It’s January 19th. Oscar ballots are due back on the 23rd, on Saturday. That’s just four days.
Will Academy/Oscar voters reject the Golden Globe winners? In the past, the Academy has turned a deaf ear to the selections of the 80 or so mysterious Globe members. Oscar voters also like the human aspect of movie making.
This year, the HFPA went wild for “Avatar” after a last minute viewing in December. They let the technology (and maybe the 3D glasses) obscure the facts that “Avatar” has a terrible screenplay and no real acting per se. It contains some of the worst dialogue in history. But it does have amazing effects. There’s no question that it’s a game changer in sci-fi.
But the top 5 real contenders for Best Picture are movies for actors: “Up in the Air,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Precious,” “An Education.” Movies are about people and they’re performed by people. “Computer generated” means that, created artificially. It’s a whole different category. “Avatar,” “Nine,” “A Single Man,” “Star Trek,” and “Up” are the back five.
There are no Best Actors or Actresses in “Avatar,” even though Sigourney Weaver is otherwise a very fine actress. The next time she has a “Gorillas in the Mist” or “Working Girl,” the Academy will swarm to her.
The Best Actresses this year were Meryl Streep, Marion Cotillard, Carey Mulligan, Gabby Sidibe, and Sandra Bullock simply because she’s cool and waited a long time for some recognition.
The Supporting Actresses are not just’Mo’Nique, who long ago I predicted would be the first Oscar nominee with an apostrophe in her name. Julianne Moore is absolutely sensational in “A Single Man.” Penelope’Cruz sets pacemakers off in “Nine.” Anna Kendrick is a lovely newcomer in “Up in the Air.” Vera Farmiga is also not to be overlooked from the same film.
The Best Actors are easy. Jeff Bridges cannot be denied. But George Clooney is just perfection in “Up in the Air.” Daniel Day-Lewis challenges himself and the audience once again in “Nine.” Colin Firth comes of age Oscar-wise in “A Single Man.” Morgan Freeman could not be better as Nelson Mandela in “Invictus.”
Supporting Actor is just as busy a category. Christoph Waltz is a slam dunk in “Inglourious Basterds.” But there’s also Matt Damon, Stanley Tucci, and two equally gifted actors from “The Hurt Locker”– Anthony Mackie and Jeremy Renner.
And Best Director? Kathryn Bigelow leads the way, but Quentin Tarantino has made his “masterpiece,” James Cameron has shown how to be PT Barnum, Lee Daniels made the searing “Precious,” and Jason Reitman’s third feature hits home on so many HUMAN levels.