Last week the nominees for the 82nd annual Academy Awards were announced. The film and television award season is always exciting for me, whether it is the fashion, the films and shows or the extraordinary performance and mishaps that happen award show night. A disclaimer about me: I am a student of film. I love the cinema, primarily Hollywood movies, but also an occasional European independent film will catch my eye.

Like many people, I use the magic of cinema to escape from the modern world into the divine world of make believe, where anything the director and screenwriter desire may come to life. I have screened hundreds of films in my short lifetime, of all genres and all periods. When I see a particularly extraordinary film, it may even change my world view and outlook on my own life. The Academy Awards are supposed to bring out the very best films for judging by the supposed best people in the industry. The hype to the award show is half the fun, speculating for yourself who will win the prized golden statuette.

This year the Academy has changed all the rules, by nominating 10 films for Best Picture, instead of the historical five nominees. After scanning the list, I have found that I have only seen two of the films nominated in this category. Here is the list, in case you missed it:

Best Picture

  • Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
  • The Blind Side” Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson, Producers
  • District 9” Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
  • An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
  • The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro, Producers
  • Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer
  • Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
  • A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
  • Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer
  • Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

(courtesy of Oscars )

The question is, who will win? I think that the most explosive film that I viewed in 2009 was Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. It was a film that dealt with the complex themes of poverty, teen pregnancy, incest, and domestic violence in Harlem of the 1980s. One particularly power performance was by the young Gabourey Sidibe who plays the title character Precious.

My goal is to watch all ten films nominated for the Best Picture category by the award show date. Here is an interesting take on the large number of nominations from Saturday Night Live on February 6, 2010: