Sandra Bullock: The Blind Side (winner)
Carey Mulligan: An Education
Meryl Streep: Julie & Julia
Helen Mirren: The Last Station
Gabourey Sidibe: Precious
Weeding through the Nominees
5. This is so frustrating for me, because I don’t really like any of my choices that much. I’m going to put Sandra Bullock at the bottom. I don’t hate The Blind Side, but I also don’t like it very much. Bullock was a safe choice, having done good work in the past and having not been rewarded to this point. I don’t much like this role or character, though, and while Sandra Bullock is likable as an actress, likability shouldn’t be enough for a win. This Oscar feels like an Academy cop out to me, and that’s always disappointing.
4. Of these five movies, The Last Station is almost certainly the one I like the least. It’s a well-acted movie, of course. Most things that feature Helen Mirren in a leading role are going to be well-acted, but it’s also terribly dull. A wonderful cast has been assembled here for two hours of people talking at each other and not much happening. I don’t know that I can completely object to Mirren’s nomination in a year with so little for me to choose from, but as a movie, I found this entirely forgettable.
3. My guess is that the consensus pick is going to be Carey Mulligan in An Education, but much like Fish Tank, this is a movie that everyone else on the planet seems to like a lot more than I do. Nothing against Mulligan here, who is good in a role that I don’t like much, but for as much as everyone else seems to love this film, I found everything about it, including all of the performances, kind of derivative of other things. Go ahead and attack me in the comments below, because I know y’all want to.
2. There are few acting debuts as good as Gabourey Sidibe in Precious, and I could probably be argued into giving her the Oscar. While the movie itself is one that, in my mind, becomes lesser and lesser over the years, Sidibe is genuinely good in a difficult role. It may be the fact that this movie is one of those misery parfait films that seem to aggravate me when I come across them, but there is something that holds me back a little from putting her at the top. As I said, I’ll hear arguments for it, and in a lot of other years, she’d be an easy pick.
1. What stops me from giving this to Sidibe is the absolute mastery of Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia. Once again, this is a movie I didn’t like that much in large part because of just how unpleasant I found Julie to be as a character. The only thing that saves the movie for me at all is just how much of a joy Streep is as Julia Child. She inhabits this role so beautifully and completely and perfectly that I can’t imagine anyone else doing it. Streep has had tons of Oscar success in her lifetime, not all of it deserved (I’m looking at you, Iron Lady), but this is a case where she was robbed.