Experts on Oscar contenders’ subjects

Selected quotes about best pic hopefuls in the mix

DISTRICT 9
It is the best movie I have yet seen about South Africa — and specifically, one of the most penetrating, disconcerting and subversive meditations on the nature of racism and repression in the postcolonial world.”
— Andries du Toit, deputy director for South Africa’s Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, blogging at A Subtle Knife

AN EDUCATION
I … was knocked out by the brilliance of the acting and the incredible care and authenticity that had gone into getting the period detail right. … And if anyone wants to believe that I was as pretty as Carey Mulligan when I was 16, by all means go ahead.”
Lynn Barber, author of “An Education,” writing in the Guardian

IN THE LOOP
If, like me, you have worked in the belly of the No. 10 beast, then the tears of laughter are mixed with winces at the uncanny accuracy of much of this film. … I remember a very senior Labour spin doctor standing, shouting at the TV as a backbencher went alarmingly off-message in 1997: ‘You wanker, you wanker!'”
— Andrew Neather, former speech writer for Tony Blair, writing in London’s Evening Standard

INVICTUS
As someone who studied Mr. Mandela over the course of three years … I found (Morgan) Freeman’s performance in the film ‘Invictus,’ directed by Clint Eastwood, uncanny — less an impersonation than an incarnation.”
— Bill Keller, New York Times executive editor, profiling Freeman for the Times

JULIE AND JULIA
Meryl Streep … captures the deep sensual delight that Julia Child took in food — not just the eating of it … but the fondling and affectionate slapping of ingredients in their raw state and the magic of their kitchen transformations.”
— Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” writing in the New York Times

THE MESSENGER
I’m not foolish enough to think that films or books save people’s lives, but … ‘The Messenger’ deserves to be a part of the current national dialogue about warfare, about why we fight, and the cost that we as a society are willing to pay for our wars abroad.”
— Anthony Swofford, author of “Jarhead,” on the Huffington Post

A SERIOUS MAN
Though some characterize ‘A Serious Man’ as a modern retelling of Job, it deals less with the evil that afflicts the righteous than with the existence of God Himself. The movie is extraordinary for its chutzpah.”
— Rabbi Rafi Rank, “Cyber Rav,” reviewing for JewishPost.com

STAR TREK
I took my grandchildren to see the new ‘Star Trek’ movie. … I absolutely loved it. It was a very, very odd experience to be in the cinema watching a new ‘Star Trek’ movie that I wasn’t in. … I got a great kick out of it.”
— Patrick Stewart, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star, speaking to Yorkshire Post

UP
I was watching the sad old man’s story pretty contently, but could not figure out how they were going to turn this into entertainment — this intrigued me at the beginning. It went in the direction that I expected the least.”
— Hayao Miyazaki, director of “Ponyo,” interviewed for Japanese television

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