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The complete list of nominees.

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010


Beverly Hills, CA — Nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards were announced today (Tuesday, February 2) by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak and 2008 Oscar® nominee Anne Hathaway.

Sherak and Hathaway, who was nominated for an Academy Award® for her lead performance in “Rachel Getting Married,” announced the nominees in 10 of the 24 categories at a 5:38 a.m. PT live news conference attended by more than 400 international media representatives. Lists of nominations in all categories were then distributed to the media in attendance and online via the official Academy Awards Web site,

Academy members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories – actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors, etc. In the Animated Feature Film and Foreign Language Film categories, nominations are selected by vote of multi-branch screening committees. All voting members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees; this year that category features 10 nominees instead of 5, as has been the case since 1943.

Nominations ballots were mailed to the 5,777 voting members in late December and were returned directly to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the international accounting firm, for tabulation.

Official screenings of all motion pictures with one or more nominations will begin for members this weekend at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Screenings also will be held at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood and in London, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area.

All active and life members of the Academy are eligible to select the winners in all categories, although in five of them – Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject and Foreign Language Film – members can vote only if they have seen all of the nominated films in those categories.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network beginning at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart” (Fox Searchlight)

George Clooney in “Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios)

Colin Firth in “A Single Man” (The Weinstein Company)

Morgan Freeman in “Invictus” (Warner Bros.)

Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Matt Damon in “Invictus” (Warner Bros.)

Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger” (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones” (DreamWorks in association with Film4, Distributed by Paramount)

Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side” (Warner Bros.)

Helen Mirren in “The Last Station” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Carey Mulligan in “An Education” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)

Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia” (Sony Pictures Releasing)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Penélope Cruz in “Nine” (The Weinstein Company)

Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios)

Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart” (Fox Searchlight)

Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios)

Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)

Best animated feature film of the year

“Coraline” (Focus Features), Henry Selick

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” (20th Century Fox), Wes Anderson

“The Princess and the Frog” (Walt Disney), John Musker and Ron Clements

“The Secret of Kells” (GKIDS), Tomm Moore

“Up” (Walt Disney), Pete Docter

Achievement in art direction

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg, Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” (Sony Pictures Classics), Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro, Set Decoration: Caroline Smith

“Nine” (The Weinstein Company), Art Direction: John Myhre, Set Decoration: Gordon Sim

“Sherlock Holmes” (Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood, Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

“The Young Victoria” (Apparition), Art Direction: Patrice Vermette, Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Achievement in cinematography

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), Mauro Fiore

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (Warner Bros.), Bruno Delbonnel

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), Barry Ackroyd

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company), Robert Richardson

“The White Ribbon” (Sony Pictures Classics), Christian Berger

Achievement in costume design

“Bright Star” (Apparition), Janet Patterson

“Coco before Chanel” (Sony Pictures Classics), Catherine Leterrier

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” (Sony Pictures Classics), Monique Prudhomme

“Nine” (The Weinstein Company), Colleen Atwood

“The Young Victoria” (Apparition), Sandy Powell

Achievement in directing

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), James Cameron

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), Kathryn Bigelow

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company), Quentin Tarantino

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate), Lee Daniels

“Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios), Jason Reitman

Best documentary feature

“Burma VJ” (Oscilloscope Laboratories), A Magic Hour Films Production, Anders østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller

“The Cove” (Roadside Attractions), An Oceanic Preservation Society Production, Nominees to be determined

“Food, Inc.” (Magnolia Pictures), A Robert Kenner Films Production, Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein

“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers”, A Kovno Communications Production, Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith

“Which Way Home”, A Mr. Mudd Production, Rebecca Cammisa

Best documentary short subject

“China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan, Province”, A Downtown Community Television Center Production, Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

“The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner”, A Just Media Production, Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher

“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant”, A Community Media Production, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert

“Music by Prudence”, An iThemba Production, Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett

“Rabbit à la Berlin” (Deckert Distribution), An MS Films Production, Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Achievement in film editing

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron

“District 9” (Sony Pictures Releasing), Julian Clarke

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), Bob Murawski and Chris Innis

