Arthur J Pais in Mumbai
What I love about Hollywood and the Oscars is that there is room for all kinds of movies, the behemoths as well as hole-in-the-wall kind of films.
Though the list for the best picture nomination has been extended to 10, I am listing my favourite candidates in the first half of the list.
One of them is Precious, a dark, often harrowing but in the final reckoning a life-affirming film which lost its steam a few weeks after its strong opening and now it could end its North American run with about $45 million. A solid number for a film that cost about $10 million to make and about $25 million to market.
It could also do well when DVD and Blu-Ray discs are out. But the film was expected, following dazzling reception at the Toronto International Film Festival and elsewhere, and Oprah's endorsement, to gross at least $100 million. It is certainly among my top five.
My list also contains the mesmerizing German film White Ribbon about study of fascism in a seemingly charming and quiet German village.
Pedro Almodovar's suspenseful Spanish film Broken Embraces also is worthy of a nomination. It is a kind of film Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchock would have made had they collaborated on it.
Invictus, the post-apartheid drama directed by Clint Eastwood, got good reviews. But the $60 million suspense film which is uplifting and funny did a mediocre $38 million business in North America. If the French box office is any vindication, where the film is headed for a $30 million gross, Eastwood's film is headed for a small profit, even without any Oscar nominations.
The utterly crazy and inventive comedy The Hangover should be taken seriously too.
On the other side of the spectrum, is the heart-pounding and suspenseful The Hurt Locker which also has several fabulous performances.
Up in the Air
The Hurt Locker
Photographs: Danny Moloshok/Reuters
James Cameron, Avatar
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Lee Danilels, Precious
Quinton Tarrantino, Inglourious Basterds
Pedro Almodovar, Broken Embraces
Katherine Bigelow, Hurt Locker
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Penelope Cruz, Broken Embraces
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Gabouery Sidibe, Precious
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Best Supporting Actor
Stanley Tucci, Julie & Julia
Zach Galifiankes, The Hangover
Christopher Waltz, Inglorious Basterds
Matt Damon, Invictus
Christian Bale, Public Enemies
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, Julie & Julia
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Saoirse Ronan, Lovely Bones
Julianna Moore, A Single Man