Saturday, March 6, 2010

Oscar Predictions - Movie Review: Precious

My esteemed reader Theresa reminded me that I hadn't posted my Oscar predictions yet. Before I predict the winners of the major awards, let me get to a mini review of Precious which I just saw tonight. Lee Daniels' film tells the story of a large young black woman (Gabourey Sidibe) growing up with a terrifying menace of a mother (Mo'Nique) in Harlem and trying to make something of her life. The movie is very depressing overall and the subject matter of physical and sexual abuse is extremely dark. Daniels does a great job of making it all seem very raw and real and he gets two great performances out of his actresses (and a third from a toned down Mariah Carey).

Sidibe is very good in her first movie role and is able to carry the movie as the lead. Mo'Nique is an absolute revelation. She is a menacing storm of rage and emotion and really gives the viewer chills whenever she's on screen. Hands-down one of the best female performances I've seen in years. And who knew a guest star on Moesha could turn into an Academy Award worthy actress. Precious is not a movie I'd ever want to see again and it did get slow at times, but all in all it is worthy of Best Picture consideration. 3.5 JR's for me and I urge people to see it if only for Mo'Nique's performance.

Unfortunately I only got through 7 of the 10 Best Picture nominees this season (still more than the 5 annual films I'd seen in all of the previous years). I still want to see The Blind Side at some point, but A Serious Man and An Education may never come across my Netflix list. The following categories include the selection that I would make (in BLUE) if I had an Academy vote (and why don't I have one already!?!). The choice I believe will take home the statue is highlighted in GREEN. I'll be heading to Omar's tomorrow night to watch the awards at a mini Oscar Party.

Best Picture

"The Blind Side"
"District 9"
"An Education"
"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
"A Serious Man"
"Up in the Air"

This will be very close between Hurt Locker and Avatar and is really a toss-up right now. I think Avatar's worldwide influence pushes it over the top.

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney, "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth, "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"
Jeremy Renner, "The Hurt Locker

I haven't seen Crazy Heart so I can't judge Bridges here but he has won most of the major awards already so I think he's a near lock for this. Clooney gets my vote based on only seeing two of these performances. (I think Renner is slightly overrated, as is Hurt Locker)

Best Actress

Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren, "The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan, "An Education"
Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia"

Meryl Streep was so good in Julie & Julia that I didn't find myself caring about any of the scenes without her in them. Sandra Bullock has a real chance of stealing this from Streep.

Best Supporting Actor

Matt Damon, "Invictus"
Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"
Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station"
Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones"
Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"

Waltz was real good in Basterds and is probably the biggest lock of the night (along with the next category).

Best Supporting Actress

Penelope Cruz, "Nine"
Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air"
Maggie Gyllenhaal, "Crazy Heart"
Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air"
Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"

Probably the best performance in any category this year (see above for the reasons why).

Best Director

James Cameron, "Avatar"
Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"

Lee Daniels, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"
Jason Reitman, "Up in the Air"

I think the Academy will end up splitting Hurt Locker and Avatar in the Director and Picture categories. This could go Hurt Locker / Cameron instead. Tarantino kicked so much ass in Basterds, but I would vote for Cameron for making a monumental cinematic achievement.

As for District 9? My only hope for an award win would be in the makeup category. Disagree with my picks above? Let me know about it.

1 comment:

T. said...

Thanks for posting!! You know, I spoke too soon, as I finally saw Inglorious Basterds last night, and now I am wavering between that and Hurt Locker. I really did enjoy the Hurt Locker, not sure if it's because I went in with zero expectations. But I liked that it was a "little" movie, with a no name cast, and honestly, I love that it was directed by a woman! :-) But I.B. is now my favorite Tarantino film by a mile. Hmmm....decisions, decisions! Yay for Oscar night!