Oscar Predictions 2010

It’s that time of the year again where Hollywood rewards what they consider to be the best movies in 2009 with golden statuettes. The Academy has shaken things up a little this year with 10 Best Picture nominees, but apart from a huge upset, it will be a showdown between Avatar and The Hurt Locker for top honours. This is also a year where the major categories are likely to be without surprises, but who knows? These are my predictions for the year, and like last year I will not be predicting the documentary and the short films since I have not seen most of them.


Best Motion Picture of the Year


Avatar (2009): James Cameron, Jon Landau

The Blind Side (2009): Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson

District 9 (2009): Peter Jackson, Carolynne Cunningham

An Education (2009): Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey

The Hurt Locker (2008): Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Greg Shapiro

Inglourious Basterds (2009): Lawrence Bender

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009): Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness, Gary Magness

A Serious Man (2009): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Up (2009): Jonas Rivera

Up in the Air (2009/I): Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman

Should win: The Hurt Locker

Prediction: Avatar

Ten  nominees… five true contenders… and really only two films to consider (unless there are enough people who hate either Avatar and The Hurt Locker, and a third picture pips them both in a pure numbers game). Hurt Locker or Avatar? Personally I think aside from the visual spectacle, The Hurt Locker is truly the better made film. However, I also do not believe that the voters are going to ignore Avatar in the major categories since it’s truly a groundbreaking film. Since Kathryn Bigelow is almost a lock on the Best Director nod, Avatar should be getting Best Picture.


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role


Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart (2009)

George Clooney for Up in the Air (2009/I)

Colin Firth for A Single Man (2009)

Morgan Freeman for Invictus (2009)

Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker (2008)

Should win: Jeff Bridges

Prediction: Jeff Bridges

Strangely, I don’t really think much of most of the performances that have been nominated in this category. All good, but really nothing much of a standout. I have not had a chance to see A Single Man yet (damn you distributors!) but my vote goes to Jeff Bridges, with Morgan Freeman as a very distant second.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role


Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side (2009)

Helen Mirren for The Last Station (2009)

Carey Mulligan for An Education (2009)

Gabourey Sidibe for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)

Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia (2009)

Should win: Carey Mulligan

Prediction: Meryl Streep

Of all the major categories this year, I had the hardest time to decide who to go with for Best Actress. My personal favourite performance of the lot is Carey Mulligan’s truly impressive turn in An Education, and while I think she has the best chance of a dark horse upset win, the true battle is between Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock. While it’s true that Bullockis getting more Oscar buzz, Streep has been nominated so many times in recent years and it’s only a matter of time before the voters would reward her with a third win. I have a feeling this will be her year, especially since Sandra Bullock has already won enough awards and voters may feel the Oscar may compensate Streep for her accumulated “losses”.


Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role


Matt Damon for Invictus (2009)

Woody Harrelson for The Messenger (2009/I)

Christopher Plummer for The Last Station (2009)

Stanley Tucci for The Lovely Bones (2009)

Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Should win: Christoph Waltz

Prediction: Christoph Waltz

No question at all – this will definitely go to Christoph Waltz and his super memorable performance in Inglourious Basterds. No one else comes close.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role


Penélope Cruz for Nine (2009)

Vera Farmiga for Up in the Air (2009/I)

Maggie Gyllenhaal for Crazy Heart (2009)

Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air (2009/I)

Mo’Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)

Should win: Mo’Nique

Prediction: Mo’Nique

Another lock – and I have to say Mo’Nique’s performance was truly impressive. Everyone else nominated in this category had (to me) rather weak performances compared to her – in fact I don’t understand why Penelope Cruz was even nominated. I mean, when did sex kitten song and dance number constitute as great acting?


Best Achievement in Directing


Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008)

James Cameron for Avatar (2009)

Lee Daniels for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)

Jason Reitman for Up in the Air (2009/I)

Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Should win: Kathryn Bigelow

Prediction: Kathryn Bigelow

I think all 5 directors deserved their nominations this year, but I lean towards Kathryn Bigelow on this one. This is particularly so because she has already won the most important precursor to the Oscars, the Directors Guild Award, and she will be the first woman to win the Oscar for this category. And The Hurt Locker featured masterful directorial work from her, even though James Cameron probably put in more effort overall (new technology, etc) for his work in Avatar.


Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen


The Hurt Locker (2008): Mark Boal

Inglourious Basterds (2009): Quentin Tarantino

The Messenger (2009/I): Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman

A Serious Man (2009): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Up (2009): Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Thomas McCarthy

Should win: Inglourious Basterds

Prediction: The Hurt Locker

I think Inglourious Basterds had an excellent script, and apart from Christoph Waltz I don’t think the film has chance to win anything except cinematography and screenplay (one thing working against it is that Tarantino has already won in this category for Pulp Fiction previously). However, since I am going with Avatar to win Best Picture I think Hurt Locker will get this category as a “consolation”.


Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published


District 9 (2009): Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell

An Education (2009): Nick Hornby

In the Loop (2009): Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009): Geoffrey Fletcher

Up in the Air (2009/I): Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner

Should win: Up in the Air

Prediction: Up in the Air

Again, Up in the Air has no real feasible chance of taking home any awards apart from this one, and it’s quite an interesting screenplay so I feel Reitman and Turner have a really good shot at this category.


