Oscar Predictions: 2012

A confession – it’s been an insanely busy year at work, and it has impacted both my ability to watch and write about movies. This year, I’m going into the awards day without having seen a fair number of contenders, so this time round it’s more guesswork than personal preference. It’s also another year of a “first”, because this is the first year both free to air and basic cable channels aren’t televising the awards live (blasphemy!), but I have had the good fortune of being able to score an invite to the GV Oscars viewing party thanks to my client. I have also decided this year to stop predicting the documentary and short film categories since they are blind guesses. Let’s see how I will fare this year:
 
Best Motion Picture of the Year

Nominees:
The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Should win: Hugo
Prediction: The Artist

Perhaps because I am a cinephile, but a film like Hugo really appeals to the inner film geek, and it’s a master’s tribute to another master, which the industry may pick up on. However, The Artist is an equally good film and has garnered so many awards in the awards season that a win here is probably unstoppable. My personal favourite amongst all the titles here is Hugo, which is simply as magical as film can get.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees:
Demián Bichir, A Better Life
George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Should win: Jean Dujardin
Prediction: Jean Dujardin

Few actors have to go through an entire film without saying anything, and Jean Dujardin’s silent film performance is a testament to great acting. Although the other actors all do pretty well, it’s hard to imagine Dujardin being upstaged at this point.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Nominees:
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Should win: Meryl Streep
Prediction: Viola Davis

I personally thought Meryl Streep was amazing as Margaret Thatcher, but I think her hopes of clinching yet another Oscar would be dashed by Viola Davis because The Help was simply a bigger movie. It would be a waste to have Streep lose yet again after her multiple nominations though.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees:
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Should win: Christopher Plummer
Prediction: Christopher Plummer

The age bracket for the winner in this category should be quite high, as I feel the strongest contenders would be Christopher Plummer and Max von Sydow. Max von Sydow is a bit handicapped (no pun intended) by the fact that he’s also playing a non-speaking character, and Jean Dujardin already has that aspect locked down.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees:
Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help

Should win: Bérénice Bejo
Prediction: Octavia Spencer

I think every actor (including the dog) in The Artist are great actors, but Bérénice Bejo is likely to lose out to Octavia Spencer (who was also quite good in The Help) based on pre-Oscar wins and indicators.

Best Achievement in Directing

Nominees:
The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants, Alexander Payne
Hugo, Martin Scorsese
Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen
The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick

Should win: Martin Scorsese
Prediction: Michel Hazanavicius

Personally I think Martin Scorsese did a brilliant, amazing job in Hugo that outranks The Artist, but how do I go against the near perfect barometer of the Director’s Guild of America Award, which granted it to Michel Hazanavicius?

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Nominees:
The Artist, Written by Michel Hazanavicius
Bridesmaids, Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
Margin Call, Written by J.C. Chandor
Midnight in Paris, Written by Woody Allen
A Separation, Written by Asghar Farhadi

Should win: Midnight in Paris
Prediction: The Artist

I liked Margin Call a lot but it’s a really small movie, and although I think Allen did a great job with Midnight in Paris, the Academy would likely reward The Artist for being “retro-revolutionary” as a silent film.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Nominees:
The Descendants, Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Hugo, Screenplay by John Logan
The Ides of March, Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
Moneyball, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin.  Story by Stan Chervin
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Screenplay by Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan

Should win: Hugo
Prediction: Hugo

It’s a pretty even playing field for this category, and I am split between predicting The Descendants (a film which may be given this award as a consolation prize for not winning anything else) and Hugo. I felt that Hugo was a more involving film, however, hence the choice for the win here.

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Nominees:
The Artist, Guillaume Schiffman
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Jeff Cronenweth
Hugo, Robert Richardson
The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki
War Horse, Janusz Kaminski

Prediction: Janusz Kaminski

All 5 films featured great cinematography is so it’s quite a toss up for me. I am inclined to go with Janusz Kaminski because his work on War Horse was simply astounding.

Best Achievement in Editing

Nominees:
The Artist, Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants, Kevin Tent
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
Hugo, Thelma Schoonmaker
Moneyball, Christopher Tellefs

Prediction: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I honestly have no preference either way in this category, but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo did boast tight editing which made the story seemed a little more immediate that its Swedish forefather.  

