Oscar Surprises Include Maggie Gyllenhaal & 'Il Divo'

by S. Montgomery

Those expecting to find major surprises in the 2010 Oscar nominations were in for a major surprise: there were very, very few truly unexpected nominees.

All five Directors Guild nominees, Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino, Lee Daniels, and Jason Reitman were shortlisted by the Academy. All but one of the 20 Screen Actors Guild nominees received matching Academy Award nods; the sole exception was Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds), who was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart).

Gyllenhaal's nomination, in fact, could be considered the biggest Oscar surprise this morning. Many were predicting that some other actress would take Kruger's place at the Oscars, but most were expecting Julianne Moore (A Single Man), Samantha Morton (The Messenger), or Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds).

Other surprises of various sizes, shapes, and degrees of magnitude were the following:

The Blind Side for best picture

Considering that former best picture nominees include Ghost, The Green Mile, Titanic, Erin Brockovich, and Ray, that actually should be no surprise at all. Many feared (and a couple of us at Alt Film Guide hoped) that the expanded best picture category would feature at least two or three small, daring films, but no such luck. A Serious Man got in, but there was no room for The White Ribbon, Broken Embraces, The Messenger, and numerous other worthy – and obscure (in Hollywood) – candidates. Even the unusual sleeper hit (500) Days of Summer was left out.

The Secret of Kells for best animated feature

I don't believe The Secret of Kells was under most people's radar, even though it did get an European Film Award nomination last year. Directed by Tomm Moore, this French-Irish production is set in 9th-century Ireland, where a twelve-year-old boy discovers a way to protect the locals from Viking raids.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for best cinematography

Bruno Delbonnel's work on the latest installment of the fantasy movie franchise failed to get a nod from the American Society of Cinematographers. Delbonnel took the spot of Dion Beebe for Nine.

Photos: Crazy Heart (Lorey Sebastian / 20th Century Fox).

This is a follow-up to my previous post on the Oscar 2010 surprises (or lack thereof). So, if you hear someone like Sandra Bullock or Jeff Bridges or Mo'Nique or even Stanley Tucci or Penélope Cruz telling the media, “Gee, whiz! By golly, this is all so totally unexpected.” Feel free to call them shameless liars. Now, if someone like Joe Klotz says he was totally caught off guard when he found himself shortlisted for the 2010 Oscar, make sure to believe him.

Who's Joe Klotz? See below a few more Oscar 2010 surprises in the less media-friendly categories.

Precious for best editing

Star Trek, Nine, Up in the Air, and even (500) Days of Summer would have been more likely possibilities. Instead, the Academy's Editors Branch went for Joe Klotz and his work on the urban drama Precious, which also earned director Lee Daniels a nomination.

The Hurt Locker for best original score

Bob Murawski and Chris Innis' The Hurt Locker hadn't been mentioned very often as a possible Oscar contender. In fact, I don't recall seeing it on anyone's list – but I could be mistaken. Anyhow, most best score awards have gone to Michael Giacchino for Up. Giacchino has been nominated and he's the clear favorite in that category.

I wonder how many people were expecting Reinhardt Wagner and Frank Thomas' “Loin de Paname” to get a nomination. Christophe Barratier's Paris 36 / Faubourg 36, released by Sony Pictures Classics with little fanfare in the United States, stars Gérard Jugnot (of The Chorus / Les choristes fame) as a music hall stage manager accused of murder.

Il Divo for best make-up

Actually, we almost had Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano's make-up job listed in our 2010 Oscar predictions posted yesterday. In fact, we had Il Divo there and then took it out. I was the only one who had actually seen the movie. Signoretti and Sodano were nominated for transforming Toni Servillo into former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti.

As an aside: I highly recommend Il Divo, which I find superior to the vast majority of this year's Oscar nominees.

Photos: Il Divo (MPI Media Group); Paris 36 (Sony Pictures Classics)

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jay M -

Il Divo? Isn't that Simon Cowell's singing trio?

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