Saturday, 6 March 2010

theFILMblog Presents :: Oscar Predictions 2010

Hard to believe it's been over a year since I was last sitting here writing the predictions for the 2009 Oscars - and being mostly right for the record - but here we are again my friends. Last year was rather amazing for the British, as they dominated the awards with Slumdog Millionaire taking the lion's share of the proceedings.

This year however the American heavyweights are likely to rein supreme with old flames James Cameron and Kathern Bigelow the likely favourites with their movies, Avatar and The Hurt Locker, respectively. Let's see how the nominations fare...

Best Picture

The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up in the Air

As you may have instantly noticed, this is the first time since 1943, there are 10 films up for the top prize instead of the standard five. Cynically one could argue this is the Academy bumping up the list with more mainstream films to catch the audiences' imagination slightly but that said its still good harmless fun. Despite there being 10, its really going to come down between two films, Avatar - which took the Best Picture prize at this year's Golden Globes - and The Hurt Locker - which took the equivalent prize at the BAFTAs a mere two weeks ago.

I would find it hilarious if the Academy threw a curve ball and gave it to District 9, but that's frankly not going to happen. Also should be noted that the inclusion of Pixar's Up, is the second animated film to be nominated in this category, the only other being Disney's Beauty and the Beast in 1991. It was a shame the Academy did not use this opportunity to include a couple of foreign films into the mix.

Prediction: The Hurt Locker
Worth a punt: Avatar (because it's only going to be one or the other)
Editor's choice: heart says Up, my head says The Hurt Locker, and my feet strangely are walking towards Up in the Air.

Best Director

James Cameron - Avatar
Kathern Bigelow - The Hurt Locker
Lee Daniels - Precious
Jason Reitman - Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds

Though I did not hate Avatar as much as I perhaps act like I do, I can't deny that James Cameron has taken cinema into a new stage of its evolution with the movie - for better or worse I'm yet to decide - he should be praised for his innovation. I don't think as a film Avatar deserves Best Picture because the story was tiresome and predictable, but Cameron did do an amazing job in the seat.

Kathern Bigelow on the other hand also did a tremendous job and to her credit produced a fuller film despite its slightly episodic narrative. Same can be said about the other three in the category, who in fairness made films I personally enjoyed more than the two favourites but you still get the feeling that Daniels, Reitman and even Tarantino are yet to make their 'Best Director' pieces. On a separate note I was quite surprised Tom Ford's stellar debut for A Single Man wasn't included but there's still time yet for him.

Prediction: James Cameron
Worth a punt: Kathern Bigelow
Editor's choice: I'm afraid I'm siding with Cameron on this one.

Best Actor

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

This is a category destined to split opinions on the night. Early indicators suggest Jeff Bridges will finally get his first Oscar for his wonderful portrayal as Bad Blake in the intimate tale of Crazy Heart, however, Colin Firth gave the performance of his life in A Single Man (I never got a chance to review the film, but watched it last week and frankly loved every single minute), which would get my vote - and BAFTA's last month seemingly.

If Invictus had been about Nelson Mandela's entire life, instead of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, I would not have counted out Morgan Freeman for his superb performance, just a shame he wasn't in it enough to really give it his all. Though I loved Up in the Air, and I mean really loved it, George Clooney probably doesn't deserve a Best Actor award based on, yet again, playing himself, albeit with a bit more depth than usual. Jeremy Renner was also excellent in The Hurt Locker but sorry mate, you're playing above your punching weight compared to the rest of the lads in this category.

Prediction: Jeff Bridges - it has to be his turn surely?
Worth a punt: Colin Firth
Editor's Choice: Colin Firth

Best Actress

Sandra Bullock - The Blind Side
Helen Mirren - The Last Station
Carey Mulligan - An Education
Gabourey Sidibe - Precious
Meryl Streep - Julie and Julia

It's perhaps not appropriate for me to comment on this category as The Blind Side hasn't been released in the UK yet and The Last Station had a limited release meaning I never had the chance to review it. I have however seen An Education (similar to A Single Man, I never reviewed it but watched it last week also) and have practically fell in love with Carey Mulligan, even if the talk of Hollywood is suggesting its Sandra Bullock's year if Mulligan doesn't win it this year, she will win it eventually providing her career stays on track.

