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The 82nd Academy Awards: Predictions and Pontifications

2 February 2010 by Gnoll One Comment

It’s been several years since I’ve done one of these things. In this site’s former life as Movie Criticism for the Retarded, this was an annual event for a while, but this is the first time in three years that I’ve churned out my (usually wildly incorrect) predictions of how the Oscars will pan out this year. My prediction will be in red. So, without further ado…

Best Picture

  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up In The Air

An interesting list. When they announced the expansion to ten films this year, I still wasn’t expecting much non-traditional fare to make the cut. District 9 is an interesting choice, and I wasn’t expecting smaller stuff liek An Education and A Serious Man outside of acting and writing categories. Still, nothing really sticks out as the obvious winner other than the film that should topple James Cameron’s last film at the domestic box office by the end of the week. Interestingly, not a single film nominated for Best Comedy or Musical at the Golden Globes found its way here. Not that I was expecting The Hangover to earn an Oscar nomination, but (500) Days of Summer was really awesome and I figured Julie & Julia might get some play with the expanded field. My issue here is that I try to at least see all of the films nominated for Best Picture by the time Oscar comes knocking, which would mean having to actually watch The Blind Side. I’m not looking forward to that.

Best Actor In A Leading Role

  • Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
  • George Clooney – Up In The Air
  • Colin Firth – A Single Man
  • Morgan Freeman – Invictus
  • Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker

Bridges’s performance is easily the most buzzed-about here, and would be a nice way to pay tribute to his entire body of work. He’s won a bunch of awards already for this performance. It’s a personal story, a real character study. In other words, it’s a lot like Mickey Rourke last year in The Wrestler. That may be the only thing that keeps him away from winning.

Best Actress In A Leading Role

  • Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side
  • Helen Mirren – The Last Station
  • Carey Mulligan – An Education
  • Gabourey Sibide – Precious
  • Meryl Streep – Julie and Julia

This could go in a lot of ways. Bullock’s great white hope role is traditional Oscar bait, Mirren is beloved in the Oscar community, Mulligan’s performance has been racking up awards all over the place, Sibide is the new face playing someone dealing with adversity, and Streep is overdue for a win, as it’s been nearly 30 years since her last one despite a dozen nominations in the interim.

Best Actor In A Supporting Role

  • Matt Damon – Invictus
  • Woody Harrelson – The Messenger
  • Christopher Plummer – The Last Station
  • Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones
  • Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

Seriously, there should be no contest here. Even if Waltz disappeared from Basterds after the opening sequence, he’d still deserve this award. Easily my favorite performance of the year.

Best Actress In A Supporting Role

  • Penelope Cruz – Nine
  • Vera Farminga – Up In The Air
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal – Crazy Heart
  • Anna Kendrick – Up In The Air
  • Mo’Nique – Precious

I thought Kendrick had a good shot at this one before the nominations were announced, but with her competition coming from the same film, it may reduce her chances. There’s a lot of hype for Mo’Nique’s performance in Precious, so I assume the Academy will have forgiven her for Phat Girls.

Best Director

  • James Cameron – Avatar
  • Kathyn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker
  • Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds
  • Lee Daniels – Precious
  • Jason Reitman – Up In The Air

Tough call on this one. Cameron seems like the natural winner, since his film will most likely win Best Picture, but his work may be overlooked because of the exensive use of special effects. Bigelow is also a likely contender. But Basterds is so unmistakably Tarantino, and the scenes that bookend it — a tension-filled opening and over-the-top crescendo — are enough to secure the statue for Q.

Best Original Screenplay

  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • The Messenger
  • A Serious Man
  • Up

Nothing really jumps out at me on this one, but the Coens are masters of their craft, and this is probably the most personal film they’ve ever made.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • District 9
  • An Education
  • In The Loop
  • Precious
  • Up In The Air

I don’t really have a rationale here. I just know how controversial the book was and how much buzz Precious has received this year, and expect it to do fairly well.

Best Animated Feature Film

  • Coraline
  • Fantastic Mr Fox
  • The Princess And The Frog
  • The Secret Of Kells
  • Up

It kind of bothers me that Up is nominated here. I mean, it’s nominated for Best Picture of the Year. This is only the second time in history an animated film has been up for the top prize, and the first time since the Animated Feature award was created. But if Up is being considered one of the top ten films of the year, doesn’t that automatically make it the best animated film of the year? I’d probably agree, although Mr. Fox was really good as well, but I would think that being in the running for one award should negate being in the mix for the other. If I’m not mistaken, The Academy has a rule in place like this for documentaries, because Michael Moore was only able to enter Fahrenheit 9/11 for either Best Picture or Best Director consideration, but not both.

For the rest, I’ll give my predictions without comment. Either they’re just not something I have much to say about, or they’re just categories I know too little about. For those, I generally just go with the one with the best title. Enjoy, and I’ll see you on March 7.

Foreign Language Film

  • Ajami
  • El Secreto de Sus Ojos
  • The Milk of Sorrow
  • Un Prophete
  • The White Ribbon

Art Direction

  • Avatar
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Nine
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • The Young Victoria

Cinematography

  • Avatar
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • The White Ribbon

Costume Design

  • Bright Star
  • Coco Before Chanel
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Nine
  • The Young Victoria

Documentary Feature

  • Burma VJ
  • The Cove
  • Food, Inc
  • Which Way Home

Documentary Short

  • China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province
  • The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner
  • The Last Truck: Closing of GM Plant
  • Music by Prudence
  • Rabbit a la Berlin

Film Editing

  • Avatar
  • District 9
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious

Make-up

  • Il Divo
  • Star Trek
  • The Young Victoria

Music (Original Score)

  • Avatar
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Up

Music (Original Song)

  • The Princess and the Frog: ‘Almost There’ by Randy Newman
  • The Princess and the Frog: ‘Down In New Orleans’ by Randy Newman
  • Paris 36: ‘Loin De Paname’ by Frank Thomas and Reinhardt Wagner
  • Nine: ‘Take It All’ by Maury Yeston
  • Crazy Heart: ‘The Weary Kind’ by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Sound Editing

  • Avatar
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Star Trek
  • Up

Sound Mixing

  • Avatar
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Star Trek
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Visual Effects

  • Avatar
  • District 9
  • Star Trek

Short film (Animated)

  • French Roast
  • Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty
  • The Lady and the Reaper
  • Logorama
  • A Matter of Loaf and Death

Short Film (Live Action)

  • The Door
  • Instead of Abracadabra
  • Kavi
  • Miracle Fish
  • The New Tenants

One Comment »

  • Phantom Troublemaker said:

    Interesting choices. Despite the fact that I am in no way qualified to produce a list of Oscar picks, I have been inspired by your work to create my own. I think I’ve only seen like three of those movies, so it shouldn’t take me too long.

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