The Oscar Nominations

Tuesday February 2nd 2010


The nominations are in for this year’s Academy Awards. They are mostly predictable, occasionally surprising and inevitably fascinating. Below you will find the nominations for all the interesting categories (sorry cinematography fans) along with Ultra Culture‘s trademark irreverent analysis. Enjoy!

Best Picture

A Serious Man
An Education
Avatar
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
District 9
The Blind Side
Precious
Up
Up In The Air
dir. The Coen Brothers
dir. Lone Scherfig
dir. James Cameron
dir. Kathryn Bigelow
dir. Quentin Tarantino
dir. Neill Blomkamp
dir. John Lee Hancock
dir. Lee Daniels
dir. Pete Docter
dir. Jason Reitman
Trailer
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Expanding the Best Picture category to include ten nominees was a very good idea. It’s so fucking cool that stuff like District 9 and Up can sneak in there alongside predictable Oscar nonsense like The Blind Side and An Education. I say congrats.

Should win: Inglourious Basterds
Will win: The Hurt Locker

Best Director

James Cameron
Jason Reitman
Kathryn Bigelow
Quentin Tarantino
Lee Daniels
Avatar
Up In The Air
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious

Nice to see at least one nominee under 45 this year, with 32-year-old Jason Reitman reppin’ it for the kids. It’s also a good year for people who aren’t white males, with Kathyrn Bigelow becoming the fourth woman and Lee Daniels the second black person to get Best Director nominations.

Should win: Quentin Tarantino
Will win: Kathryn Bigelow

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges
George Clooney
Colin Firth
Morgan Freeman
Jeremy Renner
Bad Blake
Ryan Bingham
George Falconer
Nelson Mandela
Sgt. William James
Crazy Heart
Up In The Air
A Single Man
Invictus
The Hurt Locker
Not a bad year for the chaps. Jeremy Renner is just riding The Hurt Locker‘s wave of success and Morgan Freeman isn’t exactly breaking new ground, but there’s a powerful triumvirate in Bridges, Clooney and Firth: all delivering ‘career best’ performances. It’s interesting that none of them are playing titular characters. Depending on your definition of ‘interesting’.

Should win: Colin Firth
Will win: Jeff Bridges

Best Actress

Meryl Streep
Sandra Bullock
Helen Mirren
Gabourey Sidibe
Carey Mulligan
Julia Child
Leigh Anne Tuohy
Sofya Tolstoy
Claireece Precious Jones
Jenny Miller
Julie & Julia
The Blind Side
The Last Station
Precious
An Education
A good but by no means exceptional selection of lady performances. There are new faces (Sidibe and Mulligan), old faces (Mirren and Streep) and faces we never expected to see on a list of dramatic acting talent (you can guess) but nothing to get too worked up about.

Should win: Carey Mulligan
Will win: Sandra Bullock

Best Supporting Actor

Christoph Waltz
Christopher Plummer
Stanley Tucci
Woody Harrelson
Matt Damon
Col. Hans Landa
Leo Tolstoy
George Harvey
Captain Tony Stone
Francois Pienaar
Inglourious Basterds
The Last Station
The Lovely Bones
The Messenger
Invictus
A good bunch (Stanley Tucci almost made The Lovely Bones watchable) but none of them have got a fucking chance against The Waltz. And I can’t believe Matt Damon robbed Alfred Molina of his nomination, what a cunt. Saying that, he was OK in Invictus.

Should win: Christoph Waltz
Will win: Christoph Waltz

Best Supporting Actress

Mo’Nique
Anna Kendrick
Maggie Gylenhaal
Vera Farmiga
Penélope Cruz
Mary Lee Johnston
Natalie Keener
Jean Craddock
Alex Goran
Carla Albanese
Precious
Up In The Air
Crazy Heart
Up In The Air
Nine
Penélope Cruz shouldn’t be up here TBH. Mo’Nique was brills and it’s cool to see Magpie Gylenhaal getting an Oscar nom, but it’s the Up In The Air ladies that deserve to be the real playas this year.

Should win: Anna Kendrick
Will win: Mo’Nique

Best Original Screenplay

Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up
The Hurt Locker
The Messenger
Quentin Tarantino
The Coen Brothers
Bob Petersen & Pete Docter
Marc Boal
Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman

Thank fuck Avatar didn’t get anywhere near this category. As it is, we’ve got four very deserving screenplays and The Messenger, which no-one in the UK has seen because they haven’t bothered finding a distributor yet. I’m sure it’s pretty good though.

Should win: A Serious Man
Will win: The Hurt Locker

Best Adapted Screenplay

Up In The Air
An Education
Precious
District 9
In The Loop
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner
Nick Hornby
Geoffrey Fletcher
Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell
Armando Iannucci & others

Hooray! In The Loop! Hooray! District 9! As perverse as it sounds, Adapted Screenplay could turn out to be one of the more interesting categories this year. It’s like a war between unexpected indie hits and worthy but slightly flawed relationship dramas. I bet Iannucci (and Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell and Tony Roche) can’t believe their luck.

Should win: District 9
Will win: Up In The Air

Best Film in a Foreign Language

Das Weisse Band
La teta asustada
El secreto de sus ojos
Un Prophète
Ajami
(The White Ribbon)
(The Milk of Sorrow)
(The Secret of Her Eyes)
(A Prophet)
(Ajami)
dir. Michael Haneke
dir. Claudia Llosa
dir. Juan José Campanella
dir. Jacques Audiard
dir. Scandar Copti & Yaron Shani
I love A Prophet but it’s got to be Haneke’s year. If only because everyone wants to see what he’ll say when he gets up to the podium in front of the establishment he’s spent years rebelling against. The other three haven’t got a chance.

Should win: The White Ribbon
Will win: The White Ribbon

Best Animated Feature

Up
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Secret of Kells
Coraline
The Princess & The Frog
dir. Pete Docter
dir. Wes Anderson
dir. Tomm Moore
dir. Henry Selick
dir. Ron Clements & John Musker
Not exactly a surprising selection. Up and Fantastic Mr. Fox are miles ahead of the competition (Coraline isn’t half as good as some people make out) but even WAnderson can’t compete with the Oscar-winning-machine that is Pixar Animation Studios. This is the one category that is 100% a foregone conclusion. And what the fuck is The Secret of Kells?

Should win: Up
Will win: Up

See you March 7th!