Sunday, November 29, 2009

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Let the Great Experiment Begin!

Oh, thank God, an awards body has announced its nominations. The Golden Satellites are the crazies who nominate people like Lisa Kudrow (Kabluey) and Beyonce Knowles (Cadillac Records) while actually handing out awards to movies like Ghost Town (for Ricky Gervais) and Quantum of Solace (for original song, of all things). I love them to pieces, because they actually vote their favorites instead of trying to guess the Academy's tastes (BAFTA, I'm looking at you). That said, I rarely see half the movies they nominate due to financial difficulties or their absence from area theaters. Nevertheless, we must plunge head-first, like Pete Rose.

Neill Blomkamp/Terri Tatchell, District 9
Nora Ephron, Julie & Julia
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Nick Hornby, An Education
Jason Reitman/Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
REACTION: Ooh, Up in the Air needs to come out so I can properly judge. I need to read the Lynn Barber memoir that inspired An Education and see that short film District 9 is based on. Fletcher will probably get it. Ephron's inclusion excites me most.
FLASHBACK: Last year, seven competed in this category: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt, Elegy, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, Revolutionary Road and Slumdog Millionaire. Only Elegy and Revolutionary Road failed to make the final cut at the Oscars (though both were superior screenplays to The Reader -- and I hated Rev Road). Frost/Nixon won, but would lose to the juggernaut that was Slumdog Millionaire at the Oscars.

Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Jane Campion, Bright Star
Ethan Coen/Joel Coen, A Serious Man
Pete Docter/Bob Peterson, Up
Scott Neustadter/Michael H. Weber, (500) Days of Summer
REACTION: Man, substitute Up for something like -- OK, I admit, Jennifer's Body -- and this would probably be my own line-up for this category. As of now, I mean. But a strong field. I'm gonna say it's between Campion and Boal, and I give the edge to Jane Campion.
FLASHBACK: Australia, Frozen River, Milk, Seven Pounds and The Visitor were the nominees. That just looks hilarious now. Did anybody even see Seven Pounds? The Visitor won here, but only Frozen River and Milk made it to the Oscars; the latter won.

Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Neill Blomkamp, District 9
Jane Campion, Bright Star
Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Rob Marshall, Nine
Lone Scherfig, An Education
REACTION: Well, Nine has yet to be released. And the directing was bizarre in Precious. But a strong group, otherwise. I expect Marshall to take this.
FLASHBACK: Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), Stephen Daldry (The Reader), Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon), Thomas McCarthy (The Visitor), Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) and Gus Van Sant (Milk) were nominated; David Fincher (Benjamin Button) was not. Boyle won this and every other award, including the Oscar.

Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
James McAvoy, The Last Station
Alfred Molina, An Education
Timothy Spall, The Damned United
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
REACTION: Oh-ho, so they ignore Sony Pictures Classics declaring McAvoy lead, do they? Very wily, Sats. Waltz wins this, the Globe, the SAG, the Oscar, everyone goes home happy.
FLASHBACK: Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder), James Franco (Milk), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt), Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) and Rade Sherbedgia (Fugitive Pieces[??]) were the nominees. Shannon upset the Ledger train and won the Golden Satellite, but the Oscar still belonged to the Joker. Franco and Sherbedgia were skipped over to allow Josh Brolin (Milk) into the club.

Emily Blunt, Sunshine Cleaning
Penelope Cruz, Nine
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Mozhan Marno, The Stoning of Soraya M.
Mo'Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
REACTION: See, it's unexpected nominations for actors like Blunt and Marno (whose performance I've yet to see) that makes these worthwhile. Mo'Nique will probably win the Oscar, but why do I suspect Kendrick gets this one?
FLASHBACK: Penelope Cruz (Elegy), Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married), Anjelica Huston (Choke), Beyonce Knowles (Cadillac Records), Sophie Okonedo (The Secret Life of Bees) and Emma Thompson (Brideshead Revisited) were the nominees here, but only one of them was invited to the other awards shows...and for a different movie. DeWitt won, and deservedly so.

