Tonight, the 82nd Academy Awards will happen, and it surely be an interesting one as indie filmmaking will battle it out against that "$500 million" movie. So I'll call most of the awards, as I have no idea who will win Short Subject Documentary.
Looking for that prize...
The Blind Side
The Hurt Locker
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
A Serious Man
Up in the Air
The Winner: It's a race between Avatar and The Hurt Locker. The Hurt Locker has been experiencing some Slumdog Millionaire type backlash, probably instigated by Harvey Weinstein, and there's that controversy with the e-mail one of the producers sent out. Then again Avatar is a fantasy, which has historically had bad luck at winning Best Picture Oscars, and not only that, the plot is pretty fucking mediocre. I know some films in the past that won in the past have won this award (Crash, Shakespeare in Love) with some weak stories, but Avatar really didn't try. It's a pretty film, and that's about it. So I say The Hurt Locker will bring home the Oscar. I won't be surprised if Avatar wins thought.
The Wild Card: Up in the Air. Or Precious. Inglorious Basterds has no chance though; it's too post-modern of a film to win the gold.
Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker
James Cameron – Avatar
Lee Daniels – Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
Jason Reitman – Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds
The Winner: Kathryn Bigelow. No analysis here. Hurt Locker is also a better directed film, compared the relatively average direction of Avatar (I'm sorry if I have an Avatar-bias. It's an average film). Also, it's 2010 and a woman has never won the Oscar for Best Picture. I think the Academy should change that.
The Wild Card: Jason Reitman, though I don't see it happen. He's pretty young, and Oscar has a habit of not awarding the director prize to young directors.
Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart as Bad Blake
George Clooney – Up in the Air as Ryan Bingham
Colin Firth – A Single Man as George Falconer
Morgan Freeman – Invictus as Nelson Mandela
Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker as Sgt. William James
The Winner: Jeff Bridges. It's Bridgesmania right now and rightfully so. He's had a long and great career, and when you think about, he's a pretty under appreciated actor, Lebowski fans aside.
The Wild Card: Clooney, Firth and Renner. Let's be serious though. They don't have a chance.
Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side as Leigh Anne Tuohy
Helen Mirren – The Last Station as Sofya Tolstoy
Carey Mulligan – An Education as Jenny Miller
Gabourey Sidibe – Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire as Claireece "Precious" Jones
Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia as Julia Child
The Winner: Sandra Bullock. For some reason she's had a "comeback" year. I'll dispute this considering Bullock has had a pretty mediocre career, and her 2009 was not just The Blind Side, but All About Steve, the disastrous comedy that has racked up several Razzies nods.
Wild Card: Carey Mulligan. She better win. That is all. Also, Gabourey Sidibe. The early favorite this year is a contendah.
Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon – Invictus as François Pienaar
Woody Harrelson – The Messenger as Capt. Tony Stone
Christopher Plummer – The Last Station as Leo Tolstoy
Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones as George Harvey
Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds as Col. Hans Landa
The Winner: Christopher Waltz. Duh. For a relatively unknown actor who has appeared in little films, his performance is an impressive one in an otherwise pretentious film (yeah, I said it).
The Wild Card: None. Maybe Woody Harrelson, but I highly doubt it.
Best Supporting Actress
Penélope Cruz – Nine as Carla Albanese
Vera Farmiga – Up in the Air as Alex Goran
Maggie Gyllenhaal – Crazy Heart as Jean Craddock
Anna Kendrick – Up in the Air as Natalie Keener
Mo'Nique – Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire as Mary Lee Johnston
The Winner: Mo'Nique.
The Wild Card: Maggie Gyllenhall, but it's unlikely she will.
Best Original Screenplay
The Hurt Locker – Mark Boal
Inglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino
The Messenger – Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman
A Serious Man – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Up – Tom McCarthy, Bob Peterson and Pete Docter
The Winner: The Hurt Locker. To be frank, it's a serious war film, compared to the highly original zaniness that is Inglorious Basterds.
