Last week the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards were announced. That, along with the actual Oscars ceremony itself are winter highlights for me; the rest of the season can go fuck itself.
As has been the case for more years than I can recall, on Oscar night I will be crossing my fingers not only for the members of Hollywood’s talent club I’m hoping will take home some hardware but also for myself. Oscar night means Oscar pool and damn it this year I no longer want to be the bridesmaid when the tally of who predicted the most winners correctly is completed at the end of the night. Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock aren’t the only ones due for some winning recognition.
I have to say there weren’t many surprises where this year’s nominations are concerned, aside from maybe the fact that I had already seen 9 of the 10 Best Picture nominees; as of Friday, that 9 has turned into a perfect 10. But that’s not to say that there won’t be any surprises when the winners’ names are called on Sunday, March 7. And for that reason, I’ve decided to divide my predictions for this year’s Oscar winners into two categories: The Easy Ones, and The Not So Easy Ones. Welcome to the former.
1. Performance by an actor in a leading role: Jeff Bridges. He’s excellent in Crazy Heart and it’s the kind of role that screams Oscar; the Academy loves a convincing drunk. Prior to seeing Crazy Heart, my money was on yummy and talented George Clooney for Up in the Air. But George already has an Oscar and Bridges is long overdue for one. The dark horse in this category is Jeremy Renner, absolutely wonderful in The Hurt Locker.
The Academy will have to be either Crazy or Heart-less not to award Jeff Bridges
2. Performance by an actor in a supporting role: Christopher Waltz in Inglourious Basterds. Although probably the least recognizable name in this category, his performance should change that once he wins the Oscar. Woody Harrelson is the dark horse here, but only because hardly anyone is familiar with the film for which he’s nominated; its release has been THAT limited.
3. Performance by an actress in a leading role: Sandra Bullock. She really does carry The Blind Side and delivers a very convincing performance without going over the top. Fellow nominees Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren are already Oscar winners and Carey Mulligan and Gabourey Sidibe are seriously too young in their careers to be awarded anything other than a nomination.
Is an Oscar on the horizon for Sandra Bullock?
4. Performance by an actress in a supporting role: Mo’nique in Precious. If Mo’nique doesn’t win for her portrayal of the “misunderstood” mother from hell, then there’s no justice. I predicted this win back in September when I attended the gala presentation of Precious at the Toronto International Film Festival, and that prediction hasn’t changed.
5. Best animated feature film of the year: Up. I don’t think Up should be eligible for best animated feature AND best motion picture—it’s like one actor being nominated for both lead and supporting Oscars for the same damn role—but whether or not it deserves to, it’ll win this category. There are enough seniors and sentimentalists in the Academy to make it happen.
Yup to Up for Best Animated Feature
6. Achievement in art direction: Avatar.
7. Achievement in cinematography: Avatar. The more I think about it, the less of an “Easy” prediction this is but I’m going to stick with it. The Hurt Locker or Inglourious Basterds could be the name in the envelope though.
8. Achievement in costume design: The Young Victoria. Royal attire from an appropriate (read: less than contemporary) period always translates into Oscar gold.
9. Achievement in directing: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. This is a tough category that in all likelihood will come down to Bigelow for the Hurt Locker and her ex-husband, James Cameron, for Avatar. My money is on the lady. The DGA gave Bigelow the nod and unless the Academy is filled with a surplus of male chauvinist pigs, I think it will follow suit.
Kathryn Bigelow could hurt ex-hubby James Cameron with an Oscar win
10. Achievement in makeup: Star Trek. Seems like the logical choice to me but then again I never thought that La Vie en Rose would have won in 2007 or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008.
11. Achievement in music written for motion pictures (original score): Up. I don’t recall the scores for Avatar or The Hurt Locker being all that memorable. Alas, I have yet to see Fantastic Mr. Fox or Sherlock Holmes.
12. Achievement in music written for motion pictures (original song): The Weary Kind (theme from Crazy Heart). I’m hardly a fan of country music but after seeing Crazy Heart, I couldn’t wait to pick up the soundtrack, and this song is one of the reasons why. And with regards to the other nominees, does a year go by when Randy Newman does NOT receive at least one nomination in this category. WTF?
13. Best motion picture of the year: Avatar. The only competition here is The Hurt Locker and with the best director award recipient often serving as a prelude to the best motion picture of the year, if Kathryn Bigelow wins for The Hurt Locker, then a best picture upset may follow.
Avatar takes aim at the Best Picture Oscar
14. Achievement in visual effects: Avatar. Duh.
15. Adapted screenplay: Up in the Air. Although up for 6 awards, I think this will be the sole victory for the timely Jason Reitman directed flick.
So that would be part one of my Oscar predictions. Between now and awards night, I’ll weigh in where these remaining categories are concerned:
Best documentary feature
Best documentary short subject
Achievement in film editing
Best foreign language film of the year
Best animated short film
Best live action short film
Achievement in sound editing
Achievement in sound mixing