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The Lens: The Oscar sure things

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 23, 2010 - Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz in "Inglourious Basterds." No argument there, right?

Best Actor: Three months ago, it looked like they might as well start engraving George Clooney's name onto the base. But then along came Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart," a film so far off the radar that it was headed straight to a premiere on Country Music Television. Though it only managed to get three nominations (and in my opinion should have been up there for best picture and best director as well), this is the one that matters the most.

Some people have suggested that this is a kind of "it's about time" honor for Bridges, who has been doing great work for nearly 40 years. I'd be happy if that were true - it's about time The Dude got the recognition - but in this case it also happens to be deserved. Though the other actors are all good - you'll get yours some day, Colin Firth! - there was nothing as bare, honest and just plain painful to watch as Bridges' Bad Blake, a struggling should-have-been-famous musician dieing one drink at a time.

And while I'm on the subject of "Crazy Heart," it should have no problem walking away with the award for Best Original Song as well. The other nominees are two pleasant numbers from Randy Newman's "Princess and the Frog" score, an unknown tune from a barely seen foreign film, and the weakest number in "Nine." "Crazy Heart"'s "The Weary Kind" is clearer the best of this bunch (though there are other songs in the film every bit as good).

Best Animated Feature: Another sure thing here: "Up." Though I loved "Coraline" and "The Princess and the Frog," I don't see how anything else has a chance. (Disclosure: I haven't seen "Up").

That's it until the next batch of gut-feelings comes up.

The Lens is provided by Cinema St. Louis.

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