Thursday, February 25, 2010

Men on Film: If We Picked the Oscars 2009

Borrowing a page from Siskel and Ebert back in the good ol' days, Movie Dearest's very own Men on FilmChris Carpenter, Neil Cohen and yours truly — are presenting our own version of "If We Picked the Oscars"! These aren't predictions (we'll get to those next week), but what movies, actors, directors, et al that we would vote for if we were members of the Academy.

So without further ado, the envelope please ...

The nominees for Best Picture are: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, A Serious Man, Up and Up in the Air.
And our winners would be:
CC: While A Serious Man ranked slightly higher on my top 10 list, I would vote for the more moving Precious.
NC: I loved Up in the Air. It's witty and surprisingly moving, and boasts a perfect ensemble.
KH: Can the most entertaining movie of the year be the "best"? If it's Up it can.


The nominees for Best Actor are: Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart, George Clooney in Up in the Air, Colin Firth in A Single Man, Morgan Freeman in Invictus and Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker.
And our winners would be:
CC: Firth, who manages to be devastated and affecting without debasing himself or losing his character's sense of humor.
KH: I agree. No performance this year was as raw, as real as Firth's tortured, transcendent one.
NC: A perfect trifecta! Firth makes his suicidal pent-up perfect gentleman a hero of restraint and agony. He's period perfect.

The nominees for Best Actress are: Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side, Helen Mirren in The Last Station, Carey Mulligan in An Education, Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire and Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia.
And our winners would be:
CC: It's tough because I loved all of them, but I would vote for Bullock's very impressive turn.
NC: Sandy was great, but Meryl was sublime, giving a pitch perfect performance that showed us the real woman behind the icon.
KH: Never lapsing into caricature, Streep served up a saucy (and sexy?!) Julia Child.


The nominees for Best Supporting Actor are: Matt Damon in Invictus, Woody Harrelson in The Messenger, Christopher Plummer in The Last Station, Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones and Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds.
And our winners would be:
CC: Plummer (who I can't believe hasn't been nominated before) would get my vote for his great Leo Tolstoy.
NC: Waltz dances away with this award, creating an indelible villain with a twinkle in his eye as he mowed people down.
KH: Harrelson avoided all the "drill sergeant" clichés, creating a uniquely humorous — and humane — individual.

The nominees for Best Supporting Actress are: Penélope Cruz in Nine, Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air, Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart, Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air and Mo’Nique in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.
And our winners would be:
CC: No contest: Mo'Nique.
NC: Yes, she is in a whole other league than the other women. She was like an open wound on screen.
KH: Mo’Nique's final scene turned her "mother from hell" into a mother in hell.


The nominees for Best Director are: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker, James Cameron for Avatar, Lee Daniels for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Jason Reitman for Up in the Air and Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds.
And our winners would be:
CC: Bigelow did a great job, and its way past time to break up the boys' club.
KH: Who else could create the gleefully twisted alternate universe that was Inglourious Basterds but Tarantino?
NC: I'm with you. Tarantino did a brilliant rewrite of history, and staged some of the best suspense scenes of the year.

The nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay are: District 9, An Education, In the Loop, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire and Up in the Air.
And our winners would be:
CC: I liked the funny and foul-mouthed In the Loop a lot, but I would have to vote for Geoffrey Fletcher's Precious.
NC: Up in the Air is like classic golden age comedy, and much adaptation (by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner) was necessary to create it.
KH: Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell's District 9 was inventive, intelligent science fiction.


The nominees for Best Original Screenplay are: The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, The Messenger, A Serious Man and Up.
And our winners would be:
CC: A tough call for me at present between Inglourious Basterds and A Serious Man, both of which are very smart, sophisticated, and unapologetically pro-Jewish!
NC: Basterds is a remake (wasn't it?), but Tarantino's script is hilarious and horrifying.
KH: Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman's The Messenger ... now this is how you make a contemporary war film.

The nominees for Best Cinematography are: Avatar, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds and The White Ribbon.
And our winners would be:
CC: Robert Richardson, probably the best cinematographer working, would get my vote for his stunning work on Inglourious Basterds.
NC: I vote for Richardson too, but The Hurt Locker was amazing as well.
KH: Agree, his work on Basterds was old-fashioned moviemaking at its best.


The nominees for Best Art Direction are: Avatar, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Nine, Sherlock Holmes and The Young Victoria.
And our winners would be:
CC: Avatar is undeniably stunning.
KH: Granted, but parts of Pandora looked like the E.T. ride at Universal Studios; still, there was still plenty to gawk in amazement at.
NC: If I picked it, A Single Man wouldn't have been ignored. Of what's here, Sherlock Holmes was fun and creative.

