What's the Buzz on Oscar Buzz?

1/12/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

The Academy Awards are right around the corner, but with a few weeks left before the nominations are announced and a good 1.5 months until the awards themselves, there's still plenty of room for speculation on who and what will be invited to the big awards this March.

The Frontrunners

In case anyone is unaware, this is the first year in a long while the Academy will nominate 10 films instead of five for Best Picture, which seems to be the result of heavy backlash last year when movies such as "The Dark Knight," "The Wrestler" and "Wall-E" weren't nominated. That said, they couldn't have picked a stranger year to do it in as the race realistically seems to be between only three films--"Avatar," "The Hurt Locker" and "Up in the Air." The big stand-off between "Avatar" and "Up in the Air" has been compared to the the 1977 Oscar race between "Star Wars" and "Annie Hall." The Woody Allen comedy came out on top that year--could it happen again this year?

All three are also up against each other for "Best Picture - Drama" at the upcoming Golden Globes, and they've all garnered nominations from numerous guild awards, including the Producers, Directors, and Screenwriters Guilds, all pretty easy indicators of future Oscar gold. All three are likely to also bring in three of the five Best Director nominees, and if Kathryn Bigelow manages to overcome James Cameron for Best Director, she'll be the first woman to ever win the award. No matter how you look at it, these three are the ones to watch out for this March.

The Underdogs

That said, there are always upsets. For instance, nobody expected "Crash," "Shakespeare in Love" and "Ordinary People" to top the frontrunners in their respective years, but they managed to come out of nowhere and get the gold. Since there are 10 nominees this year, that makes for seven potential underdogs.

The one with the best chance at stealing the gold is Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds," easily the most likely candidate after the aforementioned three, but just a bit too gonzo and divisive to be a frontrunner. It's also up against the other three at the Golden Globes, and the praise garnered for supporting actor Christoph Waltz and Tarantino's direction and writing give it some extra attention, and a decent chance at surprising everyone and coming out on top.

But let's not forget the little indie potentials. "An Education," "A Single Man," "A Serious Man" and "Precious" all have a shot, and at least two or three of them are sure to be nominated with such a large amount of potential nominations. I'm going to say "Precious," despite the polarizing opinions it has garnered, has the best shot at a nomination and possibly even a win, but one cannot deny the power the Coen brothers have with the Academy. They've won Best Picture before with "No Country for Old Men," and their return to drama with "A Serious Man" found them enjoying a lot of praise, if a bit less attention than "No Country." I wouldn't doubt the possibility that the Coens could sneak up behind everyone and pull an upset, both for Best Picture and Best Director.

The Less Hopefuls

Despite their critical praise, there are some films that simply might not get a nomination because they're not the typical Academy choices. The two major candidates here are Pixar's "Up" and Spike Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are." After the backlash due to "Wall-E" not getting a full-on Best Picture nomination last year, a lot of folks seem to think "Up" might get a shot this year. I don't think it's likely--the Academy already has stated that they have enough candidates for Best Animated Film this year to extend the nominations from three to five; what are the chances of their being five nominees for that category and then another animated film for Best Picture? I just don't see it happening.

"Wild Things" is a big-time fan favorite and is the perfect mix of art and populist entertainment the Academy was criticized for shunning last year with "Dark Knight." Will they right their wrongs this year? It's possible, what with 10 nominees and all, but with Oscar fluff like "Invictus" and "Nine" also possibilities for filler spots, I don't expect "Wild Things" will get the nomination it deserves. The best I can see is Spike Jonze possibly getting a nomination for direction, or perhaps he and Dave Eggers getting one for their screenplay.


With such a slow year for more traditional Oscar releases, it's funny that the Academy will be going with 10 nominees this year. That said, it'll be nice to see some otherwise forgotten films to at least get some notice. Overall, my speculative Best Picture nominations would look like this:

"The Hurt Locker"
"Up in the Air"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"An Education"
"A Serious Man"
"A Single Man"
"Where the Wild Things Are" (really just wishful thinking)

We will know for sure come February 2, 2010, when the nominations are announced. The 82nd Annual Academy Awards will be held March 7, 2010.

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  1. Misscrabbypants said...

    I would like to see Where The Wild Things Are to get a nomination. An Oscar? Meh Sorry Jonze. There are better contenders this time around.