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2010 Oscar Surprises & Snubs

February 4, 2010

This past Tuesday morning, at 5:40am pacific, anyone interested was glued to the announcement of the nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards® by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) by current President Tom Sherak and Oscar-nominated actress Anne Hathaway.

In case you’re late to the game, check out yesterday’s post with a full list of the 2010 Oscar nominations.

With all the recent nominations and wins for other awards, there were plenty of films and actors considered a lock come Oscar time. Sure enough, those predicted nominees locked into their respected categories, yet there were more surprises this year then snubs.

We’ll look at the six main categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor & Supporting Actress) here and maybe touch on a couple other categories or observations.

We’ll post our predictions closer to Oscar night.



David: The only new element to the Oscars is the addition of 5 Best Picture nominees. In a category that typically has 5 films nominated, it seems somewhat jarring and daunting to see 10 nominees listed. We’ll see how that shortens the telecast! To find out what Best Picture nominees will be seriously considered….just look at the films made by those nominated for Best Director. I know I’m not the only Chicagoan with this line of thought.

So then, why nominate 10 films for Best Picture? Well, the announcement was made last June and maybe then AMPAS President Sid Ganis can explain or maybe it’s just a way of gaining more viewers. Each year Oscar producers are always trying to tweak the show and make it unique or better in an effort to gain wider viewership. I personally don’t think an additional 5 films would bring in new or more viewers. All that it really does is bring attention to 5 more films. Now, whether or not the attention is worthy is up for debate.

David’s Surprises:   I was more surprised to see “District 9” nominated than I was “The Blind Side”.

“District 9” is a favorite of mine from last year but with it’s sci-fi intensity I would never have imagined the Academy would pick it. “The Blind Side” has gained so much audience momentum and buzz for star Sandra Bullock that it’s really not a shock to see it here. It may be getting panned here and there but it’s hard to ignore the film’s fervent fans. Maybe, with films like these included in this category, the Academy was going for variety.

Well, they got it.

Paul’s Surprises: Well, as for me, I was pleasantly surprised that “District 9” locked down a Best Picture nomination for this year’s Oscars.  I was very unpleasantly shocked, however, when I heard “The Blind Side” had been nominated.  Off the top of my head, without referencing any lists, I think “Moon”, “Crazy Heart”, “Star Trek”, “The Road”, “The Messenger”, or even “Brothers” could have been nominated above “The Blind Side”.  I don’t understand the rationale behind this decision, but I don’t like it.

David’s Snubs: None off the top of my head….maybe “The Messenger” but then again it’s not surprise since it had a limited release and hardly anyone saw it.

Paul’s Snubs: I suppose that the list I just rattled off could be counted as “snubs” if “The Blind Side” made it in.  As far as a film being in limited release and no one has seen it, when has that stopped the Academy from nominating a film?  That is the entire reason for the existence of these award shows is to boost box office or DVD sales and increase awareness.

David: That is not the entire reason for the awards, just an added benefit. One of the main reasons for the Oscars is to celebrate outstanding achievement in film. The Academy caters to mostly mainstream films when it comes to nominations in this category. You will rarely ever find independent films getting a Best Picture nomination. Maybe in the Independent Spirit Awards but not at the Oscars. They will be recognized in the acting categories but hardly ever Best Picture.



David’s Surprises: None.

Well, as I stated above these are the films that voters are seriously looking at. It’s common sense. What it really comes is a “Battle of the Exes” (yes, Cameron and Bigelow used to be married and yes everyone will be making a big deal about accept them) “Avatar” and Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” are tied for the most nominations with 9 each.

I think you know where Keeping It Reel stands on this one.

Paul’s Surprises: I was surprised by the nomination of Lee Daniels, and not because I thought he didn’t deserve it.  Daniels has been snubbed in this category by every other awards show, so I suppose I assumed the same would happen for the Oscars.  As far as the others, it is an amazingly stacked category this year.  Make sure to see all these films!

David’s Snubs: None

Paul’s Snubs: Let’s just operate together in the understanding that James Cameron does not belong in this category.  Possible replacements?  For me, I’d like to see either the Coen brothers for “A Serious Man”, or Oren Moverman for “The Messenger” in this category.  The Coens always wow me with their visual storytelling and the performances they extract from their actors.  Moverman directed his film debut in “The Messenger” and executed it beautifully.  His directing methods really shined through in the way that the actors brought realism to the screen.


David’s Surprises: Well, it was a pleasant surprise to see Jeremy Renner nominated for “The Hurt Locker”, that’s about it.


Paul’s Surprises: None.  Happy for Renner for “The Hurt Locker”.


David’s Snubs: None

Paul’s Snubs: I would have really loved to see Sam Rockwell gets nominated for his amazing “solo” performance in “Moon”.  Please support this performance by renting “Moon” and getting back to us about what you think.  In addition to Rockwell, I wish Michael Stuhlbarg was nominated for a great job in “A Serious Man”.  With the help of a few smaller supporting roles, Stuhlbarg carries this film to a Best Picture nomination.  On a personal level, It was also a great experience to meet him at a local event in Chicago and discuss our views of “A Serious Man”.



