Well, I'm going to be the one who rallies to Magilla's side. I see this as very much a tight Streep/Bullock race, and I don't quite understand why,based on so little evidence (basically, the SAG win -- when everyone knew Streep's year-earlier win would make it tougher on her -- and The Blind Side best picture nomination, which is untested as a factor given the new-ness of the 10 picture slate), so many have been persuaded that Bullock is some unstoppable force.
I think there's a factor that's being overlooked here, Streep's strongest asset and Bullock's biggest vulnerability: the fact that many (including here) would view a Bullock win as appalling.
I'm sure some are already saying, big deal, the Academy makes lots of choices I find appalling. To which I would say, that's because your outrage meters are set way too low. There are plenty of Academy choices I've found deeply disappointing...demoralizing...enough to send me to bed miserable. But the number I've found truly appalling -- as in, how can I ever take anything this group does seriously again? -- sorry, but that's really small. Crash was a mediocre drama which should never have topped Brokeback Mountain, but it wasn't an unspeakably cornball effort. Halle Berry and Charlize Theron didn't rate the acclaim thrown at them, but they at least showed up to perform at a higher level that I could understand impressing some. I've been through close to five decades of Oscar now, and, apart from the 1973 Best Actor/Actress tandem, however dsappointed I've been by some outcomes, I've rarely felt choices made were so categorically awful they bespoke not just taste different from mine but taste indefensible by even any middlebrow standard of art.
Which, you may guess, is how I feel about Bullock in The Blind Side -- an utterly unimpressive piece of work by a middling actress in a cloying, dreadful movie. For her to win would overrun my generous low setting for outrage.
Just for the sake of history: if I go way back, I can think of a few people who were SUPPOSED to win who would have met this criteria. Major case in point: Ali McGraw in Love Story. Those who weren't around at the time -- reading now that Glenda Jackson had swept the critics' prizes -- may not realize how close McGraw (as untalented an actress as ever received a nomination) came to winning. But Women in Love was a tiny art-house film, and Jackson's name recognition was sub-Carey Mulligan's, while Love Stiory was of course breaking box-office records (and McGraw had had a previous-year hit with Goodbye Columbus). Every major Oscar pundit I knew was predicting a McGraw win, despite loathing the prospect. A friend of mine, a very knowledgable Oscar enthusiast, correctly predicted the Scott win despite the refusal controversy (far from a universally-held view), but he said he thought McGraw had best actress in the bag. That she failed to score suggested to me there (thankfully) was a level below which Oscar voters wouldn't go.
Something to which they had to face up two years later. Jeannie Berlin had easily won the critics' supporting actress prizes, but Academy folk didn't much like The Heartbreak Kid (even the writers didn't nominate it), and, when Shelley Winters won the Globe, she became a widely-predicted winner. (Gene Shalit guaranteed it) I'm not at all crazy about Eileen Heckart's win -- I've always considered Butterflies Are Free bourgeios shlock -- but she's an actress of some value and clearly deserved the win more than Underwater Shelley, whose win would have made all-time worst lists had she triumphed. Again, we were spared.
These events (and other, lesser examples, like favorite Tom Cruise losing to Daniel Day-Lewis in '89), I'm going to choose to believe the academy maintains some minimum standard, and this will work against Bullock winning for a movie everyone knows is garbage. If I'm wrong, I'll be happy to acknowledge my personal bar needs to be lowered.
I do find it interesting, by the way, how many comments this thread is getting; I'm beginning to think there's a Rohrschach element at work here for everyone (myself included).
Edited By Mister Tee on 1266867088