If the Oscars were a game of golf, Hollywood would be stuck in a sand trap on the ninth hole. We're deep into July already and if the first half of the year is any indication, finding 10 Best Picture nominees to represent 2010 is going to be tough.
The academy thought it would be a good idea to expand the list of nominees from five to 10 so that there would be an ideal blend of blockbusters and art-house favorites. But, using that formula, the only box office champs that would be legitimate Oscar nominees thus far are all animated: Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After and Despicable Me. Even Alice in Wonderland, Iron Man 2 and Clash of the Titans are cartoonish. And there you have the most popular movies year to date. Is this the Academy Awards or the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards?
Animated movies are great. I love Toy Story 3. It's my favorite movie of the year thus far, and it will rightfully take its place among the Best Picture nominees. But Hollywood needs to get its head in the game. By this time last year, The Hurt Locker had been released and was on its way to winning the golden statuette for Best Picture.
I searched for 10 possible nominees and here's what I found. They're listed in order of what I predict to be most-likely Oscar worthy to least-likely:
In October, Hilary Swank stars as a high school dropout who spends two decades putting herself through law school.
Also in October, a docudrama blows the lid off of Facebook.
Later this summer, director Rob Reiner takes us back to the iridescence of young love.
Everything You've Got
In December James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment) directs Paul Rudd, Reese Witherspoon and Jack Nicholson. Brooks worked five years on this love triangle rom-com involving sports and a pretty dysfunctional family.
2010's answer to The Blind Side. Family friendly, inspiring and Diane Lane. It opens in October.
In the middle of a harsh Missouri winter, a young girl digs deep into her father's disappearance. The best reviewed movie of the year to date. We should see it in early fall.
In November, Russell Crowe attempts to break his wife out of prison.
In November, Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush tell the story of King George VI and how he overcame his stutter.
In October, Philip Seymour Hoffman directs and stars as a socially challenged hermit who spends the better part of a year preparing for a date.
There's good reason for optimism. A movie by James L. Brooks, Colin Firth in a costume drama, a romantic comedy from Rob Reiner and, again, Diane Lane. The back nine is always more fun to play anyway. Hand me my driver.