During depressions and recessions, good times and bad, Americans go to the movies. With 1.3 billion movie tickets sold, 2010 was another banner year for Hollywood. It’s precisely that infatuation with the big screen that makes the Academy Awards one of the year’s truly momentous events. The Emily Rooney Show’s Jared Bowen and Thomas Doherty, film buff and American studies professor at Brandeis University, walk us through the snubs, surprises, and predictions.
Jared Bowen: It’s predictable straight down the line. For Bostonians, it was a mixed bag. While The Fighter was nominated, there was only one nomination for The Town(Jeremy Renner for Best Supporting Actor).
Thomas Doherty: It was predictable... but these are ten really worthy films. There may be one or two that are not your cup of tea, but there a lot of good films from a lot of different genres. One thing that’s missing are comedies. It’s a really somber list.
JB: I think it’s going to go to the King’s Speech… either that or True Grit.
TD: I know King’s Speech is the middlebrow pick, but I still really enjoyed it.
Emily Rooney:True Grit was pretty predictable. It was just straight western with no Coen Brother twists or weird plotting.
TD: This might be why it’s the Coen Brother's most successful movie. It’s sort of the anti-No Country for Old Men. They were really smart to stick with the original literary voice of the girl from the book.
JB: Despite getting no attention from Golden Globes or other awards shows, it was the second most highly nominated film by the Academy. Whatever the Coen Brothers do, they have such an eye for everything. The music always work, the costumes are great, and the cinematography is always beautiful.
TD: I bet you both dinner that Colin Firth will win this category.
ER: I thought 127 Hours was just a fantastic movie, and I really liked James Franco.
TD: What’s strange is that he’s also hosting the Academy Awards.
JB: This has happened before. Michael Caine hosted the Academy Awards years ago when he was nominated (in 1973, Michael Caine was nominated as Best Actor for Sleuth). History shows that if you are hosting, you will not win… I’m not sure he will win, but I really liked Jesse Eisenberg will win. I usually get to interview all the nominees, but this year he’s the only one I’ve interviewed.
TD: I thought Bridges mumbles too much in True Grit.
ER: Christian Bale was great, but the movie was just okay.
JB: This is Annette Benning’s fourth nomination and she completely deserves to win it for The Kids Are Alright… but there is also Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole. Kids was so original, and so basic. It’s a simple movie that has a great exploration of traditional family dynamics.
TD: I think Kids is weirder than that. It’s one of the few movies where the heterosexual sex is hotter than the homosexual sex. Julianne Moore has this great hetero sex, but then she returns to being in this boring homosexual couple. The gender dynamics are really curious.
JB: I really loved Black Swan.
TD: I like Black Swan but it’s a film that really divides people. People who like ballet tend to not like it, while those who don’t know ballet tend to really like it.
JB: You’re not really supposed to be paying attention to the ballet, you’re supposed to be paying attention to Natalie Portman’s descent into madness. It’s born out her obsession with her art. It really works for me. I think she will win best actress over Annette Benning.
TD: It scores very well with the young female demographic. It was surprised how at the screening I was at, the audience was much younger than I expected.
Best Supporting Actor
JB: Christian Bale will get best supporting actor. I thought Geoffrey Rush played the part as fairly creepy, which I don’t think was the intention, so it didn’t really work for me.
TD: I agree.
Best Supporting Actress
JB: I was a little surprised by Hailee Steinfeld’s nomination for best supporting actress. Mellissa Leo from The Fighter is my pick, and she’s up against Amy Adams from the same movie. As the mother, Leo is indomitable.
JB: What’s missing is Mila Kunis from Black Swan and Julette Lewis from Conviction, who had about 4 or 5 minutes of screen time but she gives a master-class in acting.
TD: For me, it was Never Let Me Go, which had Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield, who was in the social network. That movie really got to me, but it slipped under the radar.
Greater Boston’s Jared Bowen and film critic Joyce Kulhawik give Emily their take on what Oscar night might bring.
MORE OSCAR COVERAGE
SEE THE FULL LIST OF NOMINEES