With the big award show looming, here’s my predictions for who I think should win and who I think will win the night’s biggest awards. Following are a few quick picks in categories I felt inclined to make a prediction in.
Best Picture Nominees:
The Blind Side
The Hurt Locker
A Serious Man
Up in the Air
I can’t say Inglourious Basterds was my favorite film this year, but it certainly was up there. I’m not even sure it was the best. But it surely holds its weight in the lot nominated here. Quentin Tarantino’s masterful screenplay sparked his geek-dream film. But in the end, I do believe that Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker will come away with the top prize. This year is wide open with a new voting format that allows voters to give points to a first place, second place and third place finisher, opening the doors for how winners are tallied. And after all, you can’t count out the economic beast that is Avatar.
Actor in a Leading Role 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 should win: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Who will win: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Pulling off a tremendously heartfelt performance in a simply above average film, Jeff Bridges will finally win his overdue Oscar for his portrayal of aging country superstar Bad Blake. Much like Mickey Rourke’s snubbed performance in last year’s The Wrestler, Bridges turns Blake into a brooding human being brilliant enough to win him this award. George Clooney could upset, even though some people think he was just playing a version of himself in Up in the Air.
Actress in a Leading Role Nominees:
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
If only the Academy didn’t like to make newcomers sweat it out a bit. Both Carey Mulligan for her turn as a naïve young lady looking for love in older places in An Education and Gabourey Sidibe for her dark coming of age performance in Precious deserve this award over the other three more veteran actresses nominated for this award. But I foresee Sandra Bullock coming away with the award this year just because the Academy doesn’t like to be too edgy.
Actor in a Supporting Role Nominees:
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Who should win: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Who will win: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Something the Academy can’t possibly mess up this season is the best supporting actor category. Christoph Waltz dominated Inglourious Basterds with his multi-language performance. Waltz demanded the screen with his intimidating performance. The rest of the actors can’t hold a candle to Waltz on this one.
Actress in a Supporting Role Nominees:
Penelope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Who should win: Mo’Nique, Precious
Who will win: Mo’Nique, Precious
Similar to the best supporting actor category, the best supporting actress category is a no-brainer. Mo’Nique’s painful and disturbing performance in Precious is the kind the Academy eats up. Precious was a film driven by its performances and Mo’Nique was one of the best in the entire film. Vera Farmiga could steal for her solid performance in Up in the Air, as it was a very critic and industry friendly film, but I don’t see the Academy messing up that bad. Even they can get this one right.
Best Foreign Language Film:
El Secreto de Sus Ojos
The Milk of Sorrow
The White Ribbon
Both Michael Haneke’s haunting film The White Ribbon and Jacques Audiard’s prison epic Un Prophete are among the absolute best domestic and foreign films of 2009. They might even be better than the 10 nominated for Best Picture. While The White Ribbon held an early grasp on the hype thanks to its bold World War II-based story of mystery in one village, Audiard’s prison film has seen a recent push. Un Prophete is one of the starkest portrayals of prison life I’ve seen in quite some time. Thanks to Audiard’s huge dedication to the process, Un Prophete is a disciplined piece of subtle work and one of the masterpieces of 2009. But this ultimately might be a toss-up between The White Ribbon and Un Prophete.
Best animated feature film of the year: Up
Best documentary feature: The Cove
Achievement in cinematography: Avatar
Achievement in directing: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score): Up, Michael Giacchino
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song): “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from Crazy Heart, Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
Adapted screenplay: In the Loop, Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche*
Original screenplay: Inglourious Basterds, Written by Quentin Tarantino
* Biased selection.
Check back after the award show to see how I did. If you care.