Academy Awards nominated 10 films for best picture

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Hello there,

I´ve just read it at Chicago Tribune http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/talking_pictures/2010-oscars/

"The last time the Academy Awards nominated 10 films for best picture, it was wartime — 1943, and a wartime picture, "Casablanca," took home the statuette.

Here we are again. It's wartime once more, literal and economic, and in the battle to get the Oscar telecast shored up in the ratings, the Academy announced its re-expanded 10 titles, up from the usual five in recent decades, in the best picture race.

"Avatar," "The Hurt Locker," "Precious" and "Up in the Air" were widely predicted to receive nominations, and they did. The inclusion of Disney/Pixar's "Up" (my favorite film last year) marked the first time an animated film received a best picture nomination since Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" in 1991.

"The Blind Side," "District 9," "An Education," "Inglourious Basterds" and "A Serious Man" complete the list of 10. With "The Blind Side," "District 9" and "Basterds," the academy rewards impressive box office performers. With "An Education" and "A Serious Man," we have prickly comedies that found a niche audience and never quite reached beyond that. Those picks might come under the heading of "eccentric quality," though "District 9" (aliens versus human in the Johannesburg slums) and "Basterds" (Quentin Tarantino WWII fantasy) qualify on that score as well.

The race for best picture, however, is between "Avatar," James Cameron's monster, and "The Hurt Locker," Kathryn Bigelow's drama of bomb detonation techs living and dying in Baghdad. Both are wartime visions. One is the biggest film, fiscally, of all time. The other is merely an excellent picture.

The real surprises of the morning, at first read, belong to the little-seen and very good drama "The Messenger," which received nods for best original screenplay and best supporting actor (Woody Harrelson). I was very happy to see the adapted "In the Loop" script recognized, though I suspect "Up in the Air" has the adapted screenplay award sewn up.

I suspect Jeff Bridges has it sewn up as well, for his turn in "Crazy Heart." Same with Sandra Bullock for "The Blind Side," though Meryl Streep, in her 16th-oh-well-another-year-another-nomination nod, made "Julie & Julia" a hit.


That's this year's Oscar story: Reward the hits. Open the tent flap wide. And even if the Penelope Cruz nomination in the supporting actress category for "Nine" doesn't make a lick of sense, it wouldn't be the Oscars without such things."
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