So, the Oscar nominations were announced today. Last year I was so excited for this day and for the ceremony itself, but this year I actually didn't even know that it was today until my Mum casually mentioned that there had been a small item about it on the news. This is probably because, compared to 2008, 2009 was a boring year for film. No one really cares, least of all the media, about Meryl vs. Sandra, unlike last year when every day there was at least one article about Kate vs. Everyone Else.
I'll have to confess that I've seen very few 2009 films. As a matter of fact, I've seen 17 2009 films. Before I cringe at this, though, I'll just remind myself that last year I had seen even less at this point, mainly due to the fact that I was fourteen and the majority of the films were rated 15.
Best Picture 2009. Well we're back to the old format, with 10 nominations instead of five. Aparently AMPAS decided to reinstate this old rule because they felt they were alienating the average cinema-goer by just having five nominations. To be honest, with the exception of Up and Avatar, which would most probably have been nominated even if there were still only five nominations, the other 8 are very much the usual type of Oscar-bait films, so this has really failed on all levels, as many would say the Oscars do in general. Personally, I'm rooting for anything except for Avatar to win, not because I dislike James Cameron but because Avatar didn't really have a story. If Up were to win it would be a first for this category. I rather enjoyed Up, as a matter of fact, and would be happy for it to win - the message was actually remarkably powerful. I haven't seen any of the other films except for An Education, which I thought was fantastic, and a British film come to that.
I haven't seen any of the performances nominated for best actor, mainly because of the ridiculous and somewhat pointless delay between US and UK release dates, but I would love Colin Firth to win, simply because this is probably a career definining performance for him and so different to what he normally does. If he doesn't win now, he'll probably never even be nominated again.
Best actress is always my favourite category. As a certified Meryl Streep lover I would love Meryl to win her third Oscar, of which she is most certainly overdue. The problem is, whilst it was extremely enjoyable, Meryl's performance in Julie and Julia was not really a great performance. Good, but not great. I don't want Meryl to win when there were better performances. Which brings me to Carey Mulligan, the new face of British cinema. Such a great, relatable performance in An Education, which could have so easily gone unnoticed. I'm not a Helen Mirren fan (The Queen....I swear I saw a different film to everyone else?), and I have yet to see Sandra or Gabourey's performances, the latter of which I'm really looking forward to, but at the moment I really want Carey to win. The trouble is, I can see another Keira Knightley situation, whereby she was nominated young and for a breakout performance, but denied a win until the Academy could reward her for an even better performance later in life. It would all have been so much simpler is Michelle Pfeiffer was nominated...her performance in Cheri was outstanding.
I can't wait to see all the performances in the supporting categories, of which I have only seen Pénélope Cruz's in Nine so far. Whilst I think Marion Cottilard for the same film also deserved a nomination, I paticularly admire Stanley Tucci and Vera Farmiga's acting, so am looking forward to their performances in paticular. They are both underrated performers so it's wonderful to see them gain recognition.
Finally, to the best director category. Personally, I think the Academy will go one of two ways. They will either give the Oscar to Kathryn Bigelow, who is not only the most deserving candidate but would also be the first woman to win the award, or to her ex-husband James Cameron, who is not a deserving candidate. Tarantino's nomination is a surprise to say the least, the release date of Inglorious Basterds was long before awards season. I can't even see it for two and a bit years because it's an 18, just like I still haven't seen Taken from last year. I don't see either Jason Reitman, as much as I admire his quirkiness, or Lee Daniels taking the award, although there is always a surprise to be had.
Overall, the Oscars are dismissed by many as one huge love fest for a few heavy weights in the industry. They may be based mainly on politics, reviews and buzz, and of course many deserving foreign, independent and even some mainstream films are overlooked every year, but it is difficult to deny that more often than not some of the best achievements in cinema are indeed rewarded. Me, I just love making my own Oscar nominations, which will be done as soon as possible.