Best Achievement in Art Direction

Nominees:
The Artist, Laurence Bennett (Production Design); Robert Gould (Set Decoration)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Stuart Craig (Production Design); Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)
Hugo, Dante Ferretti (Production Design); Francesca Lo Schiavo (Set Decoration)
Midnight in Paris, Anne Seibel (Production Design); Hélène Dubreuil (Set Decoration)
War Horse, Rick Carter (Production Design); Lee Sandales (Set Decoration)

Prediction: Hugo

They would be insane to not award this to Hugo – if it wins nothing else it surely has to clinch the nod in this category.

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Nominees:
Anonymous, Lisy Christl
The Artist, Mark Bridges
Hugo, Sandy Powell
Jane Eyre, Michael O'Connor
W.E., Arianne Phillips

Prediction: The Artist

I think the period films always stand a better chance in this category, but The Artist has the advantage of being more high profile than a film like Jane Eyre.

Best Achievement in Makeup

Nominees:
Albert Nobbs, Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin
The Iron Lady, Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Prediction: The Iron Lady

Albert Nobbs featured makeup just a smidgen better than that of J. Edgar, and since I felt that The Iron Lady’s makeup trumped both films it’s an easy choice for me here.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Nominees:
The Adventures of Tintin, John Williams
The Artist, Ludovic Bource
Hugo, Howard Shore
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Alberto Iglesias
War Horse, John Williams

Prediction: Hugo

I don’t think John Williams will suffer a split vote despite having two nominations here since Tintin has been almost totally snubbed, but my personal preference for scoring is still Howard Shore’s work in Hugo.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Nominees:
"Man or Muppet" from THE MUPPETS, Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio” from RIO, Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown; Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Prediction: Real in Rio

Two songs only? Seriously? I’m not a fan of either but I am guessing Sergio Mendes adds some cred to the Rio contender. I love The Muppets as a whole but was really unimpressed by the song.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Nominees:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
Hugo, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
Moneyball, Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco and Ed Novick
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
War Horse, Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Prediction: War Horse

I hardly get these technical awards right, but I am guessing that Transformers will win more for visual spectacle than sound. I was quite impressed by the quieter moments in War Horse, hence my vote for it.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Nominees:
Drive, Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Ren Klyce
Hugo, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
War Horse, Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Prediction: War Horse

Same reason as my prediction in Sound Mixing, but honestly I have no preference either way.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Nominees:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
Hugo, Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning
Real Steel, Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier.

Prediction: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

I feel it’s a toss up between Hugo and Transformers, but for pure visual spectacle Transformers will definitely win out over Hugo’s more subtle visual effects. So it’s really just a matter of how the Academy votes. 

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Nominees:
A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
Rango

Prediction: A Cat in Paris

Such a weak category this year, and if memory serves correctly, the only year since this award started that Pixar was not nominated. I don’t like any of the Hollywood productions nominated here (not for an Oscar, anyway), so I am going with A Cat in Paris. Interesting how many films nominated this year have something to do with France or Paris. Honestly I felt that The Adventures of Tintin should have been nominated here and would have won my vote above the rest.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Nominees:
Belgium, "Bullhead"
Canada, "Monsieur Lazhar"
Iran, "A Separation"
Israel, "Footnote"
Poland, "In Darkness"

Prediction: A Separation

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Oscar Predictions 2011

This will be the first year in a decade where I would not be able to catch the Oscars live (thanks for nothing, Singapore Armed Forces.) but thankfully due to the advents in technology I fully expect to be up to date on the results via various social media platforms. Unfortunately for most of you, the Oscars will also only be screened “live” locally on Star Movies, which I have a feeling is not a channel many people subscribe to. For completeness, I will be making predictions in the documentary and short film categories although most of these are “blind” guesses excepting animated short film (I’ve seen the trailers or clips for most of these categories’ nominees though). Without further ado:

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Nominees:
"Black Swan" Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
"The Fighter" David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
"Inception" Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
"The Kids Are All Right" Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
"The King's Speech" Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
"127 Hours" Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
"The Social Network" Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
"Toy Story 3" Darla K. Anderson, Producer
"True Grit" Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
"Winter's Bone" Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

