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I’m Better Than Eric

March 7, 2010 2 comments

It’s that time of year again when I thoroughly beat down my dear friend Eric with my Oscar predictions (Oh yes, I’m calling you out). This is a strange year in as much as most of the major awards are pretty much a given at this point with the exception of the biggest prize of the night. Awards season has been leading to this so let’s not waste any more time.

BEST PICTURE
Nominated: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, A Serious Man, Up, Up in the Air

With all due respect to the rest of the participants, at this point, this is really a two-horse race with Avatar and The Hurt Locker. When it was announced the Oscars returning to 10 best picture nominations instead of 5 there was a great deal of hand wringing about a diluted field and surprise winners coming out of nowhere. Instead we all collectively remembered that Best Picture is still for all intents and purposes tethered to the Best Director nominees. The competition between James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow will get all the headlines as ex-spouses but their movies speak for themselves.

As much as a cinematic experience Avatar was, its weaknesses were The Hurt Locker‘s strengths. While the journey to Pandora was undeniably compelling to watch in the immersive IMAX 3D screens, the story was nothing we haven’t seen countless times before and the FernGully and Dances with Wolves jokes (and yes that is Eric) are warranted. The Hurt Locker, which was criminally hard to find in theaters kept me on edge literally from the opening scene with it’s story as well as visuals. While Inglorious Basterds was the best movie I saw this past year, if the choice is really between Avatar and The Hurt Locker, the better movie should win. Winner: The Hurt Locker

BEST DIRECTOR
Nominated: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), James Cameron (Avatar), Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds), Lee Daniels (Precious), Jason Reitman, (Up in the Air)

See Above. It’s ultimately the job of the director to pull all the elements together into the best movie and this award is Bigelow’s to lose. Ironically enough, if Cameron had a better screen writer on Avatar he may have actually won this award, but he has no one to blame but himself. As I hinted at earlier, I’d love to see Tarantino win for Inglourious Basterds but that’s not going to happen. Winner: Kathryn Bigelow

BEST ACTOR
Nominated: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), George Clooney (Up in the Air), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)

Renner was fantastic in The Hurt Locker and has an outside chance if The Hurt Locker momentum carries over, Clooney was Clooney in Up in the Air (which was solid but a bit underwhelming in light of expectations), but the statue belongs to The Dude this year. The academy loves to reward actors who have been deserving in the past and Bridges is truly one of the most talented and versatile actors of his generation and this is the year he gets his. Winner: Jeff Bridges

BEST ACTRESS
Nominated: Sandra Bullock  (The Blind Side), Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)

This is another race that could be closer than a lot of people think. Meryl Streep was considered the front runner for most of the year because, well, she’s Meryl Streep. Almost out of nowhere Sandra Bullock started to get strong consideration for the surprisingly good The Blind Side. I say she’ll pull it off, even if only because the academy might feel it’s more fun to vote for the feel good comeback story. Gabourey Sidibe is a strong dark horse contender for Precious. Mulligan should win for An Education, but unfortunately she won’t. And if you haven’t seen that movie yet (and almost nobody has) you should. Winner: Sandra Bullock

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominated: Matt Damon (Invictus), Woody Harrelson (The Messenger) Christopher Plummer (The Last Station), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)

Just stop. It’s Waltz. Period. He was the best anybody, to do anything this year in the movies. If the Academy even considered giving it to anyone else they should just stop handing out awards.

Hyperbolic? Maybe. But absolutely true. Anyone who has seen Inglorious Basterds walked away remembering Hans Landa. The award is his. Winner: Christoph Waltz

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nominated: Penelope Cruz (Nine), Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart), Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Mo’Nique (Precious)

Replace Waltz and Inglorious Basterds with Mo’Nique and Precious and it’s the same story. And if anyone told you they saw that coming after her work on The Parkers… punch them right in their lying faces. Winner: Mo’Nique

Other Winners…
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Quentino Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – The White Ribbon, Germany
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – Up
ART DIRECTION – Avatar Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
CINEMATOGRAPHY – Avatar Mauro Fiore

COSTUME DESIGN – The Young Victoria Sandy Powell
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – The Cove
DOCUMENTARY SHORT – China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
FILM EDITING – The Hurt Locker Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
MAKEUP – Star Trek Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
ORIGINAL SCORE – Up Michael Giacchino
ORIGINAL SONG – “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from Crazy Heart Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
ANIMATED SHORT – The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)  Javier Recio Gracia
LIVE ACTION SHORT – Instead of Abracadabra Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
SOUND EDITING – Avatar Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
SOUND MIXING – Avatar Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
VISUAL EFFECTS – Avatar Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones

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