Saturday, December 26, 2009
'Avatar' Could Get Nine Oscar Nominations
Since June, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences opened the best picture race to 10 nominees, Oscar has been waiting for a knight in shining box office armor -- preferably a "Dark Knight": a commercial powerhouse with strong critical credentials.
A large part of the rationale for opting for an Oscar Top 10 was the hope that Academy voters would embrace mainstream hits, thereby expanding the potential audience for the broadcast while avoiding the cries of protest from jilted fanboys who felt robbed when "The Dark Knight" failed to earn a best picture nomination last time around.
But then another "Dark Knight" failed to materialize immediately. Consider: Pixar's "Up," released in May and now the No. 3 domestic grosser of 2009, is regarded as a possible contender -- if it isn't relegated to the animated feature category. "The Hangover," the year's biggest comedy at No. 4, with $277 million, would have to overcome the hurdle that it is the year's biggest comedy. "Star Trek" might have attracted appreciative reviews and a No. 6 rank at the box office, but it doesn't seem to have inspired much Oscar buzz in the top categories.