Oscar Acting Up Close: Quite a bit Country, not enough Rock ‘N Roll

Image courtesy of Alt. Film Guide

As it stands now, it looks like the four winners for for acting Oscars this weekend will be Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Christoph Waltz, and Mo’Nique.  One washed-up country singer, one modern country belle, one Jew Hunter, and one mom from Hell- see any similarities?

The acting categories usually go to four very distinct roles from very different styles of acting.  Not so this year.

If you were to look at the supporting categories this year, you’d see that.  Waltz gives his tour de force in four languages layered with charm and menace, while Mo’Nique gives hers in one language, amps up the menace, takes away charm, and adds insanity.   Different styles of acting?  Yes.  But, both of these roles are antagonists.

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And the Winner Should Be… 2010 Oscar Predictions

The Academy Awards, whether I like it or not, are the biggest thing that happens to movies during the year. Though profit often blind sides quality, good decisions occasionally shine through all the sappy bull shit. Here are my picks for the office Oscar pool, who should win, and who should’ve been allowed a chance to swim.

Best Picture

The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up In the Air

Will Win: Avatar. Highest grossing movie of all time, revolutionary special effects, James Cameron- though none of these factors qualify it in my book, the Academy went with Titanic, and it will go with this one to get a ratings boost.

Should Win: Up In the Air. Jason Reitman’s film is a movie that perfectly captures and analyzes the point we are at in this country’s history. With a pitch-perfect screenplay, cast, and production team, you can’t go wrong.

Left Out: Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are. Kids movie my ass, this movie deserved recognition. Not only does it speak the truth, something watered down in The Blind Side, it looks and sounds great thanks to revolutionary production design and some of the best voice work ever recorded.

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Precious: Based On the Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire
Directed by: Lee Daniels
Written by: Geoffrey Fletcher (screenplay), Sapphire (book)
Starring: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Mariah Carrey, and Paula Patton

Who wants to watch a movie about an illiterate fat girl from Harlem? After seeing director Lee Daniels’ fiercely, unapologetically honest Precious, you will add yourself to that list.

This movie had a lot to prove. With a cast of either unknown, inexperienced, or ill-reputed fame, it proved to have one of the best ensembles of 2009. With almost no budget, no hype, and no help but what was on the screen, it won over crowds at the Sundance Film Festival and got Oprah to endorse it. In a way, this movie struggled much like its protagonist.

On the surface, this film seems conventional.  At a glance, it appears to be yet another urban tale about a poverty stricken youth escaping the clutches of the ghetto.  Then again, if this film teaches you anything, it’s to never take anything at a glance again.  Daniels makes sure you look straight on into the eyes and life of a person that you would typically pass on the street and write off as stupid and fat.

In a way, the life of Clareece ‘Precious’ Jones plays out like that of a horror movie (Frankenstein, not Friday the 13th).  She doesn’t know who she is or what she is capable of, all thanks to the lack of love present in her creators.  Where many see home as a place of haven to escape the world, Precious sees it as the strongest part of the storm.  Abused by her mother and raped by her father, Precious would interpret the phrase “There’s no place like home, “ much differently than most.

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