Friday, March 05, 2010

Eric's (mostly) steely Oscar predictions

I have been called the "steely-eyed moviegoing man," so I think it's only appropriate  I turn in mostly steely Oscar predictions. The awards are Sunday; I repeat the same too maxims I always do:

"Nobody knows anything"

and

"Deserve's got nothin' to do with it."


BEST PICTURE
“Avatar”
“The Blind Side”
“District 9”
“An Education”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
“A Serious Man”
“Up”
“Up in the Air”

This is a race between the juggernaut known as "Avatar" and the critical fave "The Hurt Locker." Usually the Academy likes to go big and epic (how else do you explain the undeserving "Gladiator" win?), which would favor "Avatar." However, I keep hearing the same complaint about "Avatar" over and over again. "Great visuals, so-so story." I think enough voters will rank it low on their ballots for that reason, giving "Locker" the edge.

WILL WIN: "The Hurt Locker"
SHOULD WIN: No film affected me emotionally more than "Up in the Air."


BEST DIRECTOR
“Avatar” James Cameron
“The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
“Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels
“Up in the Air” Jason Reitman

The Academy loves to make history, and many love Kathryn Bigelow's film. Her biggest competition, her ex-husband Cameron, has already had his glory, so even if "Avatar" wins Picture, Bigelow's got this.

WILL/SHOULD WIN: I had small issues with "Hurt Locker," but they were due more to screenplay issues and not Bigelow's taut direction.

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

WILL/SHOULD WIN: This isn't even close to a contest. It's finally the beloved Bridges' year. And he really is that good in the film.

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

This is more of a race between Bullock and Streep than some will have you believe. Yes, Meryl has not won in 26 years, she's overdue for her third Oscar. However, she's been nominated an awful lot in recent years, and I think voters will feel that's reward in itself. Moreover, Streep is likely to be back her soon. Bullock less so. And Bullock is in a Best Picture nominee, so she has the edge.

WILL WIN: Bullock
SHOULD WIN: Mulligan, for striking a beautiful balance of girlishness and "wise beyond her years" in her role as a teenager trying to be more worldly. 


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

WILL/SHOULD WIN: There's no way Waltz loses after picking up every precursor under the sun. I have my reservations about the film as a whole, but not about Waltz's fantastic performance.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique in “Precious”

WILL WIN: The logic for Mo'Nique is the same as the logic for Waltz. He/she has dominated the early races too much to lose.

SHOULD WIN: Kendrick, for taking what could have been a two-dimensional character and breathing wonderfully nuanced life into her.

Other categories after the jump.


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
"The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
“Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino
“The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
“A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

WILL WIN: This is a tight race between "Locker" and "Basterds." "Locker" has plenty of momentum, but my gut is telling me voters think of that film as a director's achievement more than a writer's one, so I'm, leaning toward "Basterds."

SHOULD WIN: "Up" tugged at my heart the most.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“District 9” Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
“An Education” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
“In the Loop” Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
“Precious” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
“Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

WILL/SHOULD WIN: This is "Up in the Air's" most likely shot at an award, it's in the bag, along with a cute cardboard cutout of Melanie Lynskey and Danny McBride. (You'll get the joke if you've seen the film.)

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Ajami” Israel
“El Secreto de Sus Ojos” Argentina
“The Milk of Sorrow” Peru
“Un Prophète” France
“The White Ribbon” Germany

WILL WIN: I'm never good at calling an upset here, so I'm going to go with the favorite, "The White Ribbon"

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
“The Cove” Nominees to be determined
“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

WILL WIN: "The Cove" is reportedly the most emotional of the lot, giving it the edge.

ANIMATED FEATURE
“Coraline” Henry Selick
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson
“The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements
“The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore
“Up” Pete Docter

WILL SHOULD WIN: The Best Picture nominee's got it.


ART DIRECTION
“Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
“Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
“Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

WILL/SHOULD WIN; There's some debate over whether voters will pass on "Avatar" because there aren't that many physical sets. Still, I think most voters are seasoned enough to realize art direction means not just sets, but the overall look of the picture. And "Avatar" is sumptuous.

CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Avatar” Mauro Fiore
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel
“The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd
“Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson
“The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

WILL/SHOULD WIN: "Avatar" could win via the "it's pretty" vote, but that slo-mo shot of the bom going off on "Hurt Locker " has become almost iconic.

COSTUME DESIGN
“Bright Star” Janet Patterson
“Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
“Nine” Colleen Atwood
“The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell

WILL WIN: Sandy Powell is one of the most respected designers in the business, and she did a lush period piece. Win-win.

SHOULD WIN: "Parnassus" is the most imaginarium - I mean, imaginative of the lot.

FILM EDITING
“Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
“District 9” Julian Clarke
“The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
“Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz

WILL/SHOULD WIN: This award typically goes to the big action film (like "The Bourne Ultimatum")  or the Best Picture favorite - I'll tap the film that's a bit of both -  "The Hurt Locker."

MAKEUP
“Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
“Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
“The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

WILL WIN:  I've only seen "Star Trek" - and I'll bet that's true of a lot of the voters too.

MUSIC (SCORE)
“Avatar” James Horner
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat
“The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
“Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer
“Up” Michael Giacchino

WILL/SHOULD WIN: The scene people tend to remember most from "Up" is the wonderful "Married Life" montage at the beginning. What carries that scene more than anything else? The music.

MUSIC (SONG)
“Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
“Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
“Take It All” from “Nine” Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

WILL WIN: T-Bone Burnett has long been a respected musical force in movies, having been the brains behind such soundtracks as "Walk the Line" and "O Brother Where Art Thou?" He's overdue.

SHOULD WIN: Much as I like "The Weary Kind," I'm still a sucker for Disney. I loved "Almost There."


SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
“French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert
“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia
“Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
“A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

WILL WIN: Nick Park has been a favorite in this category. I see no reason to change that now. 

SOUND EDITING
“Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
“The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson
“Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman
“Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
“Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

SOUND MIXING
“Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
“The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
“Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
“Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

WILL/SHOULD WIN:   "Hurt Locker" wins would not be unjust, but I think "Avatar's" technical supremacy wins the day in both sound categories.



VISUAL EFFECTS
“Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
“District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
“Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

WILL/SHOULD WIN: "Avatar" in a landslide. Even people who hate the film concede the effects are groundbreaking. That's an even bigger lock than Bridges, Waltz or Mo'Nique.

I don't know enough about the live action shorts to make predictions, but I would be remiss if I did not say I was rooting for local filmmakers Julia Reichart and Steve Bognar for "The Last Truck," about the closing of the GM plant near me in Moraine.

Anybody want to tell me why I'm wrong on any category?

4 comments:

Kim said...

I don't presume to make predictions myself - but I will say that I am routing for Sandra Bullock (just cos I've always loved her - lemons and all!) and The Last Truck! FINALLY going to see "Up in the Air" tonight - looking forward to it!

Allison Dickson said...

In all this drama regarding the Hurt Locker producer and people up and down on Avatar, I am pulling for an upset on Best Picture. "Up in the Air: is my favorite of the whole lot, followed closely by "Up."

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to stop spamming everyone every single time you update the blog?

Sir Critic said...

Not sure what you're referring to, Anon. I don't intentionally spam anyone. I do maintain an email list of people - If you're on that list, and would rather not be, please say so.