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February 02, 2010


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Sam Adams

You wuz robbed.


Is this going to hurt your chances for appearing in the sequel (The Boyfriend Experience?)?
I thought your acting was at least as skilled as Quentin Tarantino's.
Better luck next time.

Tony Dayoub

You and Malanie Laurent wuz robbed.

Tony Dayoub

Seeing the ultra-cool video you posted (which I had to steal for FB... but I did credit you for the find), I'm struck by its length. Could you imagine Oscar taking the time to give us something so fantastic in an otherwise boring show? From this to Rob Lowe and Snow White?


So, A SERIOUS MAN, huh? I guess this ten-nominee thing isn't such a write-off, though it IS still silly. But that was nice to see. I would have liked to have seen Stuhlbarg and Melamed get a look, but that was way too much to hope for.

DISTRICT 9 is badly overrated.

Robert Merk

First impressions:

"UP" nominated for both animated and picture is cool.

"District 9" was a big surprise.

“The Road” received none and "Bright Star" got one. For shame…

Avatar for cinematography (WTF)

No Emily Blunt? Or Julianne Moore?

And apparently Stanley Tucci’s performance in “The Lovely Bones” is better than Christian McKay’s work in “Me and Orson Welles”


Penelope Cruz for "Nine" over Melanie Laurent and Diane Kruger...ugh.

James Keepnews

Personally, I felt The Blind Side was the major outlier where likely Best Picture Oscars are concerned. Sad to see no love in the foriegn section for Romania, nor Mlle. Denis & Martel, M.s Rivette & Renais & Sokurov &., &c., &c.

As is our sometime wont, Bill and I disagree, here about District 9. It's pulp, but I honestly think it deserves its nomination more than the years when other genre films got the 1/5 nod over District's 1/10. Pulp, but so rich with unbelabored subtext as well as, admittedly, some views of "other" Africans that track a wee bit too apartheid-era for me. I was all the same so transfixed by its effortless, implicative depth and hurtling intensity, I'm willing to reserve ultimate judgement and let the metaphor unpack over the inevitable Districts 10 & 11.


I had problems with the portrayal of the Nigerians in D9, too. Reminded me a little of The Gods Must Be Crazy. Never a good thing.

It doesn't seem fair that Eli Roth won a Golden Globe for his acting this year. You were much better than him, Glenn, for what it's worth.


James, here's my problem with DISTRICT 9, which I wrote on another site:

The curious thing about this South African science-fiction action film is that its blatant, foregrounded Apartheid allegory goes up in smoke pretty quickly, the more dependent its rather absurd plot becomes on the actual science-fiction portion of its central idea. This plot centers around a substance, a fluid, which has the capacity to not only fuel the aliens' mothership, but to transform humans into aliens. Soon THIS is foregrounded, and the allegory disappears. Add to this the fact that the much-praised transmutation of the main character (Sharlto Copley, giving a bit of an overrated performance, I think) is only shown in its early and final stages, and that the last twenty minutes or so is taken up almost entirely with people exploding, and I'm left with a film that's trying to be two things at once, and ultimately half-assing both. Well, actually, three things at once, if you consider the film is stylistically broken up into both a standard "third person" narrative, and a fake documentary, which the film also half-asses, by virtue of Blomkamp's not going all the way with it. Which makes three half-asses.


@ James Keepnews: You can't blame the Academy for those foreign language snubs, as the countries themselves decide which film will represent them (and only get to submit one). Unless you were thinking about other categories, in which case I'd ask you to consider the actual universe we're inhabiting.

Plus, the Rivette and Resnais films haven't even been domestically released yet, and aren't eligible anyway.

A Prophet was a hit at Cannes and has been received very well, so it's not like France submitted some crap like Les Choristes again.


Hayao Miyazaki, Terry Gilliam and Wes Anderson was robbed man!

James Keepnews

Laz -- Insofar as you described the absurdly limited manner in which the foreign film noms are decided upon (& of which I'm fully aware), I think I can blame the Academy, though my lament was more general. Certainly in the case of no Romania, nor Mexico, nor China, nor &c., &c., I can't blame the countries. I did not mean, by lamenting the absence of some fine films (inlcuding Hunger, Headless Woman, &c., &c.), to slight one of the two on there I that really want to see. Incidentally, has Has A Prophet been released in NYC? If so, I missed another one.

Bill -- Your triple-half-assed issues with District 9 as excerpted above come off, forgive me, as though they now constitute two full-asses. Sorry, is narrative foregrounding in itself a categorical denial of the allegorical? How about the allegorical bonafides of a substance that is fuel AND can engage in species transformation? I actually anticipate the plot will get MORE "absurd" -- more "absurd", mind you, than aliens parking it above Johannesburg, &c. -- as it expands across the sequels. Maybe it will be in these that Blomkamp will "go all the way" with the fake documentary and...have sex with it?


James - "Your triple-half-assed issues with District 9 as excerpted above come off, forgive me, as though they now constitute two full-asses."

Your math is way off.

No, narrative foregrounding does not deny, or doesn't need to deny, the allegorical, but I'd say in this case it does. Once that fluid becomes central, the movie becomes a race and a series of explosions, with no attention paid to why this movie was made in the first place.

