It’s one of my favourite nights of the year.  After months of speculation, the Academy Award nominations have been revealed.  Before we get to that, here’s some quick other news…


Director’s Guild Award


Over the weekend, director Kathryn Bigelow won the best director award from the Director’s Guild.  This is big news.  This award is the BIGGEST precursor to the Academy Awards.  Since the Director’s Guild first gave out their prize in 1948, an amazing 55 out of 61 have gone on to win the Oscar for best director.  The last time it didn’t happen was in 2002 (when Roman Polanski for The Pianist won the Oscar over Rob Marshall for Chicago).


Does this mean Bigelow will win the best director Oscar?  It sure looks likely.


Now, let’s go one more step.  The film which wins best director often wins best picture.  This has happened 59 times in the Oscar’s 81 year history.  Hmmm, this has me worried.  I’ve got $500 on Avatar to win best picture but I think I’m in trouble.  How can a film which made just $12m at the U.S. box-office and hasn’t even been released in Australia defeat the highest grossing movie of all time (which people are still talking about)???  It’s going to be interesting.


Most pundits are still tipping Avatar and Centrebet has it listed as the favourite but there’s a long way to run in this race.  Watch this space.


Razzie Awards


Each year, on the day before the Oscar nominations, the Golden Raspberry Foundation announces their nominees for the worst films and performers of the year.  You can view a full list of the “lucky” nominees here -


I have to admit that I hated all 5 of the worst film nominees – All About Steve, G.I. Joe, Land Of The Lost, Old Dogs and Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen.  Of these, G.I. Joe was my worst film of 2009 and All About Steve my 3rd worst film.  A shame that 2012 couldn’t sneak a nomination but ah well, can’t win them all.


If you go through the nominees, you’ll find there’s a special section this year honouring the worst of the decade.  The films nominated were Battlefield Earth, Freddy Got Fingered, Gigli, I Know Who Killed Me and Swept Away.  Hard to say which film will take out that category – they’re all so bad!


The winners will be announced on March 6 - the day before the Oscars ceremony.  Hopefully someone’s game enough to accept their award (like good sport Halle Berry did a few years go -


Oscar Nominations!!!


Ok, let’s not waste any more time.  It’s late but I’m buzzing with energy!


Before I get to my off-the-cuff commentary, here are the nominees in the major categories:


Best Picture – Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, A Serious Man, Up, Up In The Air


Best Director – James Cameron (Avatar), Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds), Lee Daniels (Precious), Jason Reitman (Up In The Air)


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)


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


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


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)


Best Original Screenplay – The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, The Messenger, A Serious Man, Up


Best Adapted Screenplay – District 9, An Education, In The Loop, Precious, Up In The Air


Best Animated Feature – Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess & The Frog, The Secret Of Kells, Up


Best Foreign Language Film – A Prophet (France), The White Ribbon (Germany), The Milk Of Sorrow (Peru), The Secret In Their Eyes (Argentina), Ajami (Israel)


Hurt Locker v Avatar


Leading the pack with 9 nominations each are Avatar and The Hurt Locker.  I now see it as a two horse race for best picture.


The advantage has to be with The Hurt Locker.  For such a small film to receive so many nominations is a big deal.  Further, Avatar didn’t receive a screenplay nomination (and The Hurt Locker did).  Hurt Locker being nominated for best score is also a surprise.


I am extremely annoyed given I backed Hurt Locker to win the Golden Globe (which Avatar won) and now find myself having backed Avatar to win the Oscar (which Hurt Locker is now favoured to win).  Such is life I guess.


I think Avatar is an exceptional film but find myself in a tricky position given that I’m yet to see The Hurt Locker.  I don’t know which one would get my vote.


Inglourious Basterds was next best with 8 nominations.  Up In The Air and Precious earned 6 each.


Surprise Inclusions


The Blind Side getting a nomination was the big surprise in the expanded best picture category.  It’s made a lot of money and this must vault Sandra Bullock to favouritism in the best actress category.  People like this movie.  Nice to see A Serious Man, District 9 and An Education also amongst the best pic nominees.


Amongst the acting categories, Maggie Gyllenhaal was a shock nominee for Crazy Heart.  I guess she’s riding on the back of Jeff Bridges (who will win for best actress) but it’s still an overdue nomination.  She’s been great in so many movies including The Dark Knight and Donnie Darko.  I was kind of surprised to see last year’s winner Penelope Cruz also nominated for best supporting actress.  Nine has been savaged by critics and this was its only nomination in the major categories (it received 3 more in technical categories).


For best animated film, The Secret Of Kells came out of nowhere to get a nomination.  I haven’t even heard of it so don’t ask me anything else.


There seems to be good support for The Messenger.  It missed out on a best picture nomination but it earned Woody Harrelson his second Oscar nom and it also picked up a screenplay nomination.  It was also interesting to see In The Loop (with all its profanity) pick up a screenplay nomination of its own.


I don’t know a lot about the short film categories but Sydney born Luke Doolan (just 30 years of age) earned an Oscar nomination for his short film, Miracle Fish.


Surprise Omissions


In general, the news wasn’t too exciting for us Aussies.  Samson & Delilah missed out on a best foreign language film nomination.  Bright Star earned just a single nom – for best costume design.


Invictus also fell by the wayside.  Yes it earned a best actor and best supporting actor nomination (both questionable if you ask me) but that’s it.  No best picture nomination.  No screenplay nomination.  I was also saddened to see 500 Days Of Summer shut out from the screenplay nominations.


Amongst the best picture contenders, Star Trek missed out along with The Hangover (the Golden Globe winner for comedy).  Star Trek wasn’t a shoo-in to be nominated but it has received 4 nominations in the technical categories which shows love.


Ok, that’s it from me.  The Oscars are held on March 7 (around lunchtime on March 8 here in Brisbane) and there’ll be a lot of talk in the meantime.  I’ll put together my annual Oscar competition (now in its 10th year) and you’ll be able to enter soon.


I wish you all sweet and pleasant dreams!