Friday, February 11, 2011

Trivial Pursuits: Oscars 2010

Illustration by Pablo Lobato for The New Yorker

It's Oscar trivia time, 2010 edition!:

- Women at the Top: For the first time in Academy Award history, a lesbian-themed film — The Kids Are All Right — is nominated for Best Picture. It is also the first time that two Best Picture nominees — Kids and Winter's Bone — were directed by women (Lisa Cholodenko and Debra Granik, respectively).

- On the Other Hand: Three of the Best Picture nominees — 127 Hours, True Grit and Winter's Bone — feature characters with severed arms or hands.

- Top Toon: Toy Story 3 is not only the third animated film to be nominated for Best Picture (following previous nominees Beauty and the Beast and Up), it is also only the third "Part 3" to be nominated (following previous nominees The Godfather Part III and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King).  Plus, it is the only sequel to be nominated for Best Picture when the original film was not.

Illustration by Philip Burke for The New Yorker

- Head Games: Three Best Actress nominees — Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right, Natalie Portman in Black Swan and Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine — were on the receiving end in steamy oral sex scenes in their movies. Their partners in said scenes — Julianne Moore, Mila Kunis and Ryan Gosling, respectively — weren't so lucky though; all strong contenders in each of their races, none of them were nominated.

- Join the Club: Speaking of Annette Bening, she now joins the ranks of acting nominees recognized for playing GLBT characters, a group that also includes her fellow 2010 nominees Javier Bardem, Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.

- Double Down: With both The Social Network and True Grit nominated, producer Scott Rudin has twice the chance to take home another Best Picture Oscar; he previously won for No Country for Old Men.

Illustration by Luis GraƱena for The New Yorker

- Best Actor Take 2: Jeff Bridges (True Grit) and Colin Firth (The King's Speech) are both nominated for Best Actor again after facing off last year in this category, where Bridges won for Crazy Heart over Firth for A Single Man. This year, Firth is the front-runner. Meanwhile, their competition from last year, Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) is the only other repeat nominee, this time in the Supporting Actor category for The Town.

- Lucky Rooster: Speaking of Jeff Bridges, he is nominated for playing Rooster Cogburn in True Grit, the same role that won John Wayne the Oscar in the original Grit forty-one years ago.

- Two Times a Lady: For the sixth time in the past ten years, two performances from the same film were nominated for Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams and Melissa Leo for The Fighter.

Illustration by Robert Risko for The New Yorker

- Music Man: If composer Alan Menken wins for his Tangled song "I See the Light", it will be his 9th Oscar, securing his status as the most Oscared person still living.

- Isn't That Special: For the first time since 1979, there are more than three nominees for Best Visual Effects.

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