10! 10! 10! What happens when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences radically shakes things up, nominating not five but TEN films for best picture? A Sandra Bullock movie makes the list.
So: Which five of the ten are the real nominees, and which are just padding? Let’s make an uneducated guess!
Avatar: This was never not going to be nominated. It cost too much damn money and is making too much damn money for the Academy to even think about ignoring it. Plus 3-D is the Future!
The Hurt Locker: Tops for sure. (1) Critically acclaimed. The Hurt Locker won almost every critics circle’s Best Picture award, not to mention our own poll. (2) The Academy could never resist what is shaping up to be the most exciting episode of Divorce Court yet: James Cameron versus Kathryn Bigelow. (3) Some non-critics also like this movie a lot. We are not one of them, but can acknowledge the general consensus.
Inglourious Basterds: With Quentin nominated for best director (another good judge of which of these movies are in the top five), and all those vengeful Jews in Hollywood, this one’s an actual nominee for sure.
Precious: There has to be one raw movie starring not conventionally attractive (!) people in the bunch, so we’re gonna go with top five on this one. Or ACORN had something to do with it. (Also, see: rule, if director nominated.)
Up in the Air: Reitman dynasty shoo-in. Plus what was it that the movie critic from Rolling Stone said about this film? “A defining movie for these perilous times.” Topical + George Clooney = Oscar nomination.
The Blind Side: The Scott Brown of movies. In order to be able to continue watching the Oscars and live with ourselves, we must assume that this movie of liberal white guilt gone terribly awry (starring Sandy’s frosted hair) was number 10. Still, this is a nice boost for black people.
District 9: There can only be one Apartheid movie, and we’re impressed the Oscars chose the allegorical celebrity-free District 9 over the literal, celebrity-filled Invictus. Especially since it opened way back in August. Still, it opened way back in August. And is allegorical. Starring a bunch of nobodys going nowhere. Definitely bottom five.
An Education: Who voted for this? Just made it under the wire.
A Serious Man: We’re not entirely surprised to see the Coen brothers’ tragi-comedy make the list, but we also wouldn’t be surprised to hear that some voters thought they were casting their ballot for that gay Colin Firth movie. In a year where Jews get to pick between kicking Nazi ass or being schlubby, we’re going to have to put this in the bottom five, though just barely.
Up: Ha ha ha. The Academy probably didn’t even mean to nominate two movies with “Up” in the title. Oops. With Up in the Air an obvious top fiver, Pixar’s latest triumph would in any other year been confined to the animated ghetto.