I may not know much about politics. (Frequent readers may be inclined to agree.) My literary criticisms may be superficial and ill-informed. My insights into the state of our society may be trite, and my commentary banal.
But damn it all, I know the Oscars.
The nominations for this year's awards are out today, which makes me full of all kinds of happy emotions. Thus, it is with unabashed relish that I give you Dan's Official Oscars Picks 2010. Let's begin, shall we?
Best Picture -- Please, anything but Avatar. Yes, I know that I liked it. But the reason I liked it was that it looked really, really pretty, and it was a compelling, immersive experience. But let's not kid ourselves that the acting and writing were anything other than pedestrian and forgettable. (Besides, Dances with Wolves has already won an Oscar.) This is the first year they've got ten nominees, and I fear that the wider field will dilute the votes and give the win to the big, big blockbuster. The only other nominated film I saw this year was Up (hey, get off my case -- we have a baby at home), which everyone loved (including me) but won't win. In the end, the box office will probably drive Avatar to the podium, which bums me out. If anything else gets it, it will be Inglourious Basterds.
Best Actor -- Having dispensed with the only category I think is even vaguely in doubt, I think we can move pretty quickly through the other categories. Jeff Bridges has got this one in the bag for Crazy Heart. He's a well-respected actor who's paid his dues for years and years, and by all accounts (no, I haven't seen it -- see above re: baby) his performance is masterful. Clooney and Freeman already have Academy Awards, and while both Firth and Renner (who's too unknown to be considered a contender against Bridges) have gotten good reviews, it's not their year.
Best Actress -- I would have guessed this was Meryl Streep's year to finally collect another Golden Baldy after decades of everyone being pretty much in agreement that she's the best movie actress on the planet. People kept falling all over themselves praising her spot-on performance as Julia Child in Julie and Julia. But it seems to be Sandra Bullock's year, for The Blind Side. She won the Golden Globe (which is not a big indicator) and the SAG Award (which is). She's a big, popular star, and she's also paid her dues. Just like Julia Roberts with Erin Brockovich, this is Bullock's year to get her validation as an actress, not just a star. Better luck next time, Meryl.
Best Supporting Actor -- Christopher Waltz has danced away with all of the awards to date for Inglorious Basterds. (See what I did there?) Damon has the same kind of cred as Bullock, but nobody saw Invictus. Hell, nobody has even heard of the films Harrelson (nice to see him back, though) and Plummer are nominated for. And reviews for The Lovely Bones are too mixed for Tucci to get the win.
Best Supporting Actress -- Bet your house on Mo'Nique. The Academy loves it when actresses Do Ugly. She's won everything else and has all the buzz. If she loses, I will take to my bed for a week.
Best Director -- I'm going to go out on a limb, and guess it will be Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. While Avatar is... Avatar, she won the DGA Award, and I think the Academy is ready to dispense with the "no woman has ever won" line. Still, I plan to keep some Zofran on hand in case James Cameron wins.
So, there you have it. Anyone feel like weighing in?
Even Rush - Rush says Trump is caving on his border wall.
10 hours ago