‘Avatar,’ ‘Hurt Locker’ lead Oscar nods with 9 each

Posted by · 5:10 am · February 2nd, 2010

Guy Pearce in The Hurt LockerSo, the AMPAS didn’t embarrass itself TOO much this morning.  At the end of the day, “Invictus” proved to lack the proper passionate support to yield a Best Picture nomination.  The beneficiary of that: “The Blind Side.” Make of that what you will.

“Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker” — get this — tied with a field-leading nine nominations each.  “Inglourious Basterds” wasn’t far behind with eight, while “Precious” and “Up in the Air” tied with six apiece.  Pixar’s “Up” managed five, while “District 9” and “Star Trek,” the other sci-fi entries in the race, each received four, the former landing a Best Picture nomination and trending on Twitter as I type.  But how the hell it missed in Best Makeup is beyond me.  More on the techs below.

“The Blind Side” and “A Serious Man” get the “winner of two Oscar nominations, including Best Picture” honors.  But at least the latter made the cut after all.  There was some nervousness for a while there.

As I look through the nominations, I see nothing particularly eye-catching.  All of the “surprises” seem awfully reasonable and make perfect sense.  First and foremost, I’m kicking myself for blinking on Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart.” In fact, I had that supporting actress category pegged 5/5 24 hours ago.  That’s what I get for over-thinking it.  I’m really happy to see her slide into contention.  She worked it last month and at just the right time.

Unfortunately, though, her writer/director, Scott Cooper, was left off of the adapted screenplay contenders.  He has a bright future ahead of him regardless, offers coming in left and right, so he’ll be just fine and might find himself back on Oscar’s doorstep one day.  The film that DID make it into that adapted field was “In the Loop,” which makes perfect sense and seemed a safe back-up bet to me yesterday.

As for original screenplays, hallelujah, “(500) Days of Summer” was snubbed.  And in favor of “The Messenger,” no less.  Class.  I really thought a Best Picture nod was in Oren Moverman’s future when this category was announced.

The tech fields are what they are.  “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” was thankfully remembered for its crafts, while “Avatar” was the expected dominating party.

Most revealing is the film editing category, where “Precious” managed a surprising (and MOST deserving) nomination.  If you go by Oscar history, one of those films will win Best Picture or it would be the first time in nearly 30 years that it didn’t happen.  Then again, using the preferential balloting system for the winners could change that this year.

Elsewhere, Guy and I were correct in our assumption that Dion Beebe would be the lenser left off of the cinematography list, but it was Bruno Delbonnel’s work on “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” that made the cut rather than “The Road,” which is what we were thinking.

I had a hunch that if “Il Divo” had enough gas to make it to the bake-off then it might slid into the makeup field, and so it did, while the visual effects category was the only field throughout the techs that I nailed 100%  Then again, who was betting on any other trio?

“Inglourious Basterds” managed nominations in both sound categories, as I suspected it might.  Michael Minkler and Wylie Stateman are titans of their fields.  And in the music categories — WHEW — “The Weary Kind” got its much deserved nomination and should go on to win the big prize.

The surprise nominee for song was a tune from “Paris 36,” while over in the score category, Alexandre Desplat managed to pull out a nod for “Fantastic Mr. Fox” after all, alongside Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders for their haunting work on “The Hurt Locker.”

Oh, in the animated feature category, it was “The Secret of Kells,” an Annie nominee you might recall, that got in over “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” rather than “Ponyo.” Very interesting.  I’ll see the film some time next week at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.  And in the documentary feature category (which had better be a clear path for “The Cove” on Oscar night), I was sad to see “Mugabe and the White African” miss, but you just never know what that committee will do.

Anyway, you can mull over the list of nominees below and draw your own conclusions.  I have nothing major to complain about, to be perfectly honest.  Yeah, the “Blind Side” nomination is silly, but it was either that or “Invictus,” so what can you do?

Anyway, the race between David and Goliath continues.  I think the amount of support shown for “The Hurt Locker” speaks for itself, though, with clear support from the actors and the writers, which Cameron’s film just didn’t get.  But with a preferential balloting system, things are a bit more wide open than the two-horse race we’ve boiled it down to, so we’ll see.

As for the experiment with the 10, I imagine by most counts, it will be considered a success.  That is definitely a unique mixture of American film product.  It’s a shame something truly independent like “Crazy Heart” or “The Messenger” couldn’t find room, but I think they were clearly close, so the logic holds that they still have a better opportunity in a scheme such as this.

As far as predictions, I managed 85/116 in the 23 categories I attempted.  94/116 if you count alternates.  And I went 39/45 in the top eight categories.

Stick around throughout the day.  Guy will offer his thoughts soon enough, while I’ll be taking nominees’ reactions for most of the morning and afternoon.

