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Mar 8, 2010

Oscars statuetteWhat looked like it was going to be one of the most predictable Oscars ceremonies in living memory shaped up to be…one of the most predictable Oscars ceremonies in living memory.

It was a night (well, day in Australia) in which the odds-on favourites prevailed in virtually every category. Mo’Nique won for Precious, Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds, Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart and – much to the Academy’s shame – Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side, just as the bookies said they would.

In the much hyped battle between The Hurt Locker and Avatar, Kathryn Bigelow’s bomb-diffusing war flick kicked serious butt – taking home the big mumma categories of Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture and Best Director, chalking up six statuettes in total and in the process sending Bigelow into the history books as the first woman to receive the Best Director award.

The biggest surprise of the night was the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, which went to Argentinia’s El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes).

The chemistry between hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin was lacklustre and their lines seemed to be more strained than the usual endlessly rehearsed Oscars banter. Ben Stiller, who shamelessly appeared in Na’vi parody garb to present one category, would make a good choice for a future host.

The great shame of the evening – and something that will cast a pall over the Academy’s credibility for many years – was Bullock’s Best Actress win. To say her performance was not Oscar-worthy is a whopping understatement; she is now officially one of the worst actors to have ever received an Academy Award. Even critics who enjoyed The Blind Side generally do not rate her performance as anything even remotely the best of the year. Dare I say it, if Academy membership were comprised of film reviewers instead of people in the industry, a travesty of this proportion would almost definitely have been avoided.

Here are this year’s winners:

Actor in a Leading Role
** Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
George Clooney in Up in the Air
Colin Firth in A Single Man
Morgan Freeman in Invictus
Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker

Actor in a Supporting Role
Matt Damon in Invictus
Woody Harrelson in The Messenger
Christopher Plummer in The Last Station
Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones
** Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds

Actress in a Leading Role
** Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side
Helen Mirren in The Last Station
Carey Mulligan in An Education
Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia

Actress in a Supporting Role
Penélope Cruz in Nine
Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air
** Mo’Nique in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

Animated Feature Film
Coraline Henry Selick
Fantastic Mr. Fox Wes Anderson
The Princess and the Frog John Musker and Ron Clements
The Secret of Kells Tomm Moore
** Up Pete Docter

Art Direction
** Avatar Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
Nine Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
Sherlock Holmes Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
The Young Victoria Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

** Avatar Mauro Fiore
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Bruno Delbonnel
The Hurt Locker Barry Ackroyd
Inglourious Basterds Robert Richardson
The White Ribbon Christian Berger

Costume Design
Bright Star Janet Patterson
Coco before Chanel Catherine Leterrier
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Monique Prudhomme
Nine Colleen Atwood
** The Young Victoria Sandy Powell

Avatar James Cameron
** The Hurt Locker Kathryn Bigelow
Inglourious Basterds Quentin Tarantino
Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire Lee Daniels
Up in the Air Jason Reitman

Documentary (Feature)
Burma VJ Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
** The Cove Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens
Food, Inc. Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
Which Way Home Rebecca Cammisa

Documentary (Short Subject)
China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
** Music by Prudence Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
Rabbit à la Berlin Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Film Editing
Avatar Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
District 9 Julian Clarke
** The Hurt Locker Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
Inglourious Basterds Sally Menke
Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film
Ajami Israel
The Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada) Peru
A Prophet (Un Prophète) France
** The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) Argentina
The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band) Germany

Music (Original Score)
Avatar James Horner
Fantastic Mr. Fox Alexandre Desplat
The Hurt Locker Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
Sherlock Holmes Hans Zimmer
** Up Michael Giacchino