The Wild Card: Inglourious Basterds, obviously. A Serious Man is too, but it has a small chance.
Best Adapted Screenplay
District 9 – Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell from Alive in Joburg by Blomkamp
An Education – Nick Hornby from An Education by Lynn Barber
In the Loop – Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche from The Thick of It created by Iannucci
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire – Geoffrey Fletcher from Push by Sapphire
Up in the Air – Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner from Up in the Air by Walter Kirn
The Winner: It's a close one. Too close too call, in fact. It'll be between An Education, Precious, and Up in the Air. Let's do some Oscar politics. Precious will win an Oscar for Supporting Actress, so that gives it a third place. Up in the Air has more momentum than An Education, so expect Up in the Air to get the gold.
The Wild Card: Eh... District 9 and In the Loop, but let's be serious.
Best Animated Feature
Coraline – Henry Selick
Fantastic Mr. Fox – Wes Anderson
The Princess and the Frog – Ron Clements and John Musker
The Secret of Kells – Tomm Moore
Up – Pete Docter
The Winner: Up. It's Pixar. It has a Best Picture nod. It's gonna win.
The Wild Card: Fantastic Mr. Fox and Coraline, but hell will freeze over first if they beat Up.
Best Foreign Language Film
Ajami (Israel) in Arabic and Hebrew – Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani
El Secreto de Sus Ojos (Argentina) in Spanish – Juan José Campanella
The Milk of Sorrow (Peru) in Spanish and Quechua – Claudia Llosa
Un Prophète (France) in French, Corsican and Arabic – Jacques Audiard
The White Ribbon (Germany) in German – Michael Haneke
The Winner: It's a race between A Prophet and The White Ribbon. One of them is directed by the Austrian master Michael Haneke, who could use an Oscar for his distinguished, if not confrontational career. Cache is one of the best movies of the past decade, and the Oscar might give him the award as a Lifetime Achievement Award of sorts. A Prophet is being hailed as a modern crime classic, and it's hype has been growing in momentum. It's too close too call to be honest, but I'll have to say The White Ribbon, since it has won tons of award already.
The Wild Card: Foreign Language film is known for being a pretty fucked up category. Politics and the like can cause a film to not even get nominated. The three other films are pretty standard fare, and they could win if the voters find A Prophet and The White Ribbon too much for their tastes.
Best Documentary Feature
Burma VJ – Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
The Cove – Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens
Food, Inc. – Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers – Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
Which Way Home – Rebecca Cammisa
The Winner: Food, Inc. It's the biggest one out of the five. But...
The Wild Card: ...there's been rumours that Food, Inc. royally pissed off some lobbyists, so the other films are wild cards.
Avatar – James Cameron, John Refoua and Stephen E. Rivkin
District 9 – Julian Clarke
The Hurt Locker – Chris Innis and Bob Murawski
Inglourious Basterds – Sally Menke
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire – Joe Klotz
The Winner: The Hurt Locker. Blah Blah Blah tension, blah blah blah good, blah blah blah pacing.
The Wild Card: Inglorious Basterds. It'll be it's token award, and because it's fucking wacky.
Best Visual Effects
Avatar District 9 Star Trek
The Winner: Avatar. James Cameron will commit seppuku if it doesn't.
The Wild Card: LOL.
Since I'm lazy here's the ones I don't feel like writing about, but I know who'll win.
Best Original Score - Eh... Avatar?
Best Original Song - "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart. Randy Newman can suck it.
Best Sound Editing - The Hurt Locker
Best Sound Mixing - The Hurt Locker
Best Art Direction - Avatar
Best Cinematography - Avatar
Best Makeup - The Young Victoria
Best Costume Design - I'll say Coco Before Chanel, or The Young Victoria, or Bright Star. Okay, this one doesn't count.
So, The Hurt Locker will win 6, while Avatar will win 4. There will be sparks tonight, so you better watch.