Best Picture
“The Blind Side”
“District 9”
“An Education”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“A Serious Man”
“Up in the Air”

Best Director
James Cameron, “Avatar”
Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”
“Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds”
“Lee Daniels, “Precious”
Jason Reitman, “Up in the Air”

Best Actor
Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart”
George Clooney, “Up in the Air”
Colin Firth, “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman, “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker”

Best Actress
Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side”
Helen Mirren, “The Last Station”
Carey Mulligan, “An Education”
Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious”
Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia”

Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon, “Invictus”
Woody Harrelon, “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer, “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci, “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”

Best Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz, “Nine”
Vera Farmiga, “Up in the Air”
Maggie Gyllenhaal, “Crazy Heart”
Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique, “Precious”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“District 9”
“An Education”
“In the Loop”
“Up in the Air”

Best Original Screenplay
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“The Messenger”
“A Serious Man”

Best Animated Feature Film
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”
“The Princess and the Frog”
“The Secret of Kells”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Ajami” (Israel)
“The Milk of Sorrow” (Peru)
“A Prophet” (France)
“The Secret in Their Eyes” (Argentina)
“The White Ribbon” (Germany)

Best Art Direction
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”
“Sherlock Holmes”
“The Young Victoria”

Best Cinematography
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
“The Hurt Locker”
“The White Ribbon”

Best Costume Design
“Bright Star”
“Coco Before Chanel”
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”
“The Young Victoria”

Best Film Editing
“District 9”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”

Best Makeup
“Il Divo”
“Star Trek”
“The Young Victoria”

Best Music (Original Score)
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Sherlock Holmes”

Best Music (Original Song)
“Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog”
“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog”
“Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36”
“Take it All” from “Nine”
“The Weary Kind” from “Crazy Heart”

Best Sound Editing
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Star Trek”

Best Sound Mixing
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Star Trek”
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”

Best Visual Effects
“District 9”
“Star Trek”

Best Documentary Feature
“Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country”
“The Cove”
“Food, Inc.”
“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers”
“Which Way Home”

Best Documentary Short
“China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province”
“The Last Campaign of Booth Gardener”
“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant”
“Music by Prudence”
“Rabbit a la Berlin”

Best Short Film (Animated)
“French Roast”
“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty”
“The Lady and the Reaper”
“A Matter of Loaf and Death”

Best Short Film (Live Action)
“The Door”
“Instead of Abracadabra”
“Miracle Fish”
“The New Tenants”

→ 177 Comments Tags: | Filed in: Daily

177 responses so far

  • 1 2-02-2010 at 9:20 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    The Hurt Locker score is amazing. So glad to see it recognized.

  • 2 2-02-2010 at 9:21 am

    vip said...

    Meryl Streep will win the Best Actress. Just wait and see.

  • 3 2-02-2010 at 9:23 am

    Morgan said...

    I’m officially joining Team Meryl.

  • 4 2-02-2010 at 10:13 am

    /3rtfu11 said...

    The Good — No Hangover (Die and go to Hell)

    The Bad — Nothing for Where the Wild Things Are (I love that little movie)

  • 5 2-02-2010 at 10:22 am

    aspect ratio said...

    I think I can live with The Blind Side’s BP nomination. The only realistic alternative was Invictus so it’s not really like The Blind Side snubbed a more worthy film.

    Sad to see Inglourious Basterds missing for Art Direction (and Costume Design). Sheesh.

    Most of the films and performances I was rooting for made it, and were pretty much expected so not that much to be really excited for. None of the “surprise” nominees were of the WOW factor for me.

    As I look at the list of nominees, it’s mostly negative choices that I’m reacting to. Matt Damon, after a brilliant decade of good and great performances gets nominated for THAT. I even feel a bit embarrassed for him.

    District 9’s BP nomination is really sweet, but the makeup snub is definitely one of the biggest WTFs of this year. Not that the makeup category is a stranger to snubbing the most deserving films. Planet of the Apes, anyone?

    Biggest surprises would have to be The Hurt Locker for Original Score, The Secret of Kells for Animated Film, Paris 36 for Original Song and Harry Potter for Cinematography. Oh, and In the Loop for Adapted Screenplay, to a degree (it certainly wasn’t as out of the blue), though I am a bit bummed that Fantastic Mr. Fox wasn’t the “surprise” nominee in its stead.

  • 6 2-02-2010 at 10:24 am

    Morgan said...

    Took a closer look at the list. Those Invictus nominations are crap. Sorry. Morgan Freeman should have been replaced by the guy from A Serious Man.

  • 7 2-02-2010 at 11:12 am

    Nicolas Mancuso said...

    Kris, I spotted an error in the side panel: You put Transformers in Sound Editing, instead of Up.

  • 8 2-02-2010 at 12:02 pm

    David said...