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company), Sally Menke

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate), Joe Klotz

Best foreign language film of the year

“Ajami” (Kino International), An Inosan Production, Israel

“El Secreto de Sus Ojos” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Haddock Films Production, Argentina

“The Milk of Sorrow”, A Wanda Visión/Oberon Cinematogrà/Vela Production, Peru

“Un Prophète” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Why Not/Page 114/Chic Films Production, France

“The White Ribbon” (Sony Pictures Classics), An X Filme Creative Pool/Wega Film/Les Films du Losange/Lucky Red Production, Germany

Achievement in makeup

“Il Divo” (MPI Media Group through Music Box), Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano

“Star Trek” (Paramount and Spyglass Entertainment), Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow

“The Young Victoria” (Apparition), Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), James Horner

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” (20th Century Fox), Alexandre Desplat

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders

“Sherlock Holmes” (Warner Bros.), Hans Zimmer

“Up” (Walt Disney), Michael Giacchino

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” (Walt Disney), Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” (Walt Disney), Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

“Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” (Sony Pictures Classics), Music by Reinhardt Wagner, Lyric by Frank Thomas

“Take It All” from “Nine” (The Weinstein Company), Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston

“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Best motion picture of the year

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), A Lightstorm Entertainment Production, James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers

“The Blind Side” (Warner Bros.), An Alcon Entertainment Production, Nominees to be determined

“District 9” (Sony Pictures Releasing), A Block/Hanson Production, Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers

“An Education” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Finola Dwyer/Wildgaze Films Production, Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), A Voltage Pictures Production, Nominees to be determined

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company), A Weinstein Company/Universal Pictures/A Band Apart/Zehnte Babelsberg Production, Lawrence Bender, Producer

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate), A Lee Daniels Entertainment/Smokewood Entertainment Production, Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers

“A Serious Man” (Focus Features), A Working Title Films Production, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers

“Up” (Walt Disney), A Pixar Production, Jonas Rivera, Producer

“Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios), A Montecito Picture Company Production, Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Best animated short film

“French Roast” , A Pumpkin Factory/Bibo Films Production, Fabrice O. Joubert

“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” (Brown Bag Films), A Brown Bag Films Production, Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell

“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)”, A Kandor Graphics and Green Moon Production, Javier Recio Gracia

“Logorama” (Autour de Minuit), An Autour de Minuit Production, Nicolas Schmerkin

“A Matter of Loaf and Death” (Aardman Animations), An Aardman Animations Production, Nick Park

Best live action short film

“The Door” (Network Ireland Television), An Octagon Films Production, Juanita Wilson and James Flynn

“Instead of Abracadabra”, (The Swedish Film Institute), A Directörn & Fabrikörn Production, Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström

“Kavi”, A Gregg Helvey Production, Gregg Helvey

“Miracle Fish”, (Premium Films), A Druid Films Production, Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey

“The New Tenants”, A Park Pictures and M & M Production, Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Achievement in sound editing

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), Paul N.J. Ottosson

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company), Wylie Stateman

“Star Trek” (Paramount and Spyglass Entertainment), Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin

“Up” (Walt Disney), Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Achievement in sound mixing

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company), Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano

“Star Trek” (Paramount and Spyglass Entertainment), Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro, Distributed by Paramount), Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Achievement in visual effects

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones

“District 9” (Sony Pictures Releasing) , Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken

“Star Trek” (Paramount and Spyglass Entertainment), Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Adapted screenplay

“District 9” (Sony Pictures Releasing), Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell

“An Education” (Sony Pictures Classics), Screenplay by Nick Hornby

“In the Loop” (IFC Films), Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate), Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher

“Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios) , Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Original screenplay

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), Written by Mark Boal

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company), Written by Quentin Tarantino

“The Messenger” (Oscilloscope Laboratories), Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman

“A Serious Man” (Focus Features), Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

“Up” (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom Mc

And the nominees are…

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Biggest suprises: Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Blind Side, An Education.

