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Oscar Predictions

Before the 82nd Annual Academy Awards air this Sunday, I decided to take a stab at predicting what films will take home the Oscar. Get your Oscar ballots ready. I’ve done detailed analysis over the past months since awards season began, so trust me. My predictions are in bold.

Best Picture
“Avatar”, James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
“The Blind Side”, Nominees to be determined
“District 9”, Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
“An Education”, Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
“The Hurt Locker”, Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shaprio, Producers
“Inglourious Basterds”, Lawrence Bender, Producer
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”, Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
“A Serious Man”, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
“Up”, Jonas Rivera, Producer
“Up in the Air”, Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Inglourious Basterds was my favorite film of last year, so of course I’m going to say it should win the Best Picture Oscar. The Hurt Locker has won almost all the major pre-Oscar film awards, except the shitty Golden Globe, so I’m pretty confident in saying that it will win. I still think Avatar could pull out a win, or maybe even Inglourious Basterds, since Harvey Weinstein is campaigning hard for it. I think this late minute round of negative press surrounding The Hurt Locker came too late to hurt its chances. The safe bet remains The Hurt Locker. Maybe with 10 nominees something crazy could happen. We will see Sunday night.

Directing
“Avatar”, James Cameron
“The Hurt Locker”, Kathryn Bigelow
“Inglourious Basterds”, Quentin Tarantino
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”, Lee Daniels
“Up in the Air”, Jason Reitman

The clear winner is Kathryn Bigelow. She won the Directors Guild Award which almost perfectly lines up with the best director Oscar.

Actor in a Leading Role
Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Bridges has been around forever, and many consider it his time to win finally an Oscar.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Matt Damon in “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Waltz has won every major award prior to the Oscar. He is fantastic in the role and absolutely deserves to win.

Actress in a Leading Role
Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

As much as it pains me to admit, it looks like Bullock is going to win. There is chance that Streep might pull out a win, but it’s just a slim chance. It will be a dark day Sunday when Bullock wins for such a mediocre performance. Bullock has to be careful that her career not follow the same trajectory of other Best Actress winners. Anyone remember Louis Fletcher? Exactly.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Penelope Cruz in “Nine”
Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Mo’Nique has won every major award before the Oscar, so she’s unstoppable.

Animated Feature Film
“Coraline”, Henry Selick
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”, Wes Anderson
“The Princess and the Frog”, John Musker and Ron Clements
“The Secret of Kells”, Tomm Moore
“Up”, Pete Docter

Pixar always wins this category and this year should be no different. I would personally love it if Fantastic Mr. Fox won, but I’m not counting on it.

Art Direction
“Avatar”, Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”, Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
“Nine”, Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
“Sherlock Holmes”, Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Young Victoria”, Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Avatar has to win something on Oscar night. The film won the Art Director Guild award for best fantasy film, so I think it will win this category. This is also one of the few categories in which the film is not competing against The Hurt Locker in, so the Academy will throw it something.

Cinematography
“Avatar”, Mauro Fiore
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, Bruno Delbonnel
“The Hurt Locker”, Barry Ackroyd
“Inglourious Basterds”, Robert Richardson
“The White Ribbon”, Christian Berger

This is one of the categories that I find difficult to predict. The cinematography guild awarded the black and white cinematography of The White Ribbon. The Hurt Locker or Avatar could pull out a win. I love the classical cinematography by Richardson for Basterds. I think the Academy will shun Avatar’s cinematography in favor of The Hurt Locker’s realistic, handheld feel.

Costume Design
“Bright Star”, Janet Patterson
“Coco before Chanel”, Catherine Leterrier
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”, Monique Prudhomme
“Nine”, Colleen Atwood
“The Young Victoria”, Sandy Powell

The last couple of years a period film won this award. To top it off, The Young Victoria also won the costume guild award.

Documentary (Feature)
“Burma VJ”, Anders Ostergaard and Lise Lense-Moller
“The Cove”, Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens
“Food, Inc.”, Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers”, Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
“Which Way Home”, Rebecca Cammisa

The Cove has won every major documentary award prior to Oscar, so I’ll go with it to win

Documentary (Short Subject)
“China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province”, Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
“The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner”, Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant”, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
“Music by Prudence”, Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
“Rabbit a la Berlin”, Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

I have no idea what’s going in this category, but Oscar experts pick this film, so I’ll go with the consensus pick.

