As some of you may remember, each year I review the Oscar contenders* for you in just 6 words each, as inspired by my friends over at SMITH Magazine.

This year, the 2010 nominees are:

Best Picture

“Ferngully” meets live action, IMAX 3-D.

“The Blind Side”
Are you ready for some football?

“District 9”
Evidently *not* Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Apocalypse.

“An Education”
May-December romance goes sour in England.

“The Hurt Locker”
War is the most addictive drug.

“Inglourious Basterds”
Tarantino + Pitt + Nazi-killing Jews = Comic perfection.

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Totally different spin on ‘babydaddy’ story.

“A Serious Man”
Coen Brothers. Need I say more?

Best four-minute relationship montage ever. Squirrel!

“Up in the Air”
In-between take-offs and landings, are journeys.


Best Direction

“Avatar” — James Cameron
Billions at box office buys ANYTHING.

“The Hurt Locker” — Kathryn Bigelow
Proof that women belong behind cameras.

“Inglourious Basterds” — Quentin Tarantino
Says “Fuck You!!” to deafening applause.

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” — Lee Daniels
His product consistently outshines his process.

“Up in the Air” — Jason Reitman
Irrefutable evidence that he salvaged ‘Juno’.


Actor in a Leading Role

Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
It’s about time that Oscar abides.

George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
First ‘Best Actor’ nod for Cloonster.

Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Playing gay no longer shoo-in, except…

Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
What would Oscar be without biopics?

Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”
The only possible Bridges upset, IMHO.


Actress in a Leading Role

Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
Golden Globe winner is rumored front-runner.

Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
The Dame can do no wrong.

Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
Darling debut from beautiful British bird.

Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Smashing start. Keep casting Sidibe, please.

Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”
15 nominations now. Lifetime achievement, perhaps?

Actor in a Supporting Role

Matt Damon in “Invictus”
Dude! He’s my step-cousin. No, seriously…

Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
You’ve come a long way, Flynt.

Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
His ‘Dragnet’ role was my favorite…

Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
He almost turned this part down.

Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”
His swastika was the most satisfying.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
Is there anything she *can’t* do?

Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
Long-deserved Vera, but not this year.

Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
I seriously don’t understand everyone’s fascination…

Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
Called Clooney “old”. That was funny.

Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Hands-down winner. Her own terms, too.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

“District 9” — Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
Aren’t we over Armageddon movies yet?

“An Education” — Screenplay by Nick Hornby
Liked it. Despite the predictable twist.

“In the Loop” — Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
Read much better than it played.

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” — Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
Triumph over Adversity: Undeniable cinematic gold.

“Up in the Air” — Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
Wish Reitman would have polished ‘Juno’.


Writing (Original Screenplay)

“The Hurt Locker” — Written by Mark Boal
This script actually stirred my patriotism.

“Inglourious Basterds” — Written by Quentin Tarantino
Had me with the misspelled title.

“The Messenger” — Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
‘(500) Days of Summer’ Oscar upset!!

“A Serious Man” — Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Best original script since… their last.

“Up” — Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy
O! To write a Pixar-worthy screenplay.


Animated Feature Film

Neil Gaiman strikes again. In 3-D!

“Fantastic Mr. Fox”
Wes Anderson + Roald Dahl. Cussin’ genius!

“The Princess and the Frog”
Disney’s best decision: To acquire Pixar.

“The Secret of Kells”
Um. Has anybody seen this film?

Seriously. Pixar folks are brilliant. Squirrel!


* * * * *

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…

*All apologies to the short filmmakers, documentarians, make-up artists, costume, production and sound designers and editors and all the rest of my fellow BTL homies.Seriously and from the bottom of my heart, I promise, I DO stay for every single last credit and I KNOW how major the role is that you play in the process.xo ~k

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KIMBERLY M. WETHERELL Kimberly's many and varied lives have included actor, stage manager, opera and film director, producer, writer, and restaurateur. She only has three lives left and she's not going to waste a single one of them. The first Arts & Culture Editor for TNB and creator of the TNB Literary Experience, Kimberly has been published by Rizzoli in the book Brooklyn Bar Bites, CRAFT Magazine, The Mighty, and SMITH Magazine, among others. She co-founded the food and drink reading and storytelling series DISH at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York City and she's working on multiple projects including her debut novel, several screenplays, and a documentary about female film editors. She thanks you for stopping by and sitting a spell.

