Tag Archives: 2009 movies

Oscar Predictions 2010

It’s kind of pathetic how excited I am for this year’s Oscars, considering that a lot of my favourite movies and performances aren’t even nominated. But alas, I am a pop culture junkie, and Oscar night is the Holy Grail for that kind of thing. With the big show less than a week away, here are my picks for each category with commentary, when necessary.

Best Picture

Avatar

The Blind Side

District 9

An Education

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds

Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

A Serious Man

Up

Up in the Air

I’m incredibly torn with this category. Most seem to be predicting a win for The Hurt Locker, but I think that Avatar could ultimately win. It’s the highest-grossing movie of all time, and whether or not you see this as sufficient reason for winning, it was a movie that a lot of people loved. The Hurt Locker would be one of the least successful (in terms of box office) films to win, and the Iraq war seems to be cinematic kryptonite when it comes to rallying support for a film.

While I can certainly appreciate the merits of Avatar and The Hurt Locker (and I wouldn’t mind if either of them one) the two films in this category that I really loved were Up in the Air and Inglourious Basterds. I’d love to see either of them win, but it seems highly unlikely.

Actor in a Leading Role

Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”

George Clooney in “Up in the Air”

Colin Firth in “A Single Man”

Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”

Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

It’s looking as though Jeff Bridges will finally win his first Oscar. With the Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild Award, and the Critics Choice Award to his name, it would definitely be considered an upset if he didn’t win. Colin Firth recently won the BAFTA for his work in A Single Man, but the Brits often take the BAFTAs as an opportunity to reward their own. George Clooney was considered a threat, but has lost significant momentum throughout the awards season.

Bridges is actually the only person in this category whose performance I’m yet to see. I loved all four of the other performances, so it’s a bit disheartening to know that none of them have much of a chance of stealing the Oscar away from Bridges. I had never been much of a fan of George Clooney, but his work in Up in the Air was fantastic, and it made me reconsider my opinion of him. Firth is the one that I’m rooting for, though, because his subtle performance in A Single Man blew me away.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Matt Damon in “Invictus”

Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”

Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”

Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”

Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

There is no way that Waltz isn’t going to win this category. He’s won every single precursor award. It will be considered a HUGE upset if he doesn’t get the Oscar. It’s nice to see four first-time nominees in this category, and to see Damon nominated for his first Oscar since Good Will Hunting. But everyone else will just have to wait for a year when scene-stealing Christoph Waltz isn’t in a movie.

I really enjoyed his performance, but I’m a little bit confused as why Waltz is considered such a “shoe-in” (perhaps it was a weak year for this category?)

Actress in a Leading Role

Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”

Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”

Carey Mulligan in “An Education”

Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Despite Carey Mulligan’s win at the BAFTAs, I still think that this is a race between Bullock and Streep. After her most successful year ever, and the box office sensation that The Blind Side became, I think that Bullock will stop Streep from winning her third Oscar.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Penélope Cruz in “Nine”

Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”

Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”

Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”

Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

Another no-brainer. The Up in the Air women will split the votes that are given to their film. Maggie Gyllenhaal might be considered a minor threat because some voters will see her as being “overdue” for an Oscar after unrecognized performances in films like SherryBaby and Secretary. But her late-season momentum won’t be enough to beat Mo’Nique’s acclaimed performance.

Directing

“Avatar” James Cameron

“The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow

“Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels

“Up in the Air” Jason Reitman

James Cameron could win, but I think that with the Director’s Guild Award under her belt, Kathryn Bigelow will be victorious. While I don’t think that it’s the deciding factor in the race, the fact that Bigelow would be the first female director winner certainly won’t hurt her chances.

I would personally choose Tarantino to win this category, but since the race is between Cameron and Bigelow, I agree that Bigelow is the deserving winner.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

“The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal

“Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino

“The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman

“A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

“Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

It’s possible that The Hurt Locker could win this category in a flurry of awards for the film, but I think that Basterds will take this one.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

“District 9” Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell

“An Education” Screenplay by Nick Hornby

“In the Loop” Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher

“Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Sadly, it might be the only award that it wins, but Up in the Air is the favourite to win this category.

Animated Feature Film

“Coraline” Henry Selick

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson

“The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements

“The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore

“Up” Pete Docter

I don’t know what A.O. Scott is thinking (he’s predicting a Princess and the Frog win), but there is no way that Up is losing this category (come on, it got a Best Picture nomination!)

Even though it won’t happen, I’d actually much prefer The Princess and the Frog to beat Up. I’ve loved a lot of the Pixar films, but Up just didn’t do it for me.

