Oscar Predictions: Do upsets loom?

Best Picture:
Who should/will win: The Hurt Locker.
With a majority of the precursor awards already under its belt (including a near sweep at the Guilds), The Hurt Locker is the clear front-runner going into tomorrow night's ceremony. It's definitely The Hurt Locker's prize to lose, but with a recent surge of backlash aimed at the war drama, the possibility of an upset seems more and more likely. Sci-fi extravaganza, Avatar, is a technical masterpiece, to be sure, but should a film without a screenplay nomination claim the top prize?

Although Avatar has a large fan base, a good majority of the Academy members are older men and women and have been pretty outspoken about Avatar's performance-capture technology. Morgan Freeman summed up their disdain by saying, "Avatar is really a cartoon." With that in mind, it seems unlikely James Cameron's box office monster will triumph over the far superior and more deserving film, The Hurt Locker.

Best Director:
Who should/will win: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker.
A woman has yet to win the Best Director award and in the history of the Academy Awards, only 4 women have been nominated, thus making Bigelow's front-runner status all the more important. But gender aside, Bigelow directed the best film of the year, and deserves all the accolades she has received this awards season. The only foreseeable upset would be by Bigelow's ex-husband, James Cameron, for his masterful use of technology and visual effects in Avatar, but even he doesn't stand a chance. Expect the "king of the world" to be dethroned tomorrow night.

Best Actor:

Who should win: Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker.
This category is hard for me to form a credible opinion on because I still haven't seen Colin Firth's acclaimed performance in A Single Man, or the runaway favorite, Jeff Bridges, in Crazy Heart. But from the performances I have seen this year, Jeremy Renner's performance was so haunting and richly complex, I would be delighted if he pulled an "Adrien Brody" and upset Bridges.

Who will win: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart.
Already nominated 4 times prior to this year, Bridges has long proved he deserves the golden guy, and with a powerhouse performance like his portrayal of a washed-up country singer, it seems almost inevitable that he'll walk away victorious during tomorrow's telecast.

Best Actress:

Who should win: Carey Mulligan, An Education.
This is the toughest race to call because there are three very deserving women in the running, but unfortunately, none of them seem likely to win. Meryl Streep is long-overdue for her third award (16 nominations and hasn't won in 20 years!), but I must admit her charming turn as Julia Child might not be enough. Carey Mulligan's breakout performance in An Education narrowly edges out newcomer Gabrielle Sidibe's heart-wrenching performance in Precious as my favorite female performance of the year.

Who will win: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side.
I thoroughly enjoyed Bullock's uncharacteristic depth in this movie, easily the best performance of her career, but let's be honest-- it is not an Academy Award-worthy role. The nomination should be her win, but I think the novelty of labeling America's current sweetheart "Academy Award winner" is enough to push her to the top of the pack. I will give her this much, though; her acceptance speeches this awards season have been, well, award-winning.
Best Supporting Actor:
Who should/will win: Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds.
This category is simply no contest. Waltz gave one of the best performances of the past decade and his win is already in the bag.

Best Supporting Actress:
Who should /will win: Mo'Nique, Precious.
Comedian turned award-winning actress, Mo'Nique gives a performance so compelling, so disturbing, it would be criminal not to give her the award. Like Waltz, she is a lock and has been unbeatable since the awards season kicked off last September.

Best Original Screenplay:
Who should/will win: Inglorious Basterds.
This is one of the tightest races of the entire ceremony. Quentin Tarantino's dialogue-heavy, often brilliant screenplay is a tough match for best picture favorite, The Hurt Locker's dark and profoundly vivid dialogue. It might do so by a hair, but Basterds will take this prize, and deserves all 13.5 inches of it.

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Who should/will win: Up in the Air.
Up in the Air, an early Best Picture front-runner, has lost a lot of its steam since its early victories last fall, but its deeply touching and humorous screenplay was one of the best of the year. It'll win by a landslide.

Best Animated Feature:
Who should/will win: Up.
They might as well stop announcing the other nominees and just give the golden guy to Pixar every year, because, frankly, nothing comes close. Even during a year of incredibly strong animated films (Coraline, The Princess and the Frog, and the brilliant Fantastic Mr. Fox, among others), Up rises above them all.

Tune in to the 82nd Annual Academy Awards tomorrow night on ABC.


hun*ter said...

Six for nine. Not bad old friend. I'm not even going to go back and look, but I think you predicted better than I did for the Grammys.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was "A Serious Man," not "A Single Man."

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