Monday, March 1, 2010

Oscar Predictions

The Oscars are coming in 6 days, which means it's time to unveil some predictions. Here are the ones I'm releasing in print this week, although I reserve the right to change my mind at the last minute in my annual battle with my wife for household supremacy in motion picture prognostication. If you would like to know my thoughts for the smaller categories, that's too bad. You have to do some things on your own or you'll never learn.

I’m From the Future
How else could I know who will win at the Oscars?

Come with me if you want to live…to see your ballot full of winners! I wish I could say the future depends on whether you win your Oscar pool, but it doesn’t. In the future that I came from, things are beyond repair. Weather patterns changed, congressional gridlock created epic poverty and the Chicago Cubs were eliminated from postseason contention. That’s right, I came all the way from March 8, 2010.

Fine, I’m not from the future and these are just guesses. That just doesn’t sound as cool. Oh, and I know this is only the major categories (oscar.com has the full list of categories and nominees), but if I reveal who will win Best Sound Mixing now, no one will talk to me at the party.

Original Screenplay

Although five films were nominated, three of them may as well have other plans. This is really The Hurt Locker (written by Mark Boal) versus Quentin Tarantino (for Inglourious Basterds). Yep, it comes down to a cohesive, taut screenplay squaring off against the persona of a respected master of the craft. The question is, does The Hurt Locker surf a Best Picture wave all the way down to the subcategories, or does Tarantino and his reputation yoink a second screenplay statue?

Winner: Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds by a nose…or by his huge chin
Dark horse: Boal for The Hurt Locker if the movie sweeps

Adapted Screenplay

I wish District 9 (written by Neill Blomkamp) would win this award because I loved it so dearly and its chances in Best Picture are only slightly better than mine. Sadly, writing science fiction is like passing gas to the Academy, so the winner will be Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for Up in the Air. This is unfortunate because the writing was the weakest part of that good movie, which collapsed into itself in the third act. In reality, the acting ensemble buoyed a rather blah script that will win an award. Le sigh.

Winner: Reitman and Turner for Up in the Air, even though it shouldn’t
Dark horse: Precious: Based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire, because it’s everybody’s second choice

Foreign Language Film

I would say that this category usually holds the most excitement, but you’d think I was kidding. Last year was a shocker (with Japan’s Departures stealing the trophy from France’s The Class). This year could see France get some snooty revenge, with A Prophet closing in on The White Ribbon, despite most of the free world (and several parts of the unfree world) recognizing that the latter is superior.

Winner: The White Ribbon because I’m an optimist
Dark horse: A Prophet, “VIVA REVENGE!”

Best Documentary Feature

How decided is this race? Most Oscar oddsmakers have two top-grossing choices: The Cove and “any other documentary.” Although Food Inc may have been eye-opening (and stomach-emptying at times), it pales when considering terrible things being done to lovable dolphins like in The Cove. The only time we accept terrible things being done to dolphins is if it’s the Pittsburgh Steelers doing it.

Winner: The Cove for its more appealing activism
Dark horse: Food Inc if people have strong stomachs

Best Supporting Actor

Should Christoph Waltz’s name not be called for this award, the following things may have happened: (1) someone ripped a hole in space and time and the universe is unraveling, (2) the Twilight stars presenting the trophy never learned to read or (3) Matt Damon paid people off. This is as sure a thing as has ever been surely thinged.

Winner: Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) will win
Dark horse: See above

Best Supporting Actress

Should Mo’nique’s name not be called for this award, the following things may have happened: (1) congress secretly enacted an anti-apostrophe law rendering her ineligible; (2) Christoph Waltz got confused and stole the envelope that said “Supporting ACTRESS” or (3) I paid people off so Anna Kendrick would win because she described Omaha as sexy. This is almost as sure a thing as Waltz’s thing, which sounds dirty but isn’t.

Winner: Mo’nique (Precious) will win
Dark horse: Please…

Best Actor

In a weak year, someone got the smart idea to start pimping the Oscar-less Jeff Bridges. Good thought. The best performance of the year (Sam Rockwell in Moon) wasn’t nominated because it’s icky sci-fi, so the path for Bridges to win must only bridge the popularity of George Clooney. Since Clooney’s already got one win, Bridge’s bridge is free and clear.

Winner: Cue Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) and his incoherent babbling
Dark horse: George Clooney on name alone

Best Actress

I hesitate to call this close, but I’ll also hesitate to call Sandra Bullock an Oscar winner. Using a Southern accent that rendered people incapable of remembering All About Steve, Bullock is riding the Julia Roberts path to trophy town, in that she’s a likeable female star so she’ll get a statue at some point. Meryl Streep likely deserves it, but people get confused as to whether she wins all the time or just gets nominated all the time. Hint: It’s the latter.

Winner: It’s Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) y’all
Dark horse: Meryl Streep (Julie and Julia) may win the “Bullock can’t win an Oscar!” vote

Best Director

No joking here. Kathryn Bigelow deserves to win, and should she do so, deserves to be praised as a pioneer. Here’s hoping it opens the door for more women to be considered as directors for a variety of genres, not just movies with Katherine Heigl. Team Kathryn all the way.

Winner: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
Dark horse: Sexism and James Cameron

Best Picture

The race has tightened between the brilliant Hurt Locker and the total rip-off Avatar. The former is barely seen but near perfect; the latter has been seen by everyone and is more flawed than a three-dollar diamond. Cameron is polarizing, and the Academy’s has an affinity for using a Best Picture win to help a picture rather than coronate a box office champ. Don’t fool yourself: This is the little guy versus the big guy for all the marbles.

Winner: The Hurt Locker for the Davids!
Dark horse: Avatar for the Goliaths!

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