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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

January 25, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Oscar watch: Sandra Bullock shakes things up; “Avatar” gets no love from the guilds

Interesting weekend in the movie-awards universe. The Producers Guild surprised Oscar watchers by giving its top award to “The Hurt Locker,” rather than the box-office smash “Avatar” (winner of last weekend’s Golden Globe for best drama), while the Screen Actors Guild gave its ensemble award to the cast of “Inglourious Basterds.” Last year, “Slumdog Millionaire” took all three of these prizes, smoothly ushering the film to Oscar glory. The split bodes well for a lively Oscar season.
Three of the individual SAG awards were no surprise: Christoph Waltz for supporting actor (“Inglourious Basterds”), Mo’Nique for supporting actress (“Precious”), Jeff Bridges for lead actor (“Crazy Heart”). The one award with genuine suspense was the best actress category — would it be Gabourey Sidibe, the newcomer who astonished audiences in “Precious” (and then went on to charm America in a series of endearing TV interviews)? Meryl Streep, the veteran whose performance in “Julie & Julia” felt fresh, new and irresistibly joyful? Or Sandra Bullock, the likable Hollywood star whose career has dizzyingly zoomed up (“The Blind Side”) and down (“All About Steve”) this year alone? It was Bullock, who seemed a bit gobsmacked by the win, reminding audiences that six years ago she dropped out of movies for a while because, she felt, her work wasn’t good enough. According to the NY Times, SAG members make up the largest single group within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — about 21 percent of the membership. Bullock, therefore, just became the Oscar front-runner. Stay tuned; this is getting interesting.

Sandra Bullock, with Jae Head and Quint Aaron in “The Blind Side” (Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures).

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