Gabourey Sidibe was brilliant in Precious, however she wasn't the best thing about the film - you can imagine what is, if you have already seen it, and scroll down to Best Supporting Actress to see what I mean - so I'm afraid she's possibly only just going to lose out. Oh and you can't possibly have an Oscars without the token Meryl Streep nomination. That's all I have got to say on that one.

Prediction: Sandra Bullock - unfortunately.
Worth a punt: Can't really count out Streep ever can you?
Editor's Choice: Carey Mulligan, Carey Mulligan, CAREY MULLIGAN!!!

Best Supporting Actor

Matt Damon - Invictus
Woody Harrelson - The Messenger
Christopher Plummer - The Last Station
Stanley Tucci - The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds

I'm going to be swift and brutal, Matt Damon was so dull and lackluster in Invictus, Stanley Tucci was the only semi-decent thing about an utterly terrible film, and Christoph Waltz produced possibly my favourite character in a film last year in Inglourious Basterds. He's winning because he's the best and practically stands out like a beam of holy shining light compared to an otherwise forgettable bunch.

Prediction: Christoph Waltz
Worth a punt: No point wasting your money.
Editor's Choice: I'm all about the Waltz.

Best Supporting Actress

Penelope Cruz - Nine
Vera Famiga - Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick - Up in the Air
Mo'Nique - Precious
Maggie Gyllenhaal - Crazy Heart

I frankly love all these women in their films for different reasons, and if Mo'Nique wasn't so gobsmackingly terrifying in Precious, which is surely going land her the award, I would have given it to the marvelous performance put in by Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air. Perhaps if Nine was better, this category could have easily consisted simply the female portion of that cast, but Cruz is simply the token nomination from an unfortunately disappointing film. If you know me, you already know, I am in love with Mrs Gyllenhaal, but she has performed far better and had much more meaningful roles than her character in Crazy Heart, which counts her out for me personally.

Prediction: Mo'Nique
Worth a punt: Anna Kendrick
Editor's Choice: I still have nightmares of Mo'Nique's character in Precious. Outstanding performance.

Best Original Screenplay

The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The Messenger
A Serious Man

Logic dictates The Hurt Locker will most likely win this for its chillingly gritty account of front line action in Iraq, however if it were up to me I would probably award it to A Serious Man or Up because they had moments of genuine genius in terms of dialogue and overall plot development compared to the favourite for the category.

Prediction: The Hurt Locker
Worth a punt: A Serious Man
Editor's Choice: Up

Best Adapted Screenplay

District 9
An Education
In The Loop
Up in the Air

I really don't have an overall favourite for this award, but I was so pleased to see In The Loop get some credit for its hilarious screenplay. Possibly because An Education is going to miss out on the bigger awards, if you had to give it something, this award is probably the best bet, but then again Up in the Air and Precious were so brilliantly constructed. District 9 is an interesting addition, just like its inclusion in the Best Picture award, commendable though it is, I just can't see it winning.

Prediction: An Education
Worth a punt: Precious
Editor's Choice: In The Loop

And the rest...
Best Animated Feature: Clearly going to be Up, let's be honest...
Best Foreign Language Feature: The White Ribbon - can't express more how much I loved it, least we forget it's the blog's number one film of 2009.
Best Original Score: Up
Best Original Song: The Weary Kind from Crazy Heart - listening to it as I type.
Best Sound Editing: Avatar
Best Sound Mixing: Avatar
Best Art Direction: Probably Avatar but I loved the look of Nine
Best Cinematography: The White Ribbon, it's how cinema is suppose to be experienced.
Best Makeup: The Young Victoria even though the geek in me wants Star Trek to pick up something.
Best Costume Design: The Young Victoria
Best Film Editing: Avatar because they're probably getting the majority of the technical awards.
Best Visual Effects: I can't deny Avatar deserves it hands down and though I hated it; I'm surprised Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen wasn't included.

And that's that.

Join me in the wee hours of Sunday night as I'm most likely going to be bored and will be tweeting my instant thoughts and reactions to the night's action. You can read it all here or simply follow me on via Twitter @theFILMblog.

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