Monday, February 22, 2010

The Oscars, A Night of Firsts

By - Matt Stuttler

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards ceremony kicks off on Sunday, March 7, and will be hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. Commonly known as the “Oscars”, this will be a year of firsts for the historic night.

The biggest first springs from the obvious rivalry that exists between the pair of ex-spouse directors James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow. Both have nabbed nine Oscar nominations for their respective films Avatar (Cameron) and The Hurt Locker (Bigelow).

If Bigelow wins the Oscar Nomination for best director, she will become the first female to win the award and only the fourth to be nominated. When asked to comment on the possibility of being the first female director to win the Oscar, Bigelow responded philosophically with “I hope someday we can lose the modifier and that becomes a moot point whether the person is male or female and they’re just filmmakers making statements that they believe in.”

Another first comes from the Best Film nomination for Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, which features Lee Daniels as the first African American director whose film has been nominated. In the animated world, Up is the first CGI animated feature film to be nominated for Best Picture.

Another big first (in sixty years) for the night will be the broadening of the best picture nominees to ten, which is double that of the previous years. “Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going to allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize,” commented Sidney Ganis, the Academy President.

Some films, such as the previously mentioned Avatar and The Hurt Locker (each nominated nine times), received several nominations. They are Inglorious Basterds ( eight), Precious and Up in the Air (six), Up (five), District 9, Star Trek, and 9 ( four), An Education, Crazy Heart, The Princess and the Frog, and The Young Victoria (3).

The nominees for Best Picture are Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, A Serious Man, Up, and Up in the Air.

For Best Animated Feature Film, Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog, The Secret of Kells, and Up.

For Best Director, James Cameron (Avatar), Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), Lee Daniels (Precious) and Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds).

For Best Lead Actor, Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), George Clooney (Up in the Air), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker).

For Best Lead Actress, Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Gabourey Sidbe (Precious), and Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia). For a complete list, visit the Oscars web site at

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