes)

Best Makeup
“District 9”
“Drag Me to Hell”
“Star Trek”

Best Music (Original Score)
“Bright Star” (Mark Bradshaw)
“Crazy Heart” (Stephen Bruton, T Bone Burnett)
“Sherlock Holmes” (Hans Zimmer)
“Star Trek” (Michael Giacchino)
“Up” (Michael Giacchino)

Best Music (Original Song)
“The Weary Kind” from “Crazy Heart”
“You’ve Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger” from “An Education”
“I Can See in Color” from “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog”
“Depression Era” from “That Evening Sun”

Best Sound Editing
“District 9”
“Paranormal Activity”
“Star Trek”
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”

Best Sound Mixing
“The Lovely Bones”
“Star Trek”
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”

Best Visual Effects
“District 9”
“The Lovely Bones”

Best Animated Feature Film
“Coraline” (Focus Features)
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
“Mary and Max” (IFC Films)
“The Princess and the Frog” (Walt Disney Pictures)
“Up” (Walt Disney Pictures)

Best Ensemble
“An Education”
“The Messenger”
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
“A Serious Man”
“Up in the Air”

“Avatar” – 10
“An Education” – 7
“Antichrist” – 7
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” – 7
“A Serious Man” – 6
“The Cove” – 4
“The Lovely Bones” – 5
“Up in the Air” – 5
“Bronson” – 4
“Crazy Heart” – 3
“District 9” – 3
“Mary and Max” – 3
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” – 2
“The Hurt Locker” – 2
“Inglourious Basterds” – 2
“Julie & Julia” – 2
“London River” – 2
“The Messenger” – 2
“The Princess and the Frog” – 2
“Sherlock Holmes” – 2
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” – 2
“Up” – 2
“Bright Star” – 1
“The Burning Plain” – 1
“Coraline” – 1
“Drag Me to Hell” – 1
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” – 1
“Goodbye Solo” – 1
“Paranormal Activity” – 1
“Public Enemies” – 1
“Red Cliff” – 1
“Sugar” – 1
“That Evening Sun” – 1

Be sure to check back Friday for the final 2009 wrap-up piece, a list of the year in superlatives.  And in case you missed my top 10 column, check it out here.

What are your personal nominees this year? Have your say in the comments section below!

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50 responses so far

  • 1 12-16-2009 at 12:10 pm

    Andy said...

    Great to see Marion Cotillard on there for ‘Public Enemies.’ I thought the film was a misfire on so many levels, and yet that final scene between Cotillard and Stephen Lang has remained firmly in my mind as one of the most powerful moments of the year.

  • 2 12-16-2009 at 12:21 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Some interesting additions…and some interesting omissions. You may be the first Oscar blogger I’ve seen to not have Tilda Swinton’s work in your top five female lead performances, and I was a little suprised to see Stanley Tucci listed for Julie & Julia and not The Lovely Bones, considering how much you sang his praises in the latter movie. Probably the most intriguing is Zoe Saldana as Best Actress and it will be interesting to see her performance for myself on Friday.

    Obviously I disagree with a lot of your choices, but I have a feeling it will be infinitely preferable to what AMPAS comes up with in January.

  • 3 12-16-2009 at 12:22 pm

    James D. said...

    Did Paul Schneider just miss the list? I thought you were taken with his role.

  • 4 12-16-2009 at 12:23 pm

    david said...

    Disappointed that you wouldn’t give Bigelow a Best Director nod, and The Hurt Locker more love in general. Also, I thought you might vote for Woody Harrelson in the Supporting Actor category.

    Good ballot overall though.

    I can’t wait to catch Mary and Max.

  • 5 12-16-2009 at 12:24 pm

    aspect ratio said...

    You certainly can’t be accused of going with the grain with your picks, Kris. Is this what your BFCA ballot looked like, then?


    George Clooney and Roger Deakins are off in a corner somewhere sobbing. “We were No. 1 and 2 and we still didn’t get any love? It’s not fair! Hug me, George!”

  • 6 12-16-2009 at 12:31 pm

    Mr. Gittes said...

