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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also a film journalist/critic for Cocktails & Movies and CinemaBlend, as well as the author of several short stories such as "The Devil v. George W. Bush". Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: mikereyeswrites@gmail.com

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oscar the Slouch

This year’s Oscar nominations came up, and as usual it’s a mix of front runners, surprise guests, and films that probably shouldn’t even be nominated. Before we get started, let me just say that if Anne Hathaway were the voice of my alarm clock, I don’t think I’d ever have a problem staying in bed all day. Without delay, here are the nominees and my picks for the Oscars.

The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up in the Air

Wow…Best Picture is including films people have actually seen this year! Way to go Academy! [/sarcasm] I still haven’t seen some of these films, and will still never see some of them (Fuck off, The Blind Side and Precious. If I want a Hallmark movie or if I want to be depressed, I can do both much better on my own.) I hate the 10 picture system, because we all know that if this were the standard five it’d be Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Precious, Up in the Air, and A Serious Man. Why toy with us and throw District 9 in there?! Not cool, Academy. Not cool.

What I Want: Either Inglourious Basterds or District 9. Probably District 9 since it’s the first time in a long while that Sci Fi has been awards season caliber, and it made the genre feels like it had a socially relevant story to tell.
What They Want: Avatar. It’s James Cameron with a healthy slice of liberal guilt, plus the Academy will want to make up for The Dark Knight cock-up in which they didn’t “listen to the public”.

James Cameron -- Avatar
Kathryn Bigelow -- The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino -- Inglourious Basterds
Lee Daniels -- Precious
Jason Reitman -- Up in the Air

I’m not surprised for a second that James Cameron is up here. He did what he did well with Avatar, and for that I cannot begrudge him. (I’d only begrudge him if he was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, because it was anything but.) What’s interesting is that he’s fighting for the honor, in part, against his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow.

What I Want: I would LOVE to see Quentin Tarantino or Kathryn Bigelow win the Best Director Oscar. They made the “War Movie” work again without making it look like a shameless awards grab. (*cough*The Reader*cough*) Basterds is plain fun Jewsploitation, and The Hurt Locker is an action movie with a brain as well as a pulse. I’d have to side with QT though…it’s his time.
What They Want: James Cameron. He’s a technological innovator, he’s a sure fire box office draw, and he’s a geek. The man’s won before; the man’s probably going to win again.

Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
George Clooney – Up in the Air
Colin Firth – A Single Man
Morgan Freeman - Invictus
Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker

The first crowded field of 2010. There are some really good choices here, judging by the caliber of the actors nominated, and would you please welcome Jeremy Renner into the A-List. One could only hope he keeps the good work up.

What I Want: I haven’t seen Crazy Heart or Up In The Air, but I can’t help but feel that if Bridges or Clooney walked off with the trophy, it’d be an award well spent. These two should make a film together.
What They Want: Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart. He’s multifaceted, and he’s making a comeback. The Academy LOVES both.

Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side
Helen Mirren – The Last Station
Carey Muligan – An Education
Gaborey Sibide – Precious
Meryl Streep – Julie and Julia

I always feel like I’m rubbish when it comes to deciding who the best actress is. I think it’s due to the fact that sometimes I can never tell when a woman is acting and when she’s being serious. [rimshot] All kidding aside, it’s an evenly mixed field and there’s no clear favorite.

What I Want: Meryl Streep or Helen Mirren, simply because I just want to give them a huge hug for being so talented. Though it’s nice to see upstarts Gaborey Sibide and Carey Muligan getting some notice too.
What They Want: Sandra Bullock. Hollywood loves its smarm, and Sandra Bullock is the reigning queen of smarm and predictability.

Matt Damon - Invictus
Woody Harrelson – The Messengers
Christopher Plummer – The Last Station
Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

Christoph Waltz has been a lock since last summer, and the only honest surprise here is Woody Harrelson. Which is a very pleasant surprise, considering the man’s built himself a pretty damn good resume brick by brick. Woody’s like Matthew Mcconaughey: he seems very easy going and carefree with his career, but he pays MUCH better attention to his choices.

Who I Want: Christoph Waltz KILLED IT with Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious, so naturally I’m going to side with him being the favorite. However, I’d like to put it out there that though I haven’t seen his performance, I wouldn’t mind Woody Harrelson walking away with a trophy for The Messengers. He’s pretty talented, and up until now most haven’t noted it.
Who They Want: Christoph Waltz. The man stayed away from the American film scene back in the 60’s because he didn’t want to be typecast as a Nazi. He speaks several languages, can menace or befriend in all, and is just generally a top notch actor. Besides, if he lost the award the Academy would be wary next time they go to a screening of Tarantino’s next film, “Revenge of the Giant Face”. (It’s a musical!)

Penelope Cruz - Nine
Vera Farmiga -- Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal – Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick – Up In The Air
Mo'Nique – Precious

The first thought that came to mind hearing these names was, “Maybe Anna Kendrick won’t have to be in those god-awful Twilight films anymore.” Indeed, she’s been so buzzed about this year that I think she could seriously break away from them, provided she doesn’t have a contract. (And even if she did, those things are broken pretty easily. Especially if you use a Peacock.)

What I Want: Haven’t seen any of these films, sadly, but I’d love to see Anna Kendrick win it. I like seeing the cute underdog win her due.
What They Want: Maggie Gyllenhaal will probably walk away with this one. Again, I have no clue seeing as I haven’t seen any of these films.

The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The Messengers
A Serious Man

Pixar always seems to make their way into this category, and they always seem to lose it. Something tells me though that Up has the best chance out of any Pixar creation of winning Best Original Screenplay.

What I Want: Inglourious Basterds or Up. The legend of the Bear Jew makes for good reading, but when you make the word “Squirrel” one of the year’s funniest punch lines…you’ve got some talent.
What They Want: The Hurt Locker, seeing as it’s probably the only major award it’ll win.

District 9
An Education
In the Loop
Up in the Air

I don’t give a shit if the story faltered; I’m pleased as a pig that In The Loop has been nominated. If anything, I’d enjoy seeing it win just so I can have the pleasure of seeing a film with creative profanity take home the trophy. Also ecstatic that District 9 has resonated with Oscar voters. It’s highly unlikely either will win though.

What I Want: District 9 would be my clear favorite. As I’d said earlier when you make Sci Fi socially relevant again, you’re good in my book.
What They Want: Probably Up in The Air, once again seeing as it’s probably the only major award it’ll win.

Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and The Frog
The Secret of Kells

Wow, for the first time ever the list for Best Animated Feature reads as well as Best Picture! Not one Shrek or Jimmy Neutron or Madagascar in the lot! This year also marks Disney’s triumphant return to hand drawn animation.

What I Want: Up. Pixar’s winning streak should not be interrupted by any means.
What They Want: Probably Fantastic Mr. Fox. Up wasn’t Pixar’s strongest, and Mr. Fox has been gaining steam. I’ll admit, if it has to lose I’ll be glad if it loses to this. (Unless I hate the film when I see it. Then they can go to Hell.)

Oh, and just a note to the Academy...don't go sighing a breath of relief just yet. I've still got a rant on the 10 picture nomination system brewing, and you've got a telecast to wow me with. Don't fuck it up like last year.

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