Once again, it is now upon us. After months of screeners, ads in trade publications, scores of media interviews, the tweaking of a voting system and an e-mail scandal to top everything off, the 82nd Academy Awards will be presented at the Kodak Theater on Sunday, March 7 on ABC. And as the flawless expert that I am, here are my final predictions for what will transpire on Sunday evening.
- The Blind Side
- District 9
- An Education
- The Hurt Locker
- Inglourious Basterds
- Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
- A Serious Man
- Up in the Air
Before I get to the actual prediction, I must give a lot of credit to the Academy for altering their voting system in a way that actually worked. Through the expanding of this category to 10 nominees the diversity and appeal of the category is absolutely richer than it has been in recent years. Even more credit goes to Academy President Tom Sherak (whose New York accent I just adore) who said after the nominations announcement that he felt the new system worked but was slightly disappointed in the lack of a documentary or foreign film in the category and would hope that would be remedied next year. Kudos to all involved.
This category has been all over the place over the past several months. If you also factor in the new way voters decide this category things get even crazier. But the bottom line of this whole category is that Hurt Locker will most likely take this prize. It's been out front with the critics and Hollywood has really responded to this little war movie and it remains so strong, that Avatar's victories at the Golden Globes look like just a minor speed bump. Even with recent criticisms from some Army veterans about the movie's accuracy and the e-mail scandal involving nominated producer Nicholas Chartier, the movie will not be affected. But if there is one movie to watch out for, it's Inglourious Basterds. Hollywood really does have a soft spot for this over the top historical fantasy and let us not forget that Harvey Weinstein is behind this campaign and he's gonna go all the way to the bitter end.
WILL WIN: The Hurt Locker
SHOULD WIN: Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
- James Cameron, Avatar
- Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
- Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
- Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
- Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
This one is in the bag for Bigelow. She has deservedly triumphed at almost every event she has been nominated at. No other competitor is close and isn't it about time a woman win this prize?
WILL WIN: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
SHOULD WIN: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
- Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
- George Clooney, Up in the Air
- Colin Firth, A Single Man
- Morgan Freeman, Invictus
- Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Bridges is pretty much a sure thing. Not only is he overdue for Academy recognition but he'll be getting it for a role that is truly worthy of it. Not many performers can say such a thing (I'm looking at you KATE WINSLET!). I hope this is the first in a long line of nominations for Firth and Renner or Clooney could upset, but their base is nowhere near as strong as Bridges.
WILL WIN: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
SHOULD WIN: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
- Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
- Helen Mirren, The Last Station
- Carey Mulligan, An Education
- Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
- Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
While some of the talk recently has highlighted that this race is more complicated than many originally thought it was, the truth is that it really is not. With The Blind Side sneaking into the Best Picture derby, it was cemented as being a favorite all throughout the Academy and Sandra Bullock (fellow Washington-Lee graduate!) will claim this prize. Don't let any talk about Meryl Streep, or Mulligan's BAFTA prize or Sidibe's press junkets fool you.
WILL WIN: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
SHOULD WIN: Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
- Matt Damon, Invictus
- Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
- Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
- Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
- Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Waltz has been winning every prize imaginable and nothing will stop this Austrian from claiming his prize on Sunday.
WILL WIN: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
SHOULD WIN: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
- Penelope Cruz, Nine
- Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
- Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
- Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
- Mo'Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
Like Waltz, Mo'Nique has been unstoppable in picking up these accolades and like Waltz it will continue at the Oscars.
WILL WIN: Mo'Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
SHOULD WIN: Mo'Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
- The Hurt Locker, Written by Mark Boal
- Inglourious Basterds, Written by Quentin Tarantino
- The Messenger, Written by Alesaandro Camon & Oren Moverman
- A Serious Man, Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
- Up, Screenplay by Bob Paterson and Pete Docter; Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson and Thomas McCarthy
This is sizing up to be one of the most interesting races this year. Tarantino had been owning a lot of the writing awards but Boal's screenplay to The Hurt Locker has really been gaining a lot of steam. But something tells me that Tarantino will claim his second writing Oscar for his version of what should have happened in World War II.
WILL WIN: Inglourious Basterds, Written by Quentin Tarantino
SHOULD WIN: Inglourious Basterds, Written by Quentin Tarantino
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 and Tony Roche
- Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
- Up in the Air, Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
At one point Up in the Air was the frontrunner for all the top awards, but now it will just have to settle for this honor for it's two scribes.
WILL WIN: Up in the Air, Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
SHOULD WIN: District 9, Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
- 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
If the Oscars had been held a month or two earlier Fantastic Mr. Fox could have posed a serious threat to Up and could have even won this thing and gotten noms for Picture and Adapted Screenplay as well. But the momentum of the Fox has slowed down and Up will easily win this one.
WILL WIN: Up, Pete Docter
SHOULD WIN: Up, Pete Docter
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
- Ajami (Israel), Directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani
- El Secreto de Sus Ojos (Argentina), Directed by Juan Jose Campanella
- The Milk of Sorrow (Peru), Directed by Claudia Llosa
- Un Prophete (France), Directed by Jacques Audiard
- The White Ribbon (Germany), Directed by Michael Haneke
While I have not seen any of the nominated movie (I will be seeing White Ribbon on Friday) The White Ribbon seems to have the right amount of stuff to take this prize such as winning the prestigious Palme D'Or at Cannes last year and coming from a revered international filmmaker like Haneke. But this category is ripe for upsets since voters have to attend special screenings and see all five nominees in order to vote in the category. France's Un Prophete could also come up strong but Ribbon should succeed.