91 responses to “6-Word Oscar Reviews. 
2nd Annual Edition.”

  1. Greg Olear says:

    Welcome back, and happy birthday, Kimberly.

  2. Zara Potts says:

    I’m drinking my morning cup of coffee outside on the deck, listening to the lovely Australian bird calls. What a perfect piece to read and a perfect start to my day…

  3. Matt says:

    That’s it. From here on out, I’m turning to you for all my Oscar coverage. Best write-up on the nominees I’ve yet seen.

    While I’m happy about the attention Up and The Hurt Locker are getting, I fully intend to be continuously pissy about Moon being shut out for at least the next sixth months. Sam Rockwell and “Duncan Jones”/Zowie Bowie are gettin’ robbed!

    Also, am I the only person who saw “Precious” as a campy satire? I just could not watch that movie with a straight face. And as I understand it, Lee Daniels is a big fan of John Waters…

  4. Colin Matthew says:

    But Colin Firth wasn’t in A Serious Man. He was in A Single Man.

    But fun list!

  5. Gloria says:

    You know what I don’t get? Sandra Bullock. Maybe I need to give her a fair chance. Maybe I need to see The Blind Side – but I suffered through that abomination, Crash, which totally stole the Oscar from Brokeback Mountain, and I’ve not forgiven her (or the Oscars) since then. Hmph.

    I love that a Pixar movie is up for best film. Rock on!

    Something else I don’t understand: How did Mayazaki’s Ponyo On A Cliff By The Sea not get nominated for best animated feature? That man is a genius – above Pixar and every other damn animation company.

    I loved your six-word list. Hilarious and brilliant.

  6. I liked how each blurb was on point to the category. I mean, of course, but boy you carried it off well.

    I was so sad about some of the ignores. I mean, I can understand Taken is too fun, too well-structured, and too action-packed for most people who would use the word to call it cinema, but I the best doc category left me startled for its lack of both This Is It and The September Issue, both of which were terrific.

    Most of the choices are pretty routine, including the somehow-obligatory Coen bros. nod.

    I liked The Blind Side. I think Oscar night is going to be a Bigelow/Cameron War of the Roses, though; The Hurt Locker and Avatar feel like the two movies to beat. I haven’t seen the latter yet, and I only managed through, like, a half hour or so of the former before meh set in too strongly, but they feel like they’re the front-runners by most measures.

  7. Happy birthday, gorgeous! You’ve just reminded me how my lame my life is because I go to the movies about once a year! But now I want to see lots of movies!

  8. Irene Zion says:

    Happy Birthday, Kimberly my sweet!

    This post was a LOT of work!
    (But you’re probably OCD anyway.)

  9. Ravnostic says:

    Love it, even though I haven’t seen a single film on the list, except Julie & Julia. Because I do not miss anything Streep (except Mama Mia–missed that one on general principle.)

  10. Ravnostic: Thanks so much for commenting!!

  11. Reno J. Romero says:

    happy b-day, kimberly. after seeing this list i realized that i don’t watch movies. maybe, i’ll find a date fo V-Day and buy a couple of tix and maybe get a smooch in the process. now, wouldn’t that be grand? cheers.

  12. Richard Cox says:

    Where is the nomination for the Totally Killer book trailer??

    These awards are all politics.

  13. Ducky Wilson says:

    Love it. Tarantino’s my fav. And I must confess, I’m rooting for him. I don’t think he’ll win, but I’m crossing my fingers.

