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.