UPDATE: Having just seen The White Ribbon, I have a hard time thinking that Academy voters will vote for this movie since nothing really happens during it. Switching my pick from White Ribbon to Un Prophete, but also keep an eye on El Secreto de Sus Ojos.
WILL WIN: Un Prophete (France), Directed by Jacques Audiard
SHOULD WIN: Anything except The White Ribbon
BEST ART DIRECTION
- Avatar, Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg (Art Direction); Kim Sinclair (Set Decoration)
- The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro (Art Direction); Caroline Smith (Set Decoration)
- Nine, John Myhre (Art Direction); Gordon Sim (Set Decoration)
- Sherlock Holmes, Sarah Greenwood (Art Direction); Katie Spencer (Set Decoration)
- The Young Victoria, Patrice Vermette (Arti Direction); Maggie Gray (Set Decoration)
With creating the visually stunning world that is Pandora, the team from Avatar will have no problem taking this one home but Victoria is one to watch out for.
WILL WIN: Avatar, Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg (Art Direction); Kim Sinclair (Set Decoration)
SHOULD WIN: Avatar, Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg (Art Direction); Kim Sinclair (Set Decoration)
- 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
While The White Ribbon pulled an upset at the ASC awards a couple days ago, this is one that Avatar should have no trouble claiming.
WILL WIN: Avatar, Mauro Fiore
SHOULD WIN: Inglourious Basterds, Robert Richardson
BEST 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
Powell has dominated this category with her eighth nomination since 1993 and now will take home her third statuette in this category for her amazing costumes for English royalty.
WILL WIN: The Young Victoria, Sandy Powell
SHOULD WIN: The Young Victoria, Sandy Powell
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
- Burma VJ, Anders Ostergaard and Lise Lense-Moller
- The Cove, Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens
- 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
With it's amazing investigative tactics and the horrible images that it uncovered, The Cove will be this year's victor.
WILL WIN: The Cove, Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens
SHOULD WIN: The Cove, Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
- China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of the Sichuan Province, Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill
- The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner, Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
- The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichart
- Music by Prudence, Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
- Rabbit a la Berlin, Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra
While Last Truck may be a sad look at the realities of our troubled economic times, China's Unnatural Disaster serves as a reminder of the tragedies that occur outside our country and will probably prevail in the category. Last Campaign could also factor in since it concerns a dying man's last fight, like Freeheld which won in this category two years ago.
WILL WIN: China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of the Sichuan Province, Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill
SHOULD WIN: The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner, Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
BEST 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
With the way that it wraps a tightly suspenseful war story together amidst heavy action, Hurt Locker can count on a victory here.
WILL WIN: The Hurt Locker, Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
SHOULD WIN: The Hurt Locker, Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
- 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
With the great aliens that have always been associated with the franchise, this one belongs to Star Trek.
WILL WIN: Star Trek, Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
SHOULD WIN: Star Trek, Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joe Harlow
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
- Avatar, James Horner
- Fantastic Mr. Fox, Alexandre Desplat
- The Hurt Locker, Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
- Sherlock Holmes, Hans Zimmer
- Up, Michael Giacchino
Giacchino is one of the best modern film composers and he will be justly rewarded for his beautiful score to this year's Pixar feature. You would never guess this is the guy responsible for the trumpets on Lost. If only the Academy could have rewarded Thomas Newman by now.
WILL WIN: Up, Michael Giacchino
SHOULD WIN: Up, Michael Giacchino
BEST ORIGINAL 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 Lyrics by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
The brilliant "Weary Kind" will take this Oscar and T Bone can show off his world famous sunglasses again.
WILL WIN: "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart, Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
SHOULD WIN: "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart, Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
- 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
All of these five shorts are very exceptional. Logorama is a trip to watch and unbelievably funny but I hold such a special place for The Lady and the Reaper which I would love to see take home the prize. But with Loaf and Death being a Wallace and Gromit movie and that Nick Park already has three Oscars for the duo (and another for Creature Comforts), Park will probably take home another statuette for his work, which is always exceptional.
WILL WIN: A Matter of Loaf and Death, Nick Park
SHOULD WIN: The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte), Javier Recio Gracia
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
- The Door, Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
- Instead of Abracadabra, Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellstrom
- Kavi, Gregg Helvey
- Miracle Fish, Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
- The New Tenants, Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson
With it's social message about people living in modern slavery, Kavi will most likely be the victor even if there were more deserving competitiors like Miracle Fish and Instead of Abracadabra.
WILL WIN: Kavi, Gregg Helvey
SHOULD WIN: Miracle Fish, Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
BEST 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
While the way everything was handled in The Hurt Locker was magnificently, Avatar will most likely take this one.
WILL WIN: Avatar, Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
SHOULD WIN: The Hurt Locker, Paul N.J. Ottosson
BEST 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
It's the same situation as above only instead of Avatar taking it from Hurt Locker, it's taking it from Inglourious Basterds.
WILL WIN: Avatar, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
SHOULD WIN: Inglourious Basterds, Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
BEST 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
Avatar's revolutionary effects will translate to Oscar gold.
WILL WIN: Avatar, Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
SHOULD WIN: Avatar, Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
Thanks for viewing my picks and enjoy the Oscars!