Saturday, March 6, 2010

Oscars A-Go-Go

OK, even without having seen every film nominated in every category, my double-sided Oscar picks. These picks are for entertainment purposes only, and do not offer much in the way of betting potential. Or do they? No they don't.


BEST PICTURE

"Avatar"
"The Blind Side"
"District 9"
"An Education"
"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push' by Sapphire"
"A Serious Man"
"Up"
"Up in the Air"

Winner: I'm going with The Hurt Locker here. The only other two movies that should win this category are Avatar and Basterds, though the ranked voting system initiated for this category this year may generate a weird result. By weird, I mean the good but not great Up in the Air, which could win if it's ranked #2 or #3 on enough people's ballots.


BEST DIRECTION

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

Winner: Bigelow, becoming the first woman ever to win Best Director.


ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

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

Winner: Bridges, who should have five or six of these Oscars already, will finally win one as a coronation to a career which saw him become the best movie actor of his generation (and yes, Pacino and DeNiro are in that generation, and haven't done squat for about 20 years and counting now).


ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

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”

Winner: Bullock gets the Julia Roberts Erin Brockovich award for being a movie star who played a plucky, real-life person in a box office smash.


ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

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

Winner: Waltz had the most distinctive role of the year, and in four languages no less!


ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

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”

Winner: A comic actor in a searing dramatic role? That's gold, Jerry, gold! Mo'Nique wins. I have no idea what the apostrophe in her name is supposed to mean, though.


WRITING (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, 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

Winner: Up in the Air, though Precious might squeak through on the basis of its almost crazed bleakness.


WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

"Inglourious Basterds" by Quentin Tarantino
"The Hurt Locker," Written by Mark Boal&Quentin Tarantino
"The Messenger," Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
"A Serious Man," Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
"Up," Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

Winner: I think Tarantino takes home his second screenplay Oscar here, though it'll be a tight race with "Hurt Locker".


ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

"Coraline"
"Fantastic Mr. Fox"
"The Princess and the Frog"
"The Secret of Kells"
"Up"

Winner: Up, a truly great film, beats some good ones.


ART DIRECTION

"Avatar," Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
"Nine," Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
"Sherlock Holmes," Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
"The Young Victoria," Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Winner: I'm going with Avatar, though Victoria could pull an upset -- the older members of the Academy almost always vote for period films in technical categories like these.


CINEMATOGRAPHY

"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

Winner: The Hurt Locker, if only because Avatar is so computer-enhanced that I'm not sure that the term 'Cinematography' applies any more.


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

Winner: Hmm, three period pieces...I'm going with Victoria as the most noticeably historical costume drama.


DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

"Burma VJ”
"The Cove"
"Food, Inc."
"The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers”
"Which Way Home”

Winner: Dead dolphins beat scary industrialized food supply -- The Cove wins.


DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

"China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province”
"The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner”
"The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant”
"Music by Prudence”
"Rabbit à la Berlin”

Winner: Hmm. In a recession and in the absence of any Holocaust films, I'm going with the American heartland and "The Last Truck."


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

Winner: The Hurt Locker. It's all editing.


FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE

"Ajami," Israel
"El Secreto de Sus Ojos," Argentina
"The Milk of Sorrow," Peru
"Un Prophète," France
"The White Ribbon," Germany

Winner: I'm going with "Un Prophete" because the review I read made it sound interesting.


MAKEUP

"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

Winner: Star Trek, though Romulans may be bested by Victorians.


MUSIC (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

Winner: Up. I can't even remember the scores of the other movies listed here, never a good sign.


MUSIC (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 Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Winner: This category sucks. Crazy Heart song wins because Randy Newman sucks now.


SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

"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

Winner: I'll go with Wallace and Gromit. "Loaf and Death."


SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

"The Door," Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
"Instead of Abracadabra," Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
"Kavi," Gregg Helvey
"Miracle Fish," Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
"The New Tenants," Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Winner: No idea. Hmm. "Kavi" because it has the most exotic name.


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

Winner: Locker. It's the only movie in which the soundscape was distinctive and interesting.


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

Winner: Locker. See above.


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

Winner: Avatar, in a landslide -- its only award of the night, by my guessing.

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