Best Picture


The Blind Side


District 9

An Education

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds


A Serious Man


Up in the Air


Best Actor

Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

George Clooney, Up in the Air

Colin Firth, A Single Man


Morgan Freeman, Invictus

Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Best Actress

Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Helen Mirren, The Last Station

Carey Mulligan, An Education


Gabourey Sidibe, Precious

Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Supporting Actor

Matt Damon, Invictus

Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Christopher Plummer, The Last Station

Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones

Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds


Supporting Actress

Penelope Cruz, Nine


Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air

Maggie Gyllenhall, Crazy Heart

Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air

Mo’Nique, Precious

Happy Nominations Day

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

“Cloverfield” has nothing on me LOL

And the nominees will be …

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

When it comes to announcing the Oscar nominees, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences continues to cling to is Old World ways. They race through the lists at 5:30 a.m. PST, in order to get live coverage on the morning talk shows.

That’s just stupid.

As I’ve suggested before, the Academy should turn the nomination announcements into a one-hour special, to air on E! or some other cable channel. Build up excitement by showing clips and interviewing possible nominees. Have some cameras on set or in the homes of some contenders, to catch their reactions. If they can do it with the Heisman Trophy every year, why not the Oscars?

In any case, I just took Doc Brown’s DeLorean out for a spin to next Tuesday, and I’m back with the nominees in the major categories. Ready?




An Education

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds




A Serious Man

Star Trek


Up in the Air

Just missing: The Hangover, The Messenger, It’s Complicated, District 9


Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

George Clooney, Up in the Air

Colin Firth, A Single Man

Morgan Freeman, Invictus

Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Runner-up: Viggo Mortensen, The Road


Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side


Helen Mirren, The Last Station

Carey Mulligan, An Education

Gabourey Sidibe, Precious

Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Just missing: Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria


Matt Damon, Invictus

Woody Harrelson, The Messenger


Christopher Plummer, The Last Station

Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones

Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Close but no cigar: Alfred Molina, An Education; Stanley Tucci, Julie & Julia


Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air


Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air

Mo’Nique, Precious

Julianne Moore, A Single Man

Penelope Cruz, Nine

Just missing: Samantha Morton, The Messenger; Diane Kruger, Inglourious Basterds

This seems like an incredibly predictable year, even if you don’t have a time-traveling DeLorean. Bridges, Bullock, Mo’Nique and Waltz are the odds-on favorites in the acting categories. The tightest race is for Best Picture, with Avatar and The Hurt Locker just ahead of Up in the Air.

As for the nominees: if I don’t get at least 27 or 28 out of 30 correct, I’ll be thrilled, because that means there are going to be some big surprises next Tuesday.

The 100 best movies of the decade.

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

The 100 best movies I saw in the 2000s:

1. “The Departed” (2006). A cop goes undercover as a gangster, a gangster goes undercover as a cop, and from that point on we’re dealing with Shakespearean issues of identity and true self while the blood splatters the wall at every turn. Martin Scorsese’s masterful interpretation of the 2002 Hong Kong classic “Infernal Affairs” is an exceedingly violent, profane, grim, darkly funny and thrilling gangster epic, filled with juicy performances from perhaps the best ensemble cast in a crime pic since the “Godfather” movies, including Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin. Great, juicy performances, a brilliant screenplay and enough twists and turns to leave you breathless.


2. “In America” (2003). In this beautiful, heart-wrenching, fictionalized version of his own story, director Jim Sheridan explores the theme of “aliens” in America while continually referencing another alien: “E.T.” There are at least two scenes in this that will make you cry, unless you’re dead. And maybe even then. “In America” is the equal of Frank Capra’s best work.

3. “Traffic” (2000). Stephen Soderberg’s sprawling masterpiece about the myriad ways in which drugs have invaded our culture is a triumph of style and content. Soderbergh changes filters on his camera as he traverses back and forth between three equally compelling stories about the war on drugs, told from perspectives ranging from the most powerful corridors of Washington to the seediest back alleys. One of the best ensemble casts of the decade (Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Benicio del Toro in an Oscar-winning role) in a film that defines the drug culture on a grand scale and on a very personal, family level.

4. “Memento” (2001). Ingeniously inverted puzzle that goes from finish to start, like Hitchcock walking backwards. The only thing better than the first time you see it is the second time you see it.


