Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): The Academy Awards on Wonders in the Dark

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Academy Awards on Wonders in the Dark

Every year we grumble, and then we turn our attention back to the TV screen to discover, curse, and hopefully sometimes cheer the choices of the Academy. The recent controversy over some exposed Hurt Locker e-mail should remind one to take the proceedings with a grain of salt (as if "negative campaigning" has anything to do with the merits of the film in question...). Nonetheless, the awards have real-world consequences, boosting business, dominating discussion, controlling the short term of a film's legacy - though a roll-call of past winners should refute the notion that this hold lasts for long.

I've watched the Oscars every year, either live or on VHS tapes the next day, since 1991, when I was seven. I had resolved to abstain this year, the straw that broke the camel's back being the Academy's decision not to air the Honorary Awards. To my way of thinking, an institution which ignores its own history is worthless; besides which, this was the one category where the awards got it right! Yet again, I'll probably submit - my excuse this time being that I'll be hanging out with others who want to watch it. Oh, alright then...

Griping aside, as I've said the Oscars have some positive corollary benefits. One of them being that they often produce interesting discussions - this year is no exception, what with the groundbreaking Avatar, the widely-acclaimed Hurt Locker, and the political connotations of both. Without further ado then, let me present a round-up of the "Oscar" pieces from the Wonders in the Dark writers (both for this site and elsewhere). This will, of course, include my own recent reviews but also pieces by Bob Clark, Jamie Uhler, and Dee Dee (Allan Fish's favorites from the year will not be revealed until he initiates his final, eagerly awaited countdown; Tony d'Ambra has focused on his noir reviews as of late). And, of course, Sam Juliano, proprieter of Wonders in the Dark, author of numerous Oscar pieces, and reviewer of many nominated films.

And of course, all of you are invited to post links to your own reviews of nominated films below.

*Nominated for Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction, Original Score, Sound Editing, Mixing, Visual Effects.
Sam Juliano
Bob Clark

The Hurt Locker
*Nominated for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Jeremy Renner), Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Original Score, Sound Editing, Mixing.
Bob Clark

Inglourious Basterds
*Nominated for Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz), Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Sound Editing, Mixing.
Sam Juliano
Bob Clark
Jamie Uhler

Bright Star
*Nominated for Costume Design.
Sam Juliano

An Education
*Nominated for Best Picture, Actress (Carey Mulligan), Adapted Screenplay.

*Nominated for Actor (Morgan Freeman), Supporting Actor (Matt Damon)

The Lovely Bones
*Nominated for Supporting Actor (Stanley Tucci)
Bob Clark

A Single Man
*Nominated for Actor (Colin Firth)

*Nominated for Best Picture, Animated Feature, Original Screenplay, Original Score, Sound Editing.
Sam Juliano
Bob Clark

Up in the Air
*Nominated for Best Picture, Director, Actor (George Clooney), Supporting Actress (Vera Farmiga), Supporting Actress (Anna Kendrick), Adapted Screenplay.

Sam's predictions and picks:

Sam's Top 12 of 2009 (containing capsules of nominated films Avatar, Bright Star, A Serious Man, A Single Man, and Up).

Bob's top picks for the new millennium, including capsules for The Hurt Locker and Inglourious Basterds.

My early-autumn preview including advance notices for Avatar, Bright Star, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Invictus, The Lovely Bones, and A Serious Man.

(Read comments here from the original Wonders in the Dark post.)

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