Art Direction

“Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith

“Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim

“Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

“The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Cinematography

“Avatar” Mauro Fiore

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel

“The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd

“Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson

“The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

Costume Design

“Bright Star” Janet Patterson

“Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme

“Nine” Colleen Atwood

“The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell

Documentary (Feature)

“Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller

“The Cove” Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens

“Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein

“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith

“Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa

Documentary (Short Subject)

“China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

“The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher

“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert

“Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett

“Rabbit à la Berlin” Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Film Editing

“Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron

“District 9” Julian Clarke

“The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis

“Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film

“Ajami” Israel

“The Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada)” Peru

“A Prophet (Un Prophète)” France

“The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos)” Argentina

“The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band)” Germany

Makeup

“Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano

“Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow

“The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Music (Original Score)

“Avatar” James Horner

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat

“The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders

“Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer

“Up” Michael Giacchino

Music (Original Song)

“Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

“Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas

“Take It All” from “Nine” Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston

“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Tough call, with Oscar favourite Randy Newman holding two of the nomination spots, but I think that Ryan Bingham’s lovely, soulful song from Crazy Heart will take it. Too bad we won’t get to see him (or any of the other nominees) perform at the ceremony.

Short Film (Animated)

“French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert

“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell

“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia

“Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin

“A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)

“The Door” Juanita Wilson and James Flynn

“Instead of Abracadabra” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström

“Kavi” Gregg Helvey

“Miracle Fish” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey

“The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing

“Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle

“The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson

“Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman

“Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin

“Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing

“Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson

“The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett

“Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano

“Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Visual Effects

“Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones

“District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken

“Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

2009 in Film: Comedies

So far, 2009 is shaping up to be a decent year for movies, I think. There’s already been some great films released, and Oscar season is getting started. I recently watched I Love You, Man and Away We Go, which had been two of my most anticipated movies from earlier in the year. Both we great, and it got me thinking that 2009 seems to have been an exceptionally good year for comedies. Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen as many dramas, but so far seven out of my top ten favourite movies of the year are comedies. Of course, not every comedy was good. For every Away We Go there’s a Confessions of a Shopaholic. But I’ve seen some fantastic comedies with some very strong performances. I thought I’d share some of my favourite comedic performances of the year. Since I think comedies are always criminally underrepresented in the awards season, I’ll give my two cents on who I think is deserving of nominations, and who actually has a chance. I might update this list as awards season gets closer, and as I see more movies from 2009.

Oh, and since I only seem to get comments on the posts where I encourage them, be sure to leave comments on which choices you agree/disagree with, and your own opinions on your favourite comedies of 2009!

Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia
Meryl Streep can do no wrong (well, except maybe Mamma Mia…), and she’s given some great comedic performances this decade (Adaptation and The Devil Wears Prada both gave her Oscar nominations). Her performance as legendary chef Julia Child was delightful (though the movie as a whole was just decent). She had the voice, the body language, and the spirit down pat.

Award Season Prospects: This is the only performance on the list that’s guaranteed to get an Oscar nomination, and she just might win the whole thing.

 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt – (500) Days of Summer

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of my favourite young actors, and I was excited to see him return to his comedy roots after all of the heavy movies he’s made this decade. His comedic timing is brilliant, and at times, he’s pretty hilarious here. This is not a typical romantic comedy, and Levitt elevates his performance so far beyond the usual acting in those types of movies. It’s a subtle performance, but the genuine warmth and feeling that he brings to this role is unusual.

Award Season Prospects: Based on what I’ve seen this year, I think he’s worthy of an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. But that category is always overstuffed, so I’d be shocked if he got one. A Golden Globe nomination is possible, but sadly, still a bit of a stretch.

Maya Rudolph – Away We Go

Most people know her from her great comedic work on Saturday Night Live, and I was really surprised by how good Maya Rudolph was in Sam Mendes’ Away We Go. It’s considered a comedy, but there are a lot of scenes (especially in the latter half of the film) that are entirely dramatic. My mom said she found the film depressing, but I disagree. And I think a lot of that has to do with Rudolph’s vibrant performance. Her character is pregnant, and both worried and excited for the future. I thought Rudolph gave a very genuinely likeable and optimistic performance.

Award Season Prospects: I think a Golden Globe nomination is possible.

Amy Adams – Sunshine Cleaning

With two Oscar nominations already under her belt, obviously Amy Adams is a fantastic actress. She’s got a great screen presence in every movie that she’s in, and Sunshine Cleaning is no exception. It’s a comedy, but there isn’t a ton of laugh-out-loud kind of laughs. It’s just not that kind of movie. But Adams does a great job with the subtle humour, and the human drama that the role calls for. She was good in Julie and Julia as well, but this is the more interesting role and performance.