Music (Original Song)
Almost There from The Princess and the Frog Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
Down in New Orleans from The Princess and the Frog Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
Loin de Paname from Paris 36 Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
Take It All from Nine Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
** The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart) from Crazy Heart Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Best Picture
Avatar James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
The Blind Side Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson, Producers
District 9 Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
An Education Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
** The Hurt Locker Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro, Producers
Inglourious Basterds Lawrence Bender, Producer
Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
A Serious Man Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
Up Jonas Rivera, Producer
Up in the Air Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Short Film (Animated)
French Roast Fabrice O. Joubert
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte) Javier Recio Gracia
** Logorama Nicolas Schmerkin
A Matter of Loaf and Death Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)
The Door Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
Instead of Abracadabra Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
Kavi Gregg Helvey
Miracle Fish Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
** The New Tenants Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing
Avatar Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
** The Hurt Locker Paul N.J. Ottosson
Inglourious Basterds Wylie Stateman
Star Trek Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
Up Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing
Avatar Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
** The Hurt Locker Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
Inglourious Basterds Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
Star Trek Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Visual Effects
** Avatar Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
District 9 Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
Star Trek Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
District 9 Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
An Education Screenplay by Nick Hornby
In the Loop Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
** Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
Up in the Air Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Writing (Original Screenplay)
** The Hurt Locker Written by Mark Boal
Inglourious Basterds Written by Quentin Tarantino
The Messenger Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
A Serious Man Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Up Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarth

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9 thoughts on “2010 Academy Awards results

  1. MattB

    As far as Sandra Bullock not being Meryl Streep or Gabourey Sidibe (or Helen Mirren or Carey Mulligan, for that matter) goes, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s nothing worse than actors trying to shoehorn themselves into roles that they’re clearly not capable of playing (the mere thought of Sandra Bullock trying to play Julia Child makes my blood turn cold). What she did do, though, was choose a role that was well suited to her and acted the hell out of it. Plenty of other actresses could’ve done a passable job, but I don’t reckon they could’ve attacked it with the same combination of warmth and grit that Bullock did. I agree with quantize that a lot of her other movies have been pretty awful, but in this case actress and character came together almost perfectly (in a similar way to Sidibe, really, who was great in Precious but is unfortunately not likely to find a whole lot of work in Hollywood – the main difference is that Bullock has a fallback career in rom coms and the occasional light drama). That being said, because she was hewing fairly close to type, people who generally like her work would be more likely to be wowed by this role (and vice-versa). She doesn’t have the Streep or Blanchett-esque ability to disappear into a role so thoroughly that you can almost forget who it is you’re watching, but very few do – legends like Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn basically played slight variations on themselves and built remarkable careers doing so.

    In the end, I guess, it will be up to history to determine how Bullock’s victory is viewed. The consensus here seems to be that it’ll be remembered as a disastrous lapse in taste by the Academy, while I reckon it’ll be just another case where an established actor got lucky with the perfect role to showcase their talents. I say we reconvene in 20 years and the winner can buy drinks.

    Good point though re the Oscars usually getting it right. It’s easy to focus on the (perceived) disasters and lose sight of the fact that they get it right most of the time. In which case it’s probably not necessary to boot the actors out of the Academy and replace them with film reviewers quite yet…

  2. quantize

    Streep has certainly delivered some great performances, but after she won the Oscar for Doubt…in which she basically grimaces and pulls faces for most of the film – and not much else, I don’t take the voting very seriously anymore.

    I’ve found Bullock’s other films to be so pithy and stupid that I would need a pretty good reason to watch anything with her in again (she seems vaguely aware of this…yet still pumps out the razzy and the oscar all in one year). Is Blind Side really worth a look?

    I was rather disappointed by the lack of awards for District 9, which i thought was a real breath of fresh air last year.

    I really enjoyed Hurt Locker….wonderful for a female director to be finally’s about bloody time…Precious was also incredibly moving, but the level of cruelty portrayed was so OTT, it did have me wondering if there was a little hysterical melodrama
    creeping in.

    I can’t shake the feeling the current crop were not quite up to the level of No Country etc of the previous few years.

  3. Luke Buckmaster

    Interesting opinion Matt, and I accept that, but if you say Bullock’s not Streep or Sidibe (who were both nominated) you sorta insinuate that perhaps the award should have gone to either of them, no? Thus my protest.

    I’m with you 100% on your first paragraph. I know all of it’s true but it still won’t stop me complaining and expecting more from the Academy, who, we all know, distribute some very iffy choices. BUT you know what: by and large, the Academy do a pretty good job. Film is an incredibly subjective medium and you’re never gonna please everyone. But if you look back at their Best Pic, Best Actor, Best Director etc choices, they’re not half bad.

