Patti’s take on the 2010 Oscar Best Picture catagory.

2010 Oscar Nominations for Best Picture

This is the first year in recent history that the Academy has nominated ten movies for Best Picture. I saw eight and a half of the ten Best Picture Nominations this year. And I saw eight at the theater. I did not see Blind Side because my husband and I have a joint aversion to bio-pics where the subject is portrayed narrowly and without the shading that makes him/her fully human. I saw Inglorious Basterds ON DEMAND, and only made it through half of it.

But the other eight nominations were all credible selections, amazing in the first year where the field of nominees was doubled.

With the two exceptions mentioned above, I think a case can be made for an Oscar for any of these movies.

Avatar was an amazing achievement technologically and just as remarkable in terms of its audience appeal. The story lacked the originality of other elements of the production but it was more than serviceable.

District Nine provided more substance than almost any recent science fiction movie-it satisfied its core group of devotees in terms of its portrayal of an alternate world, but also allowed character growth in its protagonist and left the audience yearning for a sequel.

An Education can claim two incredible performances. It also managed to be surprising time after time. Unpredictability is so rare in a big studio film. And what a breakout performance by Cary Mulligan. Peter Sarsgaard didn’t shy away from being the charming villain of the piece.

The Hurt Locker–it’s hard to think of a better war movie about the current conflict especially in its down and dirty depiction of the battleground. Character trumped action in the end and that’s a feat because Bigelow puts you square on the field with the soldiers. There is no relief from the agony these men experience.

Precious-one of the most moving movies of the year and again some terrific performances. It’s admittedly not always easy to watch, but it’s even more impossible to look away. I think many reviews failed to recognize that Precious wasn’t saved by the white world. She saved herself.

A Serious Man, the Cohn Brothers finally go home to Minnesota and make a movie that seems to reflect their own life. How rare the film about good and evil and the precarious nature of fate.

Up was moving, technologically splendid, and the first animated film to be treated as a serious Oscar best picture contender. I think Coraline, another animated film this year, was equally good.

Up in the Air-managed to entertain and inform the viewer in equal doses. It also had two intelligent women holding their own with George Clooney. Again, we see character growth without didacticism. Clooney amazes us with his willingness to take on roles that put him in a bad light or leave him the fool.

The best pictures nominees this year all managed to surprise me in some important way.

This is a first-rate group of films. I think Avatar or The Blind Locker will win. But any of the eight films I saw would be good choice.