    I think I counted twelve nominations for animated features this year. Is that a record?

  • 9 2-02-2010 at 12:17 pm

    Mike M. said...

    My biggest disappointment is the omission of Julianne Moore for A Single Man, although I feared she would be snubbed. I love the performance: beautiful, complex, and haunting. I think she’s worthier of a nomination than Cruz, Kendrick, or Gyllenhal.

    ‘Single Man’ deserved recognition for its original score as well, and maybe even best picture if they were going to include the damn Blind Side. I find its inclusion in the best picture category wildly depressing, and proof of why having 10 nominees was a terrible idea.

  • 10 2-02-2010 at 12:30 pm

    Clarence said...

    Boy, I embarrassed myself today in my History class. I checked your site before anyone else’s and when I saw no Monique for BSA, I screamed >.> so my teacher kicked me out of the class for using my phone and for screaming so loud LOL.

    Anyway, a nice set of nominations but not perfect.
    Honestly, I wished, prayed, and seriously hoped that Marion Cotillard would get the nomination instead of Penelope Cruz. Marion > Penelope in the film so… Bummer.
    Maggie was shocking but I saw it on Nathaniel’s predictions but ignored it.
    A Serious Man getting a nod is shocking but also relieving at the same time.
    I’m really afraid that Sandra Bullock will win the Oscar. I really hope that the BP nod for The Blind Side means nothing at all in terms of Bullock’s battle with Meryl.
    I wished Ponyo was here :( but oh well idk what The Secret of Kells is but I hope it’s good.
    And I seriously hope Marion performs Take It All live :) That’ll be a special treat for me <3

  • 11 2-02-2010 at 1:46 pm

    entertainmenttod said...

    Many will not agree but I would have nominated 11 year old actress Isabelle Fuhrman as best supporting actress for her role as Esther in the horror thriller “Orphan”. I thought she was great! Anyone have an opinion on that?


  • 12 2-02-2010 at 1:50 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Well, since you bring it up, Vera Farmiga is terrific in “Orphan.” (Whisper it soft, but I think she’s even better there than in “Up in the Air.”)

  • 13 2-02-2010 at 2:01 pm

    M@ said...

    Quick question. Film “dittoing”? I assume that’s editing, but where did that term come from? Is that common? Just curious.

  • 14 2-02-2010 at 2:18 pm

    Chris138 said...

    I am bummed that Public Enemies didn’t get a nomination for art direction. That is one thing the movie truly deserved awards recognition for.

  • 15 2-02-2010 at 2:24 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    M@: A bizarre, half-asleep typo on my end, I’m afraid.

  • 16 2-02-2010 at 3:18 pm

    Speaking English said...

    “The Hurt Locker” being nominated for score is one of the worst, weirdest, and most perplexing nominations in many a year.

    WHAT freaking score? Nothing memorable whatsoever, and over “A Single Man,” “Bright Star,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “The Informant!”… truly disgusting and a travesty.

    And that’s not even mentioning the fact the score borrows directly from Jonny Greenwood’s notoriously ineligible “There Will Be Blood” score… ugh.

  • 17 2-02-2010 at 4:22 pm

    Fitz said...

    Cruz for Best Supporting: Boo!

    Howver props for In the Loop & A Serious Man getting some attention.

  • 18 2-02-2010 at 4:30 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Watch the movie again, English. It has an amazing, haunting score. Of course you say there isn’t a score that you remember then you say it’s cribbing from Blood, so who knows how to take your outlandish, off-based indignation.

    Stop with your hyperbole on this film, too. How marginalized can you possibly be??

  • 19 2-02-2010 at 4:35 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Greenwood’s “Blood” score is masterful, and that’s probably the one part of the “Locker” score that is worth a crap.

    And even people who absolutely adore “Locker” can’t justify this mystifying nomination. I’m not even hating on the movie here.

  • 20 2-02-2010 at 5:32 pm

    The Other James D. said...

    That’s cute, considering Guy (and I and some other commenters above) adore this film AND its hypnotizing score. Not to mention Kris, who commented above you, also has love for it. Make a conscientious attempt to filter through your bias against the film to realize you have no grounds to speak on behalf of those of us who have the capacity to appreciate this cinematic brilliance.

  • 21 2-02-2010 at 8:42 pm

    movieman said...

