The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces its Oscar nominations next Tuesday, and it’ll probably be the usual mix of campaign front-runners and minor, mostly unpleasant surprises. I don’t get to vote for the nominees, but only because I’m a noncontributing force in both the art and science of motion pictures (and yet Ron Howard still gets a vote).
There are worthy films and performances from 2010 that are likely to get hosed this Tuesday, so if any of the two dozen Star Wars nerds who read this column have a vote, I humbly ask that you consider these underdog Oscar nominees:
Best Actress: Julianne Moore, Chloe. In a year with so few worthy A-list candidates, “outsiders” like Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) and Giovanna Mezzogiorno (Vincere) have legitimate shots at scoring nominations, but the Academy shouldn’t ignore four-time nominee Julianne Moore, so good in the sexy but unstable Chloe.
Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, I’m Still Here. Phoenix was Oscar-nominated for unconvincing performances in Gladiator and Walk the Line, so why not honor him for his most convincing, most disturbing, scariest and funniest performance yet?
Best Animated Film: Megamind. 2010 was rife with cartoon duds (Tangled, Legend of the Guardians, The Expendables), yet Megamind has been largely dismissed, despite its tart humor, crisp visuals, and excellent voice work by Will Ferrell and Tina Fey.
Best Documentary: Exit Through the Gift Shop. The Academy’s tendency is to reward importance as much as quality, which is why this category is usually dominated by war, poverty and disease. Banksy’s cheeky poke at the underground art world may not have the requisite “moral weight,” but it is the best.
Best Director: Banksy. Anything to get him to the telecast—tell me you wouldn’t to kill to see that Joan Rivers red-carpet interview.