Film Editing
“Avatar”, Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
“District 9”, Julian Clarke
“The Hurt Locker”, Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
“Inglourious Basterds”, Sally Menke
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”, Joe Klotz

The Hurt Locker won the American Cinema Editors guild award. If there is an Avatar sweep, it could win in this category.

Foreign Language Film
“Ajami”, Israel
“El Secreto de Sus Ojos”, Argentina
“The Milk of Sorrow”, Peru
“Un Prophete”, France
“The White Ribbon”, Germany

This category is a complete toss-up. The Academy requires that all voters in this category attend screenings of all five nominees in order to vote. This category is unpredictable, so I have no idea who will win. Some Oscar experts are going for Un Prophete, or El Secreto de Sus Ojos from Argentina. I’ll stick with my first choice The White Ribbon, but I’ll probably end up wrong come Oscar night.

Makeup
“Il Divo”, Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
“Star Trek”, Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
“The Young Victoria”, Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Sometimes genre films do win this award, like Pan’s Labyrinth, but for the past couple years the Academy has given it to films set in the past.

Music (Original Score)
“Avatar”, James Horner
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”, Alexandre Desplat
“The Hurt Locker”, Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
“Sherlock Holmes”, Hans Zimmer
“Up”, Michael Giacchino

The score from Up was very good and memorable. Avatar could pull out a win, but I’m going with Up.

Music (Original Song)
“Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog”, Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog”, Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
“Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36”, Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
“Take It All” from “Nine”, Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart”, Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

This year a good song will actually win. Crazy Heart won the Golden Globe for best song, it’s gonna win, case closed.

Short Film (Animated)
“French Roast”, Fabrice O. Joubert
“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty”, Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)”, Javier Recio Gracia
“Logorama”, Nicolas Schmerkin
“A Matter of Loaf and Death”, Nick Park

I haven’t seen any of the films in this category, but I know that every year Nick Park has been nominated he has won.

Short Film (Live Action)
“The Door”, Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
“Instead of Abracadabra”, Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellstroem
“Kavi”, Gregg Helvey
“Miracle Fish”, Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
“The New Tenants”, Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

I haven’t seen any of these films, so you could close your eyes and randomly pick one of these nominees and have a fair chance of picking the winner. Oscar sites are going with Miracle Fish or The Door. I’ll go with Miracle Fish because Richard Roeper picked it. Don’t blame me if you end losing this category in your Oscar pool.

Sound Editing
“Avatar”, Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
“The Hurt Locker”, Paul N.J. Ottosson
“Inglourious Basterds”, Wylie Stateman
“Star Trek”, Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
“Up”, Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

I have no idea what the difference is between this and the other sound category, but I’m going with Avatar. Avatar won the Motion Picture Sound Editors award, which lines up pretty close with Oscar. Maybe the Hurt Locker or Inglourious Basterds could win here.

Sound Mixing
“Avatar”, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
“The Hurt Locker”, Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
“Inglourious Basterds”, Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
“Star Trek”, Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Once again I have no idea what the difference is between this category and Sound Editing. Avatar should do well in the technical categories. Maybe The Hurt Locker could pull out a victory here.

Visual Effects
“Avatar”, Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
“District 9”, Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
“Star Trek”, Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

This is a no brainer. If Avatar doesn’t win, I’ll be shocked.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
“District 9”, Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
“An Education”, Screenplay by Nick Hornby
“In the Loop”, Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”, Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
“Up in the Air”, Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

The Academy is going to throw Up in the Air something. This is the only category I see it winning. The Writers Guild Award the film won confirms that it will win.

Writing (Original Screenplay)
“The Hurt Locker”, Written by Mark Boal
“Inglourious Basterds”, Written by Quentin Tarantino
“The Messenger”, Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
“A Serious Man”, Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“Up”, Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

This is one of the races that is hard to predict. Tarantino’s script deserves to win, but I think it will go to The Hurt Locker. The Hurt Locker won the Writers Guild Award and BAFTA award. Basterds wasn’t eligible for the Writers Guild Award, but it was in direct competition with The Hurt Locker for the BAFTA. Screenwriter Mark Boal was an actual journalist embedded in Iraq, which can’t hurt his chances with voters. The Oscar voters love a good personal story.

