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Friday, February 12, 2010

Oscar Update: 3 Weeks Away

We're less than a month away and it's amazing that many of the top races seem to be all, but over. I'm doing this update just because I partly feel like I have to. Though, I will say that Best Picture is still very much anyone's game. The preferential balloting makes this race very intriguing and complicated. Honestly, it's going to be very difficult to pick with great confidence.

Also, if the Oscar contest is up. Click HERE to enter. The number of entrants is quickly rising, so I think this is going to be real competitive. I'm really curious if anyone will break my record. I'm also curious if I can break my own record.

Best Picture
1. (-) Avatar
2. (-) The Hurt Locker
3. (-) Inglourious Basterds
4. (-) Up in the Air
5. (-) Precious
6. (-) Up
7. (-) The Blind Side
8. (-) An Education
9. (-) District 9
10. (-) A Serious Man

Like I said after nominations came out. Forget about A Serious Man, District 9, An Education, and The Blind Side right away. I've heard some rumors that Up could make some noise due to the preferential ballot. It very well could, but will it win? No way. Up in the Air and Precious are two films that have absolutely no buzz anymore. It's amazing too since these two films seemed like the frontrunners early in the season. The consensus seems to be a three race horse. I firmly believe this to be very accurate. And you wouldn't look like a fool if you ranked these three films in any order.

With Harvey Weinstein behind it, Inglourious has to be seriously considered. This film could benefit a lot from the preferential system by getting many number two votes. It could sneak out of nowhere and pull a big shocker. This film is definitely deserving, it's just that the awards season has been dominated by Avatar and The Hurt Locker.

I was reading the other day that The Hurt Locker won the PGA on a preferential voting system. I'm sure a lot of people don't know that, so I think it is definitely worth noting. Here's why I think Avatar may very well knock off Hurt Locker. There's 10 nominees. Even more than Basterds, Avatar seems to be a number one and number two film. I'll even admit I would put it no lower than number two. If there were only five nominees with the preferential system than I think the advantage shifts strongly to Hurt Locker.

I'm still a little weary about the Academy awarding an Iraq war film. It just doesn't seem right and right now I'm going with Avatar. With a month to go, I'm sure I will be going back and forth on this.

Best Director
1. (-) Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
2. (-) James Cameron, Avatar
3. (-) Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
4. (-) Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
5. (-) Lee Daniels, Precious

Bigelow won the DGA and that is the best Oscar precursor of all the guild awards. Yes, she is a woman and a woman has never won Best Director. Well, a woman has to win eventually. Cameron is her best competition, but he has already won. The Hurt Locker is a critically acclaimed film and I could easily see a Avatar/Hurt Locker Best Picture/Best Director split.

Best Actor
1. (-) Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
2. (-) George Clooney, Up in the Air
3. (-) Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
4. (-) Morgan Freeman, Invictus
5. (-) Colin Firth, A Single Man

Firth is just happy to be here. Freeman was the frontrunner over the summer, but as history tells us that means nothing. Clint's film didn't make any noise this year and Morgan already has an Oscar anyway. Renner has The Hurt Locker on his side, but I feel like he is simply too unknown. Unless the Academy has a serious unknown love for this film, then I can't see him winning. If Clooney didn't have to beat Bridges, then I would say this race is still wide open. Problem is that Bridges is a well respected actor from a family of well respected actors. Plus, it doesn't help that Clooney won an Oscar a few years back. Unlike Mickey Rourke last year, Jeff Bridges is someone the Academy has no problem embracing and I think he is well deserving for his role and career. This seems to be locked up.

Best Actress
1. (-) Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
2. (-) Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
3. (-) Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
4. (-) Carey Mulligan, An Education
5. (-) Helen Mirren, The Last Station

Mirren won too recently and no one has even seen The Last Station. Mulligan lost all her buzz. Sidibe did too. Everyone who is following this race knows it's Bullock vs. Streep. This race reminds me a lot of 2006 when Alan Arkin scored an upset over frontrunner Eddie Murphy. Murphy was winning everything, but lost to the veteran. This is obviously a little different. Besides Bullock not releasing Norbit weeks before the Oscars, she also is in a better position to win. The Blind Side obviously has support from the Academy due to the Best Pic nomination. She won the SAG and seems to be friends with everyone. Eddie Murphy had this asshole quality to him. Rourke suffered the same thing. Of course the question is how much does the Academy love Streep? Well, she does have the record for most nominations for an actor. Yes, she has two Oscars, but it's been so long. Do Academy members realize this and vote for her? I honestly question the intelligence of some Academy members, so I would say they have no idea it's been over 25 years since Meryl's last win. To me it comes down to Julie & Julia having no support from the Academy. That's the deal breaker for me. Though, this race is far from over.

Best Supporting Actor
1. (-) Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
2. (-) Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
3. (-) Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
4. (-) Matt Damon, Invictus
5. (-) Christopher Plummer, The Last Station

Like Heath Ledger's path to the Oscars last year, this one is very similar. Waltz has won everything and the competition is even weaker than the one that Ledger faced. I'm not even going to dissect this race anymore for the rest of the season. It's all over.

Best Supporting Actress
1. (-) Mo'Nique, Precious
2. (-) Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
3. (-) Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
4. (-) Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
5. (-) Penelope Cruz, Nine

Can I just write see Best Supporting Actor race? Seriously, both supporting races are all over. Mo'Nique should just get her acceptance speech ready. I wonder what it is like to know you're going to win an Oscar weeks before the show?

Best Original Screenplay
1. (-) Inglourious Basterds
2. (-) The Hurt Locker
3. (-) Up
4. (-) A Serious Man
5. (-) The Messenger

This is one of the most intriguing races this year. It pits Basterds vs. Hurt Locker in a race that could dictate how the show will go. I expect a win for Basterds since I think Tarantino has to go home with something. These screenplay races seem like consolation prizes so many times. Tarantino has also just written an amazing script. A win for Hurt Locker would obviously show how strong support this film has. It wouldn't be a huge upset, but it would send a message and possibly foreshadow a win for Best Picture. The WGA for this will be big for both films. Something that we all have to keep our eye on as it will shift this race.

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. (-) Up in the Air
2. (-) Precious
3. (-) An Education
4. (-) District 9
5. (-) In the Loop

Up in the Air will probably lose every major race, but this one. This is one category that it has been winning throughout the season. Precious could upset, but it seems unlikely. Up in the Air won the Globe, Scripter, and will probably win the WGA. A win at the guild should cement its status as the frontrunner and should give Up in the Air a consolation prize it deserves. We can also all be jealous of Jason Reitman for being an Oscar winner and making three really good movies all before turning 40.

Complete Oscar Predictions

Best Picture: Avatar
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious
Best Original Screenplay: Inglourious Basterds
Best Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air
Best Animated Feature: Up
Best Art Direction: Avatar
Best Cinematography: Avatar
Best Costume Design: The Young Victoria
Best Documentary - Feature: The Cove
Best Documentary - Short Subject: The Last Truck
Best Film Editing: The Hurt Locker
Best Foreign Language Film: The White Ribbon
Best Makeup: Star Trek
Best Original Score: Up
Best Original Song: "The Weary Kind", Crazy Heart
Best Short - Animated: A Matter of Loaf and Death
Best Short - Live Action: The Door
Best Sound Editing: Avatar
Best Sound Mixing: Avatar
Best Visual Effects: Avatar

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