    Lovin’ the love for The Cove. What an ending to that film.

    Don’t understand Star Trek for adapted screenplay. Yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck.

  • 7 12-16-2009 at 12:32 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Schneider and Winston just missed the list. Both were harmed by the fact that I just wasn’t too high on their respective movies, not that that’s always a deal breaker, but in these instances, it made a difference.

  • 8 12-16-2009 at 12:32 pm

    Raffi said...

    No love for “A Single Man” anywhere?

  • 9 12-16-2009 at 12:33 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Oh, yeah, I didn’t even notice the Bigelow snub. I guess there’s one AMPAS divergence from your ballot that I can look forward to.

  • 10 12-16-2009 at 12:35 pm

    Jesse said...

    I would have given Farmiga the nod over Kendrick, although both were strong. I thought the former’s performance had more depth.

  • 11 12-16-2009 at 12:57 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thought “Paranormal Activity” had terrific sound work.

  • 12 12-16-2009 at 12:57 pm

    Andrew said...

    I really dislike An Education. Such a boring film about a selfish teen that became a journalist and wanted to crucify her father for letting her go wild with a dubious subject back in the 60s.

    No Michael Stuhlbarg? Shocking. No 500 Days of Summer? You really hated it, didn’t you? And why no The Hurt Locker?

  • 13 12-16-2009 at 12:59 pm

    Andrew said...

    Mr Gittes:

    What’s wrong with Star Trek? Are you one of those that believe that Science-Fi movies can’t get nominated?

  • 14 12-16-2009 at 1:04 pm

    Alex in Movieland said...

    This is called CHEATING :)

    you know you should choose a branch and traditionally vote there.

    For example, I’d be in the writers’ branch, so i’d vote the nominees for BP, Original Screenplay and Adapted, in the 1 to 5 system, 1 being the highest

    :) that’s how u should’ve played it :P

  • 15 12-16-2009 at 1:09 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Haha, busted, Alex.

  • 16 12-16-2009 at 1:11 pm

    Joel said...

    I’m gonna guess your winners, Kris, as I bet I can guess them all, lol:

    Best Picture: “A Serious Man”
    Best Director: The Coen Brothers
    Best Actor: Sharlto Copley
    Best Actress: Gabourey Sidibe
    Best Supporting Actor: Stephen Lang
    Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique
    Best Adapted Screenplay: “Up in the Air”
    Best Original Screenplay: “A Serious Man”
    Best Art Direction: “Bronson”
    Best Cinematography: “The Lovely Bones”
    Best Costume Design: “Red Cliff”
    Best Film Editing: “Precious”
    Best Makeup: “District 9”
    Best Original Score: “Bright Star”
    Best Original Song: “The Weary Kind”
    Best Sound Editing: “Star Trek”
    Best Sound Mixing: “The Lovely Bones”
    Best Visual Effects: “Avatar”
    Best Animated Feature Film: “Mary and Max”
    Best Ensemble: “Precious”

    And I’ll give a shot at the miscellaneous awards you just sort of hand out when it’s all said and done:

    The Most Surprising Film of the Year: “The Lovely Bones”
    The Most Disappointing Film of the Year: “The Road” (??)
    The Most Ambitious Film of the Year: “Avatar” (DUUUUHHHH)
    The Most Intriguing Failure of the Year: “Where the Wild Things Are”

    The Best Action Sequence: Finale of “Avatar”

    Best Performance in a Bad Film: Robert Duvall, “The Road”

    No idea from there on out…

  • 17 12-16-2009 at 1:11 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Going through this list this year, I think I’ve decided a standard winner, runner-up critics’ awards style thing is the way to go next year. I know it can be interesting to see what other performances would be nominated and stuff, but, eh…

  • 18 12-16-2009 at 1:12 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    You missed seven on the traditional categories, but nice stab overall. ;)

  • 19 12-16-2009 at 1:13 pm

    Nel said...

    Sotigui Kouyaté, “London River” – Great choice but what about Brenda Blethyn?? Surely you thought her perfomance better than Sidibe/Mulligan/Streep (and I like her!)

