While some are giddy for Oscar night, others are rolling their eyes at all the hoopla. Vanity Fair interviewed Terry Gilliam (Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) before the nominees were announced. His point-of-view on the whole affair puts a wet blanket on all the excitement. Does he value the Oscars? No: “It’s somewhat useful to get money a bit easier for your next movie. But that’s about it. It’s too many people that I’ve admired over the years who never got one. I don’t know what it represents anymore. It’s become too much of this controlled ritual.”
The NYT’s Melena Ryzik comments that ten best picture nominees have made the race less about being the number one favorite of some and more about the possibilities within a variable ranking system. She argues that we have already experienced a lead-up to Oscar night “with as much narrative sweep as a made-for-television mini-series,” and what audiences really want from the Oscar show is what they want from a good movie: escapism. In another story, Janet Roberts makes well-reasoned arguments on behalf of Bigelow, Bridges, Bullock, Waltz and Mo’Nique, yet remains murky on Best Picture: because of their prior wins, front-runners are Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Up In The Air, and Inglorious Basterds.
USA Today talks Oscar drama and points out that with ten nominees, "the Academy unleashed twice as many lobbyists needing half as many votes to win."
Would predicting be easier if the playing field wasn’t five players too crowded? Clarity aside, many Oscar observers see the ludicrousness of ten. New York Magazine’s David Edelstein calls the five additional nominees “fake-outs.” Have they just been there to confuse us and bask in what they probably know to be false honor? There are also more presenters this year, nearly 70, Steve Pond reports. So the Oscar spotlight is being spread around more than ever.
The Hurt Locker producer Nicolas Chartier has managed to steal the pre-Oscar spotlight. The LAT posted email correspondence between Chartier and a lawyer for Sergeant Jeffrey Sarver, who has filed a lawsuit against The Hurt Locker. Chartier was apparently unaware of Sarver and what he might have to complain about regarding the film. The Daily Beast's Nicole LaPorte reveals that Chartier, who was banned from Bigelow’s set long before he was banned from the Oscars, still has support: “Support Nicolas Chartier” was born on Facebook a few days ago, and is up to 134 members as of 1:12pm today.
To help Oscar-watchers win their office pool, HitFix highlights the favorites in each of the shorts categories.
In Contention’s Guy Lodge (remember, he's a Brit) argues for dark-horse nominee Janet Patterson, who designed the costumes for Jane Campion's Bright Star, "one of 2009’s most immaculately integrated – and under-rewarded – technical ensembles.” The nomination will hopefully draw more viewers to this meticulously detailed, understated film.
Many Oscar nominees have more on their schedules to juggle than the Oscar show itself. Donna Freydkin focuses on Precious best director nominee Lee Daniels’ non-stop schedule before he arrives Sunday at the Kodak Theatre, including Friday nights's Indie Spirit Awards, hosted by “action transvestive” Eddie Izzard.