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Tag: Best Actress Oscar (71-80 of 107)

OscarWatch TV: The two closest big races

Today we kick off the first of six weekly OscarWatch videos in which my colleague Missy Schwartz and I will discuss the most interesting Oscar races of the year and help you identify which movies you need to catch up with before Oscar night on March 7. Now that the nominations are finally out, we begin with the Best Picture and Best Actress categories, which boast two of the tightest races of the year. Is the momentum with Avatar or The Hurt Locker? Sandra or Meryl? Here’s where we stand right now; we’ll have more OscarWatch TV updates every week until the telecast.

[ewbrightcove “64697639001”, “64749947001”, “525”, “365”]

Oscar nominations announced: 'Avatar,' 'Hurt Locker' lead with nine each

Here are the nominees in the 10 major categories for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. Avatar and The Hurt Locker each scored nine nominations. The winners will be announced on March 7. In the meantime, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for Academy Award updates between now and the Oscar ceremony.

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

Eight of the 10 Producers Guild nominees repeated here. Invictus and Star Trek were replaced by A Serious Man and, in one of the morning’s biggest surprises, The Blind Side, which had received no guild nominations or critics prizes other than for Sandra Bullock’s performance. Clearly all the Sandra love buoyed the film. As expected, The Hurt Locker, Avatar, Inglourious Basterds (8 nods), Precious (6 nods), and Up in the Air (6 nods) led the pack, while Up becomes only the second animated film ever to be nominated for Best Picture. Star Trek, meanwhile, did score a total of four nominations but just couldn’t muscle into Best Picture. That’s the best news for Avatar, which still may have a hard time beating The Hurt Locker.

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

These are the five SAG nominees, so nothing surprising here. Morgan Freeman was the only possible weak link, but none of the guys on the bubble—Viggo Mortensen, Matt Damon, Ben Foster, Robert Downey Jr.—had enough oomph. How can Jeff Bridges lose? I’d say Jeremy Renner is the only one who can upset him (like Adrien Brody for The Pianist).

Best Actress
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Another repeat of the SAG nominees. The Young Victoria‘s Emily Blunt had a shot at displacing Helen Mirren, but clearly the older voters responded well to The Last Station. The Blind Side‘s Best Picture nomination (compared to no other nods for Julie & Julia) means Bullock has the edge. Who’da thunk it?

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

A bunch of talented gents were overlooked here: Alec Baldwin, Christian McKay, Alfred Molina, Peter Sarsgaard, and Anthony Mackie, to name just five. As I’ve stated before, this race was over before it ever began.

Best Supporting Actress
Penélope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Mo’Nique, Precious

Here we have the only variance from SAG in the individual acting races, as Maggie Gyllenhaal stole Diane Kruger’s slot. And even though Julianne Moore failed to earn a SAG nod for A Single Man, I’m still surprised the Academy didn’t give her a fifth career nomination.

Best Director
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Lee Daniels, Precious
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

The five DGA nominees repeated here, fending off competition from the likes of Neill Blomkamp and Lone Scherfig. But these five films are so far out in front that no one else really had a shot. It’s Bigelow’s to lose.

Best Original Screenplay
Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman, The Messenger
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
Pete Docter, Bob Peterson & Tom McCarthy, Up
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

As with Titanic, James Cameron failed to earn a screenplay nomination for Avatar. The Messenger duo stole the fifth slot from the adorable (500) Days of Summer guys. With Hurt Locker and Basterds in the running, this may be the tightest major race of the year.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci & Tony Roche, In the Loop
Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell, District 9
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious
Nick Hornby, An Education
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

If there’s a shock here, it’s the inclusion of the little-seen In the Loop over Fantastic Mr. Fox. But the writers branch often goes for a sharp British indie, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.

Best Animated Film
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells

Best Foreign Language Film
El Secreto do Sus Ojos (Argentina)
Un Prophete (France)
The White Ribbon (Germany)
Ajami (Israel)
The Milk of Sorrow (Peru)

The rest of the categories are after the jump.


Oscar nominations: What will be the biggest surprise?

Now that we’re less than 24 hours away from the Oscar nominations announcement, I thought I’d resurrect perhaps my favorite post from last year, where I tried to imagine what the biggest surprises of the nominations might be. (A few of them, like The Reader bumping out The Dark Knight for Best Picture, or Kate Winslet landing in Best Actress instead of Best Supporting Actress for that film, actually ended up happening.) This year contains many sure things — The Hurt Locker, Avatar, Up in the Air, Inglourious Basterds, and Precious will claim half of the Best Picture slots, for instance — but there’s also a lot that’s up for grabs. So here are 10 possible shockers we may be talking about tomorrow.

1. With the exception of An Education, the other five Best Picture slots all go to $100-million-plus grossers: some combination of Up, District 9, Star Trek, The Blind Side, and The Hangover.

2. Though Precious scores a Best Picture nod, director Lee Daniels is overlooked, in favor of District 9‘s Neill Blomkamp.

3. Avatar‘s Zoe Saldana muscles into Best Actress over The Last Station‘s Helen Mirren, becoming the first actor ever to earn a nomination for a motion-capture or voice performance.