  • 20 12-16-2009 at 1:37 pm

    Fitz said...

    Nice to see someone else appreciate Cotillard’s performance in Public Enemies. And interesting picks for Saldana and Copley.

  • 21 12-16-2009 at 1:43 pm

    Mark Johnson said...

    I think you and I are the only ones who wouldn’t put The Hurt Locker in our top 10… I feel it is a good film that is being seriously overrated. But so is Invictus… so I digress.

  • 22 12-16-2009 at 1:50 pm

    Pablo (Col) said...

    Yo didnt pick 500 days summer in any category :(

  • 23 12-16-2009 at 1:54 pm

    Michael said...

    I wish you had a ballot Kris, I really do. I like quite a lot of your choices in each category and wish that the Academy could select as many inspired choices as you. Look forward to your superlatives list and also enjoyed your top ten list as well. Also, do you know when we can expect to see Guy’s lists for this year?

  • 24 12-16-2009 at 2:06 pm

    CSM said...

    I disagree about Anna Kendrick over Vera Farmiga…much better role and performance, hands down! Also surprised about Bigelow ommission.

  • 25 12-16-2009 at 2:08 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    Zoe Saldana best actress…..interesting.

  • 26 12-16-2009 at 2:08 pm

    Adam Smith said...

    @Pablo (Col): Because (500) Days of Summer isn’t very good. TRUTHBOMB!

  • 27 12-16-2009 at 2:08 pm

    James D. said...

    Does London River qualify as a 2009 release?

  • 28 12-16-2009 at 2:21 pm

    kid said...

    It’s a shame that a film like the lovely bones you would give 5 noms to will probably be snubbed in most categories while a films like nine where you give 1 nom may make it to double digit nominations. The sad thing about the lovely bones is it’s losing pace because of bad reviews yet at the same time Nine is getting ripped apart by critics and will still probably make the academy’s top ten.

  • 29 12-16-2009 at 2:26 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    I’m glad to see the support for Zaldana. Does anyone think she stands a chance for a nod? She was absolutely spectacular. On par with Ellen Degeneres in Finding Nemo and Andy Serkiss in LotR.

  • 30 12-16-2009 at 2:37 pm

    Ruslandgaga said...

    Lots of danish love from you on this ballot. I too really liked Antichrist and Bronson. Haven’t seen An Education yet.

  • 31 12-16-2009 at 2:38 pm

    Jane said...

    Saldana has no shot at all. Her reviews are fairly good but no where near Andy Serkis-level raves and even he couldn’t get nominated.

    Plus, there’s already like 5 actresses fighting tooth and nail for the last 2 spots.

  • 32 12-16-2009 at 2:39 pm

    The InSneider said...

    Good ballot and an entertaining post, as always my dear friend. But I don’t get the Bronson love. I’ll grant you cinematography/art direction and Tom Hardy’s electric perf but Best Picture? It was kind of an empty movie. I don’t feel like I learned much about that guy besides he was animal who liked to fight and fancied himself a performance artist. It’s an interesting movie and if there were 10 Best Actor slots, I’d legitimately think Hardy had a shot at a nom, but the movie itself let me down on a script level and I came away unimpressed overall. Love that dude’s Pusher trilogy though. Damn!

  • 33 12-16-2009 at 3:02 pm

    Andrew R. said...

    Kris, I thought you said in a podcast with Anne that you found Fantastic Mr. Fox so flat. Did you not find any other animated films worthy to fill it or has your esteem of it gone up?

  • 34 12-16-2009 at 3:30 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    @Michael: My Top 10 will go up next week. As for my “ballot,” I did one last year on the eve of the Oscar noms … I’ll probably wait until then this time too.

    @James D: “London River” had a qualifying run, despite being without a distributor.

  • 35 12-16-2009 at 3:38 pm

    Michael said...

    Can’t wait to see your list Guy!

  • 36 12-16-2009 at 4:20 pm

    Chris said...

    I’m just wondering as I’m not quite certain about the rules. Since “Gomorrah” wasn’t nominated last year, would it be eligible this year since its proper US release was in 2009?