2009 Oscar Nomination Reactions

February 2, 2010 Leave a comment

The ten best picture nominees were pretty much what I expected. The one surprise was that “Invictus” didn’t get nominated. I guess the support for the film wasn’t there. It only landed nominations for Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. “The Blind Side” took its spot among the ten best picture nominees. It’s a horrible, terrible film and doesn’t deserve to be among the ten. I liked the other 9 films nominated for best picture. It was good seeing “Inglourious Basterds,” “The Hurt Locker,” “A Serious Man” and “District 9” among the nominees.

Among the acting nominations, the only real surprise was Maggie Gyllenhaal for best supporting actress in “Crazy Heart.” She doesn’t deserve to be in there. Neither does Penelope Cruz in “Nine.” She’s terrible in the film. The Academy passed up the best performance in “Nine,” Marion Cotillard. The voting members were probably swayed by Cruz’s lingerie-clad musical number. It’s disappointing that Melanie Laurent or Diane Kruger of “Inglorious Basterds” didn’t make it in either the lead or supporting category. The best supporting actress award is going to Mo’Nique in “Precious.” The best actress race is contest between Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock. It will be a dark day if Sandra Bullock wins best actress.

Among the male acting nominations, there was no real surprises. Jeff Bridges is certain to win best actor for “Crazy Heart.” Christoph Waltz has the best supporting actor award in the bag. Other than Waltz, the best supporting actor nominees were very dull. Matt Damon is okay in “Invictus,” but not award worthy. The same goes for Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones.” There were a hell of a lot better performances that deserved to be nominated. Take a look at my outstanding picks for the best supporting male performances of the year.

Glad to see “In the Loop” make it in the best adapted screenplay category. Jason Reitman AND Sheldon Turner will probably win the adapted screenplay award. The best original screenplay award will go down as a battle between the two war films, Quentin Taratino’s “Inglourious Basterds” and “The Hurt Locker.” I was happy to see “Star Trek” and “500 Days of Summer” ignored in the screenplay categories.

It was great to see “Inglourious Basterds” make it with 8 nominations. I think it should win, but the race for best picture will probably come down to “Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker.” Both films are tied for the most nominations with 9 each. It seems proper that the director of those two film, James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow, were once married and will now battle it out for the best picture and best director awards. If I had to guess now, I would say “The Hurt Locker” takes home best picture and best director.

Complete List of the 82nd Annual Academy Award nominations:

Best Picture
“Avatar”, James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
“The Blind Side”, Nominees to be determined
“District 9”, Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
“An Education”, Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
“The Hurt Locker”, Nominees to be determined
“Inglourious Basterds”, Lawrence Bender, Producer
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”, Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
“A Serious Man”, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
“Up”, Jonas Rivera, Producer
“Up in the Air”, Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Actor in a Leading Role
Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Actor in a Supporting Role
Matt Damon in “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Actress in a Leading Role
Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Penelope Cruz in “Nine”
Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Animated Feature Film
“Coraline”, Henry Selick
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”, Wes Anderson
“The Princess and the Frog”, John Musker and Ron Clements
“The Secret of Kells”, Tomm Moore
“Up”, Pete Docter

Art Direction
“Avatar”, Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”, Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
“Nine”, Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
“Sherlock Holmes”, Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Young Victoria”, Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Cinematography
“Avatar”, Mauro Fiore
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, Bruno Delbonnel
“The Hurt Locker”, Barry Ackroyd
“Inglourious Basterds”, Robert Richardson
“The White Ribbon”, Christian Berger

Costume Design
“Bright Star”, Janet Patterson
“Coco before Chanel”, Catherine Leterrier
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”, Monique Prudhomme
“Nine”, Colleen Atwood
“The Young Victoria”, Sandy Powell

Directing
“Avatar”, James Cameron
“The Hurt Locker”, Kathryn Bigelow
“Inglourious Basterds”, Quentin Tarantino
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”, Lee Daniels
“Up in the Air”, Jason Reitman

Documentary (Feature)
“Burma VJ”, Anders Ostergaard and Lise Lense-Moller
“The Cove”, Nominees to be determined
“Food, Inc.”, Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers”, Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
“Which Way Home”, Rebecca Cammisa

Documentary (Short Subject)
“China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province”, Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
“The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner”, Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant”, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
“Music by Prudence”, Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
“Rabbit a la Berlin”, Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Film Editing
“Avatar”, Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
“District 9”, Julian Clarke
“The Hurt Locker”, Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
“Inglourious Basterds”, Sally Menke
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”, Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film
“Ajami”, Israel
“El Secreto de Sus Ojos”, Argentina
“The Milk of Sorrow”, Peru
“Un Prophete”, France
“The White Ribbon”, Germany

