The 82nd Annual Academy Awards will be handed out Sunday, March 7. This year, like every year, the nominations brought some No-Brainers, some Surprises and some Snubs. The Academy also shook thing up by going with the old 10 best picture nominees format—no doubt to help DVD sales, but that’s the cynic in me. Let’s take a look:



The Blind Side

District 9

An Education

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds

Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

A Serious Man


Up in the Air

The No-Brainer

    The 10 film format tips the scales for Avatar. For a ‘Chariots of Fire’ scenario (It beat the epic Warren Beatty saga Reds for best picture), there would have to be only one other obvious choice. Here there are at least three, the critical favorite being The Hurt Locker.

The Surprises

    The South African film District 9 is new in the mix. Up, I believe, was the first film to be nominated in both the Best Picture and Best Animated Picture categories. Joel and Ethan Coen’s exploration into the mind of a tormented Jewish man did not receive the critical acclaim of their previous Oscar-worthy projects.

The Snubs

    The biggest snub here is A Single Man, Tom Ford’s fledgling attempt behind the camera.


Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

George Clooney, Up in the Air

Colin Firth, A Single Man

Morgan Freeman, Invictus

Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

The No-Brainer

   This is Jeff Bridges’ year. He has given a number of Oscar-worthy performances, and this time I believe the stars have aligned.

The Surprises

    Jeremy Renner is the only actor on the list not nominated for a Golden Globe, although these are the identical five men nominated by the Screen Actors Guild.

The Snubs

    Viggo Mortensen got a lot of Oscar buzz for his role as a post-apocalyptic survivalist in the adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel, The Road. And Robert Downey Jr. could have easily made the list for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.


Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Helen Mirren, The Last Station

Carey Mulligan, An Education

Gabourey Sidibe, Precious

Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

The No-Brainers

    Sandra Bullock won both the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance as a cheeky Southern woman who takes in a homeless African-American boy. But Oscar can be snobby. Some may feel Bullock isn’t ‘Oscar material.’ Nevertheless the odds are with her.

The Surprises

    Again this is the identical list the Screen Actors Guild came up with, however if there is an obvious snub here—and I believe there is—it is Emily Blunt for her beautiful performance as The Young Victoria.

The other big snubs are:


Coen Brothers, A Serious Man

Guy Ritchie, Sherlock Holmes

Tom Ford, A Single Man

Original Screenplay:

James Cameron, Avatar

Supporting Actress:

Melanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds

Diane Kruger, Inglourious Basterds

Oscar predictions to follow…

More Tangential Thinker articles.