Kathryn Bigelow & James Cameron: Oscar's War of the Lenses
The Oscar nominations are out, and while some who had a pretty good shot saw their hopes dashed (Daniel Day-Lewis in Nine for Best Actor; Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria for Best Actress; (500 Days of Summer), Where the Wild Things Are, Invictus, Nine, Julie and Julia and my personal choice of A Single Man for Best Picture; Diane Kruger in Inglourious Basterds, Julianne Moore in A Single Man and Marion Cotillard in Nine for Best Supporting Actress; Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story for Best Documentary; A Single Man for Art Direction...it was criticized as too pretty, but apparently it still wasn't pretty enough!; "Cinema Italiano" from Nine and "All is Love" from Where the Wild Things Are for Best Original Song), most of the nominees were unsurprising. In fact, with one exception (Kruger losing her spot to Maggie Gyllenhaal), all of the major acting nominees matched the SAG nominees.
Loved how the collected press applauded for the crowd-pleasing Blind Side noms...it's like American Idol where the best frequently don't win, but the favorites do! (Maybe The Blind Side is this year's Ruben Studdard.)
Kathryn Bigelow becomes only the fourth woman ever nominated for a Best Director Oscar (so deserved), and has an excellent chance to become the first to win. Also, Lee Daniels is only the second black man nominated for Best Director (also so deserved; the first was not Spike Lee, but John Singleton). Also re Daniels, I don't have stats on how many out gay people have been nominated for the award, but Rob Marshall comes to mind.
As for nominating 10 films instead of five, it feels like a marketing gimmick to me, especially when only five directors are nominated—it feels like the five films whose helmers were ignored are just honorary mentions with next to no chance of winning. And I didn't find the extra five to be particularly interesting choices, either—they feel like films that should have been in the running but shouldn't have been in the final cut, or, in the case of The Blind Side, they're concessions to commercial juggernauts. (I guess that is this year's Ghost, except Ghost was able to be nominated when there were only five slots, and The Blind Side probably wouldn't have had a shot.)
But the Oscars are the original marketing gimmick gone good, so more power to the movies that benefit from the looser standards.
The full list of nominees follows (and more movie talk is available here), but my guesses right now for the top awards would be: Avatar (but Inglourious Basterds has a real shot and The Hurt Locker is not out of the question), Bigelow, Bridges, Bullock (she's had the momentum, but Streep could still pull it off in the more conservative Oscars), Mo'Nique and Waltz.