Sunday, as you probably already know, is Oscar day, as Hollywood gathers together to bestow gongs on a series of middling-to-very good films. It’s also, on paper, one of the least impressive races in recent times, marked by arguably the weakest Best Picture line up we’ve seen of late (and that’s even accounting for the fact that it’s been extended to cover 10 films).
However, it’s the law of any website with movie coverage on it that you have to play the Oscar prediction game, so without further ado, I’m clambering aboard the bandwagon to offer my ill-informed choices and opinions. Marvellous.
Best Supporting ActressPenelope Cruz (Nine) Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart) Vera Farmiga (Up In The Air) Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air) Mo’Nique (Precious)
One of several categories this year whose outcome is so pre-determined it’s a waste of time the other nominees turning up. It doesn’t help that Farmiga and Kendrick have split the Up In The Air vote. But this is still Mo’Nique’s gong, and rightly so. Her performance in Precious was arguably better than any acting in any of the other categories this year, and she’s both the hot favourite, and my choice too.
Best Supporting Actor Matt Damon (Invictus) Woody Harrelson (The Messenger) Christopher Plummer (Nine) Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones) Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
This one’s pre-determined too. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Oscar they present on the night already had Christoph Waltz’s name engraved on it when he receives it. Because he’s going to, and once more, he should. The supporting actor categories are the absolute shoo-ins this year.
Best Actress Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) Helen Mirren (The Last Station) Carey Mulligan (An Education) Gabourey Sibide (Precious) Meryl Streep (Julia & Julia)
Mind you, the Best Actress category is only going one way as well. Sandra Bullock has taken on the Erin Brockovich-esque role in The Blind Side and powered it to over $250m in the US alone. And while there’s an argument that the terrific Carey Mulligan should take home gold, the simple truth is that she won’t. But heck, I quite like Sandra Bullock, and from Monday, her future film posters will be bestowed with the words ‘Academy Award Winner’.
Best Actor Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) George Clooney (Up In The Air) Colin Firth (A Simple Man) Morgan Freeman (Invictus) Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
This is the most open of the four acting categories, but that’s more to do with how obvious the winners in the other three are. Last year, we’re reminded that Mickey Rourke was hands-down favourite for Best Actor before Sean Penn was awarded the gong, and thus Jeff Bridges may be looking over his shoulder at Colin Firth. Firth, however, we suspect will have to be content with his BAFTA, as this is looking like Bridges’ night. And who can begrudge him that?
Art Direction Avatar The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus Nine Sherlock Holmes The Young Victoria
There is not a technical award that Avatar is up for that it will not win. Plus, it’ll win this one as one. The stunning look and execution of Pandora is the highlight of the film, and is surely the clear favourite to win this category.
Cinematography Mauro Fiore (Avatar) Bruno Delbonnel (Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince) Barry Ackroyd (The Hurt Locker) Robert Richardson (Inglourious Basterds) Christian Berger (The White Ribbon)
Tough call. Probably Avatar again, though.
Visual Effects Avatar District 9 Star Trek
Put it this way: the effects guys on Star Trek and District 9 needn’t write out a speech.
Film Editing Avatar District 9 The Hurt Locker Inglourious Basterds Precious
Avatar. Film Editing usually – but not always – goes with Best Picture, though, so this may yet head The Hurt Locker‘s way. I’d be surprised, though.
Sound Mixing Avatar The Hurt Locker Inglourious Basterds Star Trek Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
What do you think?
Sound Editing Avatar The Hurt Locker Inglourious Basterds Star Trek Up
Original Score James Horner (Avatar) Alexandre Desplat (Fantastic Mr. Fox) Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders (The Hurt Locker) Hans Zimmer (Sherlock Holmes) Michael Giacchino (Up)
Glen covered this in his Music In The Movies column this week, which you can find here. I’m going with Michael Giacchino’s delightful score for Up for this one. I thought Horner’s Avatar score was a pastiche of his work on several other films, and not distinctive enough to win.
Original SongAlmost There from The Princess And The FrogDown In New Orleans from The Princess And The FrogLoin De Paname from Paris 36Take It All from NineThe Weary Kind from Crazy Heart
Probably one of the songs from The Princess And The Frog. Again, Glen dealt with these in his column.
Best DirectorJames Cameron (Avatar) Kathyrn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds) Lee Daniels (Precious) Jason Reitman (Up In The Air)
Here, it gets tricky. How much will Hollywood want to reward James Cameron for making it lots of money and winning a very, very big gamble? Quite possibly enough to give him what would surely be an ill-deserved Best Director gong. The Hurt Locker was a better directed film, and we’d edge Bigelow over Cameron for our prediction here. It’d be nice if Lee Daniels came through on the outside and usurped them both, but the tension and taut direction of The Hurt Locker makes it our slight favourite to win.
Best Original Screenplay The Hurt Locker Inglourious Basterds The Messenger A Serious Man Up
This is a bit more open. It’d be interesting to see Up rewarded in this category, but our guess would be that The Hurt Locker is just about leading this one. We liked Tarantino’s screenplay for Inglourious Basterds, however, and given that it’s got feck all chance of taking home Best Picture or Best Director, then QT may yet get his second gong of his career. Our prediction remains The Hurt Locker, though.
Best Adapted Screenplay District 9 An Education In The Loop Precious Up In The Air
In The Loop really should win this, but it won’t, sadly. Instead, Up In The Air is the templated screenplay winner. It’s a film that many people like, but not quite enough to give it Best Picture. And it’s also based on a very good script. Those tend to be the magic ingredients here, unsurprisingly, and the writing categories do have a habit of actually rewarding quality. Thus, this will be Up In The Air‘s biggest prize of the night.
Best Animation Coraline Fantastic Mr Fox The Princess And The Frog The Secret Of Kells Up
Another shoo-in. There’s a strong argument we’d put that Coraline should win this category, but the audacity-in-places of Up will mean Pixar needs a little more room in its trophy cabinet come Monday morning.
Best Picture Avatar The Blind Side District 9 An Education The Hurt Locker Inglourious Basterds Precious A Serious Man Up Up In The Air
Personally, this is the category that frightens me the most. I’ve not seen A Serious Man, so that may yet prove me wrong, but I don’t see a five star film anywhere in that line up. The front runners are clearly Avatar and The Hurt Locker, yet if Avatar won this I think I’d cry blue tears. As impressive an achievement as it is, is it really the best film of last year? I can help with that: no. No it isn’t. I’m edging this one to The Hurt Locker, but its chances may well have been scuppered by the scandal over the last week of lobbying for the film by one of its producers. I’m hoping not. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s one of the strongest films of a comparably weak field. The Hurt Locker remains our prediction.
If we could wish one surprise win at the ceremony, it would be to give the In The Loop guys their deserved screenplay gong. And we’ll – if all goes to plan – be live blogging the Oscars right here on Sunday. Christine is doing it for us, and she assures us that she’s stocked up with prawn cocktail crisps ready.
Until then, leave your thoughts on the Oscars in the comments below!