5. “House of Flying Daggers” (2004). The most beautiful film of the decade. Set in 9th century China, Zhang Yimou’s martial arts opera stars the achingly beautiful Ziyi Zhang in a gorgeous explosion of action, romance, music and breathtaking action sequences. The plot becomes insanely complicated, but who cares?


6. “Mystic River” (2003). If Clint Eastwood had never acted in a single frame of film in his life, he’d be an American treasure for his work behind the camera. This is a profound, authentic, devastatingly honest piece of work.

7. “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008). “The Usual Suspects” meets “It’s a Wonderful Life,” with a whole lot of 21st century Charles Dickens as well. Danny Boyle directs with kinetic style as he jumps about chronologically and tells the story of an 18-year-old from the ghettos of Mumbai who somehow knows all the answers on the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” At times excruciatingly realistic, at other times venturing into pure fable territory, “Slumdog” survived all the hype and scored all those Oscars, every one of them well deserved. One of the most exhilarating viewing experiences I’ve ever had.

8. “25th Hour” (2002). 8. “25th Hour.” Spike Lee’s overlooked masterpiece stands as the definitive time capsule of New York in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Works as a social commentary, a crime story, a buddy film and a story about the bond between father and son.


9. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000). Ang Lee’s most accomplished film. Epic, exotic, romantic, gorgeous—and filled with breathtaking fight sequences.

10. “Hotel Rwanda” (2004). One of the most heartbreaking and inspirational movies I’ve ever seen, based on a true story. Don Cheadle deserved an Oscar for his portrayal of a good man catapulted to perform great deeds during a time of horrific genocide.

11. “Minority Report” (2002)


12. “Gangs of New York” (2002)

13. “Syriana” (2005)

14. “Michael Clayton” (2007)

15. “Zodiac” (2007)


16. “No Country for Old Men” (2007)

17. “The Dark Knight” (2008)

18. “Brothers” (2009)

19. “Million Dollar Baby” (2004)

20. “Gone Baby Gone” (2007)

21. “21 Grams” (2003).

22. “Up in the Air” (2009)


23. “The Lookout” (2007)

24. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)

25. “Munich” (2005)

26. “In the Bedroom” (2001).

27. “The New World” (2005)

28. “The Queen” (2006)

29. “Love, Actually” (2003)

30. “The Claim” (2000)

31. “The Hurt Locker” (2009)

32. “Babel” (2006)

33. “Lost in Translation” (2003)

34.  “Finding Nemo” (2003)


35. “The Aviator” (2004)

36. “Crash” (2005)

37. “Y tu Mama Tambien” (2002)

38. “Donnie Darko” (2001)


39. “Flags of our Fathers”/”Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006)

40. “The Wrestler” (2008)

41.“Vanilla Sky” (2001)

42. “Sideways” (2004)

43. “Eastern Promises” (2007)

44. “The Contender” (2000)

45. “A Beautiful Mind” (2001)

46. “United 93” (2006)


47. “In Bruges” (2008)

48. “Nine Lives” (2005)

49. “(500) Days of Summer” (2009)

50. “Best in Show” (2000)

51. “Wonder Boys” (2000)


52. “Adaptation” (2002)

53. “Elephant” (2003)

54. “A History of Violence” (2005)


55. “I’ve Loved You So Long” (2008)

56. “Brokeback Mountain” (2005)

57. “Almost Famous” (2000)


58. “Rabbit-Proof Fence” (2002)

59. “Inglourious Basterds” (2009)

60. “One Hour Photo” (2002)

61. “Amores Perros” (2001)

62. “The Barbarian Invasions” (2003)

63.“Mulholland Drive” (2001)


64. “Finding Forrester” (2000)

65. “Capote” (2005)

66. “The Terminal” (2004)

67. “City of God” (2002)

68. “Notes on a Scandal” (2006)

69. “Gran Torino” (2008)

70. “Kill Bill Vol. 2” (2004)


71. “Cast Away” (2000)

72. “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” (2003)

73. “Breach” (2007)

