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Oscar Hopefuls Look to March

MCT

(Courtesy MCT)

Fret not, pop culture enthusiasts, the nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards, known more commonly as the Oscars, are in, and it is predicted to be a great show. The stars will parade down the plush red carpet, decked out in the latest fashions, vying for the attention of the paparazzi on March 7.

There are slight changes to the show this year. For one, both Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will host the event together. The funny men battled for Meryl Streep’s affection in “It’s Complicated” earlier this season and are in a Saturday Night Live hosting competition – Martin is at 15, while Baldwin has had the honor 14 times.

Jokingly, Martin released a statement saying, “I am happy to co-host the Oscars with my enemy Alec Baldwin.” Baldwin then retorted, “I don’t play the banjo but I’m thrilled to be hosting the Oscars – it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”

This year, the Academy has upped the number of best picture nominees from five to 10, probably to account for the number of buzzed-about movies of 2009. Some of the potential winners include: “Avatar,” “The Blind Side,” “Up,” “Inglourious Basterds,” and “Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.”

“Avatar” seems to be the early favorite, though there is a good chance “The Blind Side” could steal it. Noticeably absent is “The Young Victoria,” one of the better movies of the year, which garnered initial Oscar buzz.

“Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker” are up for the most awards, tied at nine each. They are followed closely by “Inglourious Basterds,” with eight nominations, and “Precious,” with six.

The best director category is filled with directors of these great movies. James Cameron, no stranger to the award, thanks to 1990s blockbuster “Titanic,” could take it for “Avatar,” or be contested by the likes of Quentin Tarantino or Kathryn Bigelow, to name a few.

The best actress category is filled with five amazing actresses, all greatly respected in their own right. Meryl Streep is nominated for “Julie and Julia,” perhaps simply as a nod for her talents, as the movie itself was not that wonderful. She did what she could with the role, imitating Julia Child nearly perfectly, but perhaps a more deserving actress would be Sandra Bullock for “The Blind Side,” or newcomer Gabourey Sidibe for her work in “Precious.” Bullock seems to be the predicted winner.

Best actor, however, is more cumbersome. Viewers could see Morgan Freeman clutching the gold man for his role as Nelson Mandela in “Invictus,” Jeremy Renner from “The Hurt Locker,” or even George Clooney from “Up in the Air.” The award may be a toss up as the actors including Jeff Bridges and Colin Furth lack in buzz and outstanding reviews.

Actors up for best supporting roles include Matt Damon, Stanley Tucci (probably the most deserving, thanks to his creepy portrayal of a rapist and murderer in “The Lovely Bones”) and Christopher Plummer. Some big name ladies were nominated for best supporting actress. Penelope Cruz or Maggie Gyllenhaal may receive the award, though many tweens would love to see the “Twilight” funny girl Anna Kendrick receive the trophy for “Up in the Air,” one of her first major roles.

Last year was a standout year for children’s movies. Kids and adults alike went in droves to see many of the movies nominated for best animated feature, such as the illustrious “Up,” the darkly humorous “Coraline,” as well as the newest Disney princess flick, “The Princess and the Frog.” Any of the movies in this category would be extremely deserving of the Oscar.

Many believe that a few films are unfortunately absent from the ballots. These worthy movies include “The Young Victoria,” “Alfred Molina,” “The Road” and “Nine.” In particular, “Nine” did not receive spectacular reviews, but it was predicted to at least make the best movies nominations. The others were relative unknowns, but great pictures in their own right.

Regardless of who should or should not have been nominated, the nominees will make their way to the Kodak Theater on March 7 in hopes of a win. Millions will tune in to see their favorite stars win and make lofty speeches, hopefully retiring to bed satisfied that Sunday night.

Because of the great nominees, and therefore great competition, this year’s Academy Awards is sure to be a must-see. This, at least, is an accurate prediction.

Kate MacDonald can be reached at kaitlynm@student.umass.edu.

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