    Although in my opinion – as you know – that logic certainly doesn’t apply to Bullock. The words “not happy, Jan” come to mind.

  4. MattB

    This isn’t going to end well at all, but I really do feel the need to go in to bat for Sandra Bullock. The acting categories NEVER actually represent the ‘best’ of anything – that notion conclusively died for me when Jennifer Connelly beat both Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith for their work in Gosford Park (it’s been eight years and I can still clear a room when I get going about that particular travesty). Every year dozens of superlative performances aren’t even considered because a) they’re not in the right language, b) they’re not delivered by the right person, or c) they’re simply not picked by a studio to be their horse in the Oscar race.

    Accepting that as a fact, Sandra Bullock has done some great work in the past couple of years, and with the Blind Side she managed to go just far enough outside her comfort zone to actually demonstrate her acting chops without falling prey to the ‘look at me, I’m acting!’ syndrome. A lot of Oscar prognosticators were comparing The Blind Side to Erin Brockovich, but Julia Roberts was carried by a very well made movie while Sandra Bullock had to rescue a soggy, made-for-TV script through the force of her performance without any assistance from her co-stars or director (those awful ladies-that-lunch scenes should never have made it into the final cut). Given the fact that there’s no criterion for making such a subjective judgement, the fact that she was able to rise so far above that pedestrian mess (and to bring the overall movie-going experience with her) qualifies her as much as anything else I can think of. She’s not Meryl Streep (who is an absolute marvel, but occasionally I do wonder if Katharine Hepburn was right about her) or Gabourey Sidibe, but she wasn’t trying to be.

  5. paddy

    Sandra Bullock winning was the definite low point of a generally lacklustre night.
    (I thought the only saving grace was Crikey’s liveblog)
    Just think how much *more* fun it would have been, if the academy had been brave/foolish enough to go with the original plan.

    Giving the host gig to Sacha Baron Cohen!!! 🙂
    Now *THAT* would have been something to see.

    It might have even reached the heights of Stephen Colbert doing the White House press corps dinner in 2006. But, alas, we’ll never know. 🙁

  6. Bogdanovist

    I only saw a few minutes of the Oscars, but the whole thing looked pretty drab. I saw intro’s from Martin and Balwin, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz & Steve Carell. All were terrible! The jokes were worse than the Dad jokes I sat through the night before during some wedding speeches and the delivery was on par with a year 9 drama class performing at presentation night. The set was lack-lustre and the music had the ambiance of an elevator.

    The strangest thing is that this is the very industry that should be able to put on a night like this with its eyes closed. Were are the script writers who wrote the Oscar winning material? Why aren’t they writing the gags? How is it possible to make talented veteran actors look so appalling? I know Steve Carell is funny, consistently so. It takes some kind of amazing anti-talent to make him look as bad as he did in his duo with Diaz. These are actors, why do they have to read from a teleprompter? Surely they can remember 30 seconds of banter and give a somewhat natural delivery?

  7. Paul Martin

    The Academy really undermine their authority when they give best actress gong to such a mediocre actress as Sandra Bullock. What a joke.

  8. Luke Buckmaster

    Gabourey Sidibe should have won it for Precious. Period. That performance was good enough to rival any Best Actress nomination in any year.

    If I had to choose between Hugh Jackman and Martin/Baldwin, I’d probably choose the latter. But still, far from anything to write home about.

  9. gazman

    I thought Martin and Baldwin did a pretty good job, better than (…was it Jackman?) last year. Happy to see a small-budget independent film kick a big studio flick up the caboose. I haven’t seen The Blind Side, but from all reports, I’d say you made a fair point. But then again, who was she up against? Streep was way over the top in Julie and Julia, and I guess the Academy was getting tired of giving the gongs away to foreign actors. For me, the best actress last year didn’t even get a nomination, and that was Emily Blunt in Young Victoria.