"How about the allegorical bonafides of a substance that is fuel AND can engage in species transformation?"

What about them? What does he do with it? He gives you that last shot, which isn't bad, I'll admit, but Blomkamp barely deals with it, as an idea, in the time between Copley getting sprayed and that shot. Never mind that the fluid having both properties struck me as pretty damned goofy.

My core problem could well be that I wanted a real, true-blue SF film, and I got an action film with lasers, which is the way things go in the genre these days, for the most part, and I'm tired of it.


Moon was better.


Re: District 9 - I'm in Bill's camp on this one. My pet theory is that most of the buzz it generated came from the meta-narrative, as it were; another little-film-with-big-concept-that-could story, Peter Jackson takes a shine to young talent, an orgy of visual effects for a small budget, aforementioned allegorical stuff, etc.

I didn't feel that it delivered on any front - character, story, allegory, vis. fx.

Maybe now's the time to mention that I didn't like The Hurt Locker either. Waaaaaaaay overrated, and funnily enough, for some of the same reasons as District 9.


MOON was indeed better.

S. Porath

What a magnificent clip. Thanks, Glenn.

Tom Russell

I'm not a big fan of allegory, and so the transition from the more overtly allegorical elements to the (for me, rather clever and never lagging) buddy action picture elements didn't bother me. I thought it a very entertaining science-fiction picture, and Wikus a sharp portrait of a certain kind of unintentionally malignant racism. For a popcorn picture (a perfectly valid form of cinema art, as I have to keep telling all the Avatar naysayers) it's remarkably intelligent and audacious: as worthy of the Best Picture statue as any of the films it's competing against.

Though my fingers are crossed for BASTERDS.

Jon Hastings

I liked both DISTRICT 9 and MOON, even though in both cases I think the premise outran the film itself.

In the case of DISTRICT 9, though, I think it is a mistake to look at it as merely or even primarily as an apartheid metaphor. I think it's more interesting to look at it as a multi-layered, post-apartheid metaphor. My guess is that Blomkamp is specifically thinking about the flood of Zimbabwean refugees who have have come to South Africa and who are in conflict with the native black South Africans. Added to that, you have the concetration camp images of District 10 - which remind us that the British invented the concentration camp to house the Boer, so that the aliens aren't just an "other" to the Afrikaners but also a symbolic reflection of their ancestors. And on a personal level, Blomkamp himself is a kind of "displaced person", so his closest analog in the movie is probably Christopher Johnson's son. The movie gives us these symbols, and depending on the angle from which we look at it, we get different answers to Lenin's fundamental political question - "Who - whom?"

The most potent scene in the movie was the sequence where Wikus is forced to test fire the alien weaponry. On the one hand, this is probably the most on-the-nose symbol in the movie, but it's hard for me to think of another scene that so powerfully - and wrenchingly - deconstructs the way institutionalized violence works.

Paul Johnson

I'm actually reasonably pleased. It feels a lot more diverse and representative of the year than usual, though admittedly still limited. It's interesting (to me) to compare this list to the last time the Academy had ten best picture nominees: 1943

Casablanca = Inglorious Basterds (I mean, they're both crazy, in over their head movies about love, lies and Nazis that happen to be among the moviest movies ever made.)
For Whom the Bell Tolls = Avatar
Heaven Can Wait = Up (Pixar as the New Lubitsch?)
The Human Comedy = A Serious Man (I like the idea of the Coen Brothers as the Eugene O'Neils of their generation)
In Which We Serve = The Hurt Locker
Madame Curie = The Blind Side (Based on true stories kitsch with actresses going all out for the gold.)
The More the Merrier = Up in the Air
The Ox-Bow Incident = District 9
Song of Bernadette = Precious (suffering as transcendence)
Watch on the Rhine = An Education? (Well, would you buy Nick Hornby as the Lillian Hellman of his generation? No. Well, it had to break down somewhere kids.)

Mike D

I'm just pissed "A Single Man" didn't get into the Best Picture race. It would be nice to Colin Firth clean house.

Mayo A.

cool video...
think Steve and Alec can do something like that?
here's what I think should win:

Best Picture and Director: The Hurt Locker...


If The Human Comedy = A Serious Man, that would make the Coens the William Saroyan of their generation.

Eli Roth's acting award came from SAG, as part of the Basterds ensemble, but point taken -- how does this guy now have more acting awards than Glenn? Well, Cary Grant never won an Oscar in competition, so at least Glenn's in good company -- and where there's life, there's hope!

Paul Johnson

The Human comedy apparently also equals Ah, Wilderness in my mind. Getting my bucolic, small town plays all mixed up.


So long as we're going to ten nominees, they really should've given a nomination to Two Lovers. A better movie than at least 8 of the movies that were nominated.

Tom Russell

Unfortunately from what I understand, the HDNET release of TWO LOVERS before its theatrical run in L.A. invalidated it.

Anthony Nicholas

Biggest Oscar snub: Best Supporting Actor Glenn Kenny for The Girlfriend Experience.


Paul: Understandable, especially since both The Human Comedy and Summer Holiday (the 1948 musical version of Ah, Wilderness) star Mickey Rooney.

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