74. “You Can Count on Me” (2000)

75.  “The Visitor” (2008)

76. “Monsoon Wedding” (2002)


77. “Good Night, and Good Luck” (2005)

78. “The Lives of Others” (2006)

79. “Up” (2009)

80. “Monster” (2003)


81. “Avatar” (2009)

82. “The Good Shepherd” (2006)

83. “Milk” (2008)

84. “Juno” (2007)


85. “Collateral” (2004)

86. “Sunshine” (2000)

87. “Happy Accidents” (2001)

88. “About Schmidt” (2002)

89. “Snow Angels” (2007)


90. “Whale Rider” (2003)

91. “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006)

92. “Dinner Rush” (2001)

93. “Frozen River” (2008)

94. “Frost/Nixon” (2008)


95. “The Deep End” (2001)

96. “Walk the Line” (2005)

97. “Blood Diamond” (2006)


98. “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008)

99. “Signs” (2002)

100. “About a Boy” (2002)

The best (and worst) of 2009.

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

In case you missed my picks for the best and worst movies of the year…

1. “Brothers.” A brilliant, beautiful, harsh, gut-punching, 21st century war story with Biblical overtones. Some critics said Jim Sheridan’s adaptation of the great Danish film to be too glossy and heavy-handed, but I found it to be just as profound as the original. Either you buy Tobey Maguire’s tightly wound performance or you don’t. I thought his performance was pure truth. A perfectly realized screenplay, intense performances from all the leads, amazing work by the supporting cast, including the two little girls. Reminiscent of classics such as “Coming Home.”


2. “Up in The Air.” It was just about a coin flip between my first two picks. Jason Reitman’s third film is a nearly flawless blend of comedy and melancholy, with George Clooney in an Oscar-worthy performance. A smart, insightful, of-the-moment film that also touches on universal themes. Reitman smoothly shifts gears from wickedly cynical to flat-out funny to unabashedly sentimental, never striking a wrong note.


3. “The Hurt Locker.” Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal (who was embedded with a U.S. bomb-disposal squad in 2004) give us a searing, sometimes unbearably tense depiction of war as a drug. Jeremy Renner has done some fine work before, but he delivers perhaps THE breakout performance of the year as a legendary bomb-squad specialist who is completely comfortable dodging enemy fire while defusing explosives in the most hellish environment imaginable–but utterly lost when he returns home and has to go grocery shopping with his wife. Heartbreaking, thrilling, gritty, sad.

4. “(500) Days of Summer.” A worthy descendant of “Annie Hall,” from the unconventional storytelling techniques (two characters have very different perspectives on the same scene) to the romance that bends and breaks in unexpected ways. Director Marc Webb has fun playing with familiar romantic comedy elements without being condescending. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel are immensely appealing, the soundtrack is filled with hipster treasures, and the ending is just perfect. What a sweet and smart film.

5. “Inglourious Basterds.” Brad Pitt is hilariously over-the-top as the (non-Jewish) leader of a band of bloodthirsty Jewish soldiers who engage in the systematic slaughter of Nazis. A spectacular cinematic mash-up that blends elements of spaghetti Westerns, 1940s film noir and movies such as “The Dirty Dozen.” I don’t see how Christoph Waltz doesn’t win Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the Nazi who takes pride in being called “The Jew Hunter.” He owns every scene he’s in.

6. “Up.” Leave it to Pixar (specifically Pete Docter and Bob Peterson) to give us a love story that continues to bloom after one partner has died, not to mention a buddy movie with one buddy about 70 years older than the other. The first 20 minutes of this film, including a montage that seems inspired by “Citizen Kane,” are as heartbreaking as any extended sequence I’ve seen in any film in the last 10 years. Amazing that an animated film with funny-looking squared-off little characters could be so moving. From that point on, “Up” goes from greatness to mere “very goodness,” with Pixar continuing its remarkable winning streak of clever, funny, innovative, visually gorgeous instant classics.