Best Achievement in Cinematography


Avatar (2009): Mauro Fiore

Das weisse Band – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (2009): Christian Berger

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009): Bruno Delbonnel

The Hurt Locker (2008): Barry Ackroyd

Inglourious Basterds (2009): Robert Richardson

Prediction: Inglourious Basterds

Unless The White Ribbon is not going to win Best Foreign Film (I think it will) and thus get this as a consolation, I think the odds are pretty good for Inglourious Basterds to clinch the statuette in this category. It’s quite an even category though, so I won’t be surprised if my prediction is wrong.


Best Achievement in Editing


Avatar (2009): Stephen E. Rivkin, John Refoua, James Cameron

District 9 (2009): Julian Clarke

The Hurt Locker (2008): Bob Murawski, Chris Innis

Inglourious Basterds (2009): Sally Menke

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009): Joe Klotz

Prediction: The Hurt Locker

I think one of the reasons why The Hurt Locker worked so well cinematically is due to its tight editing, so I am going to predict a win for the film in this category.  


Best Achievement in Art Direction


Avatar (2009): Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, Kim Sinclair

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009): David Warren, Anastasia Masaro, Caroline Smith

Nine (2009): John Myhre, Gordon Sim

Sherlock Holmes (2009): Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer

The Young Victoria (2009): Patrice Vermette, Maggie Gray

Prediction: Avatar

I believe most of the technical awards are going to go to Avatar, deservedly so, except for the Sound awards which I think Hurt Locker may win out. Wonder if the Academy will start to include a “Best Achievement in 3D” award soon?


Best Achievement in Costume Design


Bright Star (2009): Janet Patterson

Coco avant Chanel (2009): Catherine Leterrier

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009): Monique Prudhomme

Nine (2009): Colleen Atwood

The Young Victoria (2009): Sandy Powell

Prediction: Nine

I am just going to go for Nine because I think Bright Star and The Young Victoria will split votes for those who like period costumes, and Nine will then take top spot for its Victoria’s Secret (not too young though, hur hur) inspired costumes.


Best Achievement in Makeup


Il divo (2008): Aldo Signoretti, Vittorio Sodano

Star Trek (2009): Barney Burman, Mindy Hall, Joel Harlow

The Young Victoria (2009): John Henry Gordon, Jenny Shircore

Prediction: The Young Victoria

I am guessing they won’t go for awarding a movie that uses makeup as blatantly as Star Trek, Vulcan ears and all, so The Young Victoria stands a better chance. Complete guesswork here though.


Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score


Avatar (2009): James Horner

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009): Alexandre Desplat

The Hurt Locker (2008): Marco Beltrami, Buck Sanders

Sherlock Holmes (2009): Hans Zimmer

Up (2009): Michael Giacchino

Prediction: Up


Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song


Crazy Heart (2009): T-Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham(“The Weary Kind”)

Faubourg 36 (2008): Reinhardt Wagner, Frank Thomas(“Loin de Paname”)

Nine (2009): Maury Yeston(“Take It All”)

The Princess and the Frog (2009): Randy Newman(“Almost There”)

The Princess and the Frog (2009): Randy Newman(“Down in New Orleans”)

Prediction: Crazy Heart


Best Achievement in Sound Mixing


Avatar (2009): Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson, Tony Johnson

The Hurt Locker (2008): Paul N.J. Ottosson, Ray Beckett

Inglourious Basterds (2009): Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti, Mark Ulano

Star Trek (2009): Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson, Peter J. Devlin

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009): Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Geoffrey Patterson

Prediction: The Hurt Locker

Does anyone really care about these technical awards?


Best Achievement in Sound Editing


Avatar (2009): Christopher Boyes, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle

The Hurt Locker (2008): Paul N.J. Ottosson

Inglourious Basterds (2009): Wylie Stateman

Star Trek (2009): Mark P. Stoeckinger, Alan Rankin

Up (2009): Michael Silvers, Tom Myers

Prediction: The Hurt Locker


Best Achievement in Visual Effects


Avatar (2009): Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, Andy Jones

District 9 (2009): Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros, Matt Aitken

Star Trek (2009): Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh, Burt Dalton

Prediction: Avatar (of course)


Best Animated Feature Film of the Year


Coraline (2009): Henry Selick

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009): Wes Anderson

The Princess and the Frog (2009): John Musker, Ron Clements

The Secret of Kells (2009): Tomm Moore

Up (2009): Pete Docter

Prediction: Up

Honestly apart from the first ten minutes Up is quite a run of the mill Pixar film, but we all know even run of the mill Pixar films will usually be able to pick up the award in this category. I really enjoyed the films in this category though (apart from The Secret of Kells which I had not watched).


Best Foreign Language Film of the Year


Ajami (2009)(Israel)

Das weisse Band – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (2009)(Germany)

El secreto de sus ojos (2009)(Argentina)

Un prophète (2009)(France)

La teta asustada (2009)(Peru)

Prediction: The White Ribbon (Das weisse Band – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte)


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