Oscars: 2010 Analysis

on Monday, March 08, 2010
Words: Saam Das // Paul Dean // Alicia McBride

The 82nd annual Academy Awards (or Oscars to us plebs) are done and dusted. It was all about Cameron vs Bigelow (vs Predator) and there was one decisive winner in that battle. A relatively surprise free Oscars, as you can tell from my successful predictions below but I decided to get Alicia and Paul to wade in with their thoughts anyway. No comments on best or worst dressed and red carpet fun (un)fortunately.

Winner: The Hurt Locker
Prediction: Avatar

Saam: Billed as a David and Goliath story and ultimately proving to be just that, the highest grossing film of all time lost to the lowest grossing Best Picture winner ever.

Alicia: This was always a two-horse race, although it was assumed that Avatar had the lead. I am surprised The Hurt Locker took the award in the end but glad, definitely more substance than Avatar, which has a truly awful script.

Paul: To be honest, I don't really have anything to say here as I think this is a tautology. The Hurt Locker *IS* the Best Picture. This is hardly news.

Winner: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
Prediction: Kathryn Bigelow

A: Not only a triumph for Bigelow but for all woman kind! I’m not going to go off on a feminist rant but it is nice to see a female director getting recognition. Kind of wanted Tarantino to get it though.

P: Okay, I have an inherent bias here for a couple of reasons: I've always thought Bigelow was underrated and my undergraduate dissertation was on feminism and gender equality. It takes 82 years for a woman to win Best Director, whilst only a handful have ever been nominated anyway? That's hardly fair. Oh yeah, it's an amazing film too.

S: Plus, she's really attractive.....wait, I mean...and it's International Women's Day - co-incidence? You decide. Also, it makes no sense to have ten Best Picture nominations when you have five Best Director noms.

Winner: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
Prediction: Jeff Bridges

S: Seemingly more of a reward for a fruitful career than truly a reward for his acting performance in Crazy Heart, "The Dude" was nonetheless a popular choice.

A: I don’t know if it’s British loyalty or that I have recently developed a crush on Colin Firth but I was hoping he would get it. Plus his performance was incredible. I haven’t seen Crazy Heart so I don’t really feel it’s fair to comment on how deserved the award was.

P: From all the buzz I was reading beforehand, plus the previous awards Bridges won, I think this was a given. Firth didn't make enough of an impact outside of Britain to really challenge, whilst nobody else seemed to have the strength of support that Bridges did. I'm not sure he was the best nominee, but he was the most visible.

Winner: Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
Prediction: Sandra Bullock

A: Unfair to comment on a film I haven't seen but top marks for the acceptance speech and the good grace to accept an Oscar and Razzie in the same weekend with equal dignity and humour. She’s a super laydee. I do wish it had gone to Gabourey Sidibe though, she’s just fab and so lovable and completely at odds with the character Precious, which makes her performance even better.

S: Another example of the Academy's reluctance to give one of the big awards to a newcomer. I like Sandra Bullock though and genuinely believe she has charm and screen presence.

P: Last night I went to bed in the very midst of the witching hour. I thought I heard strange noises outside, but I took no notice. After fitful, Kafkaesque dreams, I have woken in some strange and twisted alternate reality where Sandra Bullock has an Oscar. Is there any way back?

Winner: Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Prediction: Christoph Waltz

S: Disappointingly, this was Inglourious Basterds' only win of the night but it was much deserved. If only for Waltz's skill in maintaining his smarmy performance in three different languages.

A: HELL YES! Backed Waltz from the start and couldn’t be happier about this. Inglourious Basterds was probably my favourite film of 2009 and his was the standout performance. So deserved.

P: Basterds was going to win for something or other. Writing seemed more likely to me, but I guess the world is an unpredictable place, which probably explains all the strange places I find myself waking up in. Naked.

Winner: Mo'Nique (Precious)
Prediction: Mo'Nique

A: Everyone said she was going to get it and she did, therefore it’s slightly boring in its predictability but, again, well-deserved. Especially as she was playing against type and she was outstanding.

P: For God's sake, why is the title ("PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL 'PUSH' BY SAPPHIRE") of this film so long? Why is Mo'Nique's name so short *AND ALSO* in possession of an apostrophe? Honestly, what kind of a person has an apostrophe in their name?

S: I hear it's an Irish thing. An expected win but at least Mo'Nique brought a sense of refreshing novelty to the Awards with her unshaven legs and an unconventional approach to the post-Oscar press conference.

Winner: El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret In Their Eyes)
Prediction: Das Weisse Band (The White Ribbon)

P: I wanted either A Prophet or The White Ribbon to win as I feel they're a little more unusual and interesting, but all of the films in this category were strong contenders and, to be frank, also good enough to stand in many of the other Oscar categories that they're inevitably overlooked for, simply because they're foreign.

S: To call this a leftfield win would be an insult to understatements all over the world. Good news for Argentinian cinema though.

A: Wow, this was a genuine surprise, which was nice in such a staid year. I thought ‘he White Ribbon had it in the bag and if not then definitely A Prophet but no!

Winner: Up
Prediction: Up

A: Hurrah! There hasn’t been a children’s film that has come even close to rivalling it this year so it’s no surprise it won. I remember being impressed by the emotional scope of the film when I first saw it and how affecting and enjoyable it is for adults – quite an achievement.

S: Third successive Animated Feature award for Pixar. Even with five films in the category this year, it seemed almost certain for glory.

P: I think there were some other films in this category. Can you remember what they were? I can't.

Winner: The Hurt Locker
Prediction: Inglourious Basterds

P: For me, this was the closest category of them all and I really had no idea which way it might swing. I figured it would go to one of the more humorous nominees, so I'm a little surprised.

A: Personally I wanted it to go to A Serious Man - what a funny, clever, insightful film. And if not, then Inglourious Basterds for being so damn cool and entertaining. I feel that The Hurt Locker rams its message (war is bad, we get it) with no subtlety whatsoever. I wonder if given the political climate it seemed a good choice to back. Hmmm.

S: I crossed everything for the Academy to reward Tarantino's excellent screenplay but alas, they awarded Mark Boal for his work towards The Hurt Locker, despite the screenplay being its weakest component. I didn't feel it was overt with its message though.

Winner: Precious
Prediction: Up In The Air

A: I am glad Precious got something beyond Mo’nique’s performance. I haven’t read the book so I couldn’t say how good an adaptation it was but the film was so engaging and moving so it must have been brought to life well.

S: I really thought Up In The Air had this sewn up but was secretly hoping for In The Loop. In the end, Geoffrey Fletcher's screenplay won out. *shrugs shoulders*

P: I think the impact this film has had pretty much guaranteed it a win in this category. I'm a tiny little bit disappointed that In the Loop didn't win, but I guess 100-odd minutes of Caledonian cursing has a rather more limited appeal outside of the UK.


'Avatar' would go onto win three technical awards but then so would 'The Hurt Locker'. OH SNAP. I'm not sure how 'Avatar' lost the sound effects awards though, as they constructed some kind of super new sound stage technologies but anyway. With the other categories, it was pretty much expected and I'm still hurting over the snub for Clint Mansell's 'Moon' soundtrack....

Overall, it was nice to see a strong showing for science fiction films (and 'Star Trek' even managed to win the award for Best Make Up) although I am somewhat glad 'Avatar' didn't become the first science fiction Best Picture. There is some disappointment for 'Inglourious Basterds' and 'Up In The Air', both of which could have been decent Best Picture shouts but ultimately, it was all about 'The Hurt Locker'.

Full list of winners and nominees here.

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