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District 9: Oscar Contender?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 20, 2009 at 3:45AM

District 9 is a great movie that deserves every kudo and by all accounts played great for the Academy the other night.
Thompson on Hollywood

District 9 is a great movie that deserves every kudo and by all accounts played great for the Academy the other night.

People are banging the Oscar drums, even my old boss Peter Bart. But I can't imagine District 9 landing in the top ten. It's an alien sci-fi thriller with a serious ick factor. As an example, Silence of the Lambs boasted established director Jonathan Demme and top-notch performances from Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.

District 9 should gets some technical nods, absolutely. But the real member of the Oscar club is producer Peter Jackson. Director Neill Blomkamp is new, as are co-writer Terri Tatchell and rookie producer-turned-actor Sharlto Copley. Cinematography, VFX, editing and sound are the noms the film could win, deservedly. I know it has a serious theme, and the critics will go nuts at the end of the year, lots of ten best lists. But the old folks in the Academy? I don't think so. Women? Nope. That said, would I have ever guessed that Crash would win best picture? Not a chance.

If I was a member I'd vote for it. But many of the folks in the executive and publicity branches, especially, tend to vote more mainstream. And will the actors vote for this? This movie is shot doc-style with lots of improv. It isn't what they tend to go for. They should. But they tend to vote for their own.

This article is related to: Awards, Directors, Genres, Studios, Oscars, Peter Jackson, Sci-fi, Sony/Screen Gems/Sony Pictures Classics

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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.