    And happy birthday to you! xoxoxoxxoxxoxoxoxxooxoy

  14. Son of a… did everyone else know that Bigelow and Cameron used to be married? My God, the stoush this year is shaping up to be!

  15. Tom Hansen says:

    Here’s my Oscar list.

    The Hurt Locker

    That’s it. All the others were unworthy

  16. Ben Loory says:

    pretty sure up was the only good movie released in the last twenty years.

  17. You haven’t seen District 9 have you?

  18. Ferngully meets live action?!!!???!! Ohmygod–ohmygod–ohmygod! Perfect! I must say I am not a fan of the self proclaimed King of the World — pretty sure he’s taking a lot of credit for all the people who actually spent years on this film ( and years listening to him)! I so hope The Hurt Locker takes it away…. go girl, go.
    What will we do when you make this list? Who will write the six word Oscar noms then??? You know that day is coming….

    Happy, Happy on your day, Kim…. I’m wishing you here instead of following my FB suggestion… the man behind the FB curtain is really beginning to annoy me and he surely isn’t the wise and wonderful OZ!!! xx ~r

  19. Sorry, that sounded rude. But it’s not an aliens-destroy-Earth thing at all; I saw it at an IMAX and I haven’t had so much fun watching a film since I was a kid. The premise is terrific, the execution superb, and the swearing is off the scale.

    I reckon you’ve nailed Avatar, though. Mind you, I haven’t seen it, it looks unspeakable.

    Anyway, apparently it’s your birthday, so happy birthday!

  20. jmblaine says:

    JMB’s Six Words on Great Films for February 2nd 2010:

    Cocoa Pebbles
    Urban Cowboy DVD

    • Kimberly says:

      Never ate Cocoa Pebbles. Missing paradise?

      • Richard Cox says:

        Nectar of the gods, Kimberly. Today is your birthday. Indulge!

        P.S. The best way to eat CP, in my opinion, is to make half a bowl, so the cereal doesn’t become soggy. Then pour more CP into the chocolate-y milk you have left, so you end up with even sweeter milk at the end.

        P.P.S. If you really want to get high, sprinkle some Nestle’s Quik on the Cocoa Pebbles. I bet you that’s how Calvin made Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.

  21. Marni Grossman says:

    “In-between take-offs and landings, are journeys.”

    They should have made this the tag-line for the movie!

    I liked “In the Loop,” though.

  22. LitPark says:


    Why no Oscars for lighting designers??!

    • Kimberly says:

      They do! In film, the “lighting design” falls under the Cinematographer’s realm.

      There’s no Lighting Designer, per se, like there is in theatre. In film, there’s a Gaffer, who manipulates the light (under the DP’s direction) and then with the introduction of Digital Intermediate, “lighting” is now also the job of the Colorist and Post-production editing team (also by instruction of the DP and Director). Certainly not as straight-up easily defined as in theatre.

  23. Lenore says:

    dude not enough props to D9. that movie rocked my world.

    and invictus was garbage. most boring movie i’ve seen in years.

  24. Inglourious Basterds was a good film, but I wanted to see more of Stiglitz and the Bear-Jew. They were such hyped up characters and they did nothing. Brad Pitt was great, but should have had less screen time, I think.

    And District 9 was cool but I fell asleep before the end. It was the first time I’d ever fallen asleep in a movie, but I blame it on the booze. I really did enjoy what I saw.

  25. Two things to say:

    Wonderful post, Kimberly!


  26. […] friend Kimberly Wetherell returns with her second annual Six-Word Oscar Review roundup on The Nervous Breakdown blog. Wetherell, a fillmmaker herself, doesn’t just flip off six for the Best Picture […]

  27. Aaron Dietz says:

    This really makes me wish I could make it to the Academy Awards party I was invited to tomorrow (technically today)…. Awesome guide!

  28. Brava, Kim! I hoist my popcorn to you!

  29. […] year (2009, 2010) I review the Oscar contenders* for you in 6 words each, as inspired by my friends over at SMITH […]

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