The nominees for Best Costume Design are: Bright Star, Coco Before Chanel, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Nine and The Young Victoria.
And our winners would be:
CC: I would vote for Catherine Leterrier's work in the fashion-centric Coco Before Chanel.
NC: Again, my vote is for A Single Man's gorgeous 60's duds, but The Young Victoria is the best of the nominees.
KH: Sandy Powell's exquisite color choices and opulent designs served Young Victoria well.


The nominees for Best Original Score are: Avatar, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Hurt Locker, Sherlock Holmes and Up.
And our winners would be:
CC: While I enjoyed Sherlock Holmes' jaunty score, Up is great and composer Michael Giacchino is the man of the hour.
NC: Up with Up!
KH: For Up, Giacchino created a musical theme that was an instant classic.

The nominees for Best Original Song are: "Almost There” from The Princess and the Frog, "Down in New Orleans” from The Princess and the Frog, “Loin de Paname” from Paris 36, “Take It All” from Nine and “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from Crazy Heart.
And our winners would be:
CC: "Almost There" (although the un-nominated "Dig a Little Deeper" and "When We're Human" from the same film are better, more memorable songs).
NC: The Paris 36 song is terrible and inexplicable, but "Almost There" is classic Oscar song magic.
KH: It's unanimous ... too bad we won't get to see Anika Noni Rose belt it out at the Kodak.


The nominees for Best Film Editing are: Avatar, District 9, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds and Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.
And our winners would be:
CC, NC, KH: We all agree that the high anxiety level of The Hurt Locker is thanks to the taut cutting of Bob Murawski and Chris Innis.

The nominees for Best Visual Effects are: Avatar, District 9 and Star Trek.
And our winners would be:
CC: Avatar cannot be denied in this category.
KH: Yes, Avatar is a game changer; but I prefer the scrappy results (at a fraction of the budget) of District 9's team.
NC: I second District 9's effects that merged with the documentary style.


The nominees for Best Sound Mixing are: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
And our winners would be:
CC: I'll say Avatar.
NC: Inglourious Basterds for its firepower.
KH: The Hurt Locker proved that silences can be as equally terrifying as explosions.

The nominees for Best Sound Editing are: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek and Up.
And our winners would be:
CC: It's always hard for me to tell the difference between this category and the previous one, but I would probably vote for Avatar.
NC: Again, Inglourious Basterds rules the roost.
KH: Avatar's team created a whole new world of sound effects.


The nominees for Best Makeup are: Il Divo, Star Trek and The Young Victoria.
And our winners would be:
CC: Star Trek, if only for making the normally attractive Eric Bana appear nasty and virtually unrecognizable.
NC: Trek was style and substance, rather than just age makeup.
KH: Two words: Spock ears.

The nominees for Best Animated Feature are: Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog, The Secret of Kells and Up.
And our winners would be:
CC: I have a soft spot in my heart for the crafty Coraline, and would have to vote for it.
NC: Mr. Fox was fantastic, but Up is heavenly.
KH: In a banner year for the medium, Pixar still reigns.


The nominees for Best Foreign Language Film are: Ajami from Israel, El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes) from Argentina, The Milk of Sorrow from Peru, Un Prophète (A Prophet) from France and The White Ribbon from Germany.
And our winners would be:
NC: Broken Embraces. Oh wait, it wasn't nominated?  Then I'll go with the haunting and hypnotic The White Ribbon.
CC, KH: Can we vote on this next year when all the movies are out on DVD?

The nominees for Best Documentary Feature are: Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country, The Cove, Food, Inc., The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers and Which Way Home.
And our winners would be:
CC: The Cove and Food, Inc. are both very well made and highly disturbing, but the latter gets my vote for its slightly more immediate impact.
NC: Capitalism: A Love Story is the film that the Republicans need to watch. Too bad it was overlooked.
KH: Like the best of its genre, The Cove offers filmmaking as compelling as its subject matter.


The nominees for Best Documentary Short are: China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province, The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner, The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, Music by Prudence and Rabbit à la Berlin.
And our winners would be:
CC, NC, KH: This is always the Oscar Pool "Lucky Guess" category, so here goes: The Last Truck, which taps into the country's woes best (we hear).

The nominees for Best Animated Short are: French Roast, Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte), Logorama and A Matter of Loaf and Death.
And our winners would be:
CC: The audacious (or should that be adacious) Logorama.
NC: Logorama is brand-named brilliance.
KH: The Lady and the Reaper is ... (wait for it) ... to die for.


The nominees for Best Live Action Short are: The Door, Instead of Abracadabra, Kavi, Miracle Fish and The New Tenants.
And our winners would be:
NC, KH:  We bow down to the reverend on this one:
CC: The hauntingly sublime The Door.

Now it's your turn: tell us who and what you would vote for in the comments section below!

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