Should win: The Social Network
Prediction: The King’s Speech

If it were up to me I think The Social Network should sweep most of the awards, being the best film I’ve seen in 2010. However, it’s an early release and seems to have lost some momentum, while The King’s Speech seems to be riding a late wave and picking up awards left right centre. While this is no knock against The King’s Speech, which is an excellent film, The Social Network is even better in my eyes. This would be one category in which I would be happy if my prediction was wrong. Although there are ten nominations this year like the last, none of the other films apart from Inception really stand much of a chance, but Inception was released even earlier than The Social Network and has gotten even less love from the Academy in terms of nominations. 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Nominees:
Javier Bardem in "Biutiful"
Jeff Bridges in "True Grit"
Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network"
Colin Firth in "The King's Speech"
James Franco in "127 Hours"

Should win: Colin Firth
Prediction: Colin Firth

Colin Firth was amazing in The King’s Speech, and has been sweeping almost all the awards so far. I don’t see how the Academy would be voting otherwise. Jeff Bridges is unlikely to win another one so soon, and much as James Franco was very good in 127 Hours I don’t think it would be good enough to upset the front runner.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Nominees:
Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right"
Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole"
Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter's Bone"
Natalie Portman in "Black Swan"
Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine"

Should win: Natalie Portman
Prediction: Natalie Portman

Sorry ladies, this is probably the most locked-down category of the night. Natalie Portman not only puts in an amazing performance, but crazy-acting seems to be an Academy favourite too. And the strength of having won almost every single acting nod in the lead up to the Oscars means it would take a miracle for any of the other four nominees to win.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominees:
Christian Bale in "The Fighter"
John Hawkes in "Winter's Bone"
Jeremy Renner in "The Town"
Mark Ruffalo in "The Kids Are All Right"
Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech"

Should win: Christian Bale
Prediction: Christian Bale

This is a close one between Bale and Rush, but I feel that Christian Bale’s body of work has been a very impressive one and this should be the role that finally nabs it for him, However, Geoffrey Rush may ride the crest of the King’s Speech tsunami to once again deny Bale the statuette, though I hope that won’t be the case.
 
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees:
Amy Adams in "The Fighter"
Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech"
Melissa Leo in "The Fighter"
Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit"
Jacki Weaver in "Animal Kingdom"
 
Should win: Melissa Leo
Prediction: Hailee Steinfeld

My original choice would be Melissa Leo who honestly does the better job, but voters are likely to lean toward rewarding an ingénue instead of Leo. Also, Leo has two other things working against her – the poor PR stunt of buying Consideration ads for herself, and the possibility that Amy Adams’ nomination may force a split for voters who are supporting The Fighter. Steinfeld’s acting may not have been the best of the lot but it’s still very good considering her age. Plus, she really is a lead actress put into the supporting actress category so Hailee has an advantage there too. 

Best Achievement in Directing
Nominees:
"Black Swan" Darren Aronofsky
"The Fighter" David O. Russell
"The King's Speech" Tom Hooper
"The Social Network" David Fincher
"True Grit" Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Should win: David Fincher
Prediction: Tom Hooper

This one is a toughie for me – the Directors’ Guild Award usually heralds the eventual winner of the Best Director in the Oscars, but David Fincher made such a mesmerizing film that it would seem like a great disservice to award this win to anyone else. But the DGA chose Tom Hooper to win this year, which may not bode well for Fincher.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Nominees:
"Another Year" Written by Mike Leigh
"The Fighter" Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
"Inception" Written by Christopher Nolan
"The Kids Are All Right" Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
"The King's Speech" Screenplay by David Seidler
 
Should win: Inception
Prediction: Inception

Hands down one of the most fascinating original screenplays in the past few years, if not the entire decade. I just don’t see any of the other screenplays being much of contenders except maybe The King’s Speech.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Nominees:
"127 Hours" Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
"The Social Network" Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
"Toy Story 3" Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
"True Grit" Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
"Winter's Bone" Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

Should win: The Social Network
Prediction: The Social Network

There’s no doubt in my mind that Aaron Sorkin should win for his exceptional screenplay for The Social Network. It’s incredibly captivating from start to finish and everything is just so well put together that the Oscar simply MUST go to him.

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Nominees:
"Black Swan" Matthew Libatique
"Inception" Wally Pfister
"The King's Speech" Danny Cohen
"The Social Network" Jeff Cronenweth
"True Grit" Roger Deakins

Prediction: Roger Deakins

It’s a toss-up between Roger Deakins and Wally Pfister, both of whom have not won any Oscars despite being nominated many times. I am personally leaning towards Roger Deakins because his cinematography in True Grit is one of the best things about the film, plus it’s just more accessible than Pfister’s work on Inception.  

