Tuesday, March 2, 2010

MY OSCAR PREDICTIONS


Traffic is snarled near Hollywood Blvd, so that could only means one thing (Humour me here). . . The big show is just a few days away. . . The champagne is chillin' and I can't wait!

I have listed this year's nominees in the major categories and have highlighted my prediction for the winner of each one. Now, some of these would not necessarily be my choice if I was able to vote but I'm just selecting which one will likely win.
Okay, here we go:

Actress in a supporting role:

Mo'Nique in Precious
Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air
Penélope Cruz in Nine
Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart

This is the only category where the winner is not going to be much of a surprise. Mo'Nique has won every major prize for her role in "Precious" and I know she will not be going home empty handed this Sunday. To be honest, none of the other performers in this category had a serious chance of winning against the big and showy performance of Mo'Nique although I really admired the quiet and powerful acting of Ms Gyllenhaal, who would be my runner up. I'm sure she will definitely have another opportunity to win this prize.
Actor in a supporting role:

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

Oops. I forgot. This is the other category where we will know the winner before the envelope is opened. This is the one where I would be happy if any of these actors won the award. Every performance was wonderful and it's hard to select only one but Mr. Waltz's is the man that stands out. I think he will win and I would have selected him as well.
Actress in a leading role:

Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia
Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side
Helen Mirren in The Last Station
Gabourey Sidibe in Precious
Carey Mulligan in An Education

This is really only a two woman race. Ms Sidibe and Ms Mulligan were both impressive in their first major film roles but the nomination is the reward. Although she gives another brilliant performance, Ms Mirren just won this award a few years ago.

That leaves Ms Bullock, who gave a surprisingly, touching and funny turn in the well loved "The Blind Side" and Ms Streep, who gave a reliably warm and funny performance as Julia Child. I would vote for Ms Streep despite her being the most nominated actor ever and already having not one but two Oscars at home but I think Ms. Bullock will win. I think partially because she astonished us with a performance that most people didn't think she had in her(myself included) but also because, like Jeff Bridges, she is well liked.

Actor in a leading role:

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

My favorite in this category is Mr. Firth's wonderful turn in the shamefully, under-nominated film, "A Single Man" but this will be the year for Mr. Bridges. On the surface, it may appear that he may be getting the award more for his large body of excellent work but actually he gives another amazing performance and he truly deserves it simply for this role.



Crazy Heart Trailer
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Animated feature film:

Up (Pete Docter and Bob Peterson)
The Princess and the Frog (Ron Clements and John Musker)
Coraline (Henry Selick)
Fantastic Mr Fox (Wes Anderson)
The Secret of Kells (Tomm Moore)

I only have seen "Up" and "Coraline" to date but I think it is a safe bet to predict that "Up" will receive the award. It is also a nominee for the Best Picture of 2009 but this is the category where it will win. I am very interested in seeing "The Secret of Kells", which will be released in Los Angeles around St. Patrick's day, a small Irish film that managed to get the surprise nomination.
Foreign language film:

Ajami (Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, Israel)
A Prophet (Jacques Audiard, France)
The Secret of Her Eyes (Juan Jose Campanella, Argentina)
The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, Germany)The Milk of Sorrow (Claudia Llosa, Peru)

I have only seen one film in this category to date, which is "The White Ribbon" but I'm going out on a limb and predict that it will win. My reason is because it has won several awards already and it is a very good film. "Ajami" and "A Prophet" were just released in Los Angeles and I hope to see at least one of them before Sunday.
Directing:

Avatar (James Cameron)
The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)
Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
Up in the Air (Jason Reitman)
Precious (Lee Daniels)

There is a possibility that Mr. Cameron will get this award if there is an "Avatar" sweep but I predict Ms Bigelow will win this regardless. There has only been four women nominated in this category in the last eighty two Oscar ceremonies and none have ever one, so I think this will be the time to right that wrong. I do think it is the wrong reason to give someone an Oscar but in this case, she actually deserves it.
Writing (adapted screenplay):

District 9 (Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell)
An Education (Nick Hornby)
Precious (Geoffrey Fletcher)
Up in the Air (Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner)In the Loop (Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche)

It was great that "District 9" and most especially, "In The Loop" (rent this film as soon as it's available!) were honored with nominations here but "Up in the Air" will be the victor here and I think this will be the film's only award.

Writing (original screenplay):

The Hurt Locker (Mark Boal)Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen)
Up (Pete Docter and Bob Petersen)
The Messenger (Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman)

This is a very strong group of original screenplays and this is another one where I would be glad if any of them won. I was leaning towards Mr. Tarantino taking home the gold but I think "The Hurt Locker" will be the most likely winner. "Avatar" is strangely missing from this list. . . how interesting. . .

Best picture:

Avatar (James Cameron and Jon Landau, producers)District 9 (Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, producers)
An Education (Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, producers)
The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro, producers)
Inglourious Basterds (Lawrence Bender, producer)
Precious (Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, producers)
A Serious Man (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, producers)
Up in the Air (Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, producers)
The Blind Side (Gil Netter, Andrew A Kosove and Broderick Johnson, producers)
Up (Jonas Rivera, producer)

Now to be perfectly honest, if I was voting, "Avatar" would be my seventh selection out of these nominees. My choice would be either "Up in the Air" or "The Hurt Locker". However, I'm going to predict that "Avatar" will collect most of the Oscars it is nominated for, including the award for Best Picture. In the past, I would have said a film like "Avatar" wouldn't stand a serious chance of winning this award but I do remember the show in 2001 and you had to pick my jaw up off of the ground when it was announced that "Gladiator" beat both "Traffic" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". I still to this day can't believe it received the nomination, let alone actually winning the award. "Gladiator" is just a glossy and very well-made but average film and will not stand up to the test of time which I think is the exact same problem with "Avatar", if it wins.

I know "Avatar" has made some crazy cash and I guess I have different standards in regards to what make a picture "the best" . . . but c'mon! Let's keep it real!

Anyway, time will tell and no matter what the outcome. . . I will still enjoy the show.