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My Oscar Picks


So the Oscars are tomorrow, with their new format that allows for 10 Best Picture nominees.   Here are my picks and predictions (and opinions, thrown in for free, of course!)

Best Picture

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

My Pick: My opinion hasn’t changed since I posted by top 10 of 2009 list.   The Hurt Locker is the best movie of the year.

Who’ll Win: It looks like a two-film race between “The Hurt Locker” and “Avatar” — which is interesting, because directors Kathryn Bigelow and John Cameron used to be married.    Oscar tends to like, and reward, bit, epic, money-making visual adventures (like “Titanic” and “Return of the King”) so I think “Avatar” will edge out “Locker,”  though it my opinion, it’s a vastly inferior film.  In fact, there are 8 films on the nominee list I liked better than “Avatar.”

Best Director

Nominees: James Cameron, “Avatar,”  Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker,”  Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds,”  Lee Daniels, “Precious: Based on a Novel by Sapphire,”  Jason Reitman, “Up in the Air”

My Pick: Again,  Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker.”   This really comes down to what a director does, versus what a producer or a screenwriter or cinematographer does.   “Locker” is, far and away, the best directed movie on this list — the only one even close in my book is “Up in the Air.”   The rest are great for other reasons – production design, or acting, or script.   I can imagine a “Basterds” written by QT but directed by someone else – it isn’t that different.   Or “Avatar” produced by Cameron but directed by a dead cat.  Same thing.   But Bigelow takes familiar, and oft-failed, subject matter – the War in Iraq — and makes it great.

Who’ll Win: Oscar hardly ever separates Best Director from Best Picture.  So if “Avatar” takes the first, look for Cameron to take this as well.

Actress in a Leading Role

Nominees:  Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side,”  Helen Mirren, “The Last Station,”  Carey Mulligan, “An Education,”  Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious,”  Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia

My Pick: I love Sidibe in “Precious” and felt like I was watching a star being born in “An Education,”  but for my hard-earned money,   Tilda Swinton in “Julia” turned in the best performance by an Actress in a Leading Role this year.   Too bad she wasn’t nominated.   She’s my pick, anyway.

Who will win: Probably Sandra Bullock, though for the life of me I couldn’t see a single spectacular – or even above-average – moment in “The Blind Side.”   Is it the accent?

Side note:  Sandra Bullock is also nominated for a Razzie – the flip side of the Oscars – for Worst Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for her godawful turn in “All About Steve.”   No other actor or actress has ever won best and worst actress the same year.   It would be a historic achievement for Ms. Bullock,  who, by the way, is my least favorite A-List actress currently working.   So you know which way I’m rooting.

Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees: Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker,”  George Clooney, “Up in the Air,”  Colin Firth,  “A Single Man”  Morgan Freeman, “Invictus”

My Pick: You know, I don’t really think any of these performances were all that compelling.    I know that some of you hate it when I do this, but I’m going to go off-book again; my favorite performance this year was by Matt Damon in “The Informant!”    He’s my pick.

Who’ll win:    Clooney had a solid year, turning in 3 better than average movies.  So even though I felt like his performance in “Up in the Air” was nothing more or less than typical Clooney, I’d put my money on him.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees: Penelope Cruz, “Nine,”   Vera Farmiga, “Up in the Air,”  Maggie Gyllenhaal, “Crazy Heart,”  Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air,”  Mo’Nique, “Precious.”

My Pick: This one’s easy.   Mo’Nique’s performance in “Precious” wasn’t just the best supporting performance I saw this year, but the best I’ve seen in perhaps ten years.     It was the stuff of legend.    Anna Kendrick was also very good in “Up in the Air;”  she’d be my pick any other year.

Who’ll win: I think Mo’Nique has a solid shot at this one, because “Precious” is likely to get overlooked in the other categories where it’s nominated.

Best Actor in A Supporting Role

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

My Pick: Well, this is embarassing.   I’ve seen exactly one of the nominees – “Inglourious Basterds.”   And I didn’t love Christoph Waltz, as so many did.   So I’m going off-book again:  my favorite male supporting performance was Alfred Molina in “An Education.”

Who’ll Win:  Everyone else seems to think Waltz was aMAZing in “Basterds,”  so I’d put my money there.

Best Animated Feature Film

Nominees: “Coraline,”  “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The Princess and the Frog,”  “The Secret of Kells,”  “Up”

My Pick: It was a strong year for animated films.   I’m a little shocked “Ponyo” didn’t get nominated,  and a little sad “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs” didn’t make the list.    Of the films that did,  “Up” is my favorite, though “Coraline” is a close second.

Who’ll Win: “Up” is a safe bet.   It got nominated for Best Picture, after all.

Other picks:

Art Direction: Avatar

Cinematography: Avatar

Costume Design: Bright Star

Film Editing: The Hurt Locker

Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air

Original Screenplay: Inglourious Basterds

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Posted in All Reviews.

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  1. So the only surprise in the big categories was Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart.” And I missed on the screenplay awards, and costume design. So I correctly predicted 9 out of 13 categories. I’m pretty proud of that.

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