7. “Avatar.” Yes, I rolled my eyes at the New Age/Mother Earth philosophy, the solemn references to the “Tree of Souls” and all the heavy-handed messages about the Evil Earthlings who could learn a thing or two from the Noble Natives, but is the futuristic-Western plot of “Avatar” that much different from the storyline for “Star Wars”? I don’t think so. The basic story is a 22nd century version of “Dances With Wolves,” but we’re not here for plot, we’re here for the cool-ass CGI/motion capture/movie magic/3D stuff. This is one of the most visually arresting films I’ve ever seen, with James Cameron and an army of technicians filling every inch of the screen with amazing sights and sounds. For two and a half hours, it never disappoints.

8. “Adventureland.” I loved this film. The TV ads and the previews for “Adventureland” emphasized the slapstick stuff, but writer/director Greg Mottola (“Superbad”) actually delivered a fresh take on a coming of age story that’s a lot more than the sum of its trailer parts. “Adventureland” is set in the pre-texting, pre-Twitter, pre-Facebook era of 1987, when you’d actually have to call a girl’s house and ask her mother if she was home. Kristen Stewart is a lot more appealing here than she is in the “Twilight” movies, and Jessse Eisenberg gives his best performance to date as the boy who falls for her. We meet what appears to be a stock supply of summer-movie characters, but every story plays out in an unexpected fashion. Rent this movie, please.


9.  “An Education.” Carey Mulligan has a brief shining moment as a young war widow in “Brothers,” but it’s her remarkable work as a 16-year-old schoolgirl in this British period piece that announces the presence of a major young talent. Set in 1961 London, “An Education” benefits from Nick Hornby’s pitch-perfect adaptation of Lynn Barber’s memoir. Peter Sarsgaard is suitably slick and borderline creepy as the 35ish smooth talker who seduces Mulligan’s Jenny, a whip-smart teenager bursting with enthusiasm for conversation, cigarettes, literature, French films, jazz—and yes, a connection to a man who understands her, unlike those croak-voiced boys who wobble about on their bicycles while trying to get her attention. There’s more than a touch of Audrey Hepburn to Mulligan’s onscreen presence.

10. “The Informant!” One of the most entertaining movies of the year–especially if you get a bigger kick out of a well-delivered line of dialogue than another CGI explosion. I’m not sure why filmgoers didn’t respond to Steven Soderbergh’s offbeat satire, based on true events. (Maybe it’s because it was an offbeat satire, based on true events.) Matt Damon packed on the pounds, sported a cheesy mustache and created one of the most original characters of the year: Mark Whitacre, a corporate whistle blower/compulsive liar who is scary-smart and amazingly dim, sometimes in the same moment.

And the worst, with the worst of the worst being first:

1. “All About Steve.” This entire movie should be put on medication. It’s a creepy, smarmy, utterly charmless and laugh-free comedy, with Sandra Bullock in an astonishingly embarrassing performance as an apparently insane woman stalking Bradley Cooper. With each wrong turn, your jaw drops. If all films were as bad as “All About Steve,” movies would be outlawed.


2. “The Ugly Truth.” A grotesque sitcom featuring a shrill performance by Katherine Heigl as an uptight producer of a local morning TV show, and a floundering Gerard Butler as a macho pig who becomes an unlikely—VERY unlikely—television star due to his Neanderthal rants about how men are from Mars and he’s just not that into you and—well, you’ve heard it all before. Of all the bad movies that seem to know nothing about how television really works, this is one of the worst. I hated the premise, I hated the execution, I hated the stupid ending—and I was stunned by the tastelessness of the scene in which a little boy plays with a remote control device in a restaurant, unwittingly bringing Heigl to an orgasm because she’s wearing vibrating panties. Good God.

3. “Old Dogs.” When Robin Williams and John Travolta were handed the script for this depressingly lazy and shockingly inept wannabe comedy, they should have called each other and said, “Let’s just go on vacation.” Guys. You’ve got all the money in the world and plenty of talent. Why burn up audience goodwill on insulting garbage like this?

4. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” The first one was big, loud and stupid, but entertaining. The sequel is bigger, louder, stupider and dull beyond belief—and it goes on for two and a half hours, which feel like two and a half days. They’re going to keep making “Transformers” sequels forever, aren’t they? Noooooooooooooooooo please nooooooo!