George Clooney, Up in the Air
Bradley Cooper, The Hangover
Matt Damon, The Informant!
Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine
Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man
REACTION: Stuhlbarg! Stuhlbarg! Stuhlbarg!
FLASHBACK: Josh Brolin (W.), Michael Cera (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist), Ricky Gervais (Ghost Town), Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges), Sam Rockwell (Choke) and Mark Ruffalo (The Brothers Bloom) were contenders, with Gervais taking the win! None of them saw Oscar noms, though I consider Gleeson and Ruffalo supporting turns.

Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Hugh Dancy, Adam
Johnny Depp, Public Enemies
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Michael Sheen, The Damned United
REACTION: I wish they could keep the number of nominees consistent. I've only seen the performances from Dancy, Depp and Renner, but I wouldn't be surprised if this went to Firth.
FLASHBACK: Leonardo DiCaprio (Revolutionary Road) and Mark Ruffalo (What Doesn't Kill You) are the odd men out, especially since Ruffalo's movie was released almost straight to DVD after Yari Film Group went bankrupt. The others included Richard Jenkins (The Visitor), Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), Golden Globe Winner Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) and Oscar Winner Sean Penn (Milk). Jenkins won here, though, because the Sats doesn't play by your rules.

Sandra Bullock, The Proposal
Marion Cotillard, Nine
Zooey Deschanel, (500) Days of Summer
Katherine Heigl, The Ugly Truth
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
REACTION: Ha. A friend of mine's mother says that anyone who laughs at The Ugly Truth is an asshole. Ladies and gentlemen, the assholes have spoken. Some would predict Streep, probably, but a bee in my bonnet tells me Cotillard.
FLASHBACK: All bridesmaids in this category. Catherine Deneuve (A Christmas Tale), Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist), Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky), Lisa Kudrow (Kabluey), Debra Messing (Nothing Like the Holidays) and Meryl Streep (Mamma Mia!) were all on board, but none of them even made it to the SAGs. A pity, since Hawkins not only won the Globe and the Satellite for this category...she was also the Best Actress in any category for the whole year.

Shohreh Aghdashloo, The Stoning of Soraya M.
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria
Abbie Cornish, Bright Star
Penelope Cruz, Broken Embraces
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Catalina Saavedra, The Maid
REACTION: Quite the indie crowd, this lot. Blunt gets it, because why not?
FLASHBACK: Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Angelina Jolie (Changeling), Melissa Leo (Frozen River), Meryl Streep (Doubt) and Kate Winslet (The Reader) would all do repeat business at the Oscars, making Kristin Scott Thomas (I've Loved You So Long) the odd gal out. Jolie won here (!!) but Winslet would go on to claim the Oscar.

Julie & Julia
The Informant!
It's Complicated
A Serious Man
Up in the Air
REACTION: By the way, we all know Up in the Air is competing as a drama for the Globes, right? Interestink. Methinks A Serious Man gets it here.
FLASHBACK: Choke, Happy-Go-Lucky, In Bruges, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Tropic Thunder and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, though Choke, Nick and Norah and Tropic Thunder were not even invited to the Globes. None of these films went on to get a Best Picture nom (hello? comedy?). Happy-Go-Lucky won here, but lost the Globe to Vicky Cristina.

Bright Star
An Education
The Hurt Locker
The Messenger
Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
The Stoning of Soraya M.
REACTION: The two male-driven films, The Hurt Locker and The Messenger, also happen to deal with war. Also, one of them (The Hurt Locker) is directed by a woman. Let the Goddess reign supreme this Oscar Season! Oh, and winner will be, uh...The Hurt Locker?
FLASHBACK: Slumdog Millionaire won (of course), competing against Frost/Nixon, Frozen River, Milk, The Reader and Revolutionary Road. Although River and Road never ran through Best Picture Blvd., their absence did make room for one of the best films of the decade, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

For more nominees, check out their official site.

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