Not since 1943 has a white hot field of ten contenders for Best Picture shared the Oscar nomination spotlight. In 1944 it reverted back to five. Casablanca took home the statue as a strong movie in a strong field. Just how well are the stars aspected this year? Will the mercurial host Alex Baldwin go retrograde? What Venus or Mars will station themselves at the microphone? As for the 2009 box office take —will there ever be another eclipse of the sum?
Open the envelope please — things are looking Up for this expanded category. And that's part of the buzz in Hollywood this year. More movies, more fun, more actors feeding at the golden trough in a blockbuster year. A blue Avatar has come to the rescue of the silver screen to the tune of a billion dollars. And it was not the work of A Single Man, but A Serious Man by the name of James Cameron. He and his ex-wife's work will vie for best picture. I hope nobody gets The Hurt Locker. It's all Up In The Air anyway.
That being said, this blogger believes that the biggest buzz will be a first-time nod and win for deserving actress Sandra Bullock. Fortune may smile on Sandra, not because she is cocky or cooking in the same kitchen as Julie & Julia, but because she's simultaneously nominated for a Razzie this year for her role in All About Steve. I don't think Meryl Streep will mind sharing the pot. If I am not mistaken I think they both live in District 19. They're practically neighbors.
This post, as you may have noticed, is not about this year's predictions… that takes time. But as I wrote convincingly and passionately last year after Kate Winslet's performance in The Reader, it was a no-brainer. Ironically, this year there has not even been a whisper of Winslet. Oh, that happens. I don't think it's the curse of Oscar. She will be back sharing the screen with other Inglourius Basterds soon enough.
That was then, this is now, and this year's best actress award I believe belongs to Bullock. What's more, when she wins for best actress I predict it will add more glitteratti to an event already over the top. Not only was "Sandra superb" as I wrote in my review of The Blind Side but her visage was ethereal. She glowed from first scene to last. You couldn't take your eyes off her spirited and soulful performance.
If bloggers in pajamas have any astrological sense they will check Sandra Bullock's name on their prediction ballot for best actress along with Mo'Nique for best supporting actress, because these "mothers" will clean up.
Films this year have been a Bright Star in my book. I think they've all earned The White Ribbon for effort. When I included A Serious Man and An Education in one article I was not predicting that both would share an Oscar nod. Who knew? I was just lucky to catch them at The Modern when it took a turn to screen Precious, An Education, and A Serious Man in one weekend before wide release.
It just so happens that all three were critically acclaimed. My personal favorite is An Education, for its French flair and coming-of-age, first kiss glow leaving Carey Mulligan nominated as expected. The only downer facing this film is that it was not as widely seen as some of the other nominated performances. That's too bad. Her co-star Peter Sarsgaard was not nominated either. I think that qualifies as a bona fide snub.
Up in the Air was no nomination surprise. It can hold its own for best actor or best picture. George Clooney was picture perfect in this poignant tale of love lost on the ground and in the air. Good story, great cast.
Finally, sharpen your pencils and mark your ballots. One does not have to screen all the nominations to feel comfortable about the choices in the round spotlight. Take it from this Crazy Heart, I have not bet a euro on this year's horse race. Don't shoot, I am just The Messenger, surely not Un Prophète.