Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oscar Watch: Part 5

The Oscars continue to draw steadily closer. With the recent announcements of the producers and the hosts for the show, I've decided that it was time to update my thoughts on how I see the race towards the Academy Awards is shaping up.

Probably the biggest game changer since last time was the arrival of Mira Nair's biopic Amelia, about the life of Amelia Earhart. The film had high hopes going in to it, but it ultimately failed to deliver both with critics and audiences alike. So I think it is safe to count this one out of the Oscar race.

As well, the trailer for Clint Eastwood's latest, Invictus, was finally unveiled. While many were calling this an Oscar film way back toward the beginning of the year, I really didn't start believing in it till I saw this trailer. While some think it looks like typical Oscar bait, I don't care. I believe that if it delivers the way in which the trailer did, it could be a major threat in all of the major categories.

Another change has come in the form of Where the Wild Things Are. I kept on being a champion of this film before it came out, hoping that it would at the end of the year wind up finding itself in the line of some serious Oscar contention, but ultimately the mixed critical reaction the film has received has shot down any of its Oscar hopes in the major categories like a one-winged duck (even still, I liked the film, while others did not).

One film that has risen on my watch as an Oscar contender is James Cameron's Avatar. This being Cameron's first film since he directed Titanic, which won eleven Oscars and is still the highest grossing film of all-time, it shouldn't be any surprise that many are expecting great things out of this film; then when you tack on the fact that it is using this brand new 3-D motion capture technology that is supposedly going to change the way movies are made, this is no longer a big budget blockbuster, but now a potential Oscar contender. After seeing the first trailer for this film, I wasn't very impressed, it just was a barrage of action and explosions and gave me no real substance, thus making the film look like a video game, but after seeing the latest trailer, seeing the actor's actually perform their parts in the guise of the Nav'i, I was impressed at how well done the CGI work is, and I'm now a believer in Cameron's latest.

So, all in all not much has changed since the last time, but just enough for certain films to drop out of the race completely and for others to emerge as strong hopefuls. I will not be taking another look at this upcoming year's Oscar race till December, when all of the major awards hopefuls, like Nine, The Lovely Bones, and Invictus hit theaters. Till then, here's how I see the Best Picture nominees shaping up at the moment, in no particular order:

A Serious Man
The Lovely Bones
An Education
Precious Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Up in the Air
The Hurt Locker

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