David’s Surprises: None

Paul’s Surprises: None

David’s Snubs: None

Paul’s Snubs: None



David’s Surprises: I’m surprised this is Christopher Plummer’s first nomination. Why’d they wait till he was 80? He should have received on for “Dolores Claiborne”. Another surprise is Damon for “Invictus”. He did a solid job but nothing extraordinary. they could have went with his role in “The Informant!” instead. That was more of a departure for him. Regardless, it’s obvious who will win.

Paul’s Surprises: None. Christoph Waltz has this in the bag for his performance in “Inglourious Basterds”.

David’s Snubs: Well, in this category there’s always someone, right?  It would be nice if the Academy recognized Ben Foster for his work in “The Messenger” but he is destined to get a nomination at some point in his future.

Paul’s Snubs: None, for the same reason as above.  There’s only one real nominee in this category.  Everyone else is just getting a pat on the back.



David’s Surprises: None.

Paul’s Surprises: None.

David’s Snubs: None.

Paul’s Snubs: None.


David: Okay, so those are the 6 major categories. Other standouts for me would be “Up” which landed three noms for Picture, Animated Feature and Score.  I hope it wins for score and I know it will win for Animated Feature.  So, since it is nominated in both Picture and Animated Feature categories….where does that leave the Animated Feature category?

Since it made it to the Best Picture category then it is clearly seen as the best in the Animated Feature category.  Can a foreign film or a documentary make it then into the Big 10?  This is the first time since “Beauty and the Beast” that an animated film has been nominated for Best Picture.  It was because of that nomination that the Academy chose to add a Best Animated Feature category.  So, what now?   “Up” is worthy to be in the Best Picture category but if that can happen then the Animated Feature category should be eliminated altogether.

Paul: Not only do I not even understand the argument, but what I do understand is insane.  Why can’t a film be both animated, and really really good?  “Up” is both of those things.  By calling it Best Picture, are you proposing that they fail to recognize it as an animated film as well?  Hopefully not!

David: It IS animated and really really good. Then it should be in one category, not both. Should a foreign film or a documentary then be nominated for Best Picture as well? If your answer is “yes”, why have those other categories then? The only are I am proposing they are failing is in nominating films in both categories. It’s one of the other. That’s it.

Paul: Just as “Avatar” pulled in the Golden Globe for “Best Film – Drama” a few weeks ago, we could easily see a “Best Animated Feature” nominee win for its visual achievements and not necessarily its content.  “Coraline” was way more compelling visually than “Up” in my opinion, but the storytelling and overall package of “Up” leads me to think it was one of the best films of 2009.  Nothing wrong here, in my humble opinion.

David: Well, we both know “Avatar” didn’t win for it’s overall package. Just for it’s visuals and neverending box office bonanza (even though the Writer’s Guild did give it a screenplay nom….unbelievable!)

Paul: To your point about documentaries or foreign films, if the Academy happened to nominate one of these films in the future, it doesn’t make those films no longer a documentary or a foreign film.  The way I view the Best Picture category is once you strip away all categorization, what’s the best movie period?  “Up” just happens to land up there with the best this year.  If an animated film doesn’t make it next year, oh well, the top 10 films just happened to be all live action.

David: Of course those films are still documentaries and foreign films! Why/how could they not be?!?! I’m down with including an animated film, a doc, a foreign film, what have you….just get rid of the other categories then if that’s how it’s gonna go down.  We can go on and on with this….(no really, folks! You should see us in person!)

Paul’s Overall Snubs: Along the vein of my above statement, I’d like to recognize that none of the Golden Globes “Best Film — Comedy or Musical” nominees were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture… overall snub for them.  I would say THAT sends the “Best Film — Comedy or Musical” category to the kiddie table as far as legitimacy… not to mention that “The Hangover” pulled out the win this year in that category.

David: The Golden Globes is such a different animal because they choose to separate Best Picture into those two categories. There’s no “sending them to the kiddie table” because Golden Globes are apples and Oscars are oranges.

Paul: Also, on the documentary tip, the fact that “Tyson” didn’t even make the short list for Best Documentary Feature is ridiculous.  If you get the chance amidst your Oscar-movie marathon over the next 30 or so days, please check out “Tyson”.  Great stuff.


We’ll touch on more as we close in on the big night.  Meanwhile, it’s time to catch up on your movie viewing!


This is the most inane Oscar poster EVER!!!


The Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live on ABC.  The Oscar presentation will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2010 8:19 am

    What if the Oscar was really big enough to seat Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin on its shoulders. Great poster… Great in the same way that “Legion” was great.

    • windi permalink
      February 4, 2010 1:38 pm

      Hahahaha…..good thing I wasn’t drinking my coffee at that moment! 🙂

  2. windi permalink
    February 4, 2010 1:42 pm

    wow, that was fun, listening to you guys bicker so affectionately at each other. You are the new Siskel and Ebert! (did I spell Siskel right? I don’t think so….)

    anyhow, just to make you guys groan and roll your eyes, I’m going to say “I’m with Team Paul on the Up issue!” (did that make you cringe? hehehe)

    I can understand David’s concerns, but when it comes right down to it, rarely does an animated film deserve to get a Best Picture nom anyway, so it’s not like having Up in both categories this time makes differentiating them a mute point. So yeah, Team Paul on this one! Sorry David! 🙂

    • David J. Fowlie permalink*
      February 4, 2010 11:23 pm

      You spelled that right. Team Paul, eh? On my birthday no less! Sigh.

  3. February 4, 2010 2:04 pm

    “Team Paul” t-shirts are forthcoming…

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