Oscar Retrospective 2009

Leading up to the 84th Annual Academy Awards the In The Bagg staff will take a look back at the past ten years of the awards and will give their opinions on whether the movies/winners held up, if they academy completely shat the bed, and how strong that particular year was for movies.  Please note that the date in the title is for the year the movies were released, not the year the actual awards ceremony took place (so the Oscar Retrospective 2001 are for the awards that took place in 2002, or the 74th Academy Awards).

Chris:  Welcome to the expanded best picture field everyone.  The Hurt Locker was the best movie in my mind of the year (I’ve seen all of them but Precious), I thought it was very well directed and deserving.  Inglorious Basterds was good but was rather uneven.  Unfortunately they chose this year to start nominating Pixar movies, and while Up deserved a nomination (especially if Avatar and The Blind Side in the mix) it was not nearly as strong a candidate as Wall-E would have been the year before.  I have yet to see Jeff Bridges’s performance in Crazy Heart, but having seen the movies of the other nominees I’d have to say it was probably a fairly weak field.  If not for Mulligan’s performance in An Education the movie probably would have been much worse, so I might have given the nod to her.  This also is the strongest animated feature year to date, with Up beating out the, er, fantastic Fantastic Mr. Fox (which was, in all honesty a more impressive movie, strictly speaking in terms of animation).  This also marks the first year I watched all the nominated animated shorts and I’d have to say that Logorama was highly overrated and I found The Lady and the Reaper to be much more entertaining and focused.  But alas, whenever you can make a somewhat clever observation on the role corporations play in society (and what the general populous likes in general) then the Academy will eat you the fuck up.

Will:  This was the anything-but Avatar year as that picture has shown to not hold up only two years later. The winner, The Hurt Locker, was not a great picture but was the most relevant to the day’s headlines and the best of the expanded 10-film field. Jeff Bridges’ win for Crazy Heart was more of a lifetime achievement award but the Best Actor field was not deep to begin with. Sandra Bullock’s win seems quite silly for The Blind Side and any of the other candidates were much more preferable.

JoeDog: Inglourious  Basterds people. None of this Hurt Locker / Avatar BUUUULLLSHIT. Only two possible excuses for an Academy member not voting for it: A) They didn’t see it. B) They’re Naa-zis.

Jake:  Hurt Locker wins Best Picture defeating the giant – and far inferior – Avatar. The award however, is much more attributable to the times and the lack of worthy nominees than the picture itself. Kathryn Bigelow is a fine director but her film is far from perfect. Sandra Bullock’s Best Actress Oscar is comical and Jeff Bridges’s Oscar is another example of a life achievement award. Quentin Tarantino’s extremely well written screenplay for Inglorious Basterds is snubbed by Mark Boal’s The Hurt Locker script.

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