    Never commented here before but I’ve followed for a time. Hello all…

    The Bad Parts:

    “Avatar,” “The Blind Side,” and “A Serious Man” are three of the most overrated films of the year. I would replace these with “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “Lifelines,” and “Must Read After My Death” (which is the REAL best documentary of the year). “The Hurt Locker” and “Up” have major problems (mostly to do with the plot elements of both), but they’re both decent as far as their genre goes. Replace them with “The Informers” and “Where the Wild Things Are.” “An Education” and “District 9” also have some problems, but they are both solid; still, neither quite strikes me as Best Picture material. Replace them (for me) with “Away We Go” and “Drag Me to Hell.” “Up in the Air,” though not a PERFECT movie (and not quite one I’d nominate had the field stayed with five slots), is definitely unsurprising in its nomination with ten, and I wouldn’t be opposed to it winning. But “Inglourious Basterds” and “Precious” are two of the best films of the year. I’m rooting for Tarantino, but if either came out of this with a win, I would be happy.

    As far as Animated Feature Film goes, I have neither seen nor heard of “The Secret of Kells,” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “The Princess and the Frog” were both not very good. Replace these three with “A Christmas Carol,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” and “Ponyo.” As I said before, “Up” was overrated and the weakest of my personal nominees, but I wouldn’t replace it. Nor would I replace the wicked entertainment of “Coraline.”

  • 22 2-02-2010 at 8:43 pm

    movieman said...

    Oh…delete “The Bad Parts:” from my comment above. I was going in a different direction than I ended up going.

  • 23 2-03-2010 at 3:19 am

    Miguel Lourenço Pereira said...

    • The Other James D. said…
    Miguel wrote:
    GT was definitly one of the worst of 2008 and Invictus is clearly flop material.

    I trully don´t understand the hate Eastwood his having lately in the US. If you guys want to “attack” what is probably your best director in 50 years, go right ahead. Those who know the level CE has been showing in the past 20 years will still enjoy with each new film he gets out.

    Invictus is, definitly, one of the best films of 2009, and so was Gran Torino last year. If I don´t see that, well, go and enjoy with The Basterds or what else you call worthy. It´s your show anyway.

  • 24 2-03-2010 at 7:06 am

    James said...

    As usual, the Academy totally screwed up. Maggie Gyllenhaal was totally miscast for the role of Jean Caddock and was the weakest link in the movie.

    Diane Kruger or Melanie Laurent should have been nominated but (of course the Academies screwed up again). They didn’t make clear whether Diane Kruger was up for best actress or best supporting actress. Same thing with Melanie Laurent – it wasn’t clear whether she was up for best actress or best supporting actress. So fans of Inglorious Bastards got confused – some voters voted for Kruger in best and others in supporting. Same with Laurent, which resulted in diluting the votes for both.

    And Julianne Moore was so much better than Maggie Gyllenhaal. M Gyllenhaal was sooo miscast for the role of Jean Caddock and worse created a character that didn’t mesh with the movie.

    Maggie Gyllenhaal is notorious for being a difficult diva on set. She fought constantly with Laurie Collier for “creative control” over the character of Sherry. She refused to take direction from Laurie because she thought she knew the character Sherry better than Laurie (who incidentally wrote and created the character Sherry). Plus, the only reason that Maggie got hired for the role was because Naomi Forner (Maggie Gyllenhaal’s mom) mentored Laurie at the Sundance Lab, and Laurie hired Maggie out of gratitude. Maggie was so insufferable – every time she threw a tantrum, production came to a halt and she nearly derailed the entire movie. We were on a very tight budget/schedule. Everyone was working on scale. A few non-SAG actors were being paid far less. Some of us did it for the money. Others because they liked Laurie’s script and believed in her vision. But because of Maggie’s tantrums, there were so many times when we didn’t think that we would finish filming on time and on budget. As a PA, this was by far the most stressful shoot I’ve been on.

    Same with Mona Lisa Smile – she fought with the other actresses and the director. Same with Agent Provacateur – she was such am insufferable diva during the shoot that Agent Provacateur fired immediately after the shoot. And of course, afterwards, Maggie spun it like she quit because the ads were sexually exploitative.

    Anyway – coming back to Crazy Heart. Maggie expressly stated in an interview that when she started shooting Crazy, she expected to fight with Scott Cooper but to her “surprise,” Scott Cooper let her do whatever she wanted. So she played Jean Craddock like every role she plays – vulnerable but tough, which was so wrong for this movie. Why would a young smart (albeit ugly) reporter fall instantly in love with a fat drunk has-been? Many critics have pointed out the odd chemistry between Bridges and Maggie. Many have said that this is the weakest link in the movie. If Maggie had played Jean as a vulnerable and needy woman (especially one needy for the love of a man), then the character and the romance would have made sense despite the age difference.

  • 25 2-03-2010 at 7:14 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Yeah, keep it classy, James.

  • 26 2-04-2010 at 3:04 pm

    (~_~) said...

    First I’m going to congratulate the people who made District 9 and Star Trek for kicking so much ass, then I’m going to pretend that Coraline wins every single award including Best Picture so that the world doesn’t seem like such a painful place. Best movie ever made, deserves more recognition.