Sunday, March 7, 2010

MK's 2010 Oscar Picks...

...and (all together now)....NOT predictions!

I cannot believe it is already March 7th!  The night I've been waiting for since, I dunno...since forever!

I did not get to see The Messenger, so I honestly do not know how Woody Harrelson did in his role that was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but I can venture to say that I will be able to comfortably pick the guy I think most deserves the Oscar.

Before I get to all that, I have to review a few movies I've seen recently:

The September Issue – I rented this movie with preconceptions about Anna Wintour – the editor of Vogue magazine. I guess my opinion of her being a true beyotch was influenced by the movie The Devil Wears Prada. After watching it, I came to realize that, while fashion is pretty superficial, pretentious and face it – not the most important thing in life – Anna Wintour has a job to do, and she does it well. She isn’t quite as heavy handed as I thought. She takes her job seriously, and she’s very busy. She makes fearless decisions and goes forth. I really enjoyed this documentary.

In A Serious Man, the Coen Brothers serve up another one of their quirky, controversial movies. You either love them or you hate them. I love this one. It’s about a guy, Larry Gopnik (played by Michael Stuhlbarg) who is a physics professor. As he fills his blackboard with scientific fact and mathematical proofs, his private life is falling apart, and he cannot find any answers. It is not a laugh out loud movie, but it is so human and so real (in a sense) that I found myself wincing or celebrating its insights. I really liked it.

Invictus is directed by Clint Eastwood, and it’s about a rugby game that impacted history. Morgan Freeman plays Nelson Mandela, who after being in jail in South Africa for 20-some years, becomes president. During his first term in office, the World Cup game is hosted by South Africa. Mandela used this underdog South American team – Springbok - with only one black player, to help bridge the gap that apartheid created. Matt Damon plays Francois Pienaar, the captain of the team. It was good.

In The Last Station, Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer star as Count Leo and Countess Sofya Tolstoy. The story takes place in the last year of Tolstoy’s life, when one of his faithful followers schemes to make Russia the beneficiary of Tolstoy’s fortune upon his death. His wife, who bore him thirteen children, begs to differ. She is actually pretty pissed about the whole thing. Both actors have been nominated for Oscars, and each do a very nice acting job of portraying their characters. Paul Giamati and James McAvoy also star. The movie was pretty good.

I happened to see four of the five movies that were nominated for Best Animated Feature Film:

Coraline is a dark, little animated feature with the voices of Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher about a little girl who gets stuck in an alternate reality of her world. She has to find her way back to her real life and save her family. It wasn’t what I would call a young children’s movie, but it was entertaining.

Up is about an older man who has longed to set out on a big adventure. One day, he finally gets his chance. He teams up with a wilderness ranger to go up against some really ferocious enemies. Two of the actors providing voices were Ed Asner and Christopher Plummer. It was pretty good, but it’s another animated feature that is not really a young children’s movie.

After seeing Fantastic Mr. Fox, I could tell that George Clooney provided the voice for Mr. Fox, but I couldn’t figure out to whom Mrs. Fox’s voice belonged. I had to wait for the credits to find out that it was Meryl Streep! There were many other famous voices in this film about a former thieving fox that stopped his dangerous ways for a time after finding out that his wife was pregnant. Years later, he resumed his less than credible activities, putting his family and the whole animal community at risk. It was different – and again – a little dark for younger kids.

The Princess and the Frog should win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. In it, Disney goes back to its old school roots – with singing and dancing, and princesses and villains, and no CGI. It was a cute story about a girl who dreams big, kisses a frog, becomes one herself and has to fight her way back to make her dreams come true. It was really good.

OK - now onto my picks.

Best Actress - Meryl Streep in Julie and Julia.  I stand by my opinion that Sandra Bullock did not deliver an Oscar worthy performance.  End of story.
Best Supporting Actress - Mo'Nique in Precious
Best Actor - Jeff Bridges in Crazy Hearts.  With the exception of George Clooney, all the nominated actors did really well in their roles, but I think Bridges was the standout.
Best Supporting Actor - I picked this catagory back in September when I reviewed Inglourious Basterds.  I had not seen any of the other movies in this category at that time, but did recognize someone who should have been nominated and he was.  Now, after seeing all but The Messenger, I think Christoph Waltz delivered a standout, outstanding, Oscar worthy performance.
Best Picture - The Hurt Locker.  I really do not understand why they expanded the nominees in this category to ten.  There are barely five good, Oscar worthy films in this nominated pool.  I understand that Avatar will likely win, and it is a really good, entertaining movie, but The Hurt Locker really told a good story and I thinks it's the best of the bunch.

Gotta go get ready to watch the show.

MK out.

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