The Race is On: Oscar Predictions 2010

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A lot has changed this year for the Oscars. Most notably, the number of Best Picture nominations. Veering away from the traditional five nominees, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences answers the calls of people jeering at the fact that popular and critically lauded films like 2008’s The Dark Knight weren’t nominated by creating this: ten nominees. While I say five is traditional, I say that in the loosest sense. Originally, back in “the day”, basically 1930’s and ‘40’s, the Academy would nominate ten films. The distributors, of course, like RKO, Universal, and MGM would churn out over a hundred films a year. Today, studios don’t even release half that amount, so there wasn’t a need for ten nominees, so they lowered it to five. But after WALL·E and The Dark Knight didn’t get nominated alongside Fost/Nixon, Milk, The Wrestler, Doubt, and winner Slumdog Millinoaire, people were upset. Not only were regular audiences unhappy at the omission of the critical hits, but critics were equally “unhappy”. But fear no more, the Academy responds with the announcement of ten nominees. And let us begin our predeictions with that category, the one that shot such epics as Ben-Hur and Gone with the Wind to monumental status.

Best Picture

Nominees:

The Hurt Locker

Avatar

The Blind Side

District 9

An Education

Inglourious Basterds

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

A Serious Man

Up

Up in the Air

Who Will Win:

The odds are that The Hurt Locker and Up in the Air will duke it out in the end, but with Avatar’s recent snags at the Golden Globes (Run by the idiotic HFPA), it could create an upset. However, The Hurt Locker has so far managed to beat everyone else at the Independent Spirit Awards nearly a year ago, along with wins at the Critic’s Choice Movie Awards, Producer’s Guild Awards, LA Critic’s, New York Critic’s, Boston, … basically every award except the Globes and the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards (which went to the Ensemble Cast of Inglourious Basterds). So bet on Hurt Locker.

Who Should Win:

The Hurt Locker tackles a very sensitive subject very tastefully, dramatically, and quite amazingly.

Who I Want to Win:

I believe any nominee deserves it more than Avatar. So I’m up for The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air, An Education, and longshot Inglourious Basterds.

Best Actress

Nominees:

Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Helen Mirren, The Last Station

Carey Mulligan, An Education

Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Who Will Win:

Bet on Sandra Bullock’s Southern belle in The Blind Side. While it’s been over 25 years since Streep won an Oscar (Best Actress, Spohie’s Choice, 1982), she has, in the meantime, garnered herself the title of Oscar Queen, with a record smashing 16 career nominations. As much of a history as she has with great performances, Bullock’s moving role has gotten her a SAG. Looks like Bullock will take the prize.

Who Should Win:

Bullock all the way, her lines are delivered expertly.

Who I Want to Win:

Well, after 13 loses at the Awards, I think it’s time we give Streep another Academy Award. Her bubbly Julia Child hit all the right notes. Why didn’t Sandra Bullock get nominated for A Time to Kill, where she was probably better?

Best Actor

Nominees:

Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

George Clooney, Up in the Air

Colin Firth, A Single Man

Morgan Freeman, Invictus

Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Who Will Win:

Jeff Bridges as a musician down in tye dumps and trying to fight demons and come back from the dark. Sound familiar? Mickey Rourke was robbed last year by Sean Penn’s unworthy performance as Milk, but Rourke was as moving and had a very similar comeback in real life. Let’s bet on Bridges to win.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees:

Penelope Cruz, Nine

Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air

Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart

Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air

Mo’nique, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Who Will Win:

Mo’nique was getting Oscar buzz long before the race officially started for her moving performance as the abusive mother in Precious. And no one thought they would see her even in such a position. After long years of doing low budget comedies and being a stand up comedienne, she’s here, racing for the Gold.

Who Should Win:

While Mo’nique is all good and well, Anne Kendrick and Vera Farmiga are equally worthy of the award for their roles in Up in the Air. One as the female version of Clooney and the other as his protégé.

Who I Want to Win:

Let’s go for Mo’Nique, I love it when career underdogs get to such a place in their career. It’s not like they’ll have another chance. Just kidding.

Supporting Actor

Matt Damon, Invictus

Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Christopher Plummer, The Last Station

Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones

Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Who Will Win:

Christoph Waltz in his chilling, ruthless, and sometimes hilarious role as SS Guard Hans Landa is basically a shoo in. He spoke four languages in the film!  But it’s certainly nice to see Plummer finally get his first nomination.

Who Should Win:

Waltz all the way, he was amazing. This may the first time an actor has won for a role in a Tarantino film.

Who I want to Win:

Chrisptoph Waltz, though I wish Tucci had been nominated for Julie & Julia.

Best Director

Nominees:

Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

James Cameron, Avatar

Jason Reitman, Up in the Air

Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Who Will Win:

The odds are that Bigelow will win, after all she did get the Director’s Guild Award and that has been said to be an excellent precursor to the Oscars. She also got the BAFTA. An upset may be her ex winning, James Cameron. I will be pissed if he does.

Who Should Win:

Bigelow took one of the most sensitive subjects of war and made the film center, not on the war itself, but the characters and the drama surrounding the actual effects of war.

Who I Want to Win:

Bigelow, of course, or Tarantino would be fine. Why Tarantino? Who else has the audacity to rewrite World War II as he sees fit, including sadistic Jews, the destruction of the Third Reich with the use of film, and the death of Hitler? He’s directed a fine film, but so has Bigelow, so either one is fine.

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