Nominees for Best Supporting Actress
• Penelope Cruz “Nine”
• Vera Farmiga “Up in the Air”
• Maggie Gyllenhaal “Crazy Heart”
• Anna Kendrick “Up in the Air”
• Mo’nique “Precious”
My choice for Best Supporting Actress is Mo’nique. In all honesty, I’ve never seen her in a movie and was absolutely floored by her performance as the most abusive mother in film history. I literally cringed when she was on screen. Hers is one of those raw, riveting pieces of work that will haunt your dreams for an awfully long time. I hope to see a lot more of this gifted actress in the future.
Nominees for Best Supporting Actor
• Matt Damon “Invictus”
• Woody Harrelson “The Messenger”
• Christopher Plummer “The Last Station”
• Stanley Tucci “The Lovely Bones”
• Christoph Waltz “Inglourious Basterds”
Best Supporting Actor just has to go to Christoph Waltz. Here’s another actor I’ve never seen in a film. He is evil personified with a huge dash of charm in this outrageous war drama. Nicknamed “The Jew Hunter,” Waltz provides sufficient ice to make your blood run cold in a diabolical role that was just simply made for him by Quentin Tarantino.
Nominees for Best Actress
• Sandra Bullock “The Blind Side”
• Helen Mirren “The Last Station”
• Carey Mulligan “An Education”
• Gabourey Sidibe “Precious”
• Meryl Streep “Julie & Julia”
Best Actress is a difficult call. I was enamored by Carey Mulligan’s endearing performance as a naïve English schoolgirl, but Meryl Streep’s dead-on portrayal of Julia Child is just plain perfect. So what if she’s had 16 nominations? That in itself speaks volumes about her flawless work. I was utterly amazed at Sandra Bullock’s nomination. Aside from an excellent supporting role in “Crash,” she’s a one-level actor. The only reason Bullock’s getting attention in this film is due to the fact that she’s surrounded by a gaggle of bad actors in the movie. No way is she the caliber of actor of the other nominees. If she manages to nab the Oscar, the Academy should be ashamed.
Nominees for Best Actor
• Jeff Bridges “Crazy Heart”
• George Clooney “Up in the Air”
• Colin Firth “A Single Man”
• Morgan Freeman “Invictus”
• Jeremy Renner “The Hurt Locker”
Best Actor, hands down, is Jeff Bridges. Not just because he’s been nominated five times and finally deserves an Oscar, this guy steals your heart and soul as the boozy balladeer Bad Blake. I must admit I was hog-wild for Clooney and dazzled by Firth, but Bridges utterly blew me away. He’s The Dude, and The Dude abides, forever.
Nominees for Best Director
• Kathryn Bigelow “The Hurt Locker”
• Jason Reitman “Up in the Air”
• James Cameron “Avatar”
• Lee Daniels “Precious”
• Quentin Tarantino “Inglourious Basterds”
A Best Director win for Kathryn Bigelow would make Oscar history as the first female winner in this category — and well deserved. Huge kudos to a director who managed to make a film about the Iraq war and not offend anyone. It deeply honors the brave men and women who sacrifice their lives for our country. Ironically, her fiercest competition is ex-hubby James Cameron, who made an all-out, anti-military statement in his movie.
Nominees for Best Picture
• “The Hurt Locker”
• “The Blind Side”
• “District 9”
• “An Education”
• “Inglourious Basterds”
• “A Serious Man”
• “Up in the Air”
My take on 10 nominations for Best Picture is that it’s overkill. Five has always done quite nicely. I was impressed with all of the nominations aside from “The Blind Side” (it looks so cheesy compared to “Precious”). Just because a fair film does well at the box office should not qualify it as being Oscar material. And that’s not always the case ... “Avatar” has generated hundreds of millions worldwide but is an excellent, extravagant piece of filmmaking. My heartfelt choice for Best Picture this year is “The Hurt Locker.”
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