Yeah, I've been sitting chewing on the Oscar nominations for about a week now. Part of my silence really stems from lack of time to put thoughts on paper. Besides teaching full time, I'm also coaching a speech team (five kids head to Sectionals this weekend, and I have my first Regional champion -- the team itself placed fourth), directing a school musical (Wonderful Town), starring in another play (Plaza Suite), and generally trying to keep my head above water. Sigh!
As expected, there weren't a ton of surprises in the nominations. I went 8-for-10 in the Best Picture race. I knew Star Trek and The Hangover were long shots, but darnit, I liked both of those movies . . . a lot. I will admit I briefly entertained throwing The Blind Side in there, but I kind of assumed Sandra Bullock's shoe-in nomination would be sufficient. It wasn't. Despite my love of Sandra Bullock, I have not seen The Blind Side for one simple reason -- the previews made me weep copiously. I can't imagine what the whole movie would do. I cry easily at movies. I am, in fact, rather notorious for my "ability" to cry at just about anything cinematically. Some movie, I just get a little teary -- say for the end of The Mighty Ducks. (Come on, when that kid scores the winning goal? Priceless! For some reason, triumphant sports movies get me every time.) Other movies leave me heaving gut-wrenching sobs that I am sure make every other patron absolutely miserably uncomfortable. I was a total mess by the end of Finding Neverland and nearly inconsolable at the end of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I have, over the course of the past couple years, made sort of a conscious effort to avoid movies that I think will put me in that "I'm embarrassing myself" place in terms of tears. The Blind Side seemed like such a film. Darnit! Of course, it's a longshot to win, so I'm not going to be racing all over the state of Illinois to find a theatre still playing it. I like to see the winner, but I don't necessarily feel the drive I once did to see every nominee, especially now that there are 10 to contend with instead of 5.
Of the pictures nominated, I have, I am embarrassed to admit, only seen two -- Avatar and Inglorious Basterds. Many of the nominees have not shown up in my town. A couple of them did, but I missed them because they fall into categories of films I generally don't go see. I'm not a huge fan of animated films, so I missed Up. (Plus, I heard a lot of people talking about how Up made them cry, and if there's anything I hate more than crying in the movie theatre, it's crying in a movie theatre full of children!) I usually don't go for sci fi, so no District 9 for me. I expect the next couple weekends will be busy with me tracking the nominees out of DVD down so that I can enjoy them (on my new HDTV -- thank you, IRS) in the comfort of my own home.
Even though I haven't seen it, I am kind of rooting for The Hurt Locker. I understand it's wonderful, and the English teacher/theatre geek in me loves the story I could see developing on Oscar night where the little David of a movie (if it wins, The Hurt Locker will be the lowest grossing best picture of all time) beats the mighty Goliath of a movie (if it wins, Avatar would be the highest grossing best picture of all time). Add to it that it pits Kathryn Bigelow against ex-husband James Cameron . . . . I spent a lot of my formative years watching soap operas, and I guarantee you Gloria Monty, Bill Bell, and James E. Reilly combined couldn't come up with better shit even if Agnes Nixon stood over them cracking the whip. (Granted, Reilly probably would have had Linda Hamilton burying Suzy Amis alive while Arnold Schwarzenegger schemed to take down Bigelow, but that's another story.)
As for the acting categories, again, not a lot of surprises. Good to see Maggie Gyllenhaal sneak in there for having the torturous job of having to fall in love with Jeff Bridges on screen. (I am not going to mention the ick factor of 32-year-old Gyllenhaal being romanced by 60-year-old Bridges if only because, well, I wouldn't kick Bridges out of bed no matter how old he is!) The other categories pretty much went as expected. I'd included Alfred Molina as my longshot in Supporting Actor, but I knew it was a longshot.
I hope as the next couple weeks play out, I'll get a little more invested in the Oscars. I think that the difficulty in actually getting to see pictures like An Education, Precious, and Up in the Air (yes, Up in the Air has STILL not shown up in my town!) has dampened my spirits a little. But hey, at least I saw Avatar!