5. “2012.” I heard from more than a few moviegoers who thought my reaction to this film was too harsh, given that Roland Emmerich wasn’t trying to do anything more than destroy the world in creative fashion. But I can’t deny how much I loathed every dopey, obnoxiously clichéd moment in this disaster of a disaster film. This is a slick, cynical, occasionally sadistic movie in which cities and human beings are wiped out for our enjoyment, while a bunch of talented actors ham their way to a paycheck. Throughout the viewing experience, I almost sprained my wrist due to checking my watch so many times, praying it was nearly over.

6. “Love Happens.” Yeah, and there’s another four-letter word that happens too. Jennifer Aniston is listless as she repeats a role she’s done a half-dozen times before, Aaron Eckhart is miscast as a sensitive widower-turned-motivational speaker, the script is formulaic, and the big weeper scene takes place on the wrong stage at the wrong time and is executed in excruciatingly heavy-handed fashion. In one of the worst roles in his terrific career, Martin Sheen plays an ex-Marine who has glow-in-the-dark teeth and a perma-tan, despite living in Seattle. Perhaps upon retirement, his character opened a tanning salon/teeth whitening parlor.

7. “Whiteout.” Here’s the problem with staging a prolonged battle between the heroine and the killer in a whiteout—IT’S A WHITEOUT, SO YOU CAN’T SEE ANYTHING. After a cliché-filled setup that plays like a slasher movie at the South Pole, Kate Beckinsale comes parka-to-parka with the mysterious killer who’s been offing folks left and right, but we can’t really tell what’s happening because of all that snow. Nice touch, folks. This movie also contains what might be the most bizarre scene of the year, when Beckinsale shares a tender, teary exchange with father-figure Tom Skeritt—as he prepares to amputate her frostbitten fingers. Sniff, sniff, snip, snip. Yow.


8. “Fame.” A bland, sanitized, unnecessary and almost instantly forgettable remake. A bland, sanitized, unnecessary and almost instantly forgettable remake. A bland, sanitized, unnecessary and almost instantly forgettable remake. Oh, am I repeating myself? Well, they would have been better off copying the original “Fame” scene by scene and note for note than going forward with this bland, sanitized, unnecessary and almost instantly forgettable remake.

9. “Twilight: New Moon Saga.” I’m not with Team Edward or Team Wolfboy. I’m with Team Give Me a Break. Granted, I’m not the target audience for this melodramatic teen-soap vampy silliness, but still, I was cringing at the stilted performance by Robert Pattinson, the one-note sullenness of Kristen Stewart’s Bella and the shirtless howling antics of the pecs-flexing Taylor Lautner and his fellow werewolves. A plodding saga with long stretches of dullness followed by unimpressive action sequences? Count me out.


10. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” What a disappointment. Let’s start with a back story that doesn’t really explain the genesis of the Human Can Opener. How can you have an “origins” movie that doesn’t outline the origins? After about a hundred years of fighting in every conflict from the Civil War to Vietnam, Wolverine (who for some reason stops aging just when starts looking like Hugh Jackman) tries to live a normal life with the woman of his dreams, but his brother wants to kill him, and the government wants to turn him into a weapon, and blah blah blah here comes another bland, CGI, PG-13 fight sequence followed by a plot twist we can see coming a mile down the road. This guy’s a lot more interesting as part of the X-Men band than as a solo act.

The (s)hit list: worst movies of the decade.

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Let’s start the countdown of the worst movies of the 2000s with these gems:

80. “Just Married” (2003)

81. “Taxi” (2004)

82. “Bewitched” (2005)


83. “Flyboys” (2006)

84. “Love Happens” (2009)

85. “Tomcats” (2001)


86. “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” (2003)

87. “Connie and Carla” (2004)

88. “The Legend of Zorro” (2005)

89. “The Wicker Man” (2006)


90. “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” (2008)

91. “Whiteout” (2009)

92. “Witless Protection” (2008)

93. “Step Up” (2006)


94. “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” (2007)

95. “Daddy Day Camp” (2007)

96. “Four Christmases” (2008)

97. “Because I Said So” (2007)

98. “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous” (2005)


99. “Swept Away” (2002)

100. “Deck the Halls” (2006)

The best and worst films of the 2000s.