    I’m thinking of “City of God” and “Hero” as precedents, but I can’t quite remember what the rules are.

  • 37 12-16-2009 at 4:31 pm

    Me. said...

    HOW THE HECK is “Wild Things” a failure?!?!?!

  • 38 12-16-2009 at 4:45 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Chris: No. It had a qualifying run in 2008.

  • 39 12-16-2009 at 5:47 pm

    A.J said...

    This isn’t the first place I’ve heard Zoe Saldana for Best Actress… too bad it can’t happen.

  • 40 12-16-2009 at 5:53 pm

    A.J said...

    If the Academy awarded the Honorary Award like they are supposed to maybe Saldana would have an oscar (as would Andy Serkis).

    “The Academy Honorary Award is given at the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to celebrate motion picture achievements that are not covered by existing Academy Awards.”

    It’s so frustrating that it’s just a “sorry we never gave you one of these” awards.

  • 41 12-16-2009 at 6:02 pm

    Speaking English said...

    ***I think you and I are the only ones who wouldn’t put The Hurt Locker in our top 10…***

    You really need to look around more.

  • 42 12-16-2009 at 6:03 pm

    leocdc said...

    Sharlto Copley, “District 9”

    Great to see that kind of love for that great actor xD

  • 43 12-16-2009 at 6:11 pm

    Jenny said...

    Really? Zoe Saldana over Abbie Cornish? Seriously?

  • 44 12-16-2009 at 6:34 pm

    ninja said...

    Big props for Lang&Saldana love! They were spectacular.

  • 45 12-16-2009 at 9:25 pm

    Cordy said...

    I am SOOOOOOOOO happy to see the Bronson love.

    When I watched that movie I expected a great performance by Hardy but was surprised how much I loved that movie.

    The whole essence of that movie was pushed through and I loved the cutting of scenes with Bronson’s ‘performance’ pieces

  • 46 12-16-2009 at 9:40 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Cornish did NOTHING for me, Jenny.

  • 47 12-17-2009 at 6:44 pm

    MaddyG said...

    Love that you included The Cove in your best pic and best director list. Absolutely agree!

  • 48 12-18-2009 at 6:14 pm

    Andy said...

    Best Picture
    “500 Days of Summer” (Fox Searchlight)
    “Avatar” (20th Century Fox)
    “Fish Tank” (Magnolia Pictures)
    “Inglorious Basterds” (Weinstein Company)
    “Nine” (Weinstein Company)
    “Precious” (Lionsgate Films)
    “A Prophet” (IFC Films)
    “A Single Man” (Weinstein Company)
    “Up in the Air” (Paramount Pictures)
    “The White Ribbon” (Sony Pictures Classic)

    Best Director
    Michael Haneke, “The White Ribbon”
    James Cameron, “Avatar”
    Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”
    Tom Ford, “A Single Man”
    Marc Webb, “500 Days of Summer”

    Best Actor
    Colin Firth, “A Single Man”
    George Clooney, “Up in the Air”
    Joseph Gordon Levitt, “500 Days of Summer”
    Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker”
    Tom Hardy, “Bronson”

    Best Actress
    Katie Jarvis, “Fish Tank”
    Carey Mulligan, “An Education”
    Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious”
    Abbie Cornish, “Bright Star”
    Meryl Streep, “It’s Complicated”

    Best Supporting Actor
    Michael Fassbender, “Fish Tank”
    Woody Harrelson, “The Messenger”
    Anthony Mackie, “The Hurt Locker”
    Stanley Tucci, “Julie & Julia”
    Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”

    Best Supporting Actress
    Marion Cotillard, “Nine”
    Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air”
    Julianne Moore, “A Single Man”
    Mo’Nique, “Precious
    Penelope Cruz, “Nine”

  • 49 12-26-2009 at 11:48 pm

    Encore Entertainment said...

    Samantha Morton and Cotillard in SA are probably my 2 favourite in the category as of now. It sucks that Cotillard’s searing work is being ignored. I’m sorry The Messenger didn’t show up elsewhere on your list though [what did you think of Foster]