Award Season Prospects: Sunshine Cleaning was under the radar, and got somewhat mixed reviews (though I loved it). I think that Adams is worthy of a Golden Globe nomination, but it may or may not happen.

Emily Blunt – Sunshine Cleaning

Starting off as the more comedic character in Sunshine Cleaning, Emily Blunt played the mix between comedy and drama perfectly. Something about her screen presence is magnetic. Blunt had a few scenes that really showed off her acting skills (everyone talks about the “tressling” scene), as well as a bunch that allowed her to be sarcastic and curmudgeonly, which she does very well. She’s great in those roles that blur the line between humour and drama (The Devil Wears Prada, The Jane Austen Book Club)

Award Season Prospects: I’m not sure if her performance qualifies as lead or supporting, but I’m not sure if her chances are great, either way. I’d love to see her get some kind of nomination for her work here, though.

Zach Galifianakis – The Hangover

Oh, God. I can’t even think of this performance without giggling a little. There were so many hilarious moments in The Hangover courtesy of Mr. Galifianakis. I like Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms a lot, too, but this guy stole the show. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t know much about Galifiankis, I’m sure you’re a bit puzzled by all the fuss. To which I say, go see The Hangover.

Award Season Prospects: Hey, remember when Robert Downey Jr. got an Oscar nomination for wearing blackface last year?

Jesse Eisenberg – Adventureland

Oddly, this is only the second ugliest t-shirt that appears on this list. Anyways, some people call Jesse Eisenberg the poor-man’s Michael Cera. But I think that he’s some alternate version of Michael Cera who is capable of conveying genuine emotion. Don’t get me wrong. I love Michael Cera, but I was really impressed by the earnest, sweet performance that Eisenberg gave here. He’s still funny and awkward, but there was just something very real about his performance, like he wasn’t constantly worried about being clever and funny.

Award Season Prospects: Not great. It’s not the kind of performance that usually gets recognized, sadly.

Paul Rudd – I Love You, Man
I’ve been a fan of Paul Rudd for a while now. I first noticed him on Friends, and then I went back and loved him in Clueless. So after a string of iffy movies and supporting roles, I was glad to see him starting to get the leads in major comedies. Role Models was a lot of fun, and he topped it with this year’s I Love You, Man. He is so incredibly awkward (“Slappa da Beeaaaass!”) as Peter, a man with no male friends, but so charming, too. There’s something about Paul Rudd that you just want to root for.

Award Season Prospects: Hilarious performance, but just not award-worthy.

Chris Messina – Away We Go

Alright, so it’s a really small role and not even an especially comedic performance, but I just wanted to talk about how impressed I was by Chris Messina in Away We Go. The movie is split into different parts, and when Burt and Verona travel to Montreal, they meet up with Messina’s character, who Burt went to college with. He has a great monologue, and Messina delivers it perfectly. His character starts off as seeming like a laid-back guy, but as we learn more about his and his wife’s circumstances, his character takes an unexpected turn. It’s a really understated performance, but that whole section in Montreal was my favourite part of the movie, partly thanks to Messina’s performance.

 Award Season Prospects: Not a chance.

Zac Efron – 17 Again

I’m probably not helping my case by choosing a photo from the most shamelessly pandering scene in the whole movie. But whatever, I thought Zac Efron actually did a good job. He proved on SNL that he has comedic talent (I loved the “I AM YOUR MOTHER!!!” sketch. Anyone who can keep a straight face through that earns my respect). I’m not a fan of the whole High School Musical franchise (though there was an unintentionally awesome scene in the third movie where Efron breaks into the school at night and basketballs start raining down upon him. ANYWAYS.), but I thought he made this otherwise iffy movie a lot funnier (well, him and Thomas Lennon).

 Award Season Prospects: Ha.

Comedies from 2009 That Look God-awful, and I Vow Never to Watch:

  1. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
  2. Bride Wars
  3. The Pink Panther 2
  4. Dance Flick
  5. Miss March
  6. I Love You, Beth Cooper
  7. All About Steve
  8. Duplicity
  9. My Life in Ruins
  10. Imagine That
  11. Post Grad
  12. The Ugly Truth

 

Comedies from 2009 of Interest That I Still Need to See:
Big Fan

The Brothers Bloom

Bruno

Extract

Funny People

The Informant!

It’s Complicated (upcoming)

Pirate Radio (upcoming)

A Serious Man

Taking Woodstock

Up in the Air (upcoming)

Whip It!

World’s Greatest Dad

Zombieland