2) Yeah, they're doing ten Best Picture nominees this year. I remember the Academy president saying, when they announced this change a few months ago, something to the effect of, "If I said this had nothing to do with The Dark Knight [not getting nominated last year], I'd be lying." So they're trying to be... more inclusive this year, because the big studios get pissed when they do put out genuinely good movies that then get snubbed in favor of blatant Oscarbait that doesn't really hold up a few years later. (Remember a couple of years ago on Extras, when Ricky Gervais told Kate Winslet that she'd need to play a Nazi if she actually wanted to win?)
3) THE BLIND SIDE FOR BEST PICTURE, WHAT THE FUCK?
A conversation I just had with my mother, who loves Sandra Bullock (aw, she's nice) and football (GRARRRRR):
"THE BLIND SIDE? WHAT."
"Well, when that many people see a movie..."
"But that doesn't mean it's GOOD."
"It IS good."
"You don't know! You didn't see it!"
"I saw enough of it!"
I'm going to take her to see it and we're going to settle this bullshit for once and for all.
ETA: As Roger Ebert notes, if you match up Best Director nominations to Best Picture, you get the five "real" nominees: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious and Up in the Air. Bear in mind, though, that even when we had only five, Director and Picture did not always match up--a movie could have really strong visual flair and yet not have the writing or acting to really make it a "best" movie. This year, though, I think it would hold true, because those five generally match the nominations from other awards we've seen this year. So, you know, maybe ten isn't so bad--movies like Up and District 9 got acknowledged, and probably would not have been otherwise--Up is, in fact, the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture since Beauty and the Beast.
4) The Hurt Locker is coming on really strong. People have talked about what a shame it is that Jeremy Renner hasn't gotten in for a lot of acting awards previous to this (despite wails of chagrin that he should have), so for him to actually get the big-time nomination says a lot. And the movie just won the Producers Guild Award, which isn't a guarantee, but tends to be fairly predictive, as is the Directors Guild Award, which Kathryn Bigelow won this weekend--the first woman to do so. I don't know about Best Picture per se, but I would definitely put her down in your Oscar pool--particularly since James Cameron has been openly very happy for her* (they were married way, way back in the day) and they're still really friendly. There may be a thought process of, "Aw, hell, Avatar just made two billion dollars and it's now the highest-grossing movie of all time and there were all these groundbreaking effects so I guess we're supposed to give Best Director to The King of the World AGAIN--wait, he's supporting Kathryn Bigelow? Whose movie was massively, critically acclaimed? You mean we can give it to someone else who would also deserve it and he'll be happy about it? And then we also get credit for giving it to a woman for the first time? Well, HOT DAMN."
* (At the DGA ceremony, Carl Reiner--I guess he was hosting?--joked that only four people in the room weren't happy for Bigelow, who was a very popular winner--that is to say, the other four nominees. At which point Cameron apparently piped up, "Only three." AWWWW.)
5) A few surprises: District 9 came on strong (Best Picture, for real), and Maggie Gyllenhaal got a Supporting Actress nomination--shutting out both Mélanie Laurent and Diane Kruger from Inglourious Basterds (although I believe they submitted Laurent for Best Actress, and you see how well that worked out).
6) Not announced on TV: Best Costume.
* “Bright Star” Janet Patterson
* “Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
* “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
* “Nine” Colleen Atwood
* “The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell
Excellent choices. That said--and as big a Colleen Atwood fan as I am--I pegged The Young Victoria as the probable winner the moment I saw the first image from it, much the way I also pegged Marie Antoinette and The Duchess.
7) Best Animated:
* “Coraline” Henry Selick
* “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson
* “The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements
* “The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore
* “Up” Pete Docter
GOOOOOOOOOOOO CORALINE! I'm sure this is where you come out and insist that any of the other four were better (and I did love Up--saw it twice). Coraline is just my personal, sentimental preference; I'm not making a prediction per se.
7) Miscellaneous fannish nominations: Half-Blood Prince is nominated for Cinematography, and Sherlock Holmes got in for Art Direction (read: set design) and Score, which means that a friend of mine now has an Oscar-nominated ringtone. Alexandre Desplat was nominated... for the score he did that was not for New Moon. Speaking of which, Summit Entertainment can now, if they so wish, emblazon their New Moon DVDs with "Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick." Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning are getting excellent performance reviews for their movies at Sundance, and if Robert Pattinson can knock one out of the park, we will have definitive evidence that, no matter how much talent you throw at these movies (and they have thrown A LOT. Why hello there, Michael Sheen and Carter Burwell), it is, in fact, Twilight itself that is an involuntary black hole of suck. I will go to the mat for this hypothesis, you wait and see.
P.S. Two reminders: the book episode (listener recommendations, plus Discworld discussion) of Made of Fail (guest: NADWCon co-runner foresthouse!) is up; and also TONIGHT IS LOSTNESDAY.