There's no use debating this win, because Jeff Bridges was long overdue for an Oscar and, unlike Paul Newman and Al Pacino, he won for a great performance. Still, I'm not sure whether I would have actually nominated him. I loved him in 'Crazy Heart,' but I had so many problems with the film itself, all of which took me out of the whole "let's bow down to Jeff Bridges!" experience. I think I need to see it again. As for now, I'd say he's fighting with Matt Damon for my fifth spot. Damon gave an incredibly underrated performance in September's 'The Informant!' and should have been nominated for that instead of 'Invictus.' (However, contrary to most people's opinion, I actually thought Damon was good in that, too, though obviously not worthy of a nomination.)
Who else would I have nominated? Colin Firth is a no-brainer -- and my winner -- for his career-changing performance in 'A Single Man.' After that, I'd pick Jeremy Renner for 'The Hurt Locker,' George Clooney for 'Up in the Air' and -- wait for it -- Chris Pine, who I thought gave a star-is-born performance in 'Star Trek.' This kid is the real deal, and I ate up every second he was on screen.
Again, how can you debate this? I definitely wouldn't have nominated her, but there was just no stopping the SaBu train this year. And, really, what was so bad about that? She had an incredible year; she's incredibly likeable; and the film was fine, if completely inconsequential and harmless. And I think she understood why she won, and that she probably wouldn't be nominated again. So let her enjoy her Oscar bliss.
(Side note: This was one case in which I was SO mad to be away from my blog, because I had been predicting SaBu to win the Oscar since 'The Blind Side''s opening weekend. All that talk about Meryl Streep winning for 'Julie & Julia' COMPLETELY baffled me to me. Look it: Meryl Streep will win a third Oscar. Every nomination that she receives moves her one step closer to that grand moment. But she's going to win when and only when she gives a huge, unstoppable performance that cannot be overlooked in favor of a "due" actress, as was the case with Sandra Bullock. Until then, the Academy will continue will put off the inevitable. That's my hunch, anyway.)
As for my own personal ballot, I really felt that Carey Mulligan should have won for 'An Education.' In a sense, she was like the Keira Knightley to SaBu's Reese Witherspoon. Streep was my runner-up, followed by Abbie Cornish for 'Bright Star,' Tilda Swinton for her fearless performance in 'Julia' and Gabourey Sidibe for 'Precious' (although, in a stronger year, Sidibe wouldn't have come close to making my top five.)
Deserved. 100 percent. Which is why the rest of the category looked so weak by comparison.
Even my own ballot was a little sucky, although I cannot BELIEVE the Academy snubbed Anthony Mackie for 'The Hurt Locker' (well, yes I can, as I didn't think it would happen, but still ...) This was arguably the biggest snub in the acting categories, and a silly one at that, considering the amount of love that was there for 'The Hurt Locker.'
Rounding out my ballot: Alfred Molina for 'An Education,' Stanley Tucci for 'Julie & Julia' and the incredibly sexy Michael Fassbender for 'Inglourious Basterds.'
I'm totally fine with this win, because, even though she didn't win my award, it was a fearless and memorable performance that had true moments of brilliance, especially in her final scene with Sidibe and Mariah Carey.
My winner: Julianne Moore for 'A Single Man' -- and actually, I take back what I said about Mackie, because this snub was a total missed opportunity. I don't even like Julianne Moore and I thought she was brilliant here.
I went with 'Up in the Air''s Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga for my second and third spots. (Mo'Nique came in third, respectively.) I considered them both equally good in the film, but Kendrick was arguably most effective in terms of the film's overall product, so I gave her the slight edge.
Finally, my last spot went to Marion Cotillard. But first, I have to stop and tell you guys how much I HATED 'Nine.' HATED. I thought it was a huge trainwreck of a movie, and I would have named the worst film of 2009 had it not been for Cotillard's luminous and show-stopping performance. From Daniel Day-Lewis' sing-speak, to the editing to the lack of balance between the story and musical numbers, it was just a mess.
But Cotillard ... sigh. It was like I was watching a different movie when she was on screen. And that voice! I still listen to 'My Husband Makes Movies' on my iPod because of it. Voters really missed a chance here, especially since decided to be lazy and nominate Penelope Cruz instead.