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

My picks for the 10 best and 10 worst films of the decade will be in the Jan. 3 edition of the Chicago Sun-Times—but for the next few days, I’ll counting down (up?) from my lists of the best 100 and worst 100 movies of the 200s.

Let’s start with some good ones:

80. “Monster” (2003)


81. “Avatar” (2009)

82. “The Good Shepherd” (2006)

83. “Milk” (2008)

84. “Juno” (2007)


85. “Collateral” (2004)

86. “Sunshine” (2000)

87. “Happy Accidents” (2001)

88. “About Schmidt” (2002)

89. “Snow Angels”


90. “Whale Rider” (2003)

91. “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006)

92. “Dinner Rush” (2001)

93. “Frozen River” (2008)

94. “Frost/Nixon” (2008)


95. “The Deep End” (2001)

96. “Walk the Line” (2005)

97. “Blood Diamond” (2006)


98. “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008)

99. “Signs” (2002)

100. “About a Boy” (2002)

Thanks for the kind words.

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Some nice comments from the from Facebook and Twitter friends. Thanks guys!

Tady Villatoro: YES!!!!! Thank you!!! I missed ur reviews!!!!

Franco Ocampo: Very cool, can’t wait!

Thomas Beau Vickroy: Sweetness. Just bookmarked it!

Geoff Scofield: This is awsome news. Ive been lost since there hasnt been any movie review shows on since you left Richard.I Cant wait to watch your reviews again. Props on the video. very funny loved the ending.

David Gardetti: Paranormal Activity parody: like it. RR doing movie reviews reviews: love it.

Rich Hlava Jr.: Did i just read that right?? I will soon be able to WATCH Richard Roeper movie reviews on my iPhone??? Holy sweet God!! Heaven awaits..

Christopher Zeidel: Roger is in full support of Roeper’s decision, and so are we. The new version of the site is looking good. I am looking forward to the video reviews of new movies.

Nelson Espe: I just read your blog about some guy taking a shot at you, and your comments to Ebert….I totally understood what you were saying. You were not dissing Ebert at all, you were just clearly trying to say that it is more laid back, as if it would be talking about a movie with your friends. And not afraid to say something is a pile of shit, whereas on TV you cannot do that.

Robert Casaday: Good luck on this latest venture, Richard! I value your reviews and comments.

Betsy Knight Casillo: I am thrilled to see you doing reviews again on TV! I don’t get Starz (maybe someday) but will watch online. Best of luck to you in your new venture and thank you.

Yasmeen Shuller: Congratulations!! So happy to see you back in full reviewer mode and with a new website too!!

Rick Holtrop: Still loving your work, Rich, can’t wait to see the new stuff.

Jay Shulz: This is fantastic news. Very happy to have you back on TV. Congrats!

Tony Healy: The new website looks sleeeeeeek! Holy crap!

bpdreview: I love Richard Roeper! I’m making no apologies for that. He’s back w/a new website and weekly reviews.

warlock716: Love the new site. You’re getting an Iphone app???

DanielleCesena: Read Feder’s article. Glad you’re back to reviewing. Kudos to you responding to those ignorant commentators.

wood_brothers21: Happy Thanksgiving Mr. Roeper. Your Starz gig sounds edgy and cool.

literallyfresh: Looking forward to catching Richard Roeper’s weekly video reviews on his official site.

vinceamatuzzi: The new site is looking good.

LiamJM: Cool, congrats on the new site.

MissJo_25: love love love your blog. I’m on it all the time.

bryanalaspa: The site looks  fantastic Richard.

ToddDilley Glad to hear Richard Roeper will be reviewing movies online and also for the Starz channel starting soonabout 4 hours ago from Twikini

I also have his hair gel from “Wall Street.”

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

A couple of iPhone pics of the Michael Douglas jacket from “Traffic,” as discussed in Monday’s column…



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