4. The Hurt Locker‘s Anthony Mackie scores a supporting-actor nomination after being ignored by the Broadcast Critics, Golden Globes, and SAG.

5. Stanley Tucci earns his first career nomination…but for Julie & Julia instead of The Lovely Bones.

6. Inglourious Basterds standouts Diane Kruger and Mélanie Laurent both make it into the supporting actress race over Julianne Moore and Samantha Morton.

7. Invictus gets completely shut out of the nominations.

8. Ed Helms’ Hangover ditty “Stu’s Song” steals a Best Song nomination away from Nine.

9. Jeff Bridges’ momentum buoys Crazy Heart into the Best Supporting Actress (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and/or Best Adapted Screenplay (Scott Cooper) categories.

And finally…

10. The Hurt Locker ties Avatar for the most nominations, with 9 each.

Can you see any of these taking place tomorrow? What surprises are you hoping for? Follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for Oscar news and updates for the rest of the season.

Image credit: Frank Masi

Oscars: Dave Karger predicts the nominees

Here are my latest predictions for who’ll get nominated in the eight main Oscar races on Feb. 2. My Best Picture picks are immediately below; the other seven categories are after the jump.

Best Picture
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek
Up in the Air

Oh, how much easier this would be if there were only five Best Picture nominees this year: It’d be Up in the Air (which won the National Board of Review prize), The Hurt Locker (winner of the Producers Guild, Directors Guild, and Broadcast Film Critics awards), Golden Globe and box-office champ Avatar, film-festival winner Precious, and SAG Award victor Inglourious Basterds and we’d call it a day. It’s those other five slots that are tougher to suss out. An Education has strong support from actors (witness its SAG nod for best cast) and across-the-pond voters. Invictus has the necessary prestige to make the cut, while Best Animated Feature front-runner Up should manage to break out of the cartoon ghetto. If voters want to go the populist route, the top contender is the adult romance It’s Complicated. But since it’s the No. 1 and No. 2 votes on the Academy’s ranked ballots that truly count, films with a smaller cult of enthusiastic followers—think District 9 and Star Trek—is poised to become a spoiler. Which means the flashy, filled-with-Oscar-faves musical Nine may fall victim to its nasty reviews and lackluster box office. I’m also increasingly worried for the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man, which seems to be fading a bit. As for Golden Globe winner The Hangover, it’s now an outside contender for one of the 10 slots but by no means a sure thing.

Check out the rest of my predictions after the jump.


Dear Santa: Get these long shots nominated!

On this Christmas day, my wish list includes Oscar nominations for the following five dark horse contenders. Are you listening, Santa? (Or at least, Academy members?)

Best Picture: Brothers
I’m well aware that Jim Sheridan’s latest drama has as many haters as it does fans. But to me it felt real and true from the first frame. It also contains the strongest performance of Natalie Portman’s career and the best kid acting I’ve ever seen.

Best Actor: Matt Damon, The Informant!
At this point, Damon seems like a good bet for a supporting nod for Invictus. And that’s fine. But his more impressive work was as the world’s worst whistle-blower in Steven Soderbergh’s out-there comedy. Bonus points for Damon’s impeccable voice-over work in the film.

Best Actress: Maya Rudolph, Away We Go
Playing a conflicted mom-to-be, Rudolph was as quiet and introspective as she was riotously funny impersonating Whitney or Oprah on Saturday Night Love.

Best Supporting Actor: Alec Baldwin, It’s Complicated
I’m flabbergasted that Baldwin’s scene-stealing performance opposite Meryl Streep isn’t gaining more traction. He’s witty, sympathetic, and nude: What more should Oscar voters want?

Best Supporting Actress: Mariah Carey, Precious
Okay, let the hateful comments begin, but I insist that Carey is a deserving contender for her brief turn as a dowdy social worker. Carey’s costars Gabourey Sidibe and Mo’Nique are well on their way to scoring nominations. Considering their most memorable moments are with Carey, she should get in there too.

My other holiday wish? That you’ll follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for Oscar updates throughout the season. What long-shot nominations are you wishing for?

Image credit: Damon: Claudette Barius; Baldwin: Melinda Sue Gordon

'Precious' lives up to the hype

Precious-Push_lWhile big-studio releases like A Christmas Carol and The Fourth Kind topped the box office chart this weekend, all OscarWatchers’ eyes were on Precious. After dominating this year’s film-festival prizes, the indie drama opened on Friday to very strong reviews, resulting in an 85 grade from Rotten Tomatoes. EW’s Owen Gleiberman rated the film an A, while the New York TimesA.O. Scott said that lead actress Gabourey Sidibe was “extraordinarily poised.” But the critics weren’t the only ones going crazy over the film. Playing in just 18 theaters, Precious grossed a phenomenal $1.8 million, according to studio estimates. If those numbers hold, Precious will become only the third live-action film to score a per-theater average of over $100,000, following in the heels of multiple Oscar nominees Dreamgirls and Brokeback Mountain. Considering all of this was accomplished by a film by a relatively new director with no big movie stars in it, it’s an amazing achievement. It was well on its way to becoming a Best Picture nominee already, but now Precious is seeming more and more like a front-runner. The question now: Can it distinguish itself from Dreamgirls (which missed out on a Best Picture nod) and Brokeback Mountain (which lost to Crash) and actually win? Between Invictus, The Hurt Locker, The Lovely Bones, Up in the Air, and Nine, it certainly seems to have some stiff competition.

Did any of you see Precious this weekend (or before it opened)? Do you think it deserves its front-runner status?

Photo credit: Anne Marie Fox

Best Actress: A rush of last-minute contenders

The-Last-Station_lI know that when it comes to scoring an Oscar nomination, it helps to be fresh in voters’ minds, but this is a little ridiculous. In the past few weeks, Oscar-qualifying runs were announced for The Last Station, with Helen Mirren, and The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, starring Bryce Dallas Howard. And now comes word of a one-week release for the festival drama London River, featuring Brenda Blethyn (who gave what I still believe is one of the best performances ever in Secrets & Lies). Clearly these last-minute moves speak to how sparse the Best Actress race is this year—Julie & Julia‘s Meryl Streep, An Education‘s Carey Mulligan, and Precious‘ Gabourey Sidibe are likely in, leaving two slots for the taking. But can any of these 11th-hour entries actually make it into the final five? Off the three, I’d give Mirren the edge; her performance as Leo Tolstoy’s wife, Sophia, is fiery and intense, and she’s got Sony Pictures Classics releasing the film. But with other promising contenders yet to be seen (Nine‘s Marion Cotillard, The Lovely Bones‘ Saoirse Ronan), scoring a nomination as a last-minute contender is definitely going to be an uphill battle.

Image credit: Stephan Rabold

Vera Farmiga definitely supporting for 'Up in the Air'

Vera-Farmiga_lOver the past few weeks there have been a few whispers that Paramount was considering campaigning for Up in the Air‘s Vera Farmiga in the Best Actress category so that she wouldn’t compete with her breakout costar Anna Kendrick. Now I hear from Farmiga’s camp that her campaign will definitely be in the supporting actress race. Even though it’s not ideal to have multiple contenders from the same film in one category, it’s certainly the right decision in this case. I haven’t counted their minutes of screen time, but having seen the movie twice now, Farmiga’s role seems smaller than Kendrick’s; there are patches of the film where she doesn’t appear at all.

So can both Up in the Air ladies make the final cut? With Mo’Nique (Precious) and Julianne Moore (A Single Man) seeming like safe bets at the moment, it all depends on how many bona fide contenders end up coming out of Nine. Depending on how the film turns out, it could provide three Best Supporting Actress nominees…or none.

Photo Credit: Dale Robinette

Carey Mulligan on the controversy of 'An Education'

Now that An Education is finally hitting theaters this Friday, I’m curious to see if there’s going to be any kind of “ick factor” amongst audiences and Oscar voters (particularly older ones) over the film’s basic plot: a 16-year-old schoolgirl who falls for a man in his early 30s and decides to lose her virginity to him on her 17th birthday. The subject matter is handled with great sensitivity by director Lone Scherfig and screenwriter Nick Hornby, but that’s never stopped some people from getting all up in arms. It’s particularly interesting in light of Roman Polanski’s recent arrest—though it goes without saying that the cases, while both involving adult men and underage girls, are vastly different. In Part 2 of our OscarWatch interview (watch Part 1 here), Carey Mulligan and I discuss her impressive Education costars Emma Thompson and Sally Hawkins and the surprising reactions she’s gotten from fathers after they’ve seen the movie.

(On a side note: I conducted this interview last month in Toronto. After I got back, I saw Jack Rosenthal’s Sept. 25 “On Language” column in the New York Times Magazine, in which he discusses a handful of words that many people use incorrectly, one of which is enormity. Most people, including me, think it means “enormousness,” when in fact it means “great wickedness.” So now of course I feel like an idiot for showing my ignorance in this video. I’ll never make that mistake again!)

UPDATE: According to several commenters, enormity does also mean enormousness. So stuff it, New York Times!

[ewbrightcove “29888952001”, “42876602001”, “525”, “470”]

Meet Carey Mulligan: 'An Education' leading lady

A top candidate for breakout actress of the year is certainly Carey Mulligan, the 24-year-old Brit who’d only had supporting parts in two films (she was one of Keira Knightley’s little sisters in Pride & Prejudice) when she scored the plum lead role in An Education (in theaters next Friday, Oct. 9). As precocious London schoolgirl Jenny, Mulligan not only holds her own opposite castmates Peter Sarsgaard, Emma Thompson, Alfred Molina, and Sally Hawkins, but she completely carries the film, which was written by novelist Nick Hornby and directed by Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig. And as you’ll see when you click play on Part 1 of our OscarWatch interview, she’s going to charm the pants off the Academy and should have no problem scoring a Best Actress nomination.

Watch me and Missy Schwartz rave about Mulligan in our Best Actress chat. And follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for Oscar updates all season long. My interview with Mulligan is after the jump. READ FULL STORY

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