Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: Five to Ten for 2009

Welcome back to weekly feature here at Movies with Abe, Wednesday Oscar Retrospective. Five to Ten is the fifth in a series of projects looking back at the past eight years of the Oscars, dating back to the first ceremony I watched and closely followed.

On the heels of the Academy’s announcement that this coming year will feature anywhere from five to ten films in the Best Picture list, I thought to look back at the most recent decade to determine what number of films would have ultimately earned a slot in the top category. Obviously, this is all guesswork and designed, above anything, to be fun. In the new system, films will need to earn at least 5% of the first-place votes. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments!

Five to Ten for 2009

The actual lineup: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, A Serious Man, Up, Up in the Air

The locks: There’s no question that the five films nominated for Best Director - Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, and Up in the Air would have made the list.

The close-to-certains: It was popular and beloved enough to have received enough top votes, and therefore Up would likely have managed a spot on the list.

The less likelies: None

The victims: Four very different films might have suffered an unfortunate fate here. The Blind Side was very much a “popular vote” inclusion, and probably wouldn’t have made the list since next to no one predicted it and stole a spot many thought would have been occupied by “Star Trek” or “Invictus.” District 9, as a sci-fi film that wasn’t “Avatar,” would have been sidelined and saved for the technical categories. An Education, a British indie darling, definitely didn’t accumulate the #1 votes that it would have needed in this new system. Ditto A Serious Man, a film that many loved but likely wouldn’t have gained enough traction to merit a spot without ten slots.

And the nominees could have been… Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, Up, Up in the Air

Does it change the winner? No. This was always a two-man battle between “Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker,” and not one of the four films that wouldn’t have been included influenced the victory either way.

Which lineup is better? As a big fan of all but the abysmal “The Blind Side,” I’d be tempted to say that the ten-strong list is great, though I didn’t care all that much for “Precious” either. That said, I do think that when something like “The Blind Side” gets a Best Picture nod, things are getting too liberal, and therefore maybe a tighter bunch of nominees is a better idea.

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