Makeup
“Il Divo”, Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
“Star Trek”, Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
“The Young Victoria”, Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Music (Original Score)
“Avatar”, James Horner
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”, Alexandre Desplat
“The Hurt Locker”, Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
“Sherlock Holmes”, Hans Zimmer
“Up”, Michael Giacchino

Music (Original Song)
“Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog”, Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog”, Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
“Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36”, Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
“Take It All” from “Nine”, Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart”, Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Short Film (Animated)
“French Roast”, Fabrice O. Joubert
“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty”, Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)”, Javier Recio Gracia
“Logorama”, Nicolas Schmerkin
“A Matter of Loaf and Death”, Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)
“The Door”, Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
“Instead of Abracadabra”, Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellstroem
“Kavi”, Gregg Helvey
“Miracle Fish”, Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
“The New Tenants”, Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing
“Avatar”, Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
“The Hurt Locker”, Paul N.J. Ottosson
“Inglourious Basterds”, Wylie Stateman
“Star Trek”, Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
“Up”, Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing
“Avatar”, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
“The Hurt Locker”, Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
“Inglourious Basterds”, Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
“Star Trek”, Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Visual Effects
“Avatar”, Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
“District 9”, Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
“Star Trek”, Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
“District 9”, Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
“An Education”, Screenplay by Nick Hornby
“In the Loop”, Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”, Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
“Up in the Air”, Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Writing (Original Screenplay)
“The Hurt Locker”, Written by Mark Boal
“Inglourious Basterds”, Written by Quentin Tarantino
“The Messenger”, Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
“A Serious Man”, Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“Up”, Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

A Cinematic Blinding

January 22, 2010 1 comment

I know I’m coming to “The Blind Side” very late. This film came out last year and was a huge box office hit. I had no plans to see it, but I caved in when Sandra Bullock started getting award attention for the film. Last week she won the Golden Globe for best actress in a drama. After seeing the film I have no idea why. This is a mediocre film which blinded me with its sentimental, cliché, boring tale.

The film, based on the book by Michael Lewis, recounts the true life story of Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her husband (Tim McGraw) taking in a poor, uneducated teenager, Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron). Eventually Oher becomes educated, becomes a great football player and becomes a real member of the Tuohy family. I’m not spoiling anything by giving away the plot of the film. We know where it’s going right from the start.

Sandra Bullock is entertaining and fun to watch playing this strong, good southern woman who takes in Oher and cares for him as one of her own children. The problem with Bullock’s performance is that her character doesn’t change at all. In one scene Bullock tells her friends that Oher is actually changing her life. The way she delivers it, right with a big dramatic pause, is laughable. Bullock doesn’t deserve any award attention for this film. It’s shocking that anyone is talking about her receiving an Oscar nomination for this performance.

With the film’s focus on Bullock, we never really get to know Michael Oher as a character. He is portrayed as a tall, simple, silent giant. That’s not a real character. Apparently all his troubles in life goes back to the moment where he was taken away from his drug addicted mother as a child. This may be true, but it comes across as an easy answer to Oher’s very troubled past. A.O. Scott  of the New York Times points out a good example when talking about how much of a blank character Oher is portrayed on-screen. Oher isn’t a very good football player at first, but when Bullock tells him to think of the team as members of her family, he magically becomes a great player. Oher scored very highly on protective instinct on some test he took in the past, so Bullock uses that to her advantage here. Scott says it is “as if the young man were a 300-pound robot she had reprogrammed with the flip of the switch.”

Writer-director John Lee Hancock aims this story to the masses. There is no room for any nuance in the film. There isn’t much room for any drama either. You would think bringing in a stranger into the Tuohy home would create some serious drama within this family. Nope. The family is so perfect, there boring to watch on-screen. There is a little bit of conflict involving the Tuohy’s daughter being teased at school because Oher is staying at their home. This is discussed in a conversation the girl has with Bullock, and then never brought up again. This perfect family also has to feature the cliché adorable young child, who is beyond annoying.

I can see why this picture is a success. It’s an uplifting true story that features a clean, perfect southern family. I can see how this could play to the middle of the country, who is not used to Hollywood portraying a family in such a perfect light. This film may have moved some people, it only moved me closer to the theatre exit.

2 Stars