Tomorrow morning, in the early hours before the sun comes up, Academy Awards nominations will be announced. There are any number of places on the Internet, beginning with the sidebar of this page, where you can look up predictions for who and what will be nominated.
I do not predict anything, and I presume to know nothing. Full disclosure, I do have a list of predictions, but I’m not crazy enough to publish them. Rather, in keeping with tradition, I will posit my ideas for what should have been nominated in this category or that. It’s like a wish list. So, here is my wish list for tomorrow morning in the top six categories.
All listings alphabetical
Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker-- a deliberately paced, wonderfully controlled film that rewards the viewer with something new every time
James Cameron for Avatar-- a singularly great vision from a singularly great visionary, Avatar is a film that could never have been made by anybody but Cameron
Joel and Ethan Coen for A Serious Man-- you can’t make the best picture of the year and not be among the best directors
Spike Jonze for Where the Wild Things Are-- he made childhood real, and that is a feet unmatched in recent cinema
Lars Von Trier for Antichrist-- this is a dangerous, provocative, and difficult movie, which proves Von Trier’s boast that he is the “greatest filmmaker in the world”
Four of these actors ended up on my top ten performances of the year list. The last, Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker gives such a subtle, nuanced performance that it can not be ignored.
Colin Firth for A Single Man; Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker; Sam Rockwell for Moon; Peter Saarsgard for An Education; Michael Stuhlbarg for A Serious Man
Each of these performances is so different, and each actress plays a woman at a different stage in her life. One is deciding what her life is (Mulligan); one is deciding what her life is worth (Gainsbourg); what her body is worth (Grey); what her love is worth (Cruz); whether or not she has enough love to give (Rudolph). They are all great.
Penelope Cruz for Broken Embraces; Charlotte Gainsbourg for Antichrist; Sasha Grey for The Girlfriend Experience; Carey Mulligan for An Education; Maya Rudolph for Away We Go
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Among these, there are a Jew hunter and a Jew, a monster and a tyrant, and a soldier whose life is in upheaval as his life is in peril.
James Gandolfini for Where the Wild Things Are; Anthony Mackie for The Hurt Locker; Christian McKay for Me and Orson Welles; Fred Melamed for A Serious Man; Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Two of these women (Portillo and Lothor) appeared in little seen foreign dramas as support for the primary men in their lives. In a way, they are both subservient, but one relationship is built on love and mutual respect, the other on hatred and degradation. I urge you to see both films.
Lauren Ambrose for Where the Wild Things Are; Melanie Laurent for Inglourious Basterds; Susanne Lothor for The White Ribbon; Julianne Moore for A Single Man; Blanca Portillo for Broken Embraces
This year, the Academy expanded the best picture race to include ten films. As such, my wish list for best picture nominees mirrors exactly my top ten films of the year. Here, they appear in alphabetical order.
Antichrist; Avatar; Drag Me to Hell; The Girlfriend Experience; The Hurt Locker; Inglourious Basterds; Moon; A Serious Man; A Single Man; Where the Wild Things Are