Director: Bill Condon (Kinsey, Gods and Monsters)
Cast: Beyoncé Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy, Anika Noni Rose, Danny Glover, Keith Robinson
This movie was slated as the frontrunner for Best Picture by pundits and was thought to be the frontrunner for the big trophy on Oscar night but, alas, the film was not nearly as good as everyone predicted it would be and failed to get its predicted Best Picture nomination. Bill Condon also got snubbed as Best Director. The film failed for all sorts of reasons, but critics mostly agree that the film's stars, Beyoncé Knowles and Jamie Foxx, are the ones who really failed. Nevertheless, it looks pretty (much like last year's Memoirs of a Geisha) and got the most nominations of any film. Oscar was paying attention to this movie, but didn't particularly care for it.
Will Win: Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Sound Mixing
Might Also Win: Best Art Direction, Best Original Song
My Rating: #34 out of 67
Director: Iñárritu (21 Grams, Amores Perros)
Cast: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael García Bernal, Adriana Barraza, Rinko Kikuchi, Kôji Yakusho, Michael Peña, Clifton Collins Jr.
Everyone seems to think this film has prestige written all over it. It has some great movie-star-in-makeup-that-makes-me-look-ugly parts and is genuinely emotionally affecting if heavy-handed. The film has support across the board, though it may end up going home with nothing, like last year's Good Night, and Good Luck.
Will Win: N/A
Might Also Win: Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, Best Film Editing, Best Origina; Score
My Rating: #24 out of 67
Director: Frears (Mrs Henderson Presents, Dirty Pretty Things, High Fidelity, Dangerous Liaisons, My Beautiful Laundrette)
Cast: Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, Helen McCrory, James Cromwell, Sylvia Syms, Alex Jennings
Michael Sheen was totally robbed for a nomination. I also really loved Helen McCrory in this film. This is easily my favorite of the Best Picture nominees. As far as Oscar goes, I think for them this film is "The Helen Mirren Show" and not much more, a lot like last year's Capote.
Will Win: Best Actress, Best Original Score
Might Also Win: Best Original Screenplay
My Rating: #9 out of 67
Director: Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, The Devil's Backbone, Blade II, Mimic)
Cast: Sergi López, Maribel Verdú, Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Álex Angulo, Doug Jones
This is a horror film! The fact that it's doing so well with the Academy is a bit of an anomaly. Fantasy films occasionally do well--okay not that often. But that a horror film did this well is really shocking. These nominations surprised a lot of people, me included, but the film is excellent and I feel like the Academy really did something right here.
Will Win: Best Foreign Language Film, Best Art Direction, Best Makeup
Might Also Win: Best Cinematography
My Rating: #16 out of 67
Director: Scorsese (Bringing Out the Dead, Kundun, Casino, The Age of Innocence, Cape Fear, The Color of Money, Raging Bull)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin
This movie is probably the most widely loved of all the candidates this year (as opposed to just generally supported). And the public loves this movie too. It made tons of money and boasts--bar none--the best acting ensemble of any film this year, in my opinion. Warner completely botched the marketing of this film, or you would see many more nominations than you do, including one for Best Actor, one for Cinematography, and an additional one for Best Supporting Actor. The performances in this movie are really outstanding. I expect this movie to take the big prize at the end of the night, but we all know that Best Picture is the most confusing it's been in forever, so who knows what will happen. let me just give one final shout out to the Academy for nominating the perennially underappreciated Mark Wahlberg. His was my favorite performance in the film and I was as excited as I've ever been on nomination morning to hear his name read. Now, if they could just get around to recognizing the brilliance that is Alec Baldwin...
Will Win: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing
Might Also Win: N/A
My Rating: #30 out of 67
More to come...