Best Supporting Actor: Christolph Walz completely deserves to win Best Supporting Actor – and he will. Me and Orson Welles’ studio made a huge mistake and pushed Christian MacKay for Best Actor instead of Supporting for his amazing performance as Orson Welles; MacKay belongs among the nominees here. And the funniest performance as a Supporting Actor – maybe in the decade – is Fred Melamed as Sy Ableman in A Serious Man; Melamed creates a hilariously pompous and blatantly manipulative character as the guy who seduces the protagonist’s wife and then expects the hero to bend over backwards to make everything convenient for them; I’ve never seen such an earnestly self-entitled character. Woody Harrelson is also great in The Messenger.
Best Documentary: The Cove is nominated for Best Documentary, and I’ve heard that it is very, very good. But it’s been a strong year for documentaries. My favorite,
Stranded: I’ve Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains, may actually be a 2008 release. But I think that Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 and Tyson are nomination-worthy. Other goods documentaries this year include Outrage, Anvil! The Story of Anvil, The September Issue, More Than a Game, The Way We Get By, It Might Get Loud, and Thrilla in Manilla.
Best Animated Feature: Just saw The Secret of Kells, and I have no idea why it has a high Metacritic score or why it is nominated for Best Animated Feature.
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Nine, but her better performance was in Broken Embraces.
Best Foreign Language Film: And why wasn’t Broken Embraces nominated for Best Foreign Language Film? It was one of my top five films of the year, and the Academy loves Almodovar. I am rooting against The White Ribbon – a brilliantly made film that tells a disappointingly shallow story. The White Ribbon is a depiction of a village in which every father is emotionally, physically and/or sexually abusive, all of the kids are very creepy and a mysterious someone is doing some very, very bad things. That could all work toward a good film, if the message were something a little deeper than “Germany’s WWII generation had very mean parents”.