Best Achievement in Editing
Nominees:
"Black Swan" Andrew Weisblum
"The Fighter" Pamela Martin
"The King's Speech" Tariq Anwar
"127 Hours" Jon Harris
"The Social Network" Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Prediction: The Social Network

The extremely tight editing in The Social Network is an integral reason why I felt it was the best film of 2010.

Best Achievement in Art Direction
Nominees:
"Alice in Wonderland"
Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O'Hara
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1"
Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
"Inception"
Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat
"The King's Speech"
Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr
"True Grit"
Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

Prediction: Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland is the film with the most obvious art direction in this list of nominees, and as such stands a greater chance of resonating with the voters.

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Nominees:
"Alice in Wonderland" Colleen Atwood
"I Am Love" Antonella Cannarozzi
"The King's Speech" Jenny Beavan
"The Tempest" Sandy Powell
"True Grit" Mary Zophres

Prediction: The King’s Speech

Period films tend to win this category so I’m going with The King’s Speech, probably the most watched period film amongst those nominated.

Best Achievement in Makeup
Nominees:
"Barney's Version" Adrien Morot
"The Way Back" Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
"The Wolfman" Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Prediction: The Wolfman

I’m guessing it’s going to go to Rick Baker on the nostalgia reason alone (An American Werewolf in London is the first winner in this category, and it was to Rick Baker).

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Nominees:
"How to Train Your Dragon" John Powell
"Inception" Hans Zimmer
"The King's Speech" Alexandre Desplat
"127 Hours" A.R. Rahman
"The Social Network" Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Prediction: The King’s Speech

Much as I would like Trent Reznor to win, after awarding it to A.R. Rahman two years back I’m guessing it’s going back to basics and a classical score is going to win this.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Nominees:
"Coming Home" from "Country Strong" Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
"I See the Light" from "Tangled" Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
"If I Rise" from "127 Hours" Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
"We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3" Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Prediction: We Belong Together

I’m not really a fan of any of the nominated songs this year, but since this traditionally goes to animated films, I will pick the more high-profile of the two to win this.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Nominees:
"Inception" Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
"The King's Speech" Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
"Salt" Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
"The Social Network" Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
"True Grit" Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

Prediction: Inception

I hardly get these technical awards right, but I am guessing Inception wins out the rest for the two Sound categories.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Nominees:
"Inception" Richard King
"Toy Story 3" Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
"Tron: Legacy" Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
"True Grit" Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
"Unstoppable" Mark P. Stoeckinger

Prediction: Inception

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Nominees:
"Alice in Wonderland" Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
"Hereafter" Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell
"Inception" Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
"Iron Man 2" Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick
 
Prediction: Inception

Personally I think Inception is one of the most visually astounding films of 2010. Alice in Wonderland looks too oddball, Hereafter’s only claim to glory would be the tsunami scene in the beginning of the film, and the other two are sequels which I feel have a far lower chance of winning.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Nominees:
"How to Train Your Dragon" Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
"The Illusionist" Sylvain Chomet
"Toy Story 3" Lee Unkrich

Prediction: Toy Story 3. Duh.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Nominees:
"Biutiful" Mexico
"Dogtooth" Greece
"In a Better World" Denmark
"Incendies" Canada
"Outside the Law" Algeria

Prediction: Incendies

Best Documentary (Feature)
Nominees:
"Exit Through the Gift Shop" Banksy and Jaimie D'Cruz
"Gasland" Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
"Inside Job" Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
"Restrepo" Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
"Waste Land" Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

Prediction: Restrepo

Best Documentary (Short Subject)
Nominees:
"Killing in the Name" Nominees to be determined
"Poster Girl" Nominees to be determined
"Strangers No More" Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
"Sun Come Up" Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
"The Warriors of Qiugang" Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

Prediction: Killing in the Name

Best Short Film (Animated)
Nominees:
"Day & Night" Teddy Newton
"The Gruffalo" Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
"Let's Pollute" Geefwee Boedoe
"The Lost Thing" Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
"Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)" Bastien Dubois

Prediction: Day & Night (Yes, another Pixar product. Surprise surprise)

Best Short Film (Live Action)
Nominees:
"The Confession" Tanel Toom
"The Crush" Michael Creagh
"God of Love" Luke Matheny
"Na Wewe" Ivan Goldschmidt
"Wish 143" Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

Prediction: Na Wewe
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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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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

Nominees:

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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