Sunday, February 28, 2010

Final Oscar Predictions

I'm going to be on set Oscar weekend. As a result, I will not be watching the ceremony live...the first time I haven't watched the Oscars since Titanic swept. I keep telling myself that it's better to be on set making movies than to be watching people winning awards for movies...right? Whatever. I'm still sad. But enough about me...

Here are my final predictions for the big categories.

Best Picture
will win/should win: The Hurt Locker
should have been nominated: I'm fine with like 80% of the best picture list, but I would have liked to see The Messenger get some more love. Hunger is ineligible.

I'm going back and forth on this one, but not in the way that you'd think. I'm not buying the Avatar talk. Yes, it's a money machine. But it got zero acting nods and no writing nomination. Plus, it lost the Producers Guild Award in what should have been a cakewalk. It's no secret that a lot of actors not only dislike it, but they are offended by the sheer notion of motion capture as acting. Actors make up the largest branch in the academy. The Hurt Locker has the DGA, the PGA, the WGA and the ACE Eddie Award. Statistically, any film with this haul is not going to lose, despite whatever hamhanded controversy is being drummed up by so and so sending such and such email to what's his name. The bottom line: no one would even be talking about Avatar winning best picture if it wasn't for the Golden Globe win--an award that, prior to Slumdog Millionaire last year, hadn't matched up with the Oscar winner since Lord of the Rings. So, it's the Hurt Locker with Inglourious Basterds as a long-range spoiler, followed by Avatar in third.

Best Director
will win/should win: Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker
should have been nominated: my ballot includes Jane Campion and John Hillcoat

It's a done deal. Even if The Hurt Locker somehow, in some universe very not like this one loses best picture, Bigelow is still going to win. There's so much enthusiasm behind her at this point. It's always possible to lose, but I just can't imagine who she'd lose to. Cameron? Already has one and he's not very well liked. Tarantino? Maybe... Reitman? Too soon. Daniels? Too black. Bigelow's got this and I'm firmly in her corner.

Best Actor
will win/should win: Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
should have been nominated: not Morgan Freeman

I've yet to decide if I like Bridges performance better than Jeremy Renner's work. Believe it or not, they're pretty evenly matched in my estimation. I'm fine with Bridges winning his long overdue Oscar here. If there's a spoiler, it's Colin Firth who just won the BAFTA. But that's not happening here, I don't think. I'm not feeling a groundswell of support for a A Single Man in general, so I'm guessing it'll be hard for first time nominee Firth to pull an upset here.

Best Actress
will win: Sandra Bullock - The Blind Side
should win: Gabourey Sidibe - Precious
should have been nominated: Tilda Swinton - Julia

The minute The Blind Side received that best picture nomination, Sandra sealed the deal. Don't get me wrong. Meryl's still in contention and I wouldn't be surprised if she won. But Sandra's in the lead. Losing the BAFTA to Carey Mulligan where Bullock wasn't nominated may have been the death knell for Streep. And of course, if it's between Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep, I pick Meryl. But I propose a whacky thought, which is why does it have to be either? For my money, both Julie & Julia and The Blind Side are pretty bad movies--the former less so, but only slightly. I'm not in the "Street is overdue because she hasn't won since 1982" camp. She has two on her shelf. Not that I'm against rewarding her again. I love Meryl Streep. For the record, if it were up to me, she would have won four additional statuettes for Silkwood, Postcards from the Edge, Adaptation and The Devil Wears Prada bringing her tally to a nice six. But I don't feel it prudent to reward Streep for good work in a bad film that wouldn't have brought an Oscar nomination to any other actress. Bullock did fair work in a film that was both bad and offensively pandering, so naturally I can't support that. I'm hoping for an Adrien Brody scenario, where the Academy can't decide between the two frontrunners and go for a young upstart (Mulligan or Sidibe). It pains me to say that in a Streep/Bullock horserace, Streep is the lesser of two evils. Does Meryl Streep really need the On Golden Pond Oscar? I guess it'd be more accurate to call it the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Oscar...both are second-rate Hepburn anyhow. So, it's Bullock. And I've included a nice photo I've found of a kitten petting a duckling because it's cute, it makes me smile and I'm trying to remain positive here.

Best Supporting Actor
will win/should win: Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds
should have been nominated: Anthony Mackie - The Hurt Locker

A friend of mine recently made a fairly coherent case for Christopher Plummer upsetting Waltz. Something about the luncheon and the voters seeing him in person and saying "Wow, you really are old. Like die-any-second old." But, unless I'm mistaken, Plummer wasn't even at the luncheon. Plus, Waltz has swept the precursors. Outside of a possible win in Original Screenplay, Waltz is the Academy's surest thing for rewarding a film that they clearly liked a whole lot. My friend had no counter for any of this and then I remember that he not only supported the Angelina Jolie Changeling nomination last year, but he also thought she would win. So, it's Waltz.

Best Supporting Actress
will win/should win: Mo'Nique - Precious
should have been nominated: Samantha Morton - The Messenger

"Mo to the...N to the..." Okay, I'll stop. I'm for this win so hard, you guys. So hard. Mo'Nique's success this season has really been exciting. She's going to win and that's all there is to say. If there's an upset...take cover. Remember, Anna Kendrick, duck and and move because she will kill you.

Best Original Screenplay
will win: Mark Boal - The Hurt Locker
should win: Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds

This is by no means a done deal. Tarantino could still very well upset here. What I think will prevent him from winning is the fact that he's won already in this category. Maybe they'll want to spread the wealth a little.

Best Adapted Screenplay
will win: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner - Up in the Air
should win: Geoffrey Fletcher - Precious

Sigh. Jason Reitman will take the podium. The more I think about Up in the Air and how Jason Reitman's films seem so blissfully uninterested in anything outside of white America, even when exploring, ramping up and fetishizing the fringe and the quirk, I bubble and brim with rage a little bit. But I suppose it's not fair to put that on him. Because that one lady in Up in the Air, you know the one who killed herself because she got fired (which automatically makes her stand out)...she was African-American. So, it's okay. I'm on to you Jason Reitman.

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