Susan Year Itch: The Imperfect 10

Oscar nominees are released next week, and this year the Academy is nominating ten films for Best Picture instead of the usual five. I’m not sure if anything’s left on the bottom of this barrel, but would you like to try your hand at some scraping?

Here’s an idea I have of a film sure to tug the heartstrings of the Academy: a stunningly beautiful girl in her early twenties finds herself swept off her feet by Oscar Excitement. Every year she waits for his annual visit, heart pounding and schedule cleared. As the years roll by, though, she begins to notice what other former Oscar lovers have probably figured out years before: these sorts of glamorous and high-profile relationships are to be viewed with a giant, golden grain of salt. After passing through various stages of betrayal and boycott, the girl (older and wiser, but with surprisingly few signs of aging,) can now calmly and confidently move towards the stage of acceptance.

So, I’m going to watch the Oscars this year. Last year, I haughtily opted out of what will surely go down in history as the Hugh Jackman Academy Awards, and I’m annoyed that I let my personal feelings get in the way of my other personal feelings — the ones that like to enjoy Hugh Jackman to the fullest.

This year seems like a risky one in which to stretch out my very vulnerable neck and let myself love again, considering that Avatar (bad) and The Hangover (worse) picked up the top Golden Globes honors. Typically, the Globes are treated with a little more respect, as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association can be trusted to vote more accurately than the Academy (i.e. Hollywood itself). So, to use a sports analogy, the impersonal rich team with the fancy uniforms* is almost certain to win. However! With odds like that, it’s hard to resist the slight chance that I could be witness a huge upset that will restore my faith in one fell swoop!

In reality, though, I won’t pretend to be so optimistic: I’m watching it this year for Alec Baldwin. In a deal that was worked out with NBC, the Academy is including the top ten nominations for Best Picture, instead of the usual five. The reasoning, and I’m not making this up, is that they believe people watch the Oscars when a film about which they feel strongly has been nominated, so therefore if they have more nominees, more people will watch and the Awards will get better ratings and advertising prices can go up, etc.

With all this skillful dramatic tension manipulation, the ceremony (and indeed, the whole process) is basically becoming a big ol’ movie itself! A movie about selling movies as well as the beautiful people who star in them. And you know what? Why not?! It’s all so ludicrous now that I actually find it easier to remain disconnected. So instead of stressing about how ten nominees dilute the voting process and whatnot**, I’ll spend my time trying to figure out what, in a year that seemed pretty weak, those ten nominees could possibly be.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  1. Avatar, definitely. If the Globes couldn’t resist, the Oscars sure won’t be able to.
  2. Up in the Air
  3. Precious, Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
  4. The Hurt Locker
  5. Inglourious Basterds

Here’s where things get tricky. The above were Golden Globe nominees, but even if they hadn’t been, they’d be pretty clear Academy choices. The rest are harder to determine.

  1. I’m going to go with The Young Victoria. I haven’t seen it, but I can see them throwing in a period piece in order to grab the attention of my mother.
  2. Crazy Heart. It’s not a biopic, quite, but it’s close enough, and movies about falls into disgrace are irresistible.
  3. Bear with me here, but I bet Paranormal Activity will be nominated. Think about it, it got marketed brilliantly, and it cost so little to make that if it scores Oscar gold, extremely rich people will get extremely richer.
  4. Oh gosh, I don’t know. What’s left? It’s Complicated, sure, let’s go ahead and throw that in the ring. Everyone likes Alec and loves Meryl, and the writer/director also did Something’s Gotta Give (I predict she’ll make a film next year called “Suit Yourself” and one the following year called “Don’t Ask!”).
  5. You know what, I have to go with my heart. Fantastic Mr. Fox. I know that a stop-animated film about forest animals wearing sweaters is unlikely to be taken seriously enough to win, but as I can’t think of anything else, I’m going to go ahead and pretend like this visually awesome, cleverly written/directed, and brilliantly acted film has a shot. And I’m going to try my hardest not to be upset that a visually awesome, cleverly written/directed, and brilliantly acted film doesn’t have a shot.

Do you have any ideas/conspiracy theories as to what might? Let me know your picks for the Academy’s nominees! We can come back here and discuss when they’re released next week.

*(e.g. that Hawks team in the Mighty Ducks or….the Yankees!)
**Well, it does.

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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  1. They should just go ahead and give the damn thing to Avatar and cancel the ceremony. If it’s made the most money and most everyone liked it (this is based on an informal polling of myself and four other coworkers) doesn’t that make it the best? It’s not that good, just the best.

    I think “Up” and “Julie and Julia” will be in there, and also “GI Joe.”


  3. @Alicia: Dang, good call. I bet that will be nominated. TOO LATE FOR ME NOW, my picks are set in stone. Justin’s spreadsheet will explode if I make changes.

    @Kelly: They should cancel the awards part and just have Alec Baldwin entertain me for three hours, occasionally splicing in a photo of a really cool dress on a celebrity.

  4. Did ten movies even come out this year?

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