Tuesday, February 9, 2010

82nd Academy Award Predictions

I'll start out by saying that this is going to be one of the most exciting Oscar Races in recent years. 2009 was a great year for film, and 'Avatar"s surprise Golden Globe win has people all fired up for the Big Show. Cameron's selfish and cocky acceptance speech for Best Director also has plenty of filmmakers and viewers crying foul.  So with all that in mind,  here are my predictions for this year's big night.

Best visual effects

-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 -"District 9" Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
-"Star Trek" Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

I give credit where credit is due. True, "Avatar" has terrible writing and mediocre acting, but its' effects are revolutionary, for better or worse.

Best cinematography
-Will Win:"Avatar" Mauro Fiore
-Should Win:"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

For explanation see the above reasons. All 'Avatar' has going for it is its' innovative production. These are the categories it deserves to win.

Best Original Song
-Will Win: "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from "Crazy Heart," music and lyrics by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
-Should Win:"The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from "Crazy Heart," music and lyrics by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
-"Almost There" from "The Princess and the Frog," music and lyrics by Randy Newman
-"Down in New Orleans" from "The Princess and the Frog," music and lyrics by Randy Newman
-"Loin de Paname" from "Paris 36," music by Reinhardt Wagner and lyrics by Frank Thomas
-"Take It All" from "Nine," music and lyrics by Maury Yeston

This is a no-brainer. "Weary Kind" has been dominating iTunes and is a beautifully written and performed song, I hope only the best for it.

 Best music (original score)

-Will Win: "Sherlock Holmes" Hans Zimmer
-Should Win: "Sherlock Holmes" Hans Zimmer
-"Avatar" James Horner
-"Fantastic Mr. Fox" Alexandre Desplat
-"The Hurt Locker" Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
-"Up" Michael Giacchino

Now, for those who know soundtracks, they know there are some big-guns on that list. And as much as I want to root for Michael Giacchino, "Sherlock"'s soundtrack is a pivotal part of the film, and in many ways, make it.  A wonderful score all around. (It also makes for some great Contact Improv. jams ;))

Best screenplay (adapted)
-Will Win:"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
-Should Win:"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
-"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, Tony Roche
-"Up in the Air," screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

I have to admit, i have not yet seen or read 'Precious:".  I have every hope that I will come Oscar Night...but this does not effect my prediction. Every critic I follow have predicted the exact same, and I've heard not a single bad thing about "Precious". So for these reasons, I have to go with my superior critic's guts.

Best screenplay (original)

-Will Win:"A Serious Man" written by Joel and Ethan Coen
-Should Win:"A Serious Man" written by Joel and Ethan Coen
-"The Hurt Locker," written by Mark Boal
-"The Messenger," written by Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman
-"Inglorious Basterds" writeen by Quentin Tarantino
-"Up," screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter; story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

I was positive that I was going to back Quentin going into this, but after a view of Joel and Ethan Coen's "A Serious Man", I'm afraid I have to reconsider. "A Serious Man", plain and simply, was brilliantly written.  For writers, they once again prove to be nothing less than an inspiration. I was literally on the edge of my seat for the entire film. Not to underwrite Quentin, "Basterds" was brilliant in his own right, but in this case, it was simply a clash of the titans and the Coen brothers just came out on top.

Best animated feature
-Will Win: "Up"
-Should Win: "Fantastic Mr Fox"
-"The Princess and the Frog"
-"The Secret of Kells"

Opinions are going to clash on this one, I'm sure. Some may use the argument that "Mr. Fox" isn't technically animated, but I disagree with this point. Anderson's unique formula and diligent stop motion tactics deserve much praise, and I think this category should be where it gets it.

 Best Supporting Actress
-Will Win:Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
-Should Win:Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
-Penelope Cruz, "Nine"
-Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air"
-Maggie Gyllenhaal, "Crazy Heart"
-Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air"

 I believe 'obvious' is the word that applies to this choice. If you've heard anyone discuss the Oscar's this year, you know they're pulling for Miss. 'Nique. No need to swing against the current here.

 Best Supporting Actor
-Will Win: Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"
-Should Win: Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"
-Matt Damon, "Invictus"
-Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"
-Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station"
-Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones"

Same justification here.  There are some big names here, and I respect and love the other three nominees, but when a man gives a performance as jaw-dropping, gripping and multilingual as Waltz did, you can't help but stand and applaud when the credits start to roll. (Right before you sit right back down and let those credits finish!)

Best Actress
-Will Win: Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia"
-Should Win: Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
-Helen Mirren, "The Last Station"
-Carey Mulligan, "An Education"
-Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"

 Now, I love Meryl. Everybody does. But I also enjoy Sandra, and the fact of the matter is that one of these names has gotten (and probably will get) a lot more shots at this category than the other. My vote is cast.

"You got no fear of The Underdog, that's why you will not survive."- Spoon

 Best actor

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

"You guys are really hurting my 'underrated status'", said Bridges when he won the Golden Globe.  He received and Standing Ovation both then, and at The SAG Awards, and both are long over due. I can't wait to stand up with everyone else come Oscar Night.

Best director

 -Will Win: Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"
-Should Win: Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"
 -FEAR will Win: James Cameron, "Avatar"
-Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"
-Lee Daniels, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
-Jason Reitman, "Up in the Air"

Come on, Academy, enough is enough.  "The Departed" served as the 'we messed up before' winner for Scorsese. He had a number of deserving movie before "The Departed", and it (in my humble option) just didn't match up.  Don't let this happen again with Quentin.  I'm hoping that this is his year. "Basterds" is his  movie, and he most definitely deserves this. Although if Bigelow wins, I certainly hope she takes advantage of the opportunity to give her ex-husband Cameron the poorly disguised insult he gave her with his speech at the Globes.

Best picture
 -Will Win: "Inglourious Basterds"
-Should Win: "Inglourious Basterds"
-FEARED WIN: "Avatar"
-"The Blind Side"
-"District 9"
-"An Education"
-"The Hurt Locker"
-"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
-"A Serious Man"
-"Up in the Air"

I personally think, as one of my dear friends put it, that Best Picture should go to a film that uses, you know...pictures. After seeing "The Hurt Locker", I must say I'm shocked that it has even made this list. Is it a well made film? Yes. But is it a good movie? No. It is a war movie that is boring...no war movie should ever be boring, especially one about a man who deactivates BOMBS for a living.

The other nominees certainly make this a tight race to the envelope, but "Basterds" has writing, acting, and directing going for it. Not to mention that its' director (and his movies) have been robbed multiple times before. I can't stress this enough: "Avatar" was just O.K. I left the theater entertained.  Not moved. At all. I'd seen that movie many times before when it went by different titles: "FernGully", "Pocahontas", ect. People have used the following sentence as their justification for an "Avatar" victory: "it took me to place and time that i never wanted to leave."  That is the incontrovertable proof that these Pro-"Avatar" commentators do not know what they're talking about.  Was I the only one who paid attention during "Avatar"?  The movie states repeatedly what a dangerous, deceptive, and deadly planet Pandora (and what a clever name!) is. Humans cannot even breath on this planet. If you lived there, you'd be living indoors all the time, or have a plastic mask on. Paradise? I disagree.

"Inglorious Basterds" on the other hand presents a history where, to be frank, the bastards get what they deserved.  With an intense, gripping and original plot that is backed up by endless amounts of talent from all ends of the film making business. Should it lose, I can only hope it will be to any of the nominees other than "Avatar", and "The Hurt Locker".

Love them, hate them...those are my choices, my friends. It has been a great year to go to the movies, I can only hope that the year is represented correctly on Oscar Night.