Saturday, March 06, 2010

Team Meryl!!!

Oscars race: Who will be 'it', Meryl or Sandra?
By Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. correspondent (The Philippine Star)

That is one of the two biggest questions leading to Sunday’s (Monday morning, Manila time) Oscars and many Oscar prognosticators have already crowned Sandra Bullock, the effervescent queen of romantic-comedies, the eventual Best Actress winner even before the curtains start to unfurl at the much-awaited 82nd Annual Academy Awards.

But I will dare go against the almost universal consensus. No one should ever count out the greatest living actress in Hollywood. In fact, this writer declares that it will finally be Meryl Streep’s year to win her third Oscar after having lost 12 times since winning for Sophie’s Choice in 1982. This year, the accomplished actress collected her record-making 16th acting nomination which also made her the only actress to have received at least one nomination for five successive decades since the ‘70s.

But then again, I cannot completely discount Sandra’s uncharacteristic and impressive performance in the heart-tugging The Blind Side. Sandra has racked up most of the awards leading to this Sunday’s show with wins at the Globes, SAG Awards and the Critics Choice Awards, which she shared with Meryl for a rare tie.

This is the second year in a row that Meryl finds herself in a tight race for Best Actress. Last year her tour-de-force performance as a stern nun in Doubt lost to a marvelous Kate Winslet in the Holocaust drama The Reader.

The Academy has a history of bestowing belated honors to actors for deser-ving performances delivered in previous years. Penelope Cruz is the most recent example of that. The Spanish actress wowed critics in 2007 for her turn in Volver but she lost to Helen Mirren, who was excellent as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen. The following year, Cruz received the Best Supporting Actress award for her neurotic ex-wife turn in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Of course she was good in the movie and being good could work for Meryl, too.

But Meryl was not merely good she was extraordinary as Chef Julia Child in Julie & Julia. So on Sunday, if Sandra wins for Best Actress, this writer will be among many fans cheering her on, but should Meryl pull the night’s biggest surprise then I am claiming her win.

The other Best Actress nominees are Gabourey Sidibe as an abused illiterate teen in Precious, Helen Mirren as the suffering wife of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station and Carey Mulligan, the British newcomer who was initially considered the frontrunner for her heartbreaking role as a teenager in love with an older man in An Education before Sandra and Meryl took charge.

If the Best Actress race is too close to call, the frontrunners in the other acting categories are just awaiting their formal coronation.

Jeff Bridges is tipped to win his first Oscar nearly 40 years after his first nomination in the classic Peter Bogdanovich film The Last Picture Show. Other nominees for Best Actor are George Clooney (Up in the Air), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), Colin Firth (A Single Man) and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker).

Singer-actress Mo’nique and German actor Christoph Waltz dominated the Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor race respectively during the entire award season that the Academy could already engrave their names on the trophy and not feel embarrassed by it.

The pair delivers villainous performances that are both commanding and wickedly charming in the case of Christoph in Ingluorious Basterds and profoundly pathetic for Mo’nique in Precious. Their exceptional performances provide fodder to the old saying that there are indeed no small roles, only small actors. They may be considered small actors yet their performances are the biggest things in their respective movies.

The only other suspense going into Sunday’s show has the potential to deliver the night’s other biggest surprise whichever way it goes.

Whoever wins between Avatar and The Hurt Locker for Best Picture is going to be a surprise either way.

Avatar is the biggest-grossing film in movie history. It has amassed nearly $3-B in global box-office which, unfortunately, is the only thing going its way. Its only significant win for Best Picture was at the Golden Globes — Drama category.

On the other hand, The Hurt Locker, the small independent movie that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2008, has only grossed a measly $19-M in global ticket sales yet has won the most awards and recognition. The Iraq-themed movie was named Best Picture by both the New York and L.A. film critics, which rarely pick the same movie, while also winning the Critics Choice, BAFTA and the Producers Guild nods.

With all the accolades going its way, The Hurt Locker might win Best Picture and its director, Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman to win Best Director, and she might do it at the expense of her ex-husband James Cameron. And if I’m proven wrong at least you still had a nice surprise.

Oscar pool tie-breaker: Avatar will win four technical Oscars. The Hurt Locker will also win for Best Editing, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography for a total of five Oscars. In the pre-Oscars show, watch out for Filipino fashion designer Oliver Tolentino whose gown might just win the Philippines its first Oscar in the Oscars Designer Challenge contest.

1 comment:

lightning catcher said...

Absolutely!

Team Meryl all the way!

You couldn't have cast a better actor in her role as Julia Child. Which cannot be said of her fellow nominees.

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