Analyzing the 2010 Oscar Nominations: What the Academy Got Right and Wrong

I've been getting up early to watch the Oscar nominations for a while now, but this year marked the first time I ever viewed the announcement online over a live stream. If you haven't tried that yet, I highly recommend it. The audio can be slightly out-of-sync, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons here.


You don't have to sit around and watch the weather while you wait for the good stuff, and you aren't forced to see how out of touch news reporters are when it comes to predicting nominees. You get what you woke up early for, and then it's done.


As far as the nominations for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards go, the picks were, for the most part, what everyone generally expected. There were a few nice surprises in technical categories, and there were some bad choices in there, too (including one very big one), but all in all, things panned out in relatively undramatic fashion.


Still, here are the highlights and lowlights from Tuesday's annoucement.




  • BEST PICTURE: Despite receiving such little attention from major awards precursors for the better part of the year, A Serious Man made the cut, and Up becomes the second film in the Academy's history to earn a nomination for Best Picture. However, it is the very first to be nominated in both Picture and Animated Feature Film.
  • DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) becomes the fourth woman to ever receive a nomination in this category, and Lee Daniels (Precious) is now the second of two African-American males to be nominated for directing.
  • ACTOR: The category's been pretty much sewn up since the fall, but still glad to see Jeremy Renner's name on the list.
  • ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: I don't suspect that everyone will agree with me, but while I enjoyed (500) Days of Summer, I think The Messenger benefited from a much better script.
  • ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: It was a risky choice, but I'm glad I went with In the Loop, and I'm glad the Academy did, too.
  • CINEMATOGRAPHY: Pleasantly surprised to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince show up here. It's unquestionably the best-looking film in the franchise.
  • MUSIC SCORE: Alexandre Desplat had to get in somewhere, and even though Coco Before Chanel was his best album of 2009, Fantastic Mr. Fox was a close second.
  • ORIGINAL SONG: I assumed Avatar's "I See You" was a done deal, but I'm glad the Academy decided to actually listen to the song. Ditto with Nine, with the Oscars going with "Take It All" over "Cinema Italiano."




  • BEST PICTURE: The Blind Side? Really? A film with a "C+" critical average gets in over movies like Star Trek and The Messenger? Terrible, terrible decision, and a valid point for why this 10-nominee BP rule should go away. Soon.
  • ACTRESS: I'm not sure why the Academy (and everyone else, it seems like) hated Bright Star so much, but Abbie Cornish should be an Oscar nominee today.
  • SUPPORTING ACTOR: I'm beginning to wonder if Alfred Molina (An Education) will ever get nominated, and Anthony Mackie was just as good as Renner in The Hurt Locker.
  • SUPPORTING ACTRESS: I think Samantha Morton gave one of the most understated performances of the year in The Messenger, and she deserved some recognition for it.
  • ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Why the lack of love for Ponyo?
  • SHORT FILM (Animated): Granted, I haven't seen all of the other nominees, but I have serious doubts any of them would turn out to be anywhere near as imaginative as The Cat Piano.
  • ART DIRECTION - SET DECORATION: I'd substitute Avatar for the production design of Inglourious Basterds.
  • CINEMATOGRAPHY: No Bright Star, the best photographed film of the year.
  • FILM EDITING: No Star Trek?
  • MAKEUP: Why is Il Divo here? And as someone who failed to see the brilliance in District 9, I do think the makeup department did a great job. This was the frontrunner going into nominations. Now I guess it's Star Trek's to lose.
  • MUSIC SCORE: Where are Coco Before Chanel and A Single Man? I loved The Hurt Locker, but the music was probably the most forgettable aspect of the film.


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Comments 4 comments

Megan 6 years ago

I think it was a mistake to nominate Up for Best Picture. Beauty and the Beast is a far superior and its record doesn't deserve to be broken by a fairly mediocre animated movie like Up.

Trevor 6 years ago

What about nominations for "Moon?" Actor, director, original screenplay, art direction?

"The Road," actor, supporting actor, director, cinematography, original music, and adapted screenplay?

Sandra Brown 6 years ago

This is the best review of the nominations I have seen ANY WHERE! I like Sandra Bullock, but this was not her best work, in my opinion. Someone said, and I agree, this movie could have easily been and LifeTime Movie, and a good one at that. In terms of total enjoyment, Sandra Bullock was much better and actually showed more range in The Proposal, which I loved.

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mandawg9 6 years ago Author


I haven't seen "Moon" yet, but it never had a realistic chance. A lot of small films didn't, including two I really liked, "Two Lovers" and "The Damned United."

I haven't seen "The Road" either, but I can say that the music score were definitely good enough to get nominated. The film never had a lot of momentum in its favor, though, and it probably received too much of a lukewarm response to ever qualify for any of the big awards.

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