Well, it’s that time of year again, when Hollywood decrees what they consider to be good entertainment. As usual, it isn’t necessarily about talent, box-office draw, and so on.. though sometimes it does surprise us. That’s right, it’s time for the Academy Awards.
Personally, I love award show season.. and I’ve missed it big time now that I live in the UK. Over here, there isn’t a big a deal made of it all, probably because unlike Americans the Brits aren’t as celeb-obsessed. Well, as far as I can tell anyway.
This year’s Academy Awards will be held on March 7th, 2010.. and will be hosted by both Steve Martin and Alex Baldwin. This is definitely something new, as there’s usually only one host. Steve Martin has hosted the show twice before, but this will be a first for Alex Baldwin.
Another new change for this year’s show is the Best Picture Category. Instead of the standard 5 nominations, they’ve allowed 10 instead. I’m still not sure what I think about it, but it’s apparently to allow a wider variety of films to vie for the big prize. But then again, it could split the votes, and allow a film that normally wouldn’t get a shot to win.
As for the nominated films themselves, there seems to be two movies everyone’s been talking about, and they couldn’t be more different: Avatar and The Hurt Locker.
Avatar has somehow become this huge world-wide phenomenon and is poised (or has already) to become the highest grossing movie of all time.. just like James Cameron’s last film, Titanic, did several years ago. I honestly wasn’t a fan of Titanic, and have no immediate plans to see Avatar, despite all the praise and hype.
As for The Hurt Locker, I’d never even heard of it until the nominations, and was mildly amused to hear it was directed by Cameron’s ex, Katheryn Bigelow. Am sure they’re both happy for each other, but I’m silently pulling for Ms Bigelow. LOL
Funny enough, even with 10 films nominated, I have only actually seen one of them, District 9. This amazing Sci-Fi movie from South Africa is about a government worker attempting to relocate the aliens in the refugee camps and ends up getting infected with an alien substance. The initial premise about the refugee camps comes directly from South Africa’s own history with Apartheid.
First of all, massive kudos go to Meryl Streep who has earned her 16th (!?!) nomination. This time, she is nominated for playing none other than Julia Child, an infamous cook and television presenter, in Julie & Julia.
However, Ms Streep isn’t the favorite to win this year. Surprisingly, it’s rom-com queen Sandra Bullock for her role in The Blind Side. In this, she plays a suburban mom who takes in a homeless African-American teenager and encourages his talents as a football player. It’s great to see her do something different for once.
As for Best Actor, the odds-on favorite to win is Jeff Bridges for his role in Crazy Heart as Bad Blake, a washed-up country-western singer whose meeting with a young journalist may help him to turn his life around.
This year’s Best Actor category is very strong too, with noms for George Clooney (Up In The Air), Colin Firth (A Single Man), and Morgan Freeman (Invictus). It could be anyone’s to take home.
The surprise nominations for me definitely come from the Supporting Actor and Actress categories in the noms for Woody Harrelson (The Messenger) and Mo’Nique (Precious). Neither actor is known for their dramatic acting abilites, but both have garnered praise, especially Mo’Nique’s performance as an abusive mother in Precious has made her the front-runner for the golden statue. Who’d a thunk it?
Most of all though, in the run up to the big show, I’ll miss watching it with Shawn, a good friend and old roommate from Montreal. Every year we’d get together to watch the show, get take-out and snacks, and not move unless it was a commercial. For us, the Oscars are an event not to be missed.
And now just to find a way to watch them live from London.. hmmm.