Ryan Adams‘ Best Picture poll on Awards Daily asks readers to choose 10 likely finalists among some 55 or 56 suggestions. The ten I’ve chosen (listed alphabetically) are Bright Star, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Invictus, Nine, Precious, A Serious Man, The Tree of Life, Up In The Air and Where The Wild Things Are. (I obviously haven’t seen Malick’s Tree but…well, you know. And haven’t I read two men-weeping stories about Wild Things? Or just one?)
Here’s why Adams’ other suggestions don’t rate, with due respect: Amelia (unseen but said by an insider to simply not quite cut it in terms of award-season chops), Antichrist (be serious!), Avatar (Delgo/Ferngully, furry ballerina, space Marines), Away We Go (too nice, modest, low-key), The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (joke suggestion), Broken Embraces (very fine Almodovar, but obviously in the foreign language category), City of Life and Death (foreign language), Coco Before Chanel (allegedly too middlebrow boilerplate), Coraline (animated), The Cove (documentary), Creation (forget it), District 9 (too dusty sci-fi, too cultish, too many empty cat-food cans), Everybody’s Fine (unseen but beware of this),
(500) Days of Summer (intriguing film but won’t make the cut), Food, Inc. (doc), Funny People (a very strong contender & a totally honorable film, but perceived as an under-performer), Get Low (haven’t seen it), Goodbye Solo (forget it), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (be serious), The Informant! (jaunty and quite good in some respects, but lacks that thematic award-season dimensionality), The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (not in the game), Inglourious Basterds (baseball bat beating! fresh cow’s milk! foot-fetish shots!), In the Loop (superb satire but but lacks thematic depth and scope), Julie & Julia (nice movie, not in the game), The Last Station (allegedly very straghtforward & middlebrow…but where’s the distributor?), Lebanon (foreign language), The Lovely Bones (haven’t seen it but always be fearful of Jackson), The Men Who Stare at Goats (clever, amusing, not award quality), Moon (overpraised), 9 (nope), Ondine (not by my yardstck), Ponyo (who?), The Princess and the Frog (be serious), The Prophet (superb but foreign language), Public Enemies (admirable wth killre finale, but not as popular as it needs to be), The Road (good but not good enough), Seraphine (nope), Sherlock Holmes (another joke suggestion), A Single Man (sublime film in certain respects, could qualify but Gay-O-Vision factor may inhibit), Sin Nombre (masterful, certainly among the best of the year, but isn’t it Spanish speaking?), Star Trek (not that kind of film), Summer Hours (don’t know it), Tetro (best cinematography?), Up (animated), The White Ribbon (foreign